Australia Dairy Co. & Tai Cheong Bakery

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Date visited: November 2013

Australia Dairy Co. (G/F, 47-49 Parkes Street, Jordan)

 

What we ate:

Egg Custard Stewed in Chinese Style (~HK$20), Egg White and Milk Custard Stewed in Chinese Style (~HK20) (~PhP230 total)

 

Tai Cheong Bakery (35 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, Hong Kong)

 

What we ate:

Egg Tart (~HK$6) (~PhP35)

 

In this post, we will review three of the “must-try” snacks in HK, namely the egg and milk custards from Australia Dairy Co. and the HK-style egg tarts from Tai Cheong Bakery.

 

In terms of the taste, the HK version of the egg tart was quite bland for our palates. Our preference is with the egg tarts from Lord Stow’s, which originated from Macau apparently. The ones from Tai Cheong Bakery had only half of the taste of the crust, egg and sweetness that we were expecting but they looked really great especially when they were side by side on the display and jiggled a lot when being moved around.

 

The egg and milk custards from Australia Dairy Co. were similarly bland for our palates. They tasted like watered down versions of egg and milk custards from what we were expecting. They reminded us of plain taho (fresh silken tofu) but more bland and watery versions of taho.

 

In both establishments, there was a queue of about 5-10 people at any given time and these two seem to be the more popular snack places (aside from the noodle places, of course). Well, we can’t really say that they were sub-par because we think that it’s just a matter of taste preference. And we prefer our sweet snacks to be really sweet.

 

Kogi Bulgogi (G/F Greenhills Promenade, Greenhills, San Juan)

PhotoGrid_1399651154538Date visited: November 2013

What we ate:

Bulgogi (Grilled marinated beef) (~PhP340), Bulgogi Ssambap (Grilled marinated beef rice wrap) (~PhP290) and Fried Rice (~PhP90)

 

Taste = 4/5

–          We were looking for a new restaurant to try in the Greenhills Promenade area and we happened to see this Korean restaurant. They served six complimentary appetizers that included kimchi, bean sprouts, sweet anchovies, fried meat balls, sweet potatoes and stir-fried veggies. They were all good and really helped diners who were very hungry. Their Bulgogi was good, the beef was tender and the sweetness was just right. However, there was nothing really distinct about this dish to make it stand out from the other restaurants. Even though we were really in the mood for beef that day, we couldn’t really finish the beef dishes because of taste fatigue which we haven’t really experienced in a long while. The Ssambap had three sauces that you could mix with the lettuce rice beef wrap which were: a sesame-based sauce, sweet bean paste and a chilli sauce. It created different taste combinations that made the meal more interesting but again, we experienced taste fatigue. The Fried rice had a good blending of flavors but the serving size was a little smaller than what we expected. It was also on the soggy side, which we didn’t particularly like. The serving sizes were also smaller than what we expected for the beef dishes.

 

Service = 2.5/5

–          The servers were not very attentive and there was an atmosphere of chaos and confusion among the servers. It also didn’t help that the cooking time was longer than average.

 

Ambience = 3.5/5

–          The dining area was tidy but the spacing between the tables were narrow and it was a bit difficult to move around. Even though only a few people were talking, it got too noisy for comfort.

 

Value for money = 3/5

–          While the dishes tasted fine and the quality was ok, the prices they charged were too much considering what other restaurants of the same cuisine and class were charging. It also didn’t help that the service we received was below average.

Click here for their Facebook page.

Tori Box Cafe (403 F. Calderon St., Little Baguio, San Juan)

PhotoGrid_1385301700495Date visited: October 2013

What we ordered:

Kani Salad, Beef Yakiniku Pita and Tori Katsu

 

Taste = 3.5/5

–          Since the restaurant’s name had “Tori” in it, we decided to try their Tori katsu (deep-fried breaded or battered chicken). It was somewhat of a scary experience since the meat looked a little undercooked. But on closer inspection and a few tastes, it was cooked. The taste was good but not really exceptional. We were looking for something special since katsu is what they say their specialty is. But it was just ok, including the sauce and side salad. The Beef Yakiniku Pita likewise tasted good but not out of the ordinary. The taste was like beef with sweet soy sauce inside pita bread. The Kani salad was ok. Fortunately, the taste was that of Japanese mayo and the lettuce was crisp.

