House of Minis (Lower Ground Level, Shopsville, Greenhills, San Juan)

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Date visited: November 2013

What we ate:

Mixed Green Salad, Swiss Steak with Cheese Sauce and Beef Barbecue

 

Taste = 3.5/5

–          This particular branch has been established in the Greenhills area for as far as we can remember but not a lot of people really know about this. It’s other branch has been visited more as far as we know. They serve Pinoy-style steaks (in our opinion) and they’re pretty good at it. The Swiss Steak was pretty ok. It had the taste of an irony steak but there’s really no visible blood or pink center at all. It was also a little bit on the tough side. The Cheese sauce and the tomato sauce were good compliments to the flavour of the beef and the sizzling plate was a good idea. The Beef barbecue was okay as well. The beef was also on the tough side while the flavour was more on the sweeter side than spicy or tangy. The salad was okay as well, nothing to really make it stand out from the usual salads.

 

Service = 4/5

–          The servers were well-dressed, well-mannered and ready for action! Although there was a lady that appeared to be the supervisor who for some strange reason was a bit irritating.

 

Ambience = 4.5/5

–          The restaurant’s decor attempts to present a fine dining atmosphere with a western country theme with their wooden furnishings, leather adornments, and animal ornamentation. But to us, it feels very Filipino and was a welcome contrast to the busy mall just outside their doors.

 

Value for money = 3.5/5

–          In every main dish in House of Minis, you will be served complimentary bread, soup, small salad and dessert, usually ice cream. All of these were welcome bonuses and tasted good. This restaurant caters to the Pinoy carnivores but I think their prices are a bit higher than what we expected.

Click here for their website.

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Chef Laudico Guevarra’s (387 P Guevarra St. cor Argone St., Bgy Addition Hills, San Juan)

*The bad news is that we couldn’t embed the Google map here for some unknown technical reason.

The good news is that the next post will already have pictures! 🙂

Date visited: October 2013

What we ate:

A lot

 

Taste = 4/5

–          Chef Laudico has been made famous because of his involvement in a reality TV show. That’s probably why booking a reservation at a convenient time was very difficult. What we were able to sample from the buffet spread was Dinuguan (meat stew in pig’s blood), Lechon (roasted pig), Pancit (stir-fried egg noodles), Seafood Paella, Hilabos na Hipon (shrips sautéed in butter and garlic), Fish Dory in Mango Sauce, Angus Beef Tapa (tapa means cured/marinated meat), Shanghai (spring rolls), US Angus Beef, Seafood a la Pobre (a la Pobre means cooked in thick brown sauce with garlic), Roasted Vegetables, Ginataang Mais (corn in coconut milk), Maja Blanca (coconut pudding), Suman Balls (steamed glutinous rice) with Latik (sweetened coconut sauce) Sauce. The “misses” were Hilabos na Hipon (shrimp overcooked), Seafood Paella (seafood not fresh) and Seafood a la Pobre (too fishy).  The highlights include the Angus Beef Tapa. It was so tender and was salty, sweet and deliciously fatty. The Angus Beef was likewise great, you could really tell that the quality of the beef was superior. I love roasted veggies and they cooked it very well. The Lechon had a very crispy skin and the meat was so tender – one of the better lechon I’ve tasted in a buffet setting. The “OK” dishes were the Pancit, Fish Dory, Shanghai and the desserts. But the interesting part was that they had what initially appeared as a chocolate fountain. When we got closer to it, it was actually a Latik fountain, which I thought was a very nice little twist.

 

Service = 4/5

–          The people at the reception area weren’t really the nicest ones and there was an aura of chaos among the servers. Nevertheless, they were able to give fast service and were attentive enough.

 

Ambience = 5/5

–          The restaurant looked very homey and was most likely because the interior of the restaurant was not radically changed from the house where it had been converted from. It was really like eating at a family reuinion.

 

Value for money = 4/5

–          There were hits and misses in the food and this restaurant has still not solved the problem encountered by all buffets – some of the food were cold and stale. The price of their buffet is also above average considering the relatively limited choices compared to others.

Click here for their Facebook page.

