Capricious Indulgence: CASA ITALIA Gelato Café

Location: Shop 5, Burgos Park Building, Forbestown Center Fort Bonifacio, Bonifacio Global City (BGC), Taguig, Metro Manila, Philippines

Casa-1Facade, Casa Italia Forbestown

I was walking with three members of my family along Forbestown Road in BGC and was craving for a good place to have coffee and dessert, when we chanced upon CASA ITALIA GELATO CAFÉ and decided to try their gelato1 and coffee.

The original owners are Italian, but this is now a franchise of Gelateria Italia, Singapore’s successful gelato chain established in 2010. Recipes were developed by Chef Donato Mazzola.2

Casa Italia Forbestown opened on December 2015, and is a modern-casual, two-storey, gelateria- café, with a seating capacity good for about 100 people. Kristoffer Kevin Pantaleon is the Business Development Executive.

Casa-1JGround Floor Dining Area, Casa Italia Forbestown

It has a cozy, homey, Italian interior ambiance, great for quiet dining with family/friends or just being alone, enjoying free wi-fi with a gelato or an Italian treat.

Casa-1BIt also offers al fresco dining for about 22 people.

It is open from 9AM – 12AM (Sunday-Thursday) and 9AM – 1AM (Friday-Saturday). I was told that there is paid parking in the basement of the building.

It is also kid-friendly since the gelato is produced using only fresh milk and natural sugar from the ingredients, according to the Forbestown Branch Supervisor, Mhark Daren Gavis Mata. Kids can also enjoy babyccino, Casa Italia’s own version of steamed milk with a dark chocolate powder garnish.

Casa-2-gelati-display-okGelati Display, Casa Italia Forbestown

Upon entering the door, to your left are two big glass display cabinets packed with a wide selection of gelati. My eyes feasted on all the yummy flavors and I could not decide on what to order. It was good that the server was willing to give us free samples of different flavors, so we kept on pointing to a lot LOL! However, all tasted so good that in the end, I still could not decide!

Casa-1EGelati Selection, Top (l-r): Mama’s Cookies, Hazelnut, Brente Pistachio, Formaggi, Japanese Matcha; Bottom (l-r): Mama’s Cookies (almost gone), Salted Caramel, Cookies & Cream, Whiskey

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Gelati Selection, Top (l-r): Formaggi (yellow color), Japanese Matcha, Earl Grey Tea, Red Velvet, Apple Pie; Bottom (l-r): Whiskey, Baileys Irish Cream, Tiramisu, Strawberry Cheesecake, After 8 (Mint)

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Gelati Selection, Top (l-r): Nutella, Dark Truffle, Banana Split, Snickers, Oreo Choco Berry; Bottom (l-r): Guanaja Chocolate, Dark Truffle (almost gone), Crunchy Mocha, Cappuccino

Casa-1H

Gelati Selection, Top (l-r): Snickers, Oreo Choco Berry, Forest Berries Yogurt, Raspberry, Forest Berries Sherbet; Bottom (l-r): Coconut, Melon, Philippine Mango, Strawberry

Casa-1ZTheir premium, handcrafted gelato comes in 5 sizes: Piccolo (1 scoop, PHP130), Medio (2 scoops, PHP195), Grande (3 scoops, PHP260), ½ Vaschetta (200 grams, PHP600), and Vaschetta (400 grams, PHP1,150).

Casa-1IOne can also enjoy Liquorato – gelato with a kick, i.e., with one or two shot/s of liqueur/liquor (Bailey’s Irish Crème or Black Label Whiskey) for PHP 160/190.

Casa-1MNon-alcoholic Beverages, Casa Italia Forbestown

Casa-1LAlcoholic Beverages, Casa Italia Forbestown

Casa-1DThe Charming Barista, Casa Italia Forbestown

Beverages offered range from non-alcoholic: sodas, sparkling water, home-blend teas, juices, bottled water, teas, hot or iced specialty coffee/chocolate/babyccino in three sizes (piccolo, medio and grande); to alcoholic: local and imported beer (PHP90-130) and red and white wines, by the glass (PHP225-275) or by the bottle (PHP700-1500).

Casa-1CTempting cakes and pastries, best enjoyed with coffee or tea, are also on the menu.

Casa-1YWall Menu, Casa Italia Forbestown

And for bigger appetites, Casa Italia serves Italian cuisine: appetizers (PHP125-380), panino (Beef Steak Baguette, PHP335), pasta (PHP220-275), pizza (PHP250-355), and main dishes (PHP305-995).

