Friday 16 December 2011

Spices: New Bombay Indian Restaurant

Ever since I had my first authentic Indian meal, I was hooked. There are two authentic Indian places that I frequented, Swagat and New Bombay. I remember years ago when New Bombay was just a small canteen/cafeteria place but now I was ecstatic to see New Bombay turned into a full-blown resto with different branches in the Makati area.

New Bombay Authentic Indian Cuisine

The Mix Pakora are different deep fried treats that are coated with chickpea flour and different herbs. Treats such as Finger Chillies. Sliced Onions, Sweet Potatoes, Cauliflower and my fave is the Cheese. This was served with two kinds of dip, a tamarind and lentil dip.

Mix Pakora - Php165

Mix Pakora with Tamarind and Lentil Dip

When it comes to curries, three types comes to mind. Japanese, Thai and Indian. Among all three, the curry that has the most complex flavor is the Indian curry. It has that pungent smell and taste that people will either love or hate. What's nice about this resto is that you can ask them to adjust the spiciness level to your liking. You can go for mild, hot or extra-hot.

Indian Red Curry

The Vegetable Kofta is a mixed vegetable meatball. This is one flavorful filled vegetable dish that's healthy at the same time. So good!

Vegetable Kofta - Php215
Aside from the fragrant Basmati Rice, Indian meals wouldn't be complete without Naan/Roti bread.The warm soft flaky flatbread is the perfect partner for curries and sauce-laden dishes.

Cheese and Garlic Naan - Php115

When dining in an Indian resto, one must not forget to try out the Lassi. It is a cold creamy yogurt based drink usually served either salted or sweet. There are flavors to choose from but my fave is the Rose Lassi. It smells of roses I like how the sweetness and sourness balances each other out.

Rose Lassi - Php75

When I saw New Bombay expanding I was both thrilled and worried. I was scared that the quality of food might suffer but to my delight it still was the same like it used to be.

New Bombay Authentic Indian Cuisine

G/F Glorietta 3 Ayala Center  & Greenbelt 2, Ayala Center, Makati (02) 986-8622 & (02) 757-1704
Tower 1 G/F The Columns, 6821 Ayala Ave. cor. Gil Puyat Brgy. Bel-Air, Makati City (02) 901-3275

G/F, Sagittarius Bldg. III, 312 H.V. Dela Costa St. Salcedo Village, Makati City  (02) 819-2892

Monday 12 December 2011

Spices: Chelsea Market and Cafe

Known to be one of the better restaurants in Serendra, I had high expectations. The market/cafe has a simple and casual vibe, at the center they were selling different kinds of food stuff. But most people came here to dine and no to buy.

Chelsea Market and Cafe

Inside Chelsea

Upon being seated, a plate of warm sliced Focaccia bread with a vinaigrette dip was served. What made the complimentary starter extra special was the whole roasted garlic that came with it. We just had to  asked for another round of this starter.

Complimentary Focaccia Bread

The Portobello Mushroom Confit was presented beautifully, the mushroom was topped with Arugula and slices of Parmesan cheese. There were Cherry Tomatoes encased in Pesto with drizzle of reduced Balsamic vinegar around the plate.

Portobello Mushroom Confit - Php395

Not only did it looked nice, it also tasted great. The usual combination of all the flavors complimented each other really well.

Portobello Mushroom

The Truffled Three Mushroom Pasta tasted satisfactory. The pasta was al dente though I wanted more truffle oil atop of the creamy sauce. The mushroom bits were not enough to make the dish complete, I wish they added more of it.

Truffled Three Mushroom Pasta - Php495

The Crispy Duck Confit and Mushroom Risotto was absolutely divine. Every part of this dish was cooked perfectly.

Crispy Duck Confit and Mushroom Risotto - Php575

The duck's skin was deliciously crunchy and the meat was moist and tender. The meat has the fall-off-the-bone feel, I didn't even use my knife. The liver sauce was thick and it complimented the duck so well.

Duck Confit

The Mushroom Risotto was cooked exactly the way I liked it. Creamy, flavorful and it still has a little bite to it.Making Risotto is not an easy task, ive tasted Risotto from different restos and most of them failed to give me what i want. Chelsea's Mushroom Risotto definitely became one of my favorites.

Mushroom Risotto

After dining here, my high expectations was absolutely met. I'm looking froward to coming back and dining here again.(and again)

Chelsea Market and Cafe
Address: Ground Flr. Serendra Piazza, Mc Kinley Parkway,
               Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, Metro Manila
Tel No:   (02) 909-7011

Friday 11 November 2011

Sights: Island Getaway in POTIPOT ISLAND, ZAMBALES

Potipot Island is a small island found in Candelaria, Zambales. It is said to be beautifully peaceful, calm and serene.

