Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I'm quite moody in choosing where to eat.  On some occasions, I am one of the many who will follow the latest food hype that everyone is posting on the social media.  Sometimes, I want to be the first few diners who will get to discover and share a new restaurant.  I also visit those establishments that have previously escaped my food radar or those recommended by others.  But, there are days when I just want to go back to those food places that have been there for a long time and is still consistently committed to serving good food that diners will come back for.  Sakura Japanese Restaurant & Grocery is one of the latter.

The humble Sakura Japanese Restaurant & Grocery in Glorietta 4 has always been a busy place where diners would drop by and go.  You can watch servers to and fro from the kitchen and the dining area.


The place is small but it extends to the mall space area.  The interiors are simplistic with shelves that display appetizing dish photos.

They don't offer much variety in the grocery store and they can be a bit pricey.  

Food
Appetizers
Chicken Tofu Steak (178 php)
The Chicken Tofu Steak is sliced chicken thigh with tofu cubes, onions and bell peppers in Japanese steak sauce topped with sesame and green onions.  This is a great starter to consider.


Soups
Miso Soup (72 php)
Sushi Combos
Sashimi Maki Combo (378 php)
We chose the Sashimi Maki Combo because it has all our favorites.  It has 2 pcs. of California Maki, 2 pcs. of Tamago (egg) Maki, 2 pcs. of Tekka (tuna) Maki and 2 pcs. of Kani (crabstick) Maki.  It also has six slices of fresh Sake Sashimi (look at the color!)  and delicious Spicy Tuna.  They serve one of the best Spicy Tuna in the Metro so don't miss it!


Donburi (Rice Toppings)
Chicken Curry (235 php)
The Chicken Curry is chicken upper thigh, carrots and potatoes all cut into cubes with onions in Japanese curry sauce.  As you can see this is one satisfying and fulfilling meal. 

Yakimono
Yakitori (175 php)
The Yakitori is grilled chicken and leeks skewers served with lightly sweet and salty teriyaki sauce sprinkled with sesame sauce.  The chicken bits are very tender and juicy.  Too bad the leeks are over-grilled cause I wanted to eat them too. 


Teppanyaki
Assorted Seafoods (245 php)
Look at how generous they are with their Assorted Seafoods teppanyaki!  This is delicious!  Plus, the seafood are fresh and soft and the vegetables are crunchy. 


Kushiage (Japanese Style Deep-Fried Kebabs)
Red Snapper (24 php/stick), Shrimp (24 php/stick) and Eggplant (18 php/stick)
Kushiage also known as Kushikatsu (kushi means "skewers" while katsu means "deep-fried").  So, its concept is quite similar to katsu (for meat, pork chicken) and furai (for other ingredients) but this is served in skewers as it is attached to a stick and eaten as a hand-picked food.

Miso Sauce and Spices
We enjoyed our Kushiage by dipping it in both Miso Sauce and Spices.

Rice
Mixed Fried Rice (115 php)
For staple, you can opt for their delicious Mixed Fried Rice or chahan.  It's got egg, vegetable and ground pork bits.

Tsinoy Foodies Verdict
Time and time again we can expect delicious authentic Japanese dishes that's affordable from Sakura Japanese Restaurant & Grocery.  I like the concept that it's conveniently located in the mall but still keeping in touch with authenticity and simplicity of a traditional Japanese restaurant. 

Tsinoy Foodies Review Rating Sakura Japanese Restaurant & Grocery Menu
Ambiance Appetizers | Soups | SaladsKushiage | 
Sushi | Sashimi | Makimono | Temaki |
Donburi | Noodles | Agemono | Yakimono | Rice |
Teppanyaki | Bento Box | Drinks | Desserts |

Taste
Service
Price
=Favorites or Recommended 
Sakura Japanese Restaurant & Grocery
Branches SM Mall of Asia
G/F SM Mall of Asia, Pacific Drive,
Pasay City, Metro Manila

Glorietta 4
2F Glorietta 4, Ayala Center
Makati City, Metro Manila
Business Hours 10am-9pm (mall hours)
Payment Options   Cash
Service Charge 5%
Budget/Person 250-600
Free WiFi No
Unlocked Foursquare Perks None
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Monday, July 28, 2014

Recently, more and more Third Wave Coffee shops have been opening in the Metro creating a fuzz that has successfully drawn my attention.  So after a family dinner in Century Mall, I invited the family to try Toby's Estate Coffee Roasters.  It's a third wave coffee shop that originated in Woolloomooloo, Sydney last 2001 and has expanded internationally with shops in Brooklyn and Singapore.  