Conti’s (Upper Ground Floor, Al Fresco Area, Robinsons Magnolia)

Date visited: September 2013

What we ate:

Chicken Barbecue and Grilled Pork Chops

Taste = 4/5

–          The Chicken Barbecue meat was very tender and juicy. It was clear that they marinated the chicken very well. The atchara (pickled green papaya and carrots) was the perfect side to the sweet, salty and a little spicy Chicken Barbecue. The sour taste really enhanced the Pinoy style Chicken Barbecue and Java rice. The Grilled Pork Chops were relatively large. One of the chops was cooked very well but the other one was a little bit overcooked as it was on the tough side. The sauce tasted deliciously creamy and it was not your usual gravy. What I liked most about the chops was the deliciously grilled fat layer, which didn’t taste disagreeable compared to your usual pork chops.

Service = 2.5/5

–          We have been to this branch multiple times and to be fair, this branch is very consistent: very consistent in providing slow service, that is. The dishes took too long to cook and serve plus you have to talk to several waiters just to get water (they don’t provide water by default). This is if you can even call their attention fast enough before they turn their heads the other way. At least they were smiling and they seemed happy.

Ambience = 4/5

–          The place is located at an odd corner of Robinsons Magnolia where you can only access this place by going out of the mall and risking getting wet whenever it rains. The dining area was quite small and it was full when we were there so I thought twice before I left my seat to go to the comfort room. On the positive side, it was bright inside and conducive to dining with parents.

Value for money = 3.5/5

–          The quality and taste of their food and their ambience were fine. Unfortunately, their service hasn’t improved at all.

Click here for their website.

Relish (74 Sct. Limbaga St., Tomas Morato, Quzeon City)

(The map points to the neighboring restaurant, Cerchio)

Date visited: September 2013

What we ordered:

Slow Roasted Beef Belly, Relish Bistro Steak and Pannacotta

 

Taste = 5/5

–          We’ve heard a lot of things about this place and several friends have already recommended this restaurant so I had very high expectations. Fortunately they were all met. The Beef Belly was something else. The meat was so tender and the fat was so flavourful. The texture of the meat was like chewy marshmallow. The sauce really brought out the meat flavour from the belly meat and fat. There were no complicated flavours in this dish, just really good beef flavour. The Steak dish was equally great. The dish consisted of expertly-seasoned succulent tenderloin pieces which were bathing in their own juices. Both dishes had very rich beef flavours but the tenderloin had the more intricate set of flavours while the Beef Belly dish highlighted the roasted beef flavour. We were constantly getting from each others’ plates while eating. While their Pannacotta was not the best that we’ve tasted, it was still good. The consistency was softer that what we preferred but the cashews and citrusy-sweet syrup complemented the taste of their milky Pannacotta very well.

 

Service = 5/5

–          When we entered the restaurant, there was a European-looking guy roaming around seemingly very affectionately observing everything that was happening in the restaurant. He was even greeting guests. With management like this, we thought we would get good service. As soon as we sat, around 3 servers took turns getting our orders, serving our food and refilling our drinks. We didn’t even have to call their attention, they just kept coming back to our table. Now that’s great service.

 

Ambience = 5/5

–          The restaurant looked very bright and fresh. There was a holding area prior to entering the restaurant and it had very comfortable couches. Everything about the dining area, from the charming decor to the “Hello Happiness” messages, sent good vibes and made us smile.

 

Value for money = 5/5

–          They really charge fair prices taking into account the excellent quality and taste of their food, great service and outstanding dining environment. I really hope they continue to do very well.

Click here for the Facebook page.

Miso-Ten (2/F Robinsons Magnolia)

Date visited: August 2013

What we ordered:

Miso Ten Original and Excellent Set Meal (Ebi, Eggplant, String Beans, Pumpkin, Kani Salad, Miso Soup, Rice and Fruits)

 

Taste = 4/5

–          We were looking for good ramen at Robinsons Magnolia and we chose to try this restaurant first. Their ramen was miso-based but there was a sesame flavour to it which made the taste different from their miso soup. The pork slices were very tender and tasted like good asado which complimented the dish very well. The noodles were cooked nicely and were soft but not doughy. The egg (ajitamago) was interesting: it had the umami taste and was nicely soft-boiled. A really good compliment to the broth and ramen. Lyn appreciated the crunch when she took a bite off one of the tempuras (Ebi). Their tempura was one of the best we have tasted. The prawn meat was thick and the crust was very crunchy and yummy. Our only disappointment was that they didn’t use Japanese mayonnaise on the Kani salad.

