Category Archives: Bars & Restaurants

Food Review: Lamb Adobo (Brique)

If you’ve just been eating the same old meat like pork, beef and chicken for a lengthy period now, many times, it would be a welcome respite to have something else..

Not just goat meat, or carabeef but say ‘lamb’ — the favorite food in the Bible. And so we did when we dined at Brique in Ayala Center.

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This was the lamb adobo that we had. Ok, t’was reasonably priced.

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Looking closely tho, all it really had were some leeks and garlic — not even the usual oiliness of adobo could be found which was good, at least in regards to the oil as it became sort of healthy..

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Other than that, well. Frankly, the dish was bland — even with some renown sauce added to it — it was still bland. While the meat could have something to do with its taste, guess it was just a poor recipe.

Brique could have improved on it by adding some herbs and spices, yeah, along with some garnishings — like spinach, lettuce or even tomatoes. Even if it may look like a burger, at least its got flavor.

More so, missing out on so many of their drinks listed on their menu was just a little too upsetting, that it was kinda funny already.

Anyway, if only for the ambiance, t’was okay — yes, the service, too.

Carcar. Lechon Paksiw. And Ice.

T’was already noontime after my early morning visit to Simala Shrine, and so, my belly started to complain. Many people were at the eatery just outside the ‘sacred grounds’, and most visitors actually heads straight to that place to satisfy their appetite. Then again, the menu is quite common and even pretty expensive at that. Yeah, even a cup of rice was, what, P12 or so..

And so, I decided to head downhill and then, have an impromptu visit at Carcar — Cebu’s ‘chicharon’ capital.

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The stretch along the road where 'chicharon' is sold
The stretch along the road where ‘chicharon’ is sold

Hmm… Do you know that ‘chicharon’ could in fact be consumed as one’s viand? Oh, we’re sure you do unless you’re from some place else. Well, that’s how tasty chicharon is!

Carcar's famed rotunda
Carcar’s famed rotunda

But since we already know Carcar’s reputation for chicharon and even lechon, better have somethin’ else — a spin off! Right. And yeah, ‘lechon paksiw’ certainly fits the bill!

So, could it make its mark as chicharon and lechon did?

Lechon Paksiw
Lechon Paksiw

Okay, the rind or skin was just right — not ‘rubbery’. The sauciness or ‘soup’, if you want to call it as such, wasn’t like just vinegar or soy sauce mixed with chopped lechon. The ‘laurel’ was enough, though they could have used some pepper. The meat.. not so soft, as in perfect.

Open, sidewalk eatery
Open, sidewalk eatery which is actually just along the ‘chicharon’ stretch

That if ever there was some ‘serious issue’, t’was actually not in the lechon paksiw or even on the eatery’s open sidewalk location but — in its soda?! It was just dead warm, and no ice!? Wow!

Okay, no big deal.. Till then. Ciao!

In Pictures: SandTrap Bar and Restaurant (Banilad, Cebu City)

If you’re looking to unwind especially on a weekend, then today’s feature may interest you. And we’re talking of no other than the SandTrap Bar and Restaurant in Banilad, Cebu City.

To Get Here: Ride a number 13 or 62 jeepney to Talamban; but of course, you’d be getting off the Banilad area, so just tell the driver to drop you off Paseo Saturnino — or just before A.S. Fortuna.

If you rented a cab or got a car, check out these pics to guide you..

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From Gov. M. Cuenco Avenue, The Henry is the most obvious structure that would tell you you’re already at Paseo Saturnino. Once you turn, you’d see the corner going to the ‘sports club’.

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Parking would be no problem especially during daytime as you could see in our photo. Adults and not families are the normal visitors, so..
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There’s your bar — with cable TV, band equipments and all!
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It’s really only one pool but we just tried to give you the different angles of it. And well, the size is just right for the bar.

So, if you don’t feel like checking in a hotel but do want some drinks and a live band to go with a pool — then t’is the place to be. Ciao!

