Calderon (403-i F Calderon St., Little Baguio, San Juan)

Date visited: September 2013

What we ordered:

Salpicao and Callos Madrilena

Taste = 4/5

–          The Salpicao was great. The meat was very tender and the sauce tasted very rich. It was salty and peppery with fresh and roasted garlic. I would have liked it with more garlic but Lyn said it was just right. Good thing we ordered garlic rice. It was a good match with the salpicao for me. The chickpeas and capers were good compliments to the Callos but it tasted too tripe-y for us. We like tripe with a clean taste but their tripe tasted borderline funny to us.

Service = 5/5

–          The servers were very courteous and they accommodated our requests. Although the food came at different times, the service was good.

Ambience = 4.5/5

–          The restaurant was small and but they maximized their dining areas on the upper and ground floors. They also had minimal clutter which helped free some space for manoeuvring.

Value for money = 3.5/5

–          I knew that tapas were usually given in small servings. However, the prices were above what I had expected considering that the quality and taste of their food were only just about above average.

Click here for their Facebook page.

Casa Roces (1153 JP Laurel cor Aguado St. San Miguel, Manila)

Casa RocesDate visited: February 2013

What we ordered:

Valentines 2013 Menu: Amuse bouche: Camembert and strawberry confit in phyllo crust; Salad: Pan fried harissa shrimps on watermelon-feta salad with fresh mint and balsamic vinaigrette; Main Course: Milk poached salmon fillet on garlic petsai, tomato and bacon fricassee with orange hollandaise and Porchetta served on garlic vegetables, sautéed rapini with chocolate port wine sauce; Dessert: Flouriess chocolate tart with fresh berries and pistachio

Taste = 5/5

–          The dishes were executed well. At first, we didn’t know how to attack the amuse bouche but when we got to the creamy center, it tasted like a moderately-strong creamy cheese wrapped in a crunchy multi-layered wanton with a kick of strawberry sauce. Yum! Lyn had the salmon and it was very good. The flavour was very mild, delicate and milky, and the surrounding sides complimented the salmon very well. The porchetta was great! I was disappointed because the serving was not enough to satisfy me. It was really good and it had a thick layer of fat to it. The chololate port wine sauce was the right sauce for the pork. Excellent! Although we were almost full from the other dishes, we finished the dessert in record time. It was chocolatey in the right way and was perfectly accented by pistachios.

Service = 5/5

–          Since we were the first ones at the gallery level, we had all the servers’ attention. They were very attentive and gave service with smiles.

Ambience = 5/5

–          The place was very romantic. Candle-lit tables, slightly dim rooms, bright red charger plates, harpist playing while you eat, elegant table set-up, and the floor plan made us feel like we were the only ones there even if there were other diners.

Value for money = 4.5/5

–          I felt like they could have increased the portions of the dishes to match the price that they were asking for. But it was really a nice place to celebrate Valentine’s day.

Click here for their website.