Ban Dao Pearl Restaurant

I've always liked the Marine Gateway complex because it has (almost) everything I want in one place. If I can afford the condos here then I would probably move into this neighbourhood haha

I don't remember when I first tried out the Ban Dao restaurant but it was one of those impromptu dates with my cousin who happens to live nearby. I think we were supposed to watch a movie and we went here for an early lunch.

I've tried most of their dimsum and I would definitely recommend the shrimp rice roll and the xo sauce, the rest were ok, but I was missing the xiao long bao which was conspicuously missing from their menu.

Our usual order consists of the shrimp dumplings, pork siomai, avocado roll - yes I know that's not dimsum but this is Vancouver haha most restaurants have a sprinkling of Japanese food on their fare, my cousin likes the chicken feet and the beef tendon while I enjoy the beef ribs and pork spareribs, the taro with scallop dish is also a crowd favourite. Last time we tried the chicken wings but those weren't really worth it I think, I would still go for Phnom Penh's just for that..

We passed by this place once for dinner and quickly realized that they have a different pricier menu so we skipped it haha Maybe I would come back to try their roasted duck 3 ways and the suckling pig but that requires advanced order so yeah.. not anytime soon..



This will definitely be a go to place for quick dimsum bites, the place is huge and the service is prompt.

Some say it's a bit pricier than most places but I really haven't tried a lot of dimsum joints here to begin with and I feel the preparation here is clean and consistent so I keep coming back.

Rating: 3/5





Teppanya


It’s a nice feeling when you start your day doing all your errands and then finishing it off with a nice trip to a new restaurant you haven’t tried before. At a new mall along Daang Hari, stands the Evia Lifestyle Center, which gives off the European vibe here in the south. It’s a new mall, still lots of empty stalls, very limited parking (but I think they’re doing something about it already), and they have this huge activity grounds inside and at the very heart of the mall. It’s surrounded by stores in a circular fashion, glass ceiling for natural light which is very cool since they have this enormous Christmas tree as the main attraction. So why was I here? To visit Bagoong ni Sisa and hoard goodies haha. Mission accomplished on that one!


After roaming around the mall, my mom, sister, and I decided to eat lunch somewhere, some place new, as I’m trying to tear them away those fastfood joints they so love. And after searching online, I found this restaurant: Teppanya. A Japanese joint that has a tagline of “It’s not just dinner. It’s entertainment!” And they weren’t kidding. Customers are seated on a bar-like setting surrounding the iron griddle where the chef will cook your meal. In our case, since there were just 3 of us, we were grouped with a family of 5. The host gave us the menu and suggested items to order for first timers like us. So I ordered the set meal (came with salad, soup, and stir-fry veggies) for mom and sis, beef, chicken, and pork for protein, and I ordered salmon and uni nigiri for myself.

The chef then proceeded in cooking our food in front of us, staring with the fried rice. Interestingly, that took the most time to cook, as there was an assortment of ingredients in it. Eggs, carrots, sauces.. enter the eggs show. Chef did a number of tricks with the raw egg in shell, throwing it in the air with his ladles, catching it with his toque blanche, AND not breaking it (imagine if it broke on his head haha!). He also made some cutesy heart forms on the griddle, maybe that would be amusing if his audience were all couples (at this point, I was really thinking he’s just playing with our food, see I called us his audience already!). Then came the cooking of the proteins. First the pork, drizzled with a medley of sauces, making it sweet and tangy. It was cooked nicely, it wasn’t tough nor under-seasoned. The chicken came next, cooking it to perfection with what I reckon the same sauce as the pork. It wasn’t overcooked, still juicy. He cut both in cubes and continued cooking it for a few more seconds before serving. And the beef came last, before going any further he asked us what temperature should he cook our beef, I told him medium rare, and the father from the other group said well done and I winced in pain at that, even giving him a quick glance which initially I thought he didn’t see. I mean, I wanted to ask "did you not see how he cooked the other meat or do you really just want to eat rubber?" LOL and not 5mins after, just before the chef starts cooking their portion, he changes his mind and made it medium rare, too. Haha! That felt like that was a small victory for the steak gods.