Potipot Island

After a five to six hour drive from Manila, we arrived at Candelaria, Zambales. We checked in at Dawal Resort, one of the more famous resort in the area. This place would serve as the take off point to go to Potipot Island.

Dawal Beach Resort

 The beach itself in Candelaria is surprisingly nice enough to take a dip. In spite of the blackish-grayish color of the sand, it is smooth and fine.

The Beach Area at Dawal

But from afar, the view of Potipot Island lures people into it. For Php 400, you can rent a boat to go to the Island. It only takes around five minutes to reach its shore, a fee of Php100 person will be collected upon reaching Potipot, the minimal fee will allow you to enjoy the island for the whole day. For those who plans to camp it out for a whole night, each person has to pay Php 200.

Small Boat for hire with a View of Potipot Island behind

The Island is relatively small, you can leisurely walk around it in less than an hour.

Here are some of the things you can see around the island...

Trees surround the whole Island

A Tree House at the center of the Island (Its off-limits though)

An Old Fallen Tree

A Field of this White Bush Plant

Hermit Crabs

The swimming or beach area has a lovely fine white sand and clear waters.

Potipot Beach Area

I had a blast snorkeling around the shallow waters. There were some marine life in there.

Sea Grass

A Fish Swimming around

A Starfish

A Sea Urchin with Black and White Thorns

Be extra careful not to step into one of these like I did. Stepping on the thorns felt like my skin being split opened.

The Dreaded Black Sea Urchin

When we returned from the Island, we hanged out around the Candelaria beach as the moon light up the sky.

A Full Moon Out

Its hard not to compare Potipot from Anawangin since both islands are from the same province. Each island has its pros and cons. What I liked about Potipot was you can have a choice of whether to go camping or to stay over at a resort.  Moreover the place wasn't too crowded when we were here. For me as long as I can feel the smooth sand on my toes and clean pristine water on my skin. I'm happy.

Friday 28 October 2011

Spices: Va Bene Pasta Deli

Nowadays, there are only a few restos that serves fresh pasta. When I heard that Va Bene Pasta Deli serves great tasting fresh pasta, I definitely had to try it out.

Va Bene Pasta Deli

When we got there at around 6pm, the place was already close beacause they were fully booked for the night. The server agreed to have us as long as we only stayed til 7:30pm, we happily agreed. A complimentary tray of crispy slices of  Baguette and dip of Tomatoes in Olive Oil topped with Parmesan was served.

Slices of Baguette and Dip

For starters we ordered the Buffalo Mozzarella with tomatoes, capers and mixed lettuce in balsamic reduction. The balsamic reduction was drizzled on lightly. Though I wanted more of it, the salad tasted nice, clean and fresh.

Buffalo Mozzarella Salad -  Php 370

What stood out of the salad was how the Buffalo Mozzarella was prepared. This type of soft cheese is virtually tasteless and is usually enjoyed for its stringy feel. Va Bene topped the cheese with pesto imparting a nice flavorful stringy cheese treat.

Buffalo Mozzrella topped with Pesto

For the pasta dish, we tried the Organic Egg Tagliolini with Portobello Mushroom, White Cream Sauce with Truffle Oil. The Tagliolini was divine, you'll definitely notice how fresh, tasty and al dente the pasta is. Nothing beats fresh pasta. The sauce was nice and creamy but there were only small chunks of Portobello Mushrooms and I wanted more Truffle Oil on it.

  Organic Egg Tagliolini with Portobello Mushroom, White Cream Sauce with Truffle Oil - Php 380  

No doubt Va Bene Pasta Deli serves impeccable top-notch pasta. My only gripe is it's quite expensive to dine here. For its price, I'd expect the servings to be bigger or the ambience to be better. But overall, it all boils down to the food. Va Bene Pasta Deli is one of the best restos that serves great tasting pasta dishes.

Va Bene Pasta Deli: Making Great Tasting Pasta

Va Bene Pasta Deli
Adress:  2/F Petron Gas Station, EDSA
cor. Pasay Rd., DasmariƱas Village, Makati City

Tel No: 556-9442

Friday 21 October 2011

Spices: B&T Mexican Kitchen

After dining at Zapatas in Pampanga, my craving for the paprika-limey-cilantro Mexican flavor was still on a high. Thus on a Sunday morning, we decided to head over to B&T Mexican Kitchen for lunch.

