Eduardo's Peri Peri Chicken

SM Southmall is a 7km drive from our house, you might think that it’s just a more or less 10min drive, but no, due to traffic congestion, and the recent ASEAN meetings being held here, it became a 1hr drive. Yes, for 7km. So when I arrived, I quickly went on with what I had set out to do. Baking supplies store for kitchen stuff, grocery for pasalubong, and department store for clothes. After those, I went on to the food strip at the back. Almost all of the restaurants, we’ve been to already, save this one: Eduardo’s Peri Peri Chicken.

It was a little late for lunch so there were not a lot of diners and I was able to get a seat right away. They had wooden chairs and tables that went up to the back, opening to the al fresco side of the restaurant. It looked like a low key fast food chain whose best sellers were their burger and of course, chicken. I ordered the combo meal of a quarter peri peri chicken, rice (which I asked not to serve), side of corn and carrots, and iced tea.

The chicken was so-so, the rub on the chicken was not too spicy and needing that oomph. They did have 2 bottles of sauces on the table, one is bbq and the other is spicy. The spicy sauce didn’t do the trick no matter how much I smothered it on my chicken. The meat was not fall off the bone, but at least it wasn’t too dry as well. For the price, I guess it was good enough. My total bill was 160Php. 

Verdict: 2/5 
The meal was a little plain and could be improved. They could develop their sauces more to bring the chicken on a different level. The crew was attentive and catered to all your needs even if you didn’t ask for it, which I think is a sign of goof customer service.

Bocadillos

Bocadillos is a kiosk in Chef’s Avenue in Festival Mall that offers Mexican fusion food. We all know this cuisine can leave you running to the washroom to wash your hands after eating but it seems Bocadillos found a solution for that. Instead of serving their yummy fillings and sauces in tortillas, they wrap it in a sandwich like fashion which makes it easier and tidier to consume.

There’s quite a selection of Mexican treats from quesadilla, to burritos, to tacos, to nachos, and as an addition, wings and pasta! Yes, pasta. Leave it to Filipinos to infuse anything with a little bit of everything haha but I didn’t order any of that since we always have that for Mexican. Come their best seller, chimichanga. It’s a deep fried burrito that’s quite a popular Tex-Mex with a wide range of ingredients.

I ordered the Chicken Chimichanga but was told it wasn’t available so I got the Beef Chimichanga instead. It had beef, corn kernels, green and red bell peppers, and cheese with Mexican red sauce all wrapped in a tortilla deep fried to perfection. And the most amazing part? Just costs 90Php. Yep, a gastronomic treat that will fit anyone’s budget. And it tastes amazing! The crunch was delightful and the filling generous. I had the Cucumber Lemonade to accompany it and it’s just sublime!

Verdict: 3/5
For a kiosk, it has great potential. If given the proper publicity, it might gain traction in the long run and be something than just a kiosk. We ordered take away from them as well, but weren’t able to consume it right away and that’s a shame, really. So for next time, order something else and consume it right away!

Mati's Meat and Bread

Mati’s Meat and Bread is one of the first few restaurants that rose on the River Side, part of Festival Mall’s more scenic view overlooking a small river with live fish and turtles and an amphitheater. It’s a delight to come to this part of the mall because I always find it less crowded.

When I came in, they have this chalkboard menu from floor to ceiling. It’s a nice addition to their homey, family-style restaurant décor. The walls were red and accentuated with green paintings. Brick stone pillars littered the corners giving way to floor to ceiling glass walls that helps a lot with the lighting. There’s a second floor but I wasn’t able to check that out because I immediately sat on a table by the window for the best view.

Today was steak day so I ordered the Classic Ribeye Steak, medium temperature. It was supposed to be served with mashed potatoes (which I asked to be held off) and peas and carrots, with gravy on the side. It was a little underwhelming to look at because the cut of the meat was terrible, it was almost paper thin. But when I cut through the meat, it was tender and tasted nice. There weren’t tough parts, just soft and tender all the way through. But still.. I wouldn’t call that a steak.

Verdict: 1.5/5
The restaurant is nice, if you’d like some peace and quiet come here early for brunch, just order something else from the menu.

Miyazaki

When I think of bafun uni, I usually relate that to the best place on Earth, Vancouver. Yep. This is where I first had the taste of this very delectable, succulent seafood treat. And once you taste it, there’s no going back. Suddenly, the local version just doesn’t come at par with them. Imagine my delight when I found it here, in Manila! Just a stone throw’s away from my house! Miyazaki is a new restaurant in Molito Complex in Alabang. If you’re coming from the main road adjacent to Ayala Corporate Center, it’s easy to miss it because it’s on the left side of an uphill entrance to the vicinity. I had to walk back to get here under the scorching sun. I came in at exactly 11am and had to practically knock on their glass doors and beg them to let me in LOL. Little did I know, it will all be worth it. 


