Thursday, October 31, 2013

Silk Road Thai Bistro: Upscale Fine Dining Thai Cuisine in Fort Bonifacio

A new Thai restaurant called Silk Road Thai Bistro at Net Quad Corporate Center was sensed by our foodie radar.  


silk road thai bistro
Its glass windows allowed passers by to see its gallant fine-dining Thai inspired interiors. 


silk road thai bistro
The place was dimly lit with a bar on the side and dining area occupying the rest of the first floor.  It also has a second floor that offers more privacy.  I love the long curtains and hanging lamps. 

silk road thai bistro
As wine is available, each table is set up with a wine glass.  During late hours, it is planned to have a DJ who will play mellow music so clients can drink and chatter the night away.

I got to know that it is another Thai restaurant by Cecille Chang.  This time, I audaciously got to talk to her. (I'm usually shy and just dine and go!)  She shared that her first concept was the Thai at Silk in Serendra which I regrettably was not able to try.  She then established Simply Thai in Greenbelt 5 with partners before she left for Thailand to study again.  When she returned, she opened Thai Bistro in Robinson's Magnolia.  Due to the request of her loyal customers from Thai at Silk that she open in the same location, she decided to open this one.


Food
I've always believed that food is not a static thing.  Thus, its difficult to say what is original, traditional and authentic.  What is important is the essence and Thai food is known for the balance of three to four fundamental taste senses: sweet, sour, salty and bitter.

Starter
mieng kham
Mieng Kham (195 php)
Mieng Kham literally means "eating many things in one bite".  This is usually sold as a street food in Thailand but this is more elegant as it is served in mini cups.  It is my first time to try it.  I took everything by hand and purged it into my mouth.  It instantly delivered a light yet harmony of flavors: sweet, sour and spicy with a herb-y aftertaste.
 

thai ravioli
Thai Ravioli (330 php)
The Thai Ravioli is everyone's favorite!  I swear I could finish an entire serving of this!  It is ground sesame beef and shitake mushrooms bits wrapped in steamed rice paper. 



son in law eggs
Son-in-Law Eggs (195 php)
The Son-in-Law Eggs is a traditional celebratory Thai dish with an interesting story behind it.  The son-in-law who is in a hurry to cater to the surprise visit of his mother-in-law cooked had no other ingredients but boiled eggs so he fried them with sweet and sour tamarind sauce.  While cooking the rice, he forgot about the eggs until the sauce caramelized.  Leaving him no choice, he served the eggs with black thickened sauce which turned out to be a tasty and sensational dish.  This version is quite tasty indeed! 
 

salmon cone
Salmon Cone (295 php)
I really liked the presentation of the Salmon ConeBe sure to eat this upon serving to preserve the crisp of the waffle cones.  In every crunchy bite, the fresh flavors of the salmon cubes infused with lemongrass lime and herbs brought delight to my taste buds.  However, I found this too expensive for its petite portion.

Curries
lamb shank mussaman
Lamb Shank Mussaman (120 php/100g)

As I am a fan of both curry and lamb, I was excited for the Lamb Shank Mussaman.  As expected from an 8-hour slowly cooked dish, it was so tender!  It had a savory yet tangy taste.  It is served with crispy noodles and sweet potato chips which are fun to munch on.

Fried, Stir Fries and More
siamese pork ribs
Siamese Pork Ribs (310 php)
The Siamese Pork Ribs is grilled cinnamon caramel pork ribs.  Many were impressed with this but since I'm not a fan of sweets, it was just okay for me. 


chicken basil
Chicken Basil (295 php)
I loved the Chicken Basil.  The mix-match of texture of the minced chicken, string beans, basil and fried egg was exemplary!


crispy tilapia tamarind puree
Crispy Tilapia with Tamarind Puree (75 php/100 g)
The Crispy Tilapia with Tamarind Puree is another one which bordered more on the sweet than sour side.  Being priced luxuriously, my expectation for this dish was not met.  I can't help but compare it to the one I've had in the humble hole-in-the wall Thai Resa.  

Noodles
pad thai
Pad Thai (340 php)
The Pad Thai had a very beautiful presentation which enticed everyone.  It was a good as it looks as everyone couldn't stop indulging on it.


Rice
pandan rice
Steamed Jasmine Rice (70 php)
Their Steamed Jasmine Rice was cooked with pandan leaves as evident from the greenish color and taste.