 

Service = 3.5/5

–          There were only two tables filled and one of the tables was only ordering take out/take away when we got there. Unfortunately, we had to exert much effort in just calling the servers’ attention.

 

Ambience = 5/5

–          Although the dining area was small, the place had a good vibe to it. It was bright and clean and had interesting pictures and things on the walls and some were even hanging from the ceiling. It had a feeling of being a fun place to have a snack with someone.

 

Value for money = 3/5

–          The dishes were expensive considering the taste, quality and serving size. On the brighter side, the place had a good feel to it. Hopefully they can improve on the quality of their dishes so the good dining experience would be complete.

Click here for their Facebook page.

Tiago (85 Sct Fuentebella St, Sacred Heart Quezon City)

Date visited: October 2013

What we ordered:

Pinausukang Chicken and Pork

 

Taste = 3.5/5

–          The menu describes the dish as Smoked Chicken in Mindanao Adobo Sauce, Quail’s Egg and Pork Trotters.  While the chicken tasted great and was very juicy and the pork meat was as delicate as it can get, the menu led us to believe that it was adobo but it wasn’t. The vital ingredient in any adobo is vinegar. It is the one ingredient that has to be there. Or if it was there, the diners should be able to taste it. The relatively low rating we gave for the taste isn’t really to say that it wasn’t delicious but more on not meeting expectations set by the description of the dish.

 

Service = 3.5/5

–          They were on their first month of opening so it was expected that they did not accept credit cards yet. However, the poor service we got was something we did not expect. It was really hard to get the server’s attention and it seemed that “discipline” and “impressions” are not words they value – one of the uniformed servers was comfortably seated in a large couch with both his hands stretched across the back rest and it seemed like he can’t be bothered.

 

Ambience = 4.5/5

–          This is probably where they invested a lot. The place looked great. There was an area where a part of the ceiling was made of glass and it added a nice ambience to it. Some of the walls, even the restroom walls, had a blackboard type of material and the designs were made with chalk, which matched the interiors and the black-and-white menu. The plates had nice designs, the lighting fixtures were great and the overall design had a good flow to it. However, I noticed that the restroom sign had some Braille writing on it and when I touched them, they weren’t embossed or raised. Too bad.

 

Value for money = 3.5/5

–          The price of the dish was a bit expensive even if the serving was for sharing. It also didn’t help that we got poor service. They have the potential to being one of the good Filipino restaurants in the area but they have a long way to go to get there.

Click here for their Facebook page.

 

KKK (Ground Floor, Entertainment Mall, SM MOA)

 

Date visited: October 2013

What we ate:

Garlic Pusit, Sisig Pampanga and Choco Overload

 

Taste = 3.5/5

–          Unfortunately, the Pusit (squid) tasted fishy. It sort of ruined Lyn’s appetite a little bit. It came close to being repulsive so we were only able to eat a spoonful each. Fortunately, the Sisig was great! Bits of pork cheeks and onions with a salty-umami sauce that had a touch of kalamansi juice on a sizzling plate went really great with warm rice. This made up a little bit for the poor squid dish. The Choco Overload was chocolate ice cream on top of a brownie with whipped cream and butterscotch syrup. Well, it tasted exactly like the description and there was nothing special about the taste. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great either.

 

Service = 4/5

–          It was almost closing time but the service was still good. However, there were times when calling the attention of the servers became difficult.

 

Ambience = 4/5

–          The restaurant had an indoor dining area with lots of Filipino-inspired decor: brown bamboo wall decoration, images of Filipinos in formal attire, wooden furnishings, etc. The al fresco dining area was ordinary but the seats were comfortable.

 

Value for money = 3/5

–          Because of the discrepancy in the qualities of their dishes and relatively high prices, we couldn’t really give a high mark for value for this restaurant. They should improve the taste and quality of all their dishes since there are too many restaurants in the area with much better quality dishes in the same price range.

Click here for their website.

