Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Spices: Swagat

If I remember it right, Swagat is the very first restaurant that I wrote a review about in This was a long long long time ago when was just all about restaurant reviews. After so many years, I thinks it's just right that I write about Swagat again and include it here.

Being one of my favorite restos, I've eaten here a countless number of times and these are some of what I usually order. Take note that when ordering here, you'll be asked on the level of spiciness you want for each dish, from mild, moderate, spicy and extra spicy.

To start off, I usually order the Bhel Puri. The dish consists of puffed rice and sev or fried noodles mixed with vegetables and various spices, served with a tamarind sauce as dressing. Aside from the wonderful crunchy texture of the dish, what I like most about this is the burst of different spices in my mouth.

Bhel Puri - 125php

The Mirchi Pakora is such a treat for spicy food lovers like me. A whole piece of green finger dusted with spices, rolled in chickpea flour and fried. Flavorful and has that subtle spiciness that I love.

Mirchi Pakora - 125php

A common Indian snack that's very familiar to us is the Samosa. Swagat's Vegetarian Samosa is a must try, crunchy triangle pastry crust with piping hot flavorful filling of spiced potatoes and peas.

Vegetarian Samosa - 70php / 4pcs

Swagat makes their own paneer or cottage cheese for their different paneer snacks and dishes. The cheese has a soft crumbly texture and flavor wise, it's on the bland side. Thus the cheese is usually mixed or cooked with different spices. The Palak Paneer that I usually have is cooked with pureed spinach, garlic and spices.

Palak Paneer - 150php

Most of the dishes here are stewed or cooked with sauce. You won't go wrong in ordering whatever you fancy for every dish has a rich and very tasty sauce. Below are Rogan Josh, a mutton dish that is cooked in cream and butter. Fish Masala, tender strips of fish cooked in spices and onions with tomato sauce. And Shrimp Makhinwala, shrimps cooked in coconut cream with crushed cashew and different spices.

Rogan Josh - 200php 

Fish Masala - 155php

Shrimp Makhanwala - 200php

An Indian meal won't be complete without having a piece of flat bread. The bread is used to pick up pieces of meat and soaking up all the rich tasty gravy or sauce of each dish. If you're not used to eat bread with your meal, the fragrant long grain Basmati rice is an option.

Plain Roti - 20php / pc

Poori - 40php / 4 pcs

There are still a number of things worth mentioning, dishes that I tried and liked. I'll be posting more about the wonderful food this resto serves when I go back and be able to take more photos. In my opinion, Swagat is arguably the best Indian place you can find in the metro. I've been here a number of times and it has never disappoint, prices are affordable and more importantly the food is absolutely delicious and bursting with so much flavors.

Address:  119 FCC Building, Rada Street, Legaspi Village, Makati City
Tel. Nos.: 501 5079 / 752 5669

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Spices: Osaka Ohsho

Earlier this year when we visited the newly constructed fashion hall of SM Megamall, there were only a few restaurants that were open and one of them was Osaka Ohsho. Seeing their signage that they serve the World's Number 1 Gyoza, we decided to give it a try on their soft opening.

While ordering, the server insisted we tried out the Fresh Mango Yakult drink, it's supposed to be the house specialty. The drink didn't taste of fresh mangoes but tasted like a mango puree variety that was mixed with ice and water. The juice tasted too sweet plus the drink didn't taste of Yakult.

Fresh Mango Yajult - Php125

Just like with other Japanese restos that have been opening, they offer set meals to the diners. Sets includes a main dish, fruit plate, miso soup, 3 pieces gyoza and unlimited Koshihikari rice. The first set that we got to try was the Salmon Teriyaki. The slice of salmon that was doused with teriyaki sauce was glistening, it looked really appetizing. Too bad that the salmon was overcooked cause the sauce was rich and really tasty.

Salmon Teriyaki Set - Php550

The next set we tried was the Beef Sukiyaki. The only notable thing about the dish are the tender beef slices. The broth was too sweet for our taste and it  needed more of the umami flavor.