B&T Mexican Kitchen

The owner greeted us as we entered the clean and simple resto. I asked him if he serves Tex-Mex or authentic Mexican cuisine, he cheerfully stated that most of the Mexican restos in the country serves Tex-Mex just like his. He righteously suggested on what food we can order, I happily complied to his suggestions.

The Mango Glaze Habanero Chicken Wings was really good.  I initially thought the wings would taste weird with the mango glaze but I was delightfully surprise. The sweetness of the mango glaze complimented the crunchy, salty and spicy chicken wings really well. I wanted my wings extra hot so I just dipped mine in hot sauce.

Mango Glaze Habanero Chicken - Php 335 (10 - 14 pcs)

The Chipotle Chicken Pizza was crunchy and flavorful. It was topped with tomatoes, onions, peppers, cheese and chicken that was marinated in Chipotle Chillies. A squeeze of lime on top made the pizza Mexican. It felt like eating a big Nacho Chip with toppings on.

Chipotle Chicken Pizza - Php 470

We were given a choice if we wanted the Carne Asada Burrito wet or dry. I went for the 'wet' version, the whole Burrito was drowse with a tomato base sauce, salsa and cheese. It was HUGE!!! The beef inside was nice and tender but in spite of it, I still wanted more flavor out from the Burrito.

Carne Asada (wet version) - Php 350 add Php 90 for wet version

Inside the Burrito

B&T Mexican Kitchen didn't really satisfy my craving for Mexican flavors but it's a definitely a place to try and dine in. Prices are reasonable for the huge servings and its one of the better restaurants that serves authentic Tex-Mex cuisine.

B&T Mexican Kitchen
Address: Ground Floor, Sekai Building,
Ortigas Ave., San Juan City, Metro Manila
Tel Nos: 975-1850 

Thursday 13 October 2011

Spices: A Spicy Treat in LEGASPI and DONSOL

The Bicol Region is known for chillies and the Pili Nut. Since I am a big spicy food lover, I excitingly looked forward for this trip.

Upon reaching Legaspi, Biggs Diner can be seen on every corner.  The place lights up a whole block and
made up to look like an American Diner. It is the biggest fast food chain in Naga. We went to Embarcadero and ended up dining at Biggs.

Biggs Diner
The resto's interiors has a nice nostalgic feel.

Inside Biggs Diner

The resto offered different Pinoy rice meals as well as American food fare. Prices are very affordable at around Php100 to Php150 a dish.

We ordered the following...

Ordering at Biggs

The Double Cheese Burger with so much extenders. Bad!

Double Cheeseburger

The Brick Oven Cheese Pizza was a big joke.

Cheese Pizza

They literally put an oven inside an enclosed bricked area.

The redeeming dishes were...

The huge two-piece Fried Chicken was nice and crispy.

Two Piece Fried Chicken with Rice

The vegetables rice topping tasted simple and filling.

Vegetable Rice Topping

Biggs Diner
Address: Found everywhere in Legaspi

After dinner, we headed to La Mia Tazza cafe which was right across Biggs Diner. If not for the signage, you would easily mistake the cafe for Starbucks. The interiors looked like a carbon-copy of the American franchise.

La Mia Tazza Cafe

The cafe served home-grown coffee as well as desserts. One of their specialties is the Pili Nut Latte.

Coffee and Desserts

Chunks of Pili Nut was mixed in with the cafe latte. I'm not a big fan of this.

Pili Nut Coffee Latte

La Mia Tazza Coffee
Adress: Embarcadero, Legaspi City

After a so-so 1st meal in Legaspi, we were awakened with the best Pandesal I've ever tasted. When we were in search for a bakery to buy bread for breakfast, everyone in the neighborhood was pointing to one place...Emong's Malunggay Pandesal.


Upon reaching the bakery, a long queue greeted us as we took a whiff of the sweet aroma of freshly baked bread. To our surprise, the bakery was open for 24 hours and it only sells one item.

Freshly Baked Pandesal

When I took my first bite, I knew and understood how a bakery that's open 24/7 can survive by selling one thing alone. The bread has the right crunch on the outside with a soft and moist center. The balance of sweetness and saltiness is perfect. To top it all off, it was fortified with Malunggay (Moringa Leaves). Malunggay is supposed to be extremely nutritious which contains vitamins and minerals. Til now, I'm still craving for it!