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Casa-1VA weeknight (Monday-Friday, 6PM till closing time) promo is a local beer bucket (6 bottles) with a Nacho Italiano or Quattro Formaggi Pizza for only PHP580, to “wine and dine the night away”.

We already ate in a nearby restaurant, so we just wanted gelato and coffee during this visit. I was craving for something not so “sinful” and I finally opted to order just one scoop of Forest Berries Sherbet. It was so refreshing, not sweet at all, and berry-licious!

Casa-1TForest Berries Sherbet, Casa Italia Forbestown

Casa-1UPartially consumed Philippine Mango Gelato, Casa Italia Forbestown

My companions ordered a scoop each of Philippine Mango, and Dark Truffle, and one ordered a brewed decaf coffee. I was able to taste all orders. The Philippine Mango gelato was so yummy and the Dark Truffle one was like eating genuine, rich chocolate in cold form. All gelati ordered were just right in terms of sweetness. The brewed decaf coffee was also delightful.

Service was prompt. The staff were so accommodating and cheerful.

Casa-1XCasa Italia Forbestown’s Branch Supervisor, Mhark Daren Gavis Mata

Truth be told, I returned alone the next day for the same order!

I paid for all orders and all comments are personal.

Next time, we will try other gelato flavors (like Pistachio, Salted Caramel, Crunchy Mocha, Coconut, and Mango-After 8 combination) as well as their Italian treats.

Contact details: telephone number: (02) 753-6263, 813-8138; website: http://www.casaitalia.com.ph/; Facebook: CasaItalia PH; Instagram: @casaitaliaph

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1Gelato is a dense, rich, Italian-style ice cream made from milk, cream, sugar, and flavored with fruit and nut purees and other flavorings. It is generally lower in fat than other ice creams, and typically contains less air and more flavoring than other frozen desserts.

2www.news.abs-cbn.com

GERRY’S RESTAURANT & BAR: Gratifying Grilled Gustation

Location: Ground Floor, Butterfly Garden, Resort Drive, Newport City, Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines

When we crave for “inihaw1”, one place that definitely comes to mind is Gerry’s Grill!

Its first restaurant opened on February 14, 1997 at Tomas Morato in Quezon City. After 21 years, it currently has 95 branches nationwide: 2 in Cagayan Valley, 12 in CALABARZON2, 15 in Central Luzon, 5 in Central Visayas, 3 in Eastern Visayas, 11 in Mindanao, 37 in NCR, 5 in North Luzon, 2 in South Luzon, and 3 in Western Visayas. It also has 6 branches overseas (3 in the USA, 2 in Singapore and 1 in Qatar).3

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This family-casual dining restaurant offers a wide array of Filipino dishes: appetizers, soups, char-grilled items, sizzling selections, seafood, chicken, pork, beef, rice, vegetables, kinilaw4, merienda5 treats, desserts, shakes, juices, soft drinks, hot drinks, cold drinks, and alcoholic drinks.

It has been decades since we last ate at the original Tomas Morato branch but we were recently in the Newport area and opted to have lunch there.

This Newport City branch is open daily, from 10AM till 12 midnight. It offers airconditioned dining as well as outdoor seating. The latter would be ideal for unwinding after work with cocktails or other alcoholic drinks, accompanied by appetizers or char-grilled orders.

We arrived half past noon. It was very hot outdoors, so the place was packed; but we found a table at one corner indoors. Parking was a problem, though.

I liked the large menu card which really entices customers to order since the colored pictures are so good to look at! Here are the pictures:

3-GerrySoups and Kilaw, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

4-GerryAppetizers, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

5-GerryOther Appetizers, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

6-Gerry.jpgVegetables, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

7-GerryPork and Beef Dishes, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

8-Gerry.jpgChicken Dishes, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

9-Gerry.jpgOther Chicken Dishes, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

10-Gerry.jpgChar-Grilled Dishes, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

11-Gerry.jpgSizzling Treats, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

12-Gerry.jpgSizzling Selections, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

13-Gerry.jpgOther Sizzling Dishes, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

14-Gerry.jpgSeafood and Rice, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

15-Gerry.jpgSeafood and Rice Dishes, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

16-Gerry.jpgMerienda Selection, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

17-Gerry.jpgDesserts, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

18-Gerry.jpgNon-Alcoholic Drinks, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

19-Gerry.jpgAlcoholic Drinks, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

20-Gerry.jpgFresh Fruit Drinks, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

21-Gerry.jpgSummer Treats 2018, Gerry’s Restaurant & Bar, Newport City

 

After a weekend stay in a resort with buffet meals, we decided to stay away from pork dishes. We finally agreed and ordered the following:

24-Gerry.jpgThe Sinigang na Boneless Bangus6 was served hot but was not sour enough. However, this was good for the kid with us.