Something Sweet
coconut ice cream
Homemade Coconut Ice Cream (180 php)
The Homemade Coconut Ice Cream is a healthy way to end a meal.  I've always enjoyed our local coconut and this is a more refreshing way to enjoy it.  I liked that it was not sweet at all.



sticky rice with mango
Sticky Rice with Mango (220 php)
Since it is my favorite, I have to admit, I'm quite biased with the Sticky Rice with Mango so I've never encountered one I didn't like  But, this one deserves an extra credit for the superior quality.


takhoo thai
Takhoo Thai (190 php)
The Takhoo Thai is another favorite!  This one is quite different from the usual because beneath the coconut cream pudding were pandan flavored tapioca and then topped with water chestnut. 


Juice & Shakes
thai green milk tea
Thai Green Milk Tea (130 php) and Thai Milk Tea (130 php)
I loved the Thai Green Milk Tea but the Thai Milk Tea was too thick and sweet for my preference. 


Tsinoy Foodies Verdict
Silk Road Thai Bistro offers a defining upscale fine dining experience making it perfect for any occasion.  It has a lot of innovative dishes to offer and making it a must try for Thai cuisine enthusiast.  I commend the excellent ambiance, service and food quality especially in terms of fresh ingredients and presentation.  In fact, I'm curious if they have a garden of imported flowers, spices and herbs at the back of their kitchen! XD  The thing about Thai cuisine though is it covers a wide range of flavors and I tend to sway towards the sour and spicy rather the sweet side.  Perhaps, I'd try more dishes on that side on my subsequent visits. 


Tsinoy Foodies Review Rating Silk Road Menu
Ambiance Soup | Starter | Salad
Curries | Fried, Stir Fries and More | Vegetables
Noodles | Rice | Something Sweet
Drinks
Taste
Service
Price
=Favorites or Recommended 
Silk Road
Business Address Net Quad Corporate Center, Shop H, 4th Ave corner 31st St., 
Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, Metro Manila
Business Hours
Payment Options   Cash
Service Charge 10%
Budget/Person 600-2,000
Free WiFi Yes
Unlocked Foursquare Perks None
Contact (02)
Other 

Silk Road Map  Like This Post? Subscribe here                               

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Arafu Cafe: Authentic Homey, Hearty and Soulful Japanese Dishes

Arafu Cafe's authenticity has long intrigued me so when my friend Sumi invited me for a lunch date, I was ecstatic. 

arafu cafe sm north edsa
Arafu Cafe is located at the 3rd floor of SM North Edsa which made it a bit difficult to find for those who are not familiar with the mall like me.  On the bright side, I guess being isolated from the other food joints offers the diners privacy and solace within its cozy atmosphere.

arafu cafe sm north edsa
What sets Arafu Cafe apart from other Japanese restaurants is that it offers homestyle cooked meals.   It's first store in Bonifacio Global City was established to cater to Japanese expats who live alone and are yearning for home-cooked dishes.  Soon, they also had local customers which suggested that they open another branch and this branch was this. 

Upon stepping in, I already liked the place.  The fine and smooth wooden fixtures that matches its floors gives a homey feel.  The bright lighting makes it idea for reading and other working  especially since thy have a FREE fast and reliable WiFi

arafu cafe sm north edsa
Each table has a set of condiments.

Food
dashimaki tamago
Dashimaki Tamago (160 php)
Although I often see the Dashimaki Tamago on Animes and Japanese TV shows and Films being placed on cute bento boxes, this is actually the first time I've tried one.  The  Tamago or Egg in I usually encounter in Japanese restaurants I've been to are offered in nigiri sushi form.  I liked this more!  It has a light custard-like texture and tastes of soy sauce and slightly sweet and savory taste of rice vinegar.  It goes really well with the grated daikon radish. 


Teppanyaki & Deep-Fried

ebi fry
Ebi Fry (388 php/3 pcs)
I rarely order Ebi Fry because I personally prefer the Ebi tempura over it.  But upon trying this Eby Fry with a pinch of lime and Japanese mayonaise, I was literally enchanted by the perfect crunchiness of the golden brown panko breading and the softness of the prawns.  This is so good that  I'll gladly finish platters and platter of this! 


Noodle
yaki udon
Yaki Udon (270 php)
The Yaki Udon  is quite familiar to us already.  It is stir-fried thick udon noodles topped with squid, pork bits, onions, cabbage, katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes), kizami shoga (pickled ginger) and fried egg.  The bountiful ingredients gave the noodles a rich and savory flavor.  I liked the texture of the noodles too. 

