Tuesday 14 February 2012

Spices: Lolo Dad's

Considered to be one of the best restaurants in the Philippines, it is headed by one of the most respectable chefs in the country, Chef Ariel Manuel.  It ranked number five among all the restos in the country in The Miele Gudie for 2010/2011. With this on mind, I expected nothing but the best.

Lolo Dad's

The restaurant has a really nice, classy, romantic and cozy ambiance. There were huge open windows in the kitchen, I had a blast watching the chefs prepare the dishes.

Theater Kitchen

Not knowing what to order, I decided to go for the Tasting Menu. The Tasting Menu changes from time to time, this is what was on the menu that night.

Tasting Menu - Php2,500++

Complimentary warm dinner rolls and herb butter was served.

Dinner Rolls with Herb Butter

We also ordered an additional starter of Caesar Salad. The salad was really nice, the lettuce was fresh, there were huge chunks of crispy thick-cut bacon, the boiled egg has a soft creamy yolk and the amount of dressing was just right.

Caesar Salad - Php420

The first course of the tasting menu was the Seared Foie Gras and Roasted French Quail. It looked really good until I took first bite. I loved Foie Gras and this one tasted wrong, it was supposed to be seared, not burnt. The outer layer tasted bitter and burnt, it was such a waste. The quail was decent though it failed compared to what I had at Antonio's before,  I found it a tad dry and overcooked.

Seared Foie Gras and Roasted French Quail

The second course was the Poached Langoustine, Seared Scallops and Grilled Prawn with Mushroom Ravioli in Oyster Cream Sauce. The scallops and prawns were top notch, it was delicately flavored and cooked to perfection. The Ravioli was also really nice and flavorful. Everything would have been perfect if not for the poached Langoustine, it smelled and tasted fishy. I guess the Langoustine used were not fresh at all.

Poached Langoustine, Seared Scallops and Grilled Prawn with Mushroom Ravioli in Oyster Cream Sauce 

To clean and give our palettes a break, the Raspberry Sorbet did what it was supposed to do. It was cleverly served on top of a small clay teapot with smoke coming out of its spout.

Raspberry Sorbet

For the main course, a beautiful Lamb Cutlet in Pastry Crust with Lamb Sweetbread Ragout' with Vegetable Quenelle was placed in front of me. It looked so promising but as I break the crust to reveal what's inside, the gamey smell of the lamb overwhelmed me. What's worst I felt that I was eating steamed lamb, it tasted so gamey and the texture was rubbery. I didn't even bother on finishing up the gamey smelling pastry. Among all the dishes, this was the biggest disappointment.

Lamb Cutlet in Pastry Crust with Lamb Sweetbread Ragout' with Vegetable Quenelle 

For dessert, Dark Chocolate Flan with Fresh Berries and White Chocolate Praline, Macadamia Nut Tartlet with Mustard and Kaffir Lime Ice Cream. The dark chocolate flan tasted superb, it was creamy 'choco-ful' and not too sweet. Though the flavor of the ice cream was unique and nice, the consistency was off. It didn't come off as ice cream. The tartlet tasted awful, it felt like eating a cardboard box.

Dark Chocolate Flan with Fresh Berries and White Chocolate Praline, Macadamia Nut Tartlet with Mustard and Kaffir Lime Ice Cream

I've tasted Chef Manuel's food before and I know he prepares great tasting food, dining and trying out the tasting menu at Lolo Dad's was utterly and unbelievably disappointing. With high regards to him, I hope I'll have better a meal on my next visit.

Lolo Dad's Cafe

Adress: 899 Pres. Quirino Ave. cor Leon Guinto St., Malate, Manila
Tel No: 522-2941, 524-2295 (reservation is a must)
Cellphone: +639228125971
Website: www.lolodadscafe.com

Friday 10 February 2012

Spices: Bawai's

Home of authentic Vietnamese cuisine, bawai means grandmother. With this on mind, I knew I would be eating something warm and soothing.


Home of the Tatlonghari's, they open their house during Friday to Sunday for guests who wants to have a taste of Vietnamese Cuisine. Make sure to make a reservation before heading there since the place can only accommodate aorund 40 to 50 guests at a time. I would suggest people to dine in the cozy gazebo found in the garden.

Bawai's Gazebo Dining Area

The complimentary hot tea was perfect for the cold breezy weather.

Complimentary Hot Tea

The Goi Cuon or Fresh Lumpia was simple yet exquisite. The herby flavor of the cilantro, mint and basil matched the vermicelli and shrimps really well.

Goi Cuon - Php185

The tasty peanut dip didn't come from a jar but they use fresh ground peanuts instead.

Goi Cuon with Peanut Dip on top

I've never tried a dry Vietnamese noodle dish,  I instantly fell in love with the Bun Tom. Vermicelli noodles topped with fresh vegetables, shrimps and chopped peanuts.

Bun Tom - Php225

What made this noodle salad like dish divine was the zesty tangy vinaigrette that came with it. So good!

Bun Tom

Upon entering the gates, the intoxicating aroma of the Pho's broth can be smelled. We decided to try two kinds of noodle soup dish. The first of which is the most known Vietnamese dish. The Pho Bo or The Beef Noodle Soup. I've tasted Pho Bo before from other restos and nothing compares to Bawai's. Bawai's Pho Bo was more flavorful and special. You can taste the attention and care in making this soup.

Pho Bo - Php235

The second noodle dish we had was the Bun Bo Hue or the Spicy Beef and Pork Noodle Soup. Just like the Pho Bo, the broth was so tasty and good. Instead of flat rice noodles, this soup dish has thin round noodles. For non-spicy food lovers, the soup has just enough spice to tickle your taste buds. (I wanted it spicier though)

Bun Bo Hue - Php245

Located in Silang Cavite, Bawai's is definiltey worth the one and a half trip to take part of the scrumptious Authentic Vietnamese meal.

Adress:  Hernandez Street, Purok 5, Bucal, Silang, Cavite
Mobile Number: +63920 972-29-32
Open: Fri, Sat & Sun (Lunch and Dinner)
          by reservation only