The Sizzling Kangkong7 a la Pobre was served on a sizzling plate but was not sizzling at all. We were disappointed because it was watery, lacked the expected garlic taste, and was mostly stalks, instead of leaves.

26-Gerry.jpgThe Inihaw na Pusit8 was the winner for this visit! It was grilled just right and one order could be shared.

27-Gerry.jpgThe Inihaw na Manok is a half-chicken order that is char-grilled and could be shared as well. However, it was too dry and lacked the anticipated marinated taste.

25-Gerry.jpgThe Special Binagoongang Rice9 was good and perfect with the grilled items we ordered.

 

22-Gerry.jpgThe watermelon shake was refreshing and not too sweet.

23-Gerry.jpgThe fresh buko10 juice was served chilled, with a straw, and still in the buko shell. (Note to balikbayans who miss this drink: one could not get it any fresher!) We requested the bukos to be opened after sipping the juice. The buko meat was thin and easily scooped with a spoon.

Waiting time for orders was about 20-25 minutes. Service was slow, the waitstaff was not attentive, and getting the bill and change took some time too. My observation: It was almost 2PM but the restaurant was still full. Business is good! Unfortunately, service suffers.

Contact details: (02) 332-1111. Visit its official website –www.gerrysgrill.com, Facebook account – gerrysgrill.com.ph, and Instagram – @gerrysrestaurant

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I hope these footnotes will be appreciated by foreign viewers of this blog who are not familiar with local terms:

1Inihaw is the Filipino term for grilled, roasted, barbecued, or broiled.

2CALABARZON, or Region IV-A, is a Philippine region located in the island group of Luzon, with Calamba as its regional center. CALABARZON is an acronym for this region’s five provinces: CAvite, LAguna, BAtangas, Rizal, QueZON.

3www.gerrysgrill.com

4Kinilaw is the Filipino term for a raw native Filipino dish, similar to ceviche. It literally means “eaten raw”. The fresh cubed fish/seafood, or lightly grilled and chopped meat, is mixed primarily with vinegar, plus a souring agent (usually calamansi or dayap), and flavored with salt and black pepper, ginger, onions, and chilis.

5Merienda is the Filipino term for morning or afternoon snack.

6Bangus, or milkfish, is the national fish of the Philippines. Filipinos usually prefer it prepared “boneless” because its numerous pin bones would otherwise make eating it a bit difficult.

7Kangkong is a semiaquatic, tropical vegetable-plant, grown for its leaves and tender shoots, according to the Wikipedia page, “Ipomoea aquatica”.10 It is also known as swamp cabbage, Chinese convolvulus/spinach/watercress, water morning glory, and river/water spinach. It is a popular vegetable in Filipino cuisine, used in a variety of dishes like sinigang and adobo.

8Pusit is the Filipino term for squid, usually cooked as adobo or grilled.

9Binagoongang Rice is a Filipino version of fried rice made with sautéed shrimp paste (called bagoong) and thin slices of raw-ripe mangoes.

10Buko is the Filipino term for young coconut harvested for its sweet and refreshing juice/water and thin, easy to scoop, meat.

10Ipomoeaaquatica,” accessed April 20, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ipomoea_aquatica

 

KOREAN VILLAGE YAKINIKU RESTAURANT: Still a Knockout!

Location: 566 J. Nakpil Street, Malate, City of Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines

Hey, Baby Boomers who frequented the Malate area in the ‘70s-90s, do you remember this restaurant? This Korean-Asian restaurant started in 1977 and was originally located in Adriatico Street. It moved to its current address in 2007. One can tell that this is a favorite dining place because it fills up fast, and, based on the rapport among the waitstaff and guests, that it has a sizeable number of “repeat” customers.

2-Koreanfacade, Korean Village Yakiniku Restaurant

I had a delightful workout with blissful stretching and my companions had an enjoyable tennis match in a nearby country club one Sunday afternoon in April 2018. We were so hungry and thought of going to this restaurant for an early dinner, even though it was only 5:30PM. It was a wise decision since the limited parking space for 4 vehicles was soon full.