TAWARA (Japanse Hamburg & Rice)
tawara hamburg teriyaki sauce
TAWARA Hamburg Steak with Teriyaki Sauce (320 php)
The TAWARA Hamburg Steak with Teriyaki Sauce is the superstar meal among our orders.  Just looking at it makes my mouth water.  It is served with string beans, corn, tomato slices and a refillable quality Japanese rice and clear broth soup.  The hamburg patty is made from ground pork and beef meat.  It has a heavenly soft and fine yet still chunky consistency.  I really like their blend of teriyaki sauce which is neither too salty nor sweet.  
 

japanese demiglaze sauce
Japanese Sauce and Demi-Glaze sauce
We also got to try the Japanese Sauce and Demi-Glaze sauce.  The Japanese Sauce is mildly salty with a savory broth flavorOn the otherhand, the Demi-Glaze is thick with a light sweetness and saltiness followed by a bitter aftertaste.  I noticed that the more I had, the sweetness and saltiness becomes bolder and the bitterness disappears. 


Drinks & Desserts
iced green tea latte homemade marbled cookie
Ice Green Tea Latte (138 php) and Homemade Marble Cookie (80 php/6 pieces)
The Ice Green Tea Latte is the best matcha I have ever tried!  The Homemade Marble Cookie are also as delicious!

Tsinoy Foodies Verdict
Arafu Cafe is a comfort place for authentic homey and hearty Japanese Dishes.  If only their branches are more accessible to me, I'd visit this often.  The food and drinks here has definitely won over both my heart and my soul.  I highly recommend this place!  The Japanese owner is very hands-on with the shop operations to so the service is great. 

Tsinoy Foodies Review Rating Arafu Cafe SM North Menu
Ambiance Burger 1 | Burger 2
Burger Combo | Noodle | Rice
Donburi | Teppanyaki | Deep Fried
Desserts and Drinks
Taste
Service
Price
=Favorites or Recommended 
Arafu Cafe SM North Menu
Branches Bonifacio Global City
G/F South of Market Condominium, 11th Ave. cor. 25th St.,
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, Metro Manila


SM North Edsa
3/F SM City North EDSA, North Ave Sto. Cristo, 
Quezon City, Metro Manila

Business Hours 10am-9pm (mall hours)
Payment Options   Cash
Service Charge 10%
Budget/Person 400-800
Free WiFi Yes
Unlocked Foursquare Perks None
Contact (02) 441-02-68 | (0908) 309-1983
Other  Facebook Fan Page
Arafu Cafe SM North Menu Map  Like This Post? Subscribe here                         

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Ginger's Cafe Bistro: My Kind of Gourmet Western European Dishes in Angeles City Pampanga

When looking for a  food option in Angeles City, Pampanga, check out the newly opened  Ginger's Cafe Bistro which offers Western European dishes.  

gingers cafe bistro angeles city
Spotting it is easily with its orange facade. 

gingers cafe bistro angeles citygingers cafe bistro angeles city
Or, you can be on a look out for its sign along the street.  

gingers cafe bistro angeles city
The establishment is named after the daughter of the owner who is also shown on the photographs hanged on its walls.  Is it just me or doesn't she look like Angelina Jolie

gingers cafe bistro angeles city
The first thing everyone noticed as we walked in was the chiller with pastries and cakes.

Food

All Day Breakfast
spinach omelet sashimi
Spinach Omelet Sashimi (170 php)
The Spinach Omelet Sashimi is a smooth, creamy and fluffy roll of spinach omellete cut into bite-size slices.  It was a nice starter because it was light yet enticing to the mouth with its heavenly texture and flavor.  


Mouth Watering Salad
gingers garden salad
Ginger's Garden Salad To Share (270 php)
The Ginger's Garden Salad is their specialty salad as hinted by the name.  It has a generous serving of fresh and crispy romaine lettuce, arugula, romaine curly endive, sun dried tomato, candied walnuts, and red grapes mizzled with sweet and tangy strawberry ginger dressing.  I enjoy the superb crisp of the romaine lettuce and the delicious sun dried tomatoes but I found the strawberry ginger dressing and candied walnuts too sweet.