Servers came to my table offering me the menu, a glass of water, and just hovering here and there, a few steps away to give me my much needed space. I looked at their menus, they gave me two, 1st is with illustrations (maybe for someone who’s not Japanese cuisine fluent, so they know what they’re getting haha) but it was a little incomplete compared to the 2nd one, where it’s just a plain textbook from start to end. That second menu was packed with their long list of dishes, I know it’s a bad sign, because you might think they don’t have a specialty, but really! Let go of all your inhibitions. I hailed a server and ordered. Even for the price, I was expecting they will serve local uni, so I asked my server to confirm and not raise my hopes up at the same time, but she gave me an indignant and resounding “No, ma’am, we serve bafun uni!” I had to repeat it, those last two words, like a poor mimic, I’m pretty sure I garbled them too, but she nodded again “Yes, ma’am, bafun uni.” That’s great! I told her.


And now the wait, looking around the resto, there were wooden chairs and tables, and wooden decors hanging on the wall and ceiling. I’m thinking they’re channeling a small, cozy Japanese resto and I’m so glad I dined here. My Tempura Uni came first. These were rolls of bafun uni (for days) wrapped by a single sheet of nori, dipped in their tempura batter, and then deep fried. The exterior was quite crunchy and the uni inside was untouched and glorious! Still sweet and delicate and ugh. Any uni lover would love this. When it comes to tempura, this is the bomb.

And for my main dish, ta da! Salmon Uni Don. Its name is so great, I have to type it again like this: Salmon. Uni. Don. The salmon sashimi could easily and completely wrap your finger, no, two fingers! And you could tie it together with a knot! Evenly and uniformly sliced, they were arranged in a fan like manner on my bowl on top of that magnificent Japanese rice, which stood out on its own really, being properly cooked and seasoned. And of course, that bowl was generously filled with my personal favorite, bafun uni. And oh! I feel like I’m back in Vancouver (but nah)! This bowl was adorned with gari, wasabi, nori strips, and a green leaf. Ain’t she pretty?

I was really quite full from the meal even though I didn’t finish the rice, I know, please don’t kill me, but I just have to try their Matcha Ice Cream with Beans. When I asked the server for it, she said it was available and immediately went to get me some. And mysteriously it came to me, that sweet little pot holding the green, ice cream goodness, with dry ice making it more interesting as it comes nearer and nearer.. and well you just have to take a video of it first! Something to go up on Instagram LOL

Verdict: 4.25/5
I’d gamble that this resto is probably the highest rating I'll give to a Japanese restaurant here in Manila, scratch that, the whole Philippines! I need to check all my reviews for that, because as long as Japanese restos are concerned, this has set the bar really high. It’s a little pricey but you must pay up for something so valuable, yes? Overall taste was great and I’d guarantee you’d enjoy it here. I simply can’t stop thinking of it! Seriously. Please take me with you! Or come on, I'll take you!

Gringo

Entering this restaurant that offers Mexican/Latin American cuisine, I was greeted by the staff with “Olâ! Welcome to Gringo!” Which was pronounced by the staff as “green go”, it's a bit too slang, right? So when I heard it, I chuckled. Wooden chairs, wooden tables, wooden table napkin holders, felt like I’m in some Mexican al fresco dining restaurant. But since I’m wearing a girly office attire, I seated myself on a couch haha! The staff was fast in giving me the menu and providing me a glass of water. I already knew what I wanted so I called their attention again.


I ordered a Quarter Southern Spice Chicken after asking how it's cooked. Server said it’s baked and grilled which was fantastic. I requested for thigh part because thigh part. 🙃 I had 2 side dishes that came with it, I chose Roasted Eggplant and Garlic Mushroom. After a few minutes, my chicken arrived, I tasted my sides, but noticed they gave me wings instead! Called their attention and they were quick to make it right.

I got to say the chicken was tender, moist, and really packed with flavor. There were 2 sauces that accompanied it, spicy and lemon herb. They weren’t as overpowering as I thought they would be, and the chicken was still be great even without them. The roasted eggplant was superb and very filling. It’s creamy and seasoned well. The garlic mushroom on the other hand was a little plain for me.

Verdict: 3.5/5
Would have given a 4 if they got my order right the first time, no biggie. A sign of good chicken would be the following: great rub, flavorful meat, and my favorite, fall off the bone. And I found that with Gringo. Visit them at 3F Atrium Wing of SM Megamall soon!

Bistro Sakana

An underrated Yaletown gem.

Sushi places in Vancouver is a dime a dozen, I seriously ate more sushi in Van city than in Japan. So in a city of raw fish on rice, it's hard to find one that stands out, enter Bistro Sakana. I discovered this restaurant during Dine out Vancouver, a winter gimmick that encourages people to take out their jackets and brave the cold and snow to try out prix fixe menu offered by restaurants so that the industry won't die out during this season. 