Simple Experiences: Mismukuno Teppanyaki (Ayala Center Cebu)

Just recently, I got to eat in another Japanese restaurant; hmm… That is at the Ayala Center in Cebu, and it’s called Mismukuno Teppanyaki.

Well, t’was an interesting experience..

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First, the food. Rice cakes are always a treat. Just love its tastiness even if a couple of the slices weren’t as neat. You could see.

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Always enjoyed the blend of mushrooms and meat in the Gyudon, only that this one soaked my rice with too much sauce. Ahhh..

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Still, one meticulous diner may wonder, “why was the side dish even served before the ‘meat’ dishes?”

Hah! Your guess.

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Yet somehow, eating Teppanyaki simply reminds me of the Filipino ‘beef steak’ (have you tried one?)..

But with their flavors actually coming from how ‘soy sauce’ among others was really used. Really.

In the end, more than the ‘dancing’ performance of the restaurant’s staff, the bar-like ambience gives you that relaxing mood. Good for after-work camaraderie.

From A Distance: Calypso Restaurant (Shanghai)

This week, we now visit a restaurant that’s just 7 months old, the Calypso, an Italian restaurant located at the Jing’an Kerry Center in Shanghai.
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Are we gonna eat? Not really.. it’s more of looking at everything from afar. Like a curious critic checking out the structure, furnishings, and restaurant design even before getting glimpses of the food.

Anyway, for those who doesn’t know yet, Calypso’s design was actually a collaboration between Japanese architect Shigeru Ban and design firm AvroKO.

And lo, what we really see here is more than just patterns of woven bamboo but..
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The most obvious would be the fabulous lighting it utilized and the wood it used for the structure itself.

Hmm.. anyway, combined with large windows and high ceilings, that soft yellow tone of lighting really glows in an enticing manner.

The structure, as many would notice, looks like a greenhouse all because of those big windows of course. And this required furniture that’s simple, wide and sturdy.
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From the inside, the seating in fact looks like a ship’s classy dining area. While the lounge at the roof top would feed your desire for some fresh air where you could wine and dine – just like you’re in a cruise.

Negative: If ever there is one, it should be those large photos imaged on windows near the door and on the corner. Somehow, it makes it look like a salon.

They could have simply placed some sort of Japanese paper instead. Good thing, the surrounding’s just great.

Where is this again?

Well if you’re ready to spend, it’s just right next to Mao Zedong’s museum or former residence.. With address at Jing’an Shangri-la, No. 1218 Yan’an Zhong Lu Road, near Tongren Road.

Restaurant Review: Lou-is Restaurant

Located in Balanga City, Lou-is Restaurant caters to both individual and group customers as in entities or organizations who wants to hold seminars and have their meals during or after the event.

Inside Lou-is.. with an on-going conference
Inside Lou-is.. with an on-going conference

The restaurant is actually known for its specialty which is “Kare-Kare”, a traditional Filipino ox tail stew in a peanut-based sauce. Well, if it’s especially your first time to eat kare-kare, you would find that the sauce and the “bago-ong” (condiment made from fermented fish or shrimp and salt) is what makes the dish tick.

And I say this “first time” because although founded on the same basics, the recipe itself would vary from person to person. Nonetheless, in the case of Lou-is, the flavor would be generally okay for most people.

Hmm… anyway, if the food is “fair”, the restaurant itself needs improvement particularly on its lay-out and design – it’s just too bare or boring to some extent. For one, it’s like more of a conference hall than a restaurant.. not to mention that one could overhear an on-going seminar which sorts of removes the customers’ privacy; more so, there is this lack of staff when an event is currently being held as well. Then again, for the latter issue, this could be solved by a good “waitering” system.

Kare-kare in the blue bowl and some Marlin on the hot plate
Kare-kare in the blue bowl and some Marlin on the hot plate

Finally, as for Lou-is’ location.. this is about 2-3 hours away from Manila; so, for those nearer or within the province, yes, it may not be in the heart of the city but it is accessible to those who wish to have a different dining experience.

And why not? The parking space is also good.