Signature Sandwiches and Succulent Pasta's
european ham fusilli napolitan
European Ham 8" (190 php) (Had it split into 2) and Fusilli Napolitana Single (145 php)

The European Ham has romaine lettuce, Spanish salami, serrano ham, tomatoes onion and cheddar cheese.  I really loved the solid meaty goodness that this sandwich delivered as well as the freshness of the ingredients but I'd prefer if the bread was crunchier.  The Fusilli Napolitana is spiral pasta cooked al dente with sauteed tomatoes, garlic, onions, chopped parsley with lively and zesty tomato sauce topped with basil strips.  I really enjoyed this because of the richness of the tomatoes!

lemon ginger chicken
Lemon Ginger Chicken (450 php)
The Lemon Ginger Chicken is Ginger's Cafe Bistro's Pride dish!  This baked, juicy and savory half chicken marinated in lemon and ginger with special herbs and spices served with lemon butter gravy and baked potato spuds is to die for!  I'm not the type of person who'd go crazy over gravy but with this dish, I wanna lick my plate clean.  I know its kinda pricey but a visit at Ginger's isn't complete without it.


Cakes
blueberry cheesecake
Blueberry Cheesecake (140 php)
When it was time for cheesecakes, every one got giddy in excitement.  The Blueberry Cheesecake was splendid!  The blueberry topping was not too sweet.  The cheesecake was rich, moist and soft.  I liked that it was not hard nor too dense.
 

new york cheesecake
 New York Cheesecake (135 php)
Well, the  New York Cheesecake is the same without the topping which is why I preferred the former as I like having more!

I also brought home some Bow Tarts, Chocolate Brownies and more.  My mom who has a passion in baking and whom I consider a great baker was very impressed with the pastries.  She claims that it was skillfully made.  She even teases me of going back to Angeles just to buy her more of their pastries!


Tsinoy Foodies Verdict
Ginger's Cafe Bistro offers my kind of gourmet Western European dishes.  The food is really of quality.  I saw their wood fire steaks are reasonably priced too.  I want to try those on my next visit! Whether a tourist or local, Ginger's is an excellent choice when looking for good and cozy ambiance in Angeles City, Pampanga.  They also offer FREE WiFi. 

Tsinoy Foodies Review Rating Ginger's Cafe Bistro Menu
Ambiance Menu 1 | Menu 2 |
Menu 3 | Drinks |
Taste
Service
Price
=Favorites or Recommended 
Ginger's Cafe Bistro
Business Address 588 Don Juico Ave., Clarkview, Malabanias
Angeles City, Pampanga, Philippines
Business Hours 10am-11pm
Payment Options   Cash
Service Charge 10%
Budget/Person 250-500
Free WiFi No
Unlocked Foursquare Perks None
Contact (02) 501-0000
Other  Email: gyubou_yakiniku@yahoo.com.ph Website
Ginger's Cafe Bistro Map  Like This Post? Subscribe here                               

Monday, October 28, 2013

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka らーめん山頭火ラーメン専門: The Perfect Ramen Bowl for the Rainy Weather

My dear old aunt (阿姨) who is more of a traveler than a foodie has been raving about Hokkaido Ramen Santouka ever since her friend brought it to the Philippines.  My aunt was so convincing that almost everyone in the family has tried it except for me and then they were raving to me about it.  So when it open at SM Mall of Asia, they decided to dine there for me to try.  Yes!  I'm so lucky that my family is so sweet that they don't want me to be left out in this type of things.  Plus, it was also the perfect option for the rainy weather. 

hokkaido ramen santouka sm mall of asia
I guess they regularly have a long waiting line because they were very systemic and organized about it.  They had a list and waiting benches both in the inside and outside of the store.  We were listed as number 6 in the waiting list.

hokkaido ramen santouka sm mall of asia
Like most Japanese restaurants, they had a display shelf of their food models.  This is also standard for Hokkaido Ramen Santouka branches worldwide.
hokkaido ramen santouka sm mall of asia
Hokkaido Ramen Santouka was established in March 1988, in Asahikawa, Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido serving initially only Shio Ramen.  During its popularity, their specialty Tokusen Toroniku Ramen with roasted pork cheeks was born.  From its humble beginning of a 9-seater ramen shop, it now has many branches in Japan and Internationally including USA, Canada, Hongkong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.

hokkaido ramen santouka sm mall of asia
The space was quite limited and narrow.  But, the service and turnover is fast.  I really liked the black and white modern minimalist interior of the place. 

hokkaido ramen santouka sm mall of asia
Their payment system was something new for me.  You pay at the counter after you eat and on your way out. 