3-Koreanground floor dining area, Korean Village Yakiniku Restaurant

This restaurant is closed on Mondays but is open the rest of the week from 11:30AM-2:30PM and again from 5:30PM-10:30PM. It has two floors, for about 60 persons per floor, ideal for families and groups.

5-KoreanEach table has its own grill since this is a yakiniku1 restaurant.

This 41-year old restaurant offers: appetizers, Korean barbecue, fried and grilled dishes, hot pots, noodles, rice, soup, stews, and desserts. Beverages include: hot and cold drinks, beer and wine.

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14-Koreanmenu, Korean Village Yakiniku Restaurant

Immediately after being seated, menu cards were handed over to us. Favorites were ordered and complimentary banchansoon followed – kimchi3, kongnamul4 (bean sprouts in sesame oil), myulchibokkeum5 (stir-fried anchovies), seasoned tofu, marble potatoes, and seasoned spring onions-leeks. Now that’s fast service, perhaps because we came early LOL!

4-Koreancomplimentary banchan, Korean Village Yakiniku Restaurant

The miso soup was disappointing but was served hot so that much was appreciated.

The steamed rice was served hot in individual metal bowls with covers. The quality of the rice was good.

6-KoreanBeef Bulgogi, Korean Village Yakiniku Restaurant

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15-KoreanWrap pa more at Korean Village Yakiniku Restaurant!

The meat orders were cooked in a smokeless tabletop grill. The Beef Bulgogiwas very flavorful. We enjoyed the lettuce wrap using whatever we had on the table – the different pastes, banchan, rice, etc. Definitely, we had to request for extra lettuce.

16-KoreanTeresa cooking Chicken Fillet, Korean Village Yakiniku Restaurant

17-KoreanTeresa preparing Beef Short Ribs, Korean Village Yakiniku Restaurant

The Chicken Fillet and Beef Short Ribs were cooked one after the other. Our favorite is the delicious Chicken Fillet, with the accompanying dips. My taste buds were very happy! I also enjoyed the tasty and tender Beef Short Ribs.

9-KoreanThe Shrimp Tempura was good but I personally prefer a crispier batter.

18-Koreanpineapple slices and Melona ice bar, Korean Village Yakiniku Restaurant

Free, fresh, sweet, and pre-sliced pineapple was served along with our order of Melona, the melon-flavored ice bar as dessert! Happy tummies indeed! Burp!

This restaurant is old but has a simple, homey, and cozy ambiance. I commend the fast, courteous and cheerful service of the waitstaff. For the ultimate dining experience, look for Teresa, the very efficient and friendly server. Yes, dear Seniors, she has been there for 36 years! All the waitstaff were very attentive to our needs. Orders arrived quickly, and empty dishes were bussed promptly. Food and drinks were served at the right temperature. A pitcher of cold water was also given for our table. I consider the price reasonable too.

So, the next time you are in the Malate area, have a craving for Korean food, and are not particular about fancy ambiance, why not drive early to this restaurant (since parking is a problem), order your old Korean-Japanese favorite dishes and I am sure memories will rush to your minds while waiting for your orders. However, you have to be quick in reminiscing because the service is really fast! LOL

The night was still young and we could have gone to nearby bars but we were so tired after a good workout/game so we decided to just go home early. That visit to Malate bars will be a future post.

I will definitely come back and will try other items like Beef Spareribs, Beef Stew, Bibimbap Stoneware, Fried Rice Special, Spicy Cold Noodles, Shrimp Korean Barbecue, and different popsicle flavors. Another cheat meal to plan LOL!

Table booking is recommended if you cannot come early. Plan where to park or find a driver to drop you off and pick you up. Cash and cards are accepted. Contact details: Telephone (02) 524-4958

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For those who are not that familiar with Korean cuisine, I hope these footnotes will be helpful:

1Yakiniku is the Japanese term for “grilled meat”. It is simply Japanese barbecue.

2Banchan refers to a group of Korean side dishes. It is served as a selection of appetizers or accompaniments to grilled dishes in this restaurant.

3Kimchi is Korean fermented vegetable, usually made of Napa cabbage.

4Kongnamul is a banchan2 which is made of lightly seasoned bean sprouts with sesame oil.

5Myeolchi-bokkeum is a banchan2 made of stir-fried dried anchovies.

6Beef Bulgogi is a Korean beef dish where thin slices of beef are marinated and traditionally grilled.