Their dine out feast was definitely worth getting hypothermia for but unfortunately it's a one time seasonal fare that you won't be able to order on their regular menu so I didn't bother to come back after that. One summer evening however, while waiting for the Minami dinner reservation and after sampling the much hyped liquid nitrogen ice cream from Mister, I passed by Bistro to see if there's anything new in their menu, and guess what, they have a daily changing special menu for fish straight from Japan, the bafun uni stood out which I never really tried outside of Sushi Bar Maumi and Masayoshi so it was a welcome sight to know that there's another place where this can be had, Toshi was supposedly offering it too but it wasn't available when I went there, and that's another overhyped restaurant altogether but that's another story.

So on to Bistro and its limited special menu, I ordered the uni, wagyu, salmon and tuna trio, and a few others, all of them were definitely exceptional that the Minami dinner had to be cancelled. The sake flight was also an interesting way to get acquainted with different types of gradually more potent poison, one after the other. 


A few days later, hankering for another uni fix, Bistro failed to deliver, apparently it's not everyday that they have this dish and to prevent further disappointment it's best to call for availability before heading there, so I got their calling card to be sure. This third visit was not as satisfying as the first two but then again maybe because I've already had my fill of dinner at Minami so I wasn't really hankering for anything else but uni. I ordered ikura and a few others from their regular menu and tried the wagyu again but somehow their wagyu was not as good as the previous one, there were a few chewy parts.. I also tried aburi which paled in comparison to Miku. 


I usually want to make a few visits before giving my final rating and I think I've already decided that Bistro will definitely be one of my go to places if I want some special sushi from Japan, I'll just remember to call them first and check for availability before heading there. 


Verdict: 4/5

Captain's Boil

The test of a good restaurant is if it is consistent in pushing out good dishes and if it improves in the stuff they need to work on based on customer reviews or well just based on their experience. I've been to Captain's Boil five times in the past 8 months (yes that's why I can't fit in my jeans anymore haha) three times at their Kingsway branch, once at their Richmond location, and once at their Yonge branch during my Toronto visit last month. I've ordered different items from their menu on each occasion and I think the only ones I haven't tried yet are the clams (because I'm afraid they'll be chewy) and the chicken slices (because hey why go to a seafood boil if you're going to get chicken!! haha).

This review is a summary of all those dishes I tried.


Sauces:

Captain's Boil - probably the best choice to have a balanced taste of spicy buttery and garlic goodness
Cajun - hotter than the Captain's Boil
Lemon Pepper - a bit bland for my taste, might be good for those who don't want to overpower the seafood taste or those afraid of chili
Garlic Sauce - I tried this on the shrimp but I missed the spice, this should be the choice for the faint of heart.

If you like eating with your hands wrapped in plastic gloves and devouring seafood swimming in sauce served inside plastic bags then this is definitely the place for you. The first time I tried this kind of dining was in California at Kickin' Crab and Craw Daddy and Boiling Crab, what can I say, I'm not a fan of getting food inside plastic bag but it works if you don't mind getting messy, which is probably what's gonna happen anyway when you're eating seafood and cracking shells here and there.. is it worth another visit? Sure! Especially if you don't want to have that mess in the comforts of your dining room, otherwise I say just go buy fresh seafood from the market then cook them at home.

Verdict: 3.5/5

​Japadog

a Japanese street food take on the usual hotdog.

I'm not really much of a hotdog sandwich fan, I mean I like hotdogs on a stick but the bun is a killer for me, I'm not a bread person so I usually discard this part, it does serve as a nice holder for your hotdogs when sticks aren't available so I guess it has some uses.

Japadog started out as a food cart a few years back and I remember the infamous lineups at Burrard just to try these kurobota pork goodness. My favourite is the terimayo (with teriyaki, mayo and seaweed toppings) and the oroshi (with grated radish and soy sauce). I also tried the okonomi (with bonito flakes) but it was a bit too plain for me.


So far I've visited two sit down branches, one at Robson and the other one at McArthur Glenn outlets, I liked the latter one better because it's more airy and spacious. You can also sample all their hotdogs on a platter, without the bun, which I should like theoretically but somehow it's nothing special without all those toppings.


All in all, a Vancouver visit is never complete without trying out this hotdog, it's an east meets west concoction that defines the culture of this city. It's almost like a signature dish like the Chicago dogs although not quite yet.


Verdict: 3/5

GyudonYa

A Yoshinoya alternative  

I've always been a fan of Yoshinoya from when I first tried it in Manila, to when it became a comfort food when I was working in Tokyo, and then nostalgic pit stops in California, so imagine my disappointment when I found out there's no Yoshinoya branch in Vancouver. 

Good thing I discovered GyudonYa, it fits the bill and offers a lot more..
Stewed tender beef bacon slices with white onion on a bed of rice and topped with pickled ginger, that's how I remember a good bowl of gyudon should be. As a sister company of Chosun Korean BBQ, this restaurant offers a few more fare other than beef bowls, it also has karubi, chirasi, kimchi, gyoza and a few nigiri. I've visited this place thrice and always came out satisfied. Although the place is small, the service is fast and the food tastes better than what other restaurants would give you for the same $. 

If you're tired of the usual Japadog which is just two stores away from GyudonYa, then I suggest you give this gem a visit.


Verdict: 4/5