Food

Original Ramen
Hokkaido Ramen Santouka offers their ramen in three sizes: S (Small), R (Regular) and L (Large).  If you order S, you get only 1 slice of Char Siu and lesser portions on everything.

shio ramen
 ♥Shio Ramen S (280 php)
The Shio Ramen is a salt based ramen with Umeboshi (pickled plum), Negi (leeks), 3mm Strips of
Arage Kikurage (jelly ear mushrooms), Takenoko (bamboo shoots), Kamaboko (fish cake) and Char Shiu (pork belly).  Ordering the Shio is the best way to appreciate their special ramen broth.  Of two types of ramen in terms of heaviness: Koterri (heavy) and Asari (light), my family is generally not a fan of the former and liked the clear broth more.  I think their ramen is in between the Koterri (heavy) and Asari (light) because they serve a mild and creamy tonkotsu broth made by simmering pork bones for 20 hours and my family loves it!  The texture of their thick and wavy noodles is also excellent. 
 

shoyu ramen
Shoyu Ramen S (280 php)
The Shoyu Ramen is the soy based ramen with Umeboshi (pickled plum), Negi (leeks), Nori (seaweed), Takenoko (bamboo shoots), Kamaboko (fish cake) and Char Shiu (pork belly).  I personally prefer the Shio over this. But if you want a more savory ramen, this is for you.  Their Char Shiu is of kurobuta pork so it oh-so-good and melts in your mouth. 


char siu shio ramen
Char Siu Shio Ramen S (320 php)
The Char Siu Shio Ramen is basically the same as the Shio Ramen but with more Char Siu for an added cost.

Specialty Ramen
tokusen toroniku shio ramen
Tokusen Toroniku Shio Ramen S (370 php)
The Tokusen Toroniku Shio Ramen is Shio Ramen with the same toppings except for the Char Siu being replace by their premium roasted pork cheeks. 


tokusen toroniku shio ramen
Tokusen Toroniku Shio Ramen S (370 php)
Pork cheeks meat is very rare and only 200-300g can be taken from each pig.  It is roasted until tender which also brings out is delicious flavor.  Since it is served without the charcoal grill, you should eat this fast before it gets cold. 

Side Dish
chawan mushi
Chawan Mushi (100 php)
The Chawan Mushi is a steamed egg pudding topped with scallions and salmon roe and filled with lots of seafood and mushrooms was delicious.  It had a mellow flavor and superb smooth and silky texture.


Tsinoy Foodies Other Ramen House/Shop Reviews
Akira Restaurant 
Curry Bee Japanese Curry Shop
Hanamaruken Ramen 花丸轩  
Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen
Kitchitora 1 | Kitchitora 2
Kokoro Ramenya
Menya Genki Tonkotsu Ramen
Miso-Ten
Mitsuyado Sei-Men
Moshi Koshi 1 | Moshi Koshi 2
Rai-Rai Ken Ramen House
Ramen Bar
Ramen Cool
Ramen Ichiban-Kan
Ramen Nagi
Ramen Sora
Ramen X (Closed)
Ramen Yushoken
Ukkokei Ramen Ron
Wrong Ramen

Tsinoy Foodies Verdict
Hokkaido Ramen Santouka is one of the best ramens available in the Philippines!  The only reason why I'm not declaring it as the best because I don't believe that there is a best in terms of ramen.  As in Japan, each ramen shop has it own distinct and specialized flavor.  Each one is a unique masterpiece in its own and should be appreciated without comparison.  The price is a bit steep but it's worth every peso.


Tsinoy Foodies Review Rating Hokkaido Ramen Santouka Menu
Ambiance Original RamenSpecialty Ramen | Parent Child Set
Ramen ToppingsSalad | Pao     
Rice BowlCurry and Rice 
Santouka Set MenuSantouka Set Menu 2 
Santouka Set Menu 3 |  
Side DishSide Dish 2  
Side Dish 3DessertDrink   
    Kurobuta Gyoza Set | Santouka Spicy Miso Soup |  
Awase Aji RamenHiyashi Chuka Tokusen Toroniku 
Taste
Service
Price
=Favorites or Recommended 
Hokkaido Ramen Santouka
Branches Glorietta 4
G4-132 Ground Floor, Glorietta Mall, Ayala Center,
Makati City, Metro Manila
Contact: 09178476087 or 7281381
 

SM Mall of Asia
2nd Level, Entertainment Mall, SM Mall of Asia, 
Pasay City, Metro Manila
Business Hours Mon-Thurs: 11 am - 11:30 pm
Fri-Sun & Holidays: 11 am - 11 pm
Payment Options   Cash
Service Charge 10%
Budget/Person 350-800
Free WiFi No
Unlocked Foursquare Perks None
Contact (02) 728-1381 or (0917) 847-6087
Other  Facebook Fan Page
Hokkaido Ramen Santouka SM MOA Map  Like This Post? Subscribe here                               

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