Beef Sukiyaki Set - Php375

The last set that was served was the Chicken Karaage. I expected the fried chicken bites to be crunchy but it wasn't, the breading was actually more  mushy than crispy. It was drowned with too much sauce/broth plus the whole egg that was cooked on top added to the soggy texture of the chicken. The broth was also too salty, the whole dish seems to be in dire need of a tune up.

Chicken Karaage Toji Set - Php375

Now for the main reason why we dined here, we each had three pieces of gyoza in our respective sets. Right off the bat, one thing was noticeable, the doneness of the bottom of the gyoza looked different from one another. The one with the darkest hue had the crunch that we expected, the medium hue had a little crunch while the one with the lightest hue didn't have any crunch at all. There seem to be a problem with the consistency of cooking the dumplings. Moreover, I found the filling too dry. We initially wanted to try out and order more types of gyoza the resto offers but after trying out a few pieces we were glad that we didn't.

Surprisingly the one thing that I enjoyed was the Koshihikari Rice. I'm not much of a rice eater but the Koshihikari was very aromatic and it had a sweet, nutty and grassy flavor to it.

Koshihikari Rice

After a couple of months of dining here, I started to hear and read people saying how good the Gyoza is. The ones we tried weren't, I had better tasting Gyoza in other Japanese restaurants which was really not their main selling point. It made me wonder if should cut them some slack since we dined here during their soft opening. I guess there's no way to find out until I dine here again but as of the moment I strongly disagree with their claim with serving the world's number one Gyoza.

Osaka Ohsho
Address: 3rd Floor, Fashion Hall, SM Megamall
Cell. No: 0917 - 8285011 
Facebook Page:

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Spices: Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen

When the weather is nice and cold, the perfect feel good food is a nice bowl of steaming hot ramen. There are so many good ramen restaurants that have sprouted all over the metro. From the number of diners I saw dining here, this place seem to be one of the favorites. Early this year, we decided to have a bowl of ramen at Ikkuoka Fukuoka Ramen.

Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen

To start off, I ordered Takowasa, raw octopus with wasabi paste. The chopped up pieces of tentecles had the same slimy texture like the sanakjji I tasted in Seoul and it tasted really fresh, it didnt't have any fishy smell or flavor.

Takowasa - Php120

The resto serves and prides itself of their tonkotsu ramen, a noodles dish that uses a pork based broth. We got to try two ramen dishes the frist of which is the Ajitama Tonkotsu Ramen.Upon ordering the server asked us how we wanted our ramen, soft, medium or hard. This was a nice touch because asking for the noodles' doneness should be a standard practice of all ramen restos. The noodle soup dish looked beautiful, it had a marinated half boiled egg on top, some slivers of pork and served with sheet of dried seaweed. We wanted our soup spicy so we ordered an extra side of Tobanjan paste.

Ajitama Tonkotsu - Php380  / Tobanjan Paste - Php60

 Just to see if there was indeed a difference on the texture of the noodles, we intentionally order one hard and one medium. The 'hard' noodles was indeed hard and being someone who wants his noodles with a good bite, I enjoyed every strand of it. The pork broth tasted clean and simple but it wasn't lacking the umami flavors. I savored the delicious broth and I didn't even leave a drop in my bowl. If there is something that I can suggest that they can improve on, it had to be their boiled egg. The egg was bordering on being a hard boiled egg when it's supposed to be on the creamy soft boiled side.

The Vegetable Tonkotsu had the same tasty broth and the 'medium' noodles felt how it's supposed to be. You can really differentiate the doneness between the hard and medium noodles. I also liked how the vegetables still had that nice crunchy texture.

Vegetables Tonkotsu - Php330

We also had a plate of Gyoza, the pork dumplings looked really nice as it had a nice browned bottom. It didn't just looked nice, it tasted really good as well. It had just the right amount of tender and juicy pork filling and the nice browned bottom had a nice crunch.

Gyoza - Php125 / 6 pieces

As I've mentioned there are a number of good ramen places in the metro and after trying out here, I must say that Ikkoryu Fukuoko is one the great ramen places that I'd love to go back to.

Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen
Address: 5th Floor, Shangri-la Plaza East Wing
Tel No: 477 8333