 

Service = 4.5/5

–          The servers were attentive and were mostly smiling plus the food was served quick enough.

 

Ambience = 4.5/5

–          The restaurant had an indoor dining area and an al fresco area. The indoor are was a little cramped and cold. On the other hand, it was quite comfortable on the alfresco area when we ate there.

 

Value for money = 4/5

–          The prices were above average considering the quality, taste and serving sizes of their food. They should have at least used Japanese mayonnaise and also improved on the serving size of their ramen. It just looked large but it felt like a meriyenda size of other establishments.

 Click here for their Facebook page.

Cajun Red Rock (151 Level 3 Mega Atrium, SM Megamall)

PhotoGrid_1375971237561Date visited: July 2013

What we ate:

Ribs and Jack Wings Treat, Red Rock Cob and Corn and Creole Chicken Pasta

 

Taste = 4.5/5

–          The servings were surprisingly large. We had to zoom out just to capture everything on the plate. The ribs were tender and were on the sweet side but not spicy which was strange since it was supposed to be Cajun. Nevertheless, it was still good. The Wings were spicy and sour which, for some reason, made us want to eat more of it. The corn was sweet but not really any different from good sweet corn. The salad was named Red Rock Cob and Corn but it was strange to me because there were more veggies than corn but it was good according to Lyn because of the generous crisp nachos in the salad and the tangy dressing. The Chicken Pasta was creamy and I mean really creamy. That was not my type of pasta but Lyn really enjoyed it. It had generous amounts of chicken fillet, bell peppers and lots of sweet-tasting cream.

 

Service = 4.5/5

–          The servers were very nice and provided fast service. They were very attentive and the food was served promptly.

 

Ambience = 4/5

–          The place had an indoor dining area but it was cramped even if it was only half full. The al fresco area was better but the noise of the mall was sometimes too distracting.

 

Value for money = 4.5/5

–          Considering the large serving sizes and good taste of their food, the prices they charged were reasonable. We had plenty of leftovers because of the generous serving sizes.

Click here for their Facebook page.

Adarna Food and Culture (119 Kalayaan Ave. Diliman, Quezon City)

PhotoGrid_1376061543935Date Visited: July 2013

What we ate:

Sigarillas Salad with Bagnet Bits, Spicy Intramuros Gambas, Tokwa Rebosado, Kaldereta Antigo, Adobong Batangas ala Adarna, Grilled Chicken Breast with Kesong Puti Boursin, Bacon and Mango Salsa, Feliz Chocolate Cake, Kesong Puti and Langka Fry, Bunuelos and Banana Peanut Roll

Taste = 4.5/5

–          If good Filipino food is what you’re looking for, Adarna should be one of your top choices. The salad was very refreshing and I’ve never tasted Sigarilyas (winged beans) this good before. The Gambas (prawns) were very nicely cooked – not too oily and very tender. The Tokwa (tofu) was surprisingly delicious and was not pungent at all. The salsa it came with was to Lyn’s liking because it had a generous amount of cilantro. The Kaldereta (beef stewed in tomatoes) tasted very savoury but the meat was a little tough. The Adobo was my favourite. The amount of sauce was not that much but it was very delicious. It was salty, sweet, oily and a little bitter but very addicting. The Grilled Chicken was tough. Too bad because the salsa it came with was good. The chocolate cake tasted average while the Kesong Puti (carabao milk cheese) and Langka (jackfruit) Fry tasted sweet and a little creamy. The Banana peanut roll tasted very sweet, almost too sweet. The Bunuelos was very nice to eat. As if the fried dough balls that are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside weren’t enough, they came with a delicious bitter-sweet chocolate dip! Yummy!

Service = 5/5

–          The service we received was great. The waiters were very accommodating and were very helpful with our particular requests.

Ambience = 5/5

–          The whole place looked and felt Filipino: the chairs, tables, ornaments, plates, wall fixtures, and dining area felt Pinoy even if some of the items were not made locally. After dinner, they had mini tours and gave some history about the antiques that were displayed in the dining area.

Value for money = 4/5

–          We believe the prices of their food were reasonable but I think they have to improve on the tenderness of the meat to give it that extra yumminess. The short history tour was a nice touch even if just to assist in digesting the meals.

Click here for their Facebook page.