Verdict: 3/5 
Considering the live show and the flavor and cook on our meat, this restaurant would have good marks. The crew were informative, helpful, and courteous. But I have to pull it down a little because I just didn’t like the narrow aisles inside the restaurant, customers were more or less bumping on each other. They also lacked proper ventilation, we pretty much came out the restaurant smelling like the food we ate haha! Lastly, I thought they could do something about the wait time before the service began. Maybe give it another go next time when they’re more accustomed to serving multiple groups of diners.


Café D'Asie

We haven’t gone out as a family to eat out on luxurious buffets at all. I mean, sure, we very occasionally dine at Yakimix, but since we’d rather go to other fastfood restos for price, Café D’Asie sure is an improvement in all levels. Located at the 2nd floor of The Bellevue Hotel in Alabang, we had our family dinner here to kick off the Christmas season. And of course, everyone was dolled up! We went on a Saturday night to accommodate everyone’s schedule. We didn’t tell Mamang where we were going so she kept asking, even our parents.. just told them to dress up nicely.

Arriving at the hotel, we were greeted by a floor to ceiling mirror just outside the lifts and we had to snap a few pictures that will be posted later on our parents’ Facebook accounts LOL we arrived at around 630PM, not much guests yet, which is perfect. Oh and did I mention their grand chandelier? It was so big it filled the hole they made on the 2nd floor overlooking the ground floor. We took some pictures of that too before heading on our table. Priorities, I know!


We were seated on a table for 7 reserved by yours truly, and behind the ice cream section! Destiny, haha! We were able to navigate through the food aisles with ease and pick the best parts. After going through the aisles, I went to my favorite section: Japanese. Initially, I was disappointed in not seeing the sashimi I wanted, but fresh from all the customer rights fiasco with our internet provider, of course I had to do something. I asked the chef there if they didn’t have sashimi anywhere, and was overjoyed when she said they do. She then asked for how many people, and I said 7. I think she managed to involuntarily swallow there haha poor chef. And I pointed to our table, and not 10mins later, at least 50 salmon slices were given to our table. I’d basically be happy just eating this that my father and I basically ate half of the plate before my sisters had a go with it haha!


My other plates were a medley of what I had to pick through the rest of the dishes. Some maki, ebi tempura, mixed veggies, and cajun shrimp first. They were all a little basic, nothing jumping out of me and the cajun shrimp was overcooked so I didn’t go seconds for that. The roast beef and roast pork were superb! They can be eaten without the sauce but I like to smother mine with peppercorn and mushroom gravy. I requested for a plate of that too with great ease, so I really have to give it to the servers/chefs here. They’re eager to please and fatten up all their customers, just ask. Haha! The dessert section was enormous too, but just picked some blueberry cheesecake, profiteroles, marshmallow on chocolate, and truffles. Stay away from the truffles, they’re too sweet! The ice cream corner was just behind us, easy access. I like how they had someone stationed there to serve you, you don’t have to work your biceps for a much needed scoop. And they had a cotton candy maker, too! Too bad the colored sugar turned up a little bitter from all the coloring.



Verdict: 3/5
Rating it this way for ease of going through the aisles, ambience, service, and food quality. Of course the food selection could be improved by adding more dishes, like steak! All in all, family enjoyed the time here, photos, laughter, and sharing everywhere. Crew also informed us of discounted price for senior citizen and free parking for the car that brought Mamang in! Definitely worth another visit. Happy holidays, guys!

Red Kitchen + Bar

Missing Red Fish Blue Fish from Victoria and as a challenge to make the lightest beer batter, I tried to make my very own version of fish and chips at home. Since we don’t like frying (yeah, we’d rather bake anything), I decided to fry the fish one side at a time. It did crisp up nicely and like the commercially prepared version, you have to eat it right away. Else, it would turn out like a soggy, sad (and did I say soggy and sad yet) dish. Luckily, there’s a place where I can get something close to RFBF here in Manila: Red Kitchen + Bar.

 Nestled along Festival Mall’s Riverpark, it’s the 1st restaurant you’ll see from Corporate Ave, and that’s probably why I don’t “really see” it LOL I remember reading signs for customer parking in front of it but I don’t really understand it as I’m driving by and looking out for pedestrians that might just decide to cross the street. Well, I’m glad I finally get to try dining here. Ordered the Seafood Chowder to start and it was yummy and creamy. Did get lots of seafood like clams and the likes, but had to slow down a bit on that for my main of England Fish and Chips. The beer batter was super light and crispy, obviously just got out of the deep fryer, almost killed my tastebuds there! Fish was lightly seasoned with chili powder before being dipped in the batter. Batter was golden brown and crisp, fish wasn’t overcooked. It was accompanied with wasabi-mayo dipping sauce. Try to hold a little bit there so as not to overpower the fish so much. The fries were ok, had better, and came with ketchup.