SIMPLY THAI: Simply Delightful!

Location: Level 1, Greenbelt 5, Ayala Mall Center, Legaspi Street, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines

B-1-facadeI was back in Makati to do some errands, accompanied by a niece last Friday. It was lunchtime and she suggested we eat at Simply Thai in Greenbelt 5. It was chosen as one of Philippine Tatler’s Best Restaurants in 2016 and 2017. So off we went!

B-2-ceilingWhen seated, I looked up and appreciated their orange hanging lamps.

B3-dining rmThe simple, yet cozy, dining ambiance, along with the cheerful wait staff was a welcome treat for me.

This casual Thai restaurant basically offers classic Thai dishes. Menu cards and beverage lists were given to us. Simply Thai has an extensive menu (offering soups, appetizers, salads, main dishes – house specialties, curries, stir fries, vegetables, vegetarian dishes, rice and noodles, desserts) and drink list (branded water, canned sodas, juices, shakes and cocktails).

v9Nmq1521103434Soup and Appetizer Selection, Simply Thai

2-appetizer-saladAppetizer (continuation) and Salad Selection, Simply Thai

3-salads-house-specialtiesSalad (continuation) and House Specialty Selection, Simply Thai

4-house specialties-curries-stir-friesHouse Specialty, Thai Curry and Stir-Fry Selection, Simply Thai

5-stir-friesStir-Fry Selection (continuation), Simply Thai

6-stir-fried-vegs-rice-noodlesStir-Fried Vegetable and Rice-Noodle Selection, Simply Thai

7- rice-noodle-vegetarianRice-Noodle and Vegetarian Selection, Simply Thai

This restaurant is also VEGETARIAN-friendly since it offers a selection of vegetarian dishes: Tom Yum Tofu Soup and Tom Khaa Tofu Soup (P180 each), Pomelo Salad (P295), Green Mango Apple Salad (P270), Grilled Aubergine with Tofu Salad (P275), Green Papaya Salad (P280), Golden Tofu with Tamarind Sauce (P230), Mixed Vegetables in Yellow, Green or Red Curry Sauce (P275), Stir-Fried Bokchoi and Mushrooms (P275), Vegetable Medley in Garlic and Lemongrass Sauce (P275), Vegetarian Phad Thai (P310), Pineapple Fried Rice (P310), and Vegetable Fried Rice (P310).

8-dessertsDessert Selection, Simply Thai

B-4-barYes, Seniors and non-Seniors, Simply Thai has a bar for alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages! However, we did not order any beverage since we wanted to concentrate on food orders. Anyway, for Seniors who want to indulge in an occasional Happy Hour once in a while, Simply Thai offers Bottomless Cocktails daily from 4:00-7:00 pm for only P299! Just drink in moderation, ok dearest reader?

Here are our orders, opting mostly bestsellers:

7LBfw1521103134TOM YUM KUNG, the hot and sour prawn soup (P185, good for 2 Seniors) – This soup was served hot. We, Seniors, requested it to be slightly spicy but we still found it too spicy for our taste so the waiter gave us coconut milk to temper the spiciness and we were satisfied.

A-3-chickenPANDANUS CHICKEN, coconut-marinated chicken fillets wrapped in pandan leaves (P385 for 5 pieces, good for 2-3 Seniors) – This chicken dish was tender and tasty.

A-2-porkCINNAMON PORK RIBS, barbecued honey-coated cinnamon ribs (P300, good for 2-3 Seniors) – This house specialty was very tasty and so tender that that meat falls off the bone. This is a flavorful dish and the consistency and amount of sweet-smokey sauce was just right for the very tender ribs.

A-6-vegetablePAT BUNG WITH CRISPY PORK, morning glory (swamp cabbage) with garlic and shrimp paste and crispy pork (P310, good for 2-3 Seniors). This dish was simply stir-fried kangkong with bagoong (what we Filipinos call morning glory and shrimp paste) and the thinly-sliced pork was delightfully a bit crispy.

9wMqu1521102801KHAO KLUK KAPI (Thai Bagoong Rice), fried rice in Thai shrimp paste, with sweet pork, shreds of scrambled egg, thin slices of fresh green mango, chillies and cucumbers (P365, good for 2-3 Seniors) – The fried rice was served separate from the other major ingredients and the waitress cheerfully mixed it for us but we requested her not to include the chillies (and just place them on one corner of the serving plate).