What are Third Wave Coffee Shops?

Although our family are coffee affecionados we really had no idea what this third wave coffee shops are so I had to do my research which I'd share prior to my Toby's Estate review.


Apparently, it is a movement for the culinary appreciation of artisan high-quality coffee.  The improvement is to be implemented in all stages of the production (coffee bean growing, harvesting, and processing, tstronger relationships between coffee growers and coffee traders and roasters, quality and fresh roasting).   Third Wave Coffee include direct trade coffee, high-quality beans, single-origin coffee (rather than blends), lighter roasts of the beans and latte art.

Third wave focuses on appreciation.  It's called third wave coffee because there were supposedly two prior wave.  The first wave is the 19th-century surge that put Nescafe and Folgers on every table.  This focuses plainly on consumption.  The second wave begun in the 1960's from Peet's to Starbucks grande decaf latte, of espresso drinks and regionally labeled coffee.  This focuses on enjoyment based on identification. 

I think that classification is quite broad.  So you're probably wondering if I'm buy into this new American-coined concept?  Yes in a way that I welcome their introduction of added coffee drink variety.  But, I won't in anyway think that they are superior to others such as classic Italian coffee shops.  During my research, I found out that our local Kuppa Roastery & Cafe which is one of my favorite coffee shops is a third wave coffee shop.  But then, my other favorite which is Black Canyon Coffee which is not labelled as such is equally good.

tobys estate coffee roasters
Toby's Estate Coffee Roasters in Century Mall is limited in space.  You'd see the crowd drop in and take off as soon as they have their orders.

tobys estate coffee roasters

 The place is well-utilized as you have a counter for necessaries.

tobys estate coffee roasters

There's also a long bar with charging stations that unfortunately don't work anymore.

Drinks
tobys estate coffee roasters
Cappuccino (130 php), Macchiato Regular (110 php) and Chai Latte (140 php)

tobys estate coffee roasterstobys estate coffee roasters
Our third wave coffees were served in various latte art.  Indeed, all our orders were good and you can tell its quality that you are paying for.  Even the Chai Latte was fulfilling.  I want to try their Mocha next time which was not available during our visit.


Food

Bucky's Not a Brownie (Facebook Fan Page)
buckys not a brownie
Original Buckies (75 php)
Despite just coming from a heavy dinner, mom just couldn't resist being an epicurean and ordered the Original Buckies.


buckys not a brownie
Original Buckies (75 php)
We were told that it's not the usual brownies because it's denser.  We were really surprised that it is indeed unusual.  It is really fudgy and dense.  I'd say it didn't have any air at all.  I was a but hard to slice but chewy to bite.  The Original Buckies is made of rich dark chocolate and salt.  It was really good and a definite must try!

Baked by Anita (Facebook Fan Page)
baked by anita
Truffle Mushroom Bocaditos (65 php) and Spinach Bocaditos (65 php)
Bocaditos means "snack" in Spanish.  These are puff pastries with fillings at the center like a pie of some sort.  The Truffle Mushroom Bocaditos was awesome!  I'd say the Spinach Bocaditos was just okay and not worth the price.  It was pale in comparison to the former.


Tsinoy Foodies Verdict
Toby's Estate Coffee Roasters offers quality third wave coffee indeed.  I'm not surprised if I see more branches open up soon. 

Tsinoy Foodies Review Rating Toby's Estate Coffee Roasters Menu
Ambiance Menu
Taste
Service
Price
=Favorites or Recommended 
Toby's Estate Coffee Roasters
Business Address Salcedo Village
125 L.P. Leviste Street, Salcedo Village
Makati City, Metro Manila

Century City Mall
3/F Century City Mall , Kalayaan Ave Poblacion, 
Makati City, Metro Manila
Business Hours 10am-10pm (mall hours)
Payment Options   Cash
Service Charge

Budget/Person 60-200
Free WiFi No
Unlocked Foursquare Perks None
Contact (02) 478-7677
Other 
Toby's Estate Century City Mall  Map  Like This Post? Subscribe here                               