Emong's Malunggay Pandesal -  Php 2.00 a piece

Best Pandesal: Emong's Malunggay Pandesal

Address: Just ask the locals and they'll point you to the right direction

After the trip to Busay Falls, it was off to Waway's Restaurant to try some authentic local cuisine.

Waway's Restaurant

We ordered every local dish that we found. Each dish was cooked really well and tasted great. Aside from being spicy, another main ingredient that the Bicolanos use is Gata or Coconut Milk.

Waway's Spread 

Bicol Express consists of chopped chillies with pork bits cooked in gata. For spicy-food lovers, this is the dish to try and order.

Bicol Express - Php 68.00

Laing is Taro Leaves with chillies cooked in gata. Some people would shy away from this dish because the leaves has a slight slimy and chewy consistency but I suggest people to give it a try. You might surprisingly find it good just like the first time did.

Laing - Php 68.00

Pinangat is the same as Laing but the leaves are tied up with coconut leaves.

Pinangat - Php 68.00

Kinunot is a Bicolano delicacy that uses either Shark or Manta Ray meat mixed with Malunggay leaves and chillies cooked in Gata. I liked the Manta ray version better, the meat was more tender and has a geletanous feel compared with the tougher Shark meat.

Kinunot - Php 68.00

We also ordered other Filipino delicacies...

The Pritong  Lumpiang Ubod is a fried wrap with a heart of palm filling. Deliciously crunchy.

Pritong Lumpiang Ubod - Php 28.00

The Ginataang Kalabasa is a creamy mixture of gata and Squash. String Beans are often mixed in together with the choice of meat.

Ginataang Kalabasa - 1/2 order Php 60 

When we saw the Squid and Fish on the grill, we got tempted and decided to order the Grilled Squid.

Grilled Tilapia and Squid

The grilled squid was cooked perfectly. Soft and chewy with a subtle charred flavor.

Inihaw na Pusit (600gms) - Php 290

When our bill arrived, we were surprised on how cheap each delicious dish were. We definitely got a bang for our buck.

Waway's Restraurant
Address: Penarada Street, Legaspi City

After the our spicy lunch in Waway, we headed to 1st Colonial Grill to try a specialty ice cream that is only found in Legaspi. The Sili (Chillies) Ice Cream.

1st Colonial Grill

Aside from the Sili Ice Cream, we also found other interesting flavors.

Ice Cream Menu

Sadly the Pili Flavor was unavailable so we ended up with Sili, Malunggay and Tutong (burnt rice) Ice Cream. The Malunggay ice cream tasted herby, creamy and sweet. I was surprised the Tutong Ice Cream , it really has Tutong in it. The Tutong imparted a slight burnt and bitter taste to the sweet concoction.

Scoops of Tutong, Malunggay and Sili Ice Cream - Php 79.00

The Sili Ice Cream was a unique experience. When I was downing spoonfuls of it, I was wondering why it was called such because it wasnt spicy. After waiting for a minute or two, I felt heat coming out of my throat to my mouth. It was the happy spicy feeling I was looking for, I was eating something cold but yet it was exuding heat.

Sili Ice Cream - Php 79.00

1st Colonial Grill
Address: Old Albay District, Rizal Street, Legazpi City
Tel. No. 481-1212

In Dosol, Sorsogon, we only got to dine in a resto that is strongly reccomended in blogs....Baracuda Seafood and Cocktails. The place was filled with foreigners and tourists thus food prices are kind of steep.


When we settled down, Ms. Juliet Dela Cruz, the quirky owner of the resto came out with a big bowl of their fresh catch of the day. A couple of fish and huge prawns was in the bowl, we decided to order the more popular stir fried prawns.

The Prawns were divine, no wonder bloggers were raving about this. When I commented and asked Juliet how she prepared it, she blurted that it was a simple dish made with olive oil, garlic and a lot of love. The Prawns were lovely indeed.

Stir fried Prawns (350grams)  - Php 595 

The Pesto Pasta was a big failure. It came out too dry even after Juliet bringing out a whole bottle of olive oil and adding more of it.

Pesto Pasta - Php 200

The Herb Potatoes tasted ordinary, nothing special.

Herbed Potatoes - Php 80.00

We also ordered cocktails and we were surprised when Juliet cheered with glee.."Rum Shots for everybody!!!"

Mango Daquiri - Php 175

Margarita - Php 175

Free Rum Shots

Baracuda Seafood and Cocktails
Address: Dancalan, Donsol, Sorsogon
Mobile No.: +639266400863

For spicy food lovers, the Bicol region is the perfect destination. It definitely left a pleasurable warm spicy feeling to me.