A-4-riceTHAI SALTED FISH FRIED RICE (P280, good for 3-4 Seniors) – This fried rice order was pleasantly appealing and seasoned just right.

A-7-dessertHOMEMADE DURIAN ICE CREAM (P185, good for 2 Seniors) – My husband loves Durian Ice Cream from Davao so I ordered this dessert and asked to share it with him. We personally feel that this dessert can be improved. The durian was pureed and so pure and does not have to be so dominant or strong but, instead, can be developed into a creamier ice cream with just the right amount of durian flavor to delight both durian lovers as well as newbies to the durian taste.

The manager and servers were cheerful, very efficient and rendered commendable service, with a keen eye on the needs of diners, like refilling glasses of water and bussing out empty dishes.

Simply Thai offers both indoor airconditioned dining as well as an outdoor dining area. The comfort room is communal yet decent and clean.

Food servings are ample and for Seniors, orders can easily be shared among 2-3 persons. For Seniors who are not fond of too spicy dishes, simply request the order taker to tell the chef to adjust the amount of spiciness.

Prices quoted were as of March 2018, VAT inclusive and subject to 10% service charge. I paid personally for my meal and all comments are personal. I find the prices reasonable since serving portions can be shared, especially among Seniors.

This restaurant opens 11 am (except Monday at 3pm) and closes (9:30 pm Monday, 11 pm – Tuesday till Thursday, 12 am – Friday till Saturday, and 10 pm Sunday).

Here are the contact details for Simply Thai Greenbelt 5: landline: (02) 7296860; telefax: (02) 7290860; mobile number: 09178380487. For now, their Facebook account is down but you can email: simplythairesto@yahoo.com or call the manager, Mr. Armani Zamonte II at 09560747696.

Of course, nothing beats authentic Thai cuisine in Thailand but overall, if you crave for Thai food in the Greenbelt area, you can try Simply Thai.

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Why not go to my others related posts?   JASMINE: IRRESISTIBLE CHINESE FOOD

and       TAO YUAN RESTAURANT: YUMMY CHINESE-SINGAPOREAN TREATS

JASMINE: IRRESISTIBLE CHINESE FOOD

Location: Level 2, New World Makati Hotel, Esperanza Street corner Makati Avenue, Ayala Center, Makati City, Philippines

My group of five were in the Greenbelt area and I was craving for Chinese food and salted egg so off we went to New World Makati Hotel’s Jasmine, its dining outlet at Level 2. Jasmine is open for lunch (11:30 am – 2:30 pm) and dinner (6 pm – 10:30 pm).

Z-1-Jasmine-facadeThe entrance to the main dining room was so inviting. We arrived at a little past noon and most of the tables were occupied.

Z-1-Jasmine-interiorThe Chinese Art Deco interior was cozy and simply elegant. It is my second visit to this Chinese restaurant and this will definitely be a “cheat meal”! LOL

Jasmine offers authentic Chinese dishes created by renowned Hong Kong chef Wong Kam On: a wide variety of Cantonese baked, fried, steamed and vegetarian dim sum; chicken, fish and pork century egg congees; rice rolls (served only for lunch); Peking Duck; seafood specialties; barbecued appetizers; soups; live fish and seafood (with your choice of cooking method); poultry and meat dishes; bean curd, noodle, rice, vegetable and vegetarian dishes; desserts; and different kinds of tea (along with Jasmine Tea and Jasmine Chrysanthemum). Set menus, priced per table of ten persons, are also offered.

Z-1-Jasmine-menuOn our round table was a menu for unlimited  yum cha (traditional Cantonese brunch consisting of dim sum and Chinese tea), for 988 pesos per person. It was so tempting but we settled for a la carte orders for the group so we could savor the salted egg dishes which I have been craving for.

Z-2-JasmineWe ordered 4 kinds of dimsum. The BARBECUED PORK PASTRY was a welcome treat because the pastry was so flaky and the pork filling was delicious. The generously-sized PORK XIAO LONG BAO looked so enticing: steaming hot with its delicate folds and thin, white casing. Its yummy mild broth was just right for the well-seasoned pork filling.

Z-2-Jasmine-hargaoThe HAR GAO was served hot, the dough shell was soft and delicate, and the seasoned shrimp filling was tasty and juicy.

Z-3-JasmineThe PORK PASTRY SPRING ROLL was a delightful appetizer as well.

We enjoyed sipping the hot JASMINE TEA while we savored the various dim sum as well as succeeding courses.