Mandarin Sky Seafood & Shabu Shabu Restaurant (478 Banawe St cor Simoun St Sienna, Quezon City)

Date visited: September 2013

What we ordered:

Suahe, Stuffed Vegetable Roll and Buchi

 

Taste = 4/5

–          The Suahe (shrimps) was nicely cooked although I thought they were a bit too firm. Fortunately, the sizes of the shrimp were larger than usual. Both Lyn and I thought that the dipping sauce tasted more like tempura dipping sauce which we didn’t particularly like for suahe. We prefer a sour-salty and a little spicy dipping sauce. The Vegetable Roll tasted great. It was like good siomai (pork and shrimp dumplings) wrapped in freshly blanched petchay. The accompanying sweet sauce was a little bland for us but when we dipped it in soy sauce with calamansi, the taste became much better. The meatiness was enhanced a lot and the vegetable wrap tasted better. The Buchi (spherical rice cake with a sweet bean paste in the core and sesame seed coating) was excellent probably one of the best that we have tasted. There was a thin crispy layer, then a second rice cake soft layer and finally, a warm sweet pasty core.

 

Service = 2.5/5

–          The servers were very courteous, smiled a lot and moved fast. The major problem was that it took an hour for our first dish to arrive (Suahe), 30 min more for the other dish (Vegetable Roll) and 15min more for the Buchi. In fairness to them, they warned us that the dishes we ordered took long to cook. However, they told us that we would only wait 20 min for the dishes but it took them more than an hour and a half to complete the orders and they were in instalments.

 

Ambience = 3/5

–          You could see from outside that this restaurant has a lot of patrons. Parking was hard and the waiting time was more than 15 min. The place was nice but the dining area was very crowded and everybody was just noisy. We’ve eaten at Chinese restaurants with even more diners but for some reason, it was just too noisy in the restaurant.

 

Value for money = 3/5

–          The quality and taste of the food were above average. The waiters were welcoming and were quick on their feet. What made us terribly disappointed were the poor cooking times and the atmosphere of disorder in the dining area.

I couldn’t find a website or Facebook page for this restaurant, Sorry.

A Taste of LA (171 Roces Ave Laging Handa, Quezon City)

Date visited: September 2013

What we ordered:

Pritchon Pugon and Barbecued Tuna Belly

Taste = 4/5

–          Pritchon is a combination of the words Prito (fried) and Lechon (suckling pig) while Pugon means wood-fire baked. What is usually done to Pritchon is they deep fry a whole suckling pig, cut it into bite-sized pieces then wrap in pita wedges. What I think they did here is they baked pork parts then served in into pita wedges. Why they even bothered to put the word Prtichon there is a mystery to me. Anyway, the pork meat was tender and succulent while the square bits of crispy pork skin were salty and very good. It had some veggies in it and the sauce tasted like Peking duck sauce. Everything complimented everything. The downside was the very small serving size. The Tuna Belly was ok and the sauce was thick and was salty and sweet. I detected a faint fishy aftertaste with the tuna which somewhat ruined it for me. Lyn said it was ok for her. The serving size was much better for this dish.

Service = 2/5

–          There were two to three servers in our area that were responsible for six tables. Only 4 tables were occupied at the time we arrived so we assumed we would get great service. Well, I was close to screaming at the two servers just to get their attention for our initial orders. Too bad for me, I was too hungry and too weak to transfer to a different restaurant. To add more insult to injury, the food was served at different times and took too long to cook. One time we wanted water, we made contact with one of the servers and he nodded and smiled but we got our water after 14min. It really made me feel bad when I saw that there was a service charge on our bill. I would’ve wanted to rate them lower but I’m reserving lower scores for explicitly rude service.

Ambience = 4.5/5

–          The restaurant has about 4 areas: a bar/lounge, a smoking area and two non-smoking dining areas. We were seated in the smaller non-smoking dining area and the mood was intimate. The lights were dim, the room was quiet and customers could cuddle in some of the seats.

Value for money = 2.5/5

–          This restaurant has been a landmark in the Tomas Morato area for as long as I can remember. I don’t know if we just caught them on their bad day but they have to improve on two things ASAP: serving size and service. But I’m not really keen on checking if they have improved in the future.

I couldn’t find a website or Facebook page for this restaurant, Sorry.