Verdict: 3/5
If you’re needing a quick fish and chips fix, this wouldn’t be so bad. I kinda didn’t look at the whole menu, so I can’t comment on the rest. The restaurant was cozy with couches along their whole wall, red cups (matching the name), and looks very spacious since they have a 2nd floor. Good decoration and it feels very homey. Hmm, but it is a bar.. so I don’t know. Haha! Maybe it’s a little confused at that part.

Mighty Quinn’s

Continuing our quest to take down all restos in SM Megamall (we’re running almost half a year now!), here’s another 1 we’ve slain: Mighty Quinn’s. Born and raised in NYC, it found its way here in Manila, doing what they do best, slow cookin’ on fire and wood. Oh yeah, even painted it all over their wall to brag about it!

I ordered the Beef Brisket with Dirty Rice and sat closest to the entrance, unfortunately, cell reception is so bad inside their resto. I came in early as usual to avoid the crowd. Maybe too early as I saw some people (I think they’re the owners of the franchise) measuring something on the floor and walls, maybe they plan on doing some redecorations? But the whole place seem quite new to me. When my plate came, it was what I expected it to be. No fuss, just plain good old (3 maybe 4 slices of) beef drizzled with just the right amount of their fantastic bbq sauce (I recommend not to add any more), a cup of dirty rice (basically fried rice with a little sauce and bits and pieces of beef), and a variety of pickles (cucumber, onion, and cabbage, yes, cabbage!). The brisket was of course the star of the dish, I can’t take away my eyes from them! Very nice rub that charred from the cooking nicely. Meat was tender and oh so delectable. And I’m just all new to this beef-lovin’ thing! The pickles did its job of balancing the flavor out, help you slow down on the flavorful meat when you need it the most. The rice, you could do without, but hey, this is Manila!

Verdict: 4/5
This resto deserves another trip just to make sure it isn’t a 1-hit wonder haha! I’d love to see them offer this plate with other side dishes, maybe potato mash? Or more veggies? Or yeah pickles haha! The crew were very friendly, too. Definitely going back here.

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.

Nikkei

Earlier this year, construction of some new building started in front our office. One sunny Wednesday, as I was walking along ADB Avenue-Doña Julia Vargas, I noticed a new opening to the right of Podium, along ADB, confused as I knew there was a couple cafés at its place, but I kept walking. And then I saw a similar looking entrance along DJV, and I thought, they might be connected or something. And when I went back to the office, I decided to try and pass through and I was right haha! That, ladies and gentlemen, was how I discovered Nikkei, a restaurant offering Japanese-Peruvian fusion cuisine. And the day came to finally try it!

Looking at the appies, I decided to try the Scallop Mozzarella, because you know.. scallops and mozzarella? The cheese was grated and served aburi-style, with chopped onion leeks on top. These babies were served on 2 white soup spoons sitting on top of contrasting black stone plate. Looks nice, no? Disappeared fast, too!

For sushi, I ordered a medley of Uni and Salmon Nigiri. The uni was local, frozen day-old, but still fresh (yes, I asked the server all these details, because I don’t want to suffer through another disappointing sushi!). What I liked about this pair was they topped it with Salmon Ikura! Do you know how expensive that is here?! Haha! I also ordered Salmon Nigiri.. fish color was ok and tasted fresh which is great.


After all that, of course I still wanted more. Or maybe I was just super hungry then? LOL anyway I asked the server what maki roll they recommend and she said the Crispy Salmon Skin Maki, so I ordered that. Yeah, it was extra crispy, which the chef assured (I was sitting at the bar haha). They had some sauce (bbq?) drizzled on it, sweet and tangy.


Verdict: 2.5/5 
I’m giving this score because I liked the ones I ordered, but yeah I know I said earlier that it’s a fusion restaurant, and I didn’t try anything from the other side. LOL Sushi is good, quality is there, but of course you could get that from other restos, too. I like that the crew here are very attentive to your needs and questions, even made good recommendations. I’m leaving the other half of their menu unrated for now. Reason to go back, yeah?

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.