SPINACH SOUP was requested by our 5-year old picky-eater-grandson and he finished it all so that says a lot about this soup! This healthy soup was served at the right temperature and was pleasantly seasoned so the kid enjoyed it till the last drop.

Z-4-JasmineWe ordered five main courses. Finally, I will satisfy my salted egg craving! The SOLE OF FISH SALTED EGG YOLK hit the spot! I definitely rave about this dish and, dear Seniors, this is definitely a MUST TRY! The tender fish was fried with just the right amount of yummy salted egg.

Z-5-JasmineThe crispy DEEP FRIED PRAWNS SALTED EGG YOLK was likewise delicious, accentuated by the salted egg coating.

The CHINESE STYLE PAN-FRIED BEEF TENDERLOIN was topped with Chef Wong’s special sauce. The beef was so tender. The flavor and texture of the sauce enhanced the enjoyment of this dish.

Z-6-JasmineOur picky-eater requested BROCCOLI WITH OYSTER SAUCE. The broccoli was cooked just right and the sauce was tasty, but not salty.

Z-7-JasmineThe EGG WHITE SEAFOOD FRIED RICE with conpoy (a type of pungent Cantonese dried scallop) and pine nuts, with its subtle, yet flavorful blend of ingredients and seasonings, aptly complemented our a la carte orders.

Z-8-JasmineMango Pudding, Jasmine, New World Makati Hotel

Finally, we ordered two kinds of desserts: Mango Pudding and Mango Cream-Sago.

Z-9-JasmineMango Cream-Sago, Jasmine, New World Makati Hotel

Both desserts were a refreshing treat after all the dimsum and main courses we enjoyed.

The staff were so accommodating and gave personalized service. They changed the plates as needed, replenished our tea and water, and asked if we enjoyed the meal and what else we needed.

We will definitely come back for more, what with their December promo called “Feast on Festive Treats”: (1) a Yum Cha Buffet Lunch consisting of baked, fried and steamed dumplings, buns, rolls and noodles, at 1,388 pesos per person; and, (2) a choice among three 10-course set menus for December 24, 25, 31, 2017 and January 1, 2018, featuring Chef Wong’s signature dishes like Suckling Pig, Braised Abalone with Black Mushrooms, Pan-fried Lamb with Black Pepper Sauce, Pan-fried Scallop with Egg White and Black Truffle Sauce, at 9,888 pesos for a group of 6 persons.

Private dining rooms are also available for your intimate get-togethers, dear Senior Citizens. You can inquire/book at (02) 811-6888. Visit their website: www.manila.newworldhotels.com. You can view their complete menu at www.zomato.com, just type Jasmine – New World Makati Hotel Menu.

Did you find this post informative? Have you also experienced dining in Jasmine? If so, what were your favorite dim sum and ala carte dishes? I would like to hear from you. Do scroll to the upper right corner of this post and click “Leave a comment”. Follow me by clicking the “Follow” bar at the bottom right corner of your gadget. Thank you!

 

 

GREEN PASTURES: FROM FARM TO TABLE

Location: G/F, Net Park, 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City, Metro Manila, Philippines

I had a scheduled meeting with someone in the Net Park area and arrived an hour before the designated time so I invited my companion to have a quick but not-so-sinful snack and we chose a casual dining and organic restaurant called Green Pastures, owned by Chef Robby Goco of Cyma, Charlie’s Grind and Grill, and Tequila Joe’s fame. It is located at the ground floor of Net Park and is open from 8 am till 10 pm.

Z-3-GP

For this restaurant, Chef Robbie offers healthy American and European homemade dishes which are made from fresh, organic, gluten-free and probiotic ingredients. Green Pastures also has 2 other branches: Eastwood Mall (in Bagumbayan, Quezon City) and (Level 4, East Wing) Shangri-la Plaza Mall (in Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City).

We opted for outdoor dining despite the modern farm house interiors, ordered their Homemade Burrata (a fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream), served with toasted bread, and requested it to be served fast so we need not hurry eating it and I won’t be late for my meeting. It came as promised by the waitress and it had a simple yet appealing presentation.

Z-1-GP

The texture of the bread complemented the softness and freshness of the cheese, served with Mt. Atok (in the province of Benguet) organic strawberries, cherry tomatoes and basil oil. It was priced at 430 pesos and was worth it! The cold refreshing drinks, Organic Dalandan Juice (juice of the tangy, Filipino variety of a citrus fruit) and Iced Tea with Organic Honey (small, 120 pesos each), were a welcome treat too!