Friday, July 25, 2014

Ever since our first visit at the Shangri-la East Wing, my mom has set her eyes on Spätzle Euro Market Cafe.  But since I'm the only one in the family who doesn't mind waiting for a table, we always end up in its neighboring establishments like Zao Vietnamese Bistro, Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen and Kimukatsu.     

spätzle euro market cafe

You see Spätzle Euro Market Cafe has chairs outside its establishment for waiting but they don't have a list or text messaging system.  Knowing how my mom wanted to try it, I finally volunteered to sit outside and wait for a table so they can shop for the mean time.  


spätzle euro market cafe

 Around 30 minutes, 5 pages of book reading and many passersby (including the en route couples) later, we were finally assigned a table technically on the outer part of the establishment.

We usually encounter celebrities and politicians on our dining spree, but that night we were seated to a table next to Elo.  He's the guy in this viral wedding video for being a vertically-challenged man married to a beautiful bride.  But, he wasn't with the company of his wife Mara.

spätzle euro market cafe

On the table is a wooden utensil holder with utensils, napkins, hand sanitizer and a mini chalk board with a greeting.  We noticed that they had different greetings per table.

Food

Soups, Salads and Starters
spätz house salad
Spätz House Salad Regular (320 php)
The Spätz House Salad is not only an eye candy but it's alluring to the taste buds as well.  It has crispy baked greens, topped with apple slices, crunchy cheese Spätzle, green sausages and drizzled in orange dressing.  I highly recommend this!


Roesti
roesti
Chicken & Fresh Mushrooms in Cream (320 php)
 The Chicken & Fresh Mushrooms in Cream is another delicious dish to try!  The chicken fillet is tender and juicy and is even better with its shitake mushroom cream sauce.  The roesti is served golden brown and crispy too.

Tarte Flambe
norge tarte flambe
Norge (315 php)
The Norge is a flat bread topped with smoked salmon, capers, olives, basil, tomatoes and cheese.

norge tarte flambe
Norge (315 php)
The Norge is a heavenly flat bread for smoked salmon enthuasiasts such as myself.  The flat bread is cooked wonderfully as well.  You can judge from the way that it looks on how thin, crispy and not oily it is!


Haus Made Specialty Mains
roast chicken sausage spatzle
Roast Chicken Sausage on Mushroom Spätzle (319 php)
We also loved the Roast Chicken Sausage on Mushroom Spätzle.  The Roast Chicken Sausage is very savory and succulent.  You can tell that it is freshly-made.  It goes really well with the Mushroom Spätzle.

Freshly Made Pastas
truffle mushroom cream gnocchi
Truffle, Mushroom & Cream Gnocchi (380 php)
The Truffle, Mushroom & Cream Gnocchi is our favorite for the night!  Surely, we were not tired of mushroom yet.  More so if it has truffle!  The gnocchi is really good too.  Don't miss out on this. 


Weekend Market Specials
bangers and mash
Bangers & Mash (480 php)
The Bangers & Mash is an extra big 300g pretzel-shaped grilled sausage.  It was supposed to be served with mashed potatoes but they ran out of it so we had their cheese fries instead.   The bangers was a huge hit among us!  We loved how tender and flavorful it was but not overwhelmingly so.  It's even a bonus that it's preservative and nitrate-free so it's healthier.

We intended to order the Spätz in a Jar for dessert but their were all unavailable so we decided to have coffee and dessert elsewhere.



Tsinoy Foodies Verdict
Spätzle Euro Market Cafe is a definitely a European-themed restaurant that we approve of.  This is advisable for foodies who have a sensitive palette and like light-tasting dishes.  We loved all the dishes we had.  We'd gladly come back here.