I paid for this snack and all the comments are based on my dining experience. I will definitely go back to try the other items in the menu!

Did you find this post informative? Have you also experienced dining at Green Pastures in any of its branches? I would like to hear from you. Simply scroll to the upper right corner of this post and click “Leave a comment”. Follow me by clicking the “Follow” bar at the bottom right corner of your gadget. Thank you!

 

 

A SENTIMENTAL PINOY MERIENDA AT VIA MARE

Location: G/F, Greenbelt 1, Greenbelt Drive, Ayala Center, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines

My husband and I were accompanied by three relatives when we were in the Greenbelt area for early Christmas shopping. It was the middle of the afternoon when we all became hungry and they agreed to join me in a sentimental Pinoy merienda (snack) at Via Mare in Greenbelt 1 which was one of my favorite casual dining Filipino restaurants when I was single.

Z-1-VMfacade – Via Mare, Greenbelt 1, Makati City

Now, dearest Senior Citizens (SCs), you might ask, why there, Tita S? There is one at Greenbelt 3 and it is newer. I know that, SCs, but this Greenbelt 1 branch is so memorable for me before I got married. Anyway, indulge me, please, ok?

This outlet is open from 8 am till 9:30 pm (M-F), 9 am till 9:30 pm (Sat.-Sun.), and 10 am till 10 pm (during holidays). It is located at the ground floor of Greenbelt 1, opposite National Book Store, my favorite bookstore. Via Mare’s facade and interiors still looked the same and the diners were mostly families or seniors, alone or with a companion.

I can’t help but think that the other seniors also eat there not only for the yummy dishes but recall delightful memories of dining there for years/decades as well. For me, it was way back 1990s.

This outlet offers breakfast, a wide selection of Filipino merienda treats and kakanin (native Filipino rice cakes served mostly for snacks), as well as different soups, main dishes, oyster specialties, vegetables and rice for lunch/dinner.

I was feeling nostalgic when I got hold of the menu and I wanted to order lots of native merienda (snack) treats but stopped myself because of eating out too much when I go to Metro Manila.

Z-Via Mare-2We ordered only four kinds of merienda items First was BIBINGKA VSP (175 pesos), meaning this traditional Filipino rice cake was very special because it had all the toppings possible. It was served warm and soft and its flavor was enhanced by the yummy toppings (butter, cheese and salted egg), accompanied by freshly grated coconut and sugar.

Z-Via-Mare-3PUTO BUMBONG, with two pieces per order, served with muscavado sugar (partially refined sugar with a strong molasses content and flavor), quezo de bola (Edam cheese) and freshly grated coconut (106 pesos), was also ordered. It looked so delicious and we even ordered additional queso de bola for a more delightful combination.

Z-Via-Mare-4The PALITAW (a traditional, sweet, sticky Filipino rice cake), with three pieces per (55 peso) order and a generous topping of freshly grated coconut, sugar and linga (sesame seeds), was served next. It is definitely a MUST TRY, dearest Seniors! This boiled, flattened, small, rectangular, Filipino rice cake was so delicately soft, contrasted by the texture of the freshly grated coconut mixed with sugar and linga. We had to ask for an additional order because we couldn’t have enough of this native delicacy.

Z-Via-Mare-5DINUGUAN AT PUTO (205 pesos), another Filipino favorite, was a satisfying, thick, savory pork-blood stew with pork offals and meat, complemented by the small white putos (traditional, round, soft, Filipino steamed rice cakes).

Bottomline, we enjoyed all our orders but rave about the palitaw! My younger companions learned to appreciate these Filipino treats while I reminisced good times in this restaurant with every bite I took. Happy tummies! Happy memories! Happy meee! Happy weee! We will surely go back for more, perhaps for lunch or dinner!

Prices stated were based on charges when we dined in this outlet; they may change. Visit its official website: www.viamare.com.ph for outlets, catering services, updates, etc. You can also call (02) 815-1918. For a quick look at the menu of this outlet: (1) simply type “via mare greenbelt 1 menu” and click on the www.munchpunch.com option, or (2) type www.zomato.com and type café via mare greenbelt 1. View the menu at the bottom of the page.

Did you find this post informative? Have you also experienced dining in this restaurant or in any of its other branches? I would like to hear from you. Do scroll to the upper right corner of this post and click “Leave a comment”. Follow me by clicking the “Follow” bar at the bottom right corner of your gadget. Thank you!