Tsinoy Foodies Review Rating Spätzle Euro Market Cafe Menu
Ambiance All Day Breakfast | Starters | Roesti | Tarte Flambe
Specialty | Pastas | Sandwiches | Weekend Specials
Desserts | Drinks
Taste
Service
Price
=Favorites or Recommended 
Spätzle Euro Market Cafe
Business Address 5/F East Wing, Shangri-La Plaza Mall, EDSA cor Shaw Blvd  
Wack Wack, Mandaluyong, Metro Manila
Business Hours 9am-9pm (mall hours)
Payment Options   Cash
Service Charge 10%
Budget/Person 350-800
Free WiFi No
Unlocked Foursquare Perks None
Contact
Other 
Spätzle Euro Market Cafe Map  Like This Post? Subscribe here                               

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I've long encountered the ripple of buzzes over Genji M's Unlimited Sashimi, Sushi and Rolls Promo.  So one Friday night, my friends and I decided to take on the challenge and see how much we could consume.

genji m unlimited sashimi
It has the typical Japanese restaurant vibe with wooden everything.

genji m
I thought the place was small but its actually very spacious with multiple private rooms.

genji m

genji m
There's are cute fan props which you can take a photo with.

genji m
At the sushi bar area, you can see the Sashimi being prepared by the chefs.

Food

UNLIMITED Sashimi (Includes Sushi & Rolls) (699 php)
unlimited sashimi
Yellow Tail, Tuna, Tuna Tataki, Salmon, Octopus and Tuna Belly
At the start, we were given a sampler of these Sashimi (2 piece per person).  You can tell by the looks that they were all very fresh.Then, we were given a checklist so we could select what we want to be refilled (maximum of 10 pieces per item).  There's a button at the table to call out their happy and courteous servers to accommodate your requests. Sashimi selections include: Salmon, Tuna, Tuna Belly, Tuna Tataki, Squid and Octopus.  I enjoyed the Salmon and Octopus the most!


unlimited sushi
Shrimp, Fatty Salmon,   Crab Stick, Baked Tofu, Tuna and Salmon
For starters, you get 1 piece of the items above per person before you can order from the checklist.  Sushi selections: Tuna, Tuna Tataki, Salmon, Fatty Salmon, Octopus, Squid, Crab Stick, Spam, Samgyupsal, Bulgogi, John Dory, Shrimp, Baked Tofu, Flying Fish Roe, Corn Salad, Hirame, Cream Dory, Silver Fish, Unagi (Premium) , Urchin Egg (Premium) and Tuna Belly (Premium).  I like that their Sushi has just the right amount of rice on it so it's not too heavy to eat. 

unlimited rolls
California, Crazy CaliforniaBulgogi, Salmon, Spicy Roll, Cheese and French Fried
Rolls selections Include: Salmon, California, Tuna, Kimchi, Cucumber, Crab Stick, Egg, Spam, Bulgogi, French Fried, Cheese, Spicy Roll and Crazy California.   

My favorites are the French Fried, Cheese and Spicy Rollwhich I re-ordered several times.

miso soup
Miso Soup

The UNLIMITED Promo also includes a hot bowl of Miso Soup.

Buffet Items (included in the UNLIMITED Promo)
We were surprised that aside from the Sashimi, Sushi & Rolls, there is also a buffet of various delicious dishes.


japanese salad
Japanese Salad
fried mandu
Fried Mandu
This Fried Mandu is a must try!
 

kimchi fried rice
Kimchi Fried Rice
jap chae
Jap Chae
bulgogi
Bulgogi
wakame
Pork and Wakame
Ala Carte
banchan
Ban Chan
We also tried some of the Ala Carte dishes.  The Ala Carte dishes comes with a free set of Ban Chan

ebi tempura
Ebi Tempura (300 php)
The Ebi Tempura was superb!

chicken yakitori
Chicken Yakitori (120 php/3 pieces)

The Chicken Yakitori had green chili on them so be ready for a spicy kick.  I love the tenderness of the chicken bits and the sweet and salty blend of their yakitori sauce.  However, I expected the chicken to be a bit bigger. 

Tsinoy Foodies Verdict
Genji M not only offers a fun experience with their unlimited sush, sashimi and maki.  They also serve great authentic Japanese dishes.

Tsinoy Foodies Review Rating Genji M Japanese/Korean Restaurant Menu
Ambiance Menu
Taste
Service
Price
=Favorites or Recommended 
Genji M Japanese/Korean Restaurant
Business Address Kalayaan Ave cor Makati Ave San Lorenzo, 
Makati City, Metro Manila
Business Hours 11am-2:30pm
4:30pm-11pm
Payment Options   Cash
Service Charge 10%
Budget/Person 300-1,500
Free WiFi No
Unlocked Foursquare Perks None
Contact (02) 804-2883
Other  Website
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