Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Monday, March 10, 2008
Sunday, March 09, 2008
I have been eating in this restaurant, owned by the Ocampos, ever since it opened in Greenbelt 1 in the early 2000's (or is it late 1990's? Geez. My memory fails me). I have always enjoyed the playfulness of the food - from the names down to the presentation, you really know that some thought really went into the whole affair. In fact, KITCHEN has been around long enough that it has become a destination for comfort food (the sister resto, EBUN, is the same but that's for another post). The waiters have been there forever (in the Greenbelt branch - is this the only one left? - I recall with great clarity that some of the waiters have been there forever or some actually were from the now-closed Megamall branch). If this is a sign of good business (employee retention), I don't know what else is. The menu had a major change some few years back. Well, not quite drastic, but they did add another section which features rice meals served on white plates twice larger than the normal human face (which can be quite an embarrassment). My favorite rice meal has always been the Korean beef, but one or two of their salads are really good and so are some selections of sandwiches (served on wooden chopping boards) and pasta. In fact, I have been eating here often enough to order items from memory.
Interiors. I love the fabric-covered lamps and the huge brick wall at the far back. This can be closed by a high curtain to make it private and intimate. The tables are all covered by aluminum sheets. Very clean and functional. The seats are also benches which can be shared with other diners. The idea is a communal enjoyment of all things true, good, and beautiful.
Appetizing indeed. Begin your meal with Wrapped and Ready (Php 140) which is really just spring roll served in fried cone-shaped wrappers and comes with a vinegar dip.
Soup. I am a huge fan of pumpkin soup, but I wasn't impressed with this Seafood Pumpkin Soup (Php 100). First, I hated the presentation. It came in a huge low bowl with the cream doing a silly circular pattern on it like we did with champorado when we were kids. You can opt to skip this one.
Appetizer Part Deux. This is mozarella sticks with salsa on the side. Again, I hate the presentation with the mayonnaise thing (do they have a kid running around the kitchen?). This is hardly my idea of "playful." A little respect for the food, please, if not for the diners. It is, however, very mild and actually pleasant. I'd order this again, if ever.
Breaking our comfort zones. For this visit, we deviated from the usual rice meal we order and decided to try the other pasta choices we have ignored for so long. This is the Under the Sun (Php 220) seafood pasta with chili cream sauce. Pretty generous and filling.
This is the Crowned King (Php 225) which is fettuccini with maya maya (a sort of white fish with really soft meat) in Florentine sauce. The waiter says it the best seller for the pasta selection and I can see why. Filipinos have a love affair with white sauce (most of us really don't agree much with sour tomato sauce) and this one definitely would be a winner for white-sauce lovers. The butter content is enough to make one keel over, but it's pretty much acceptable and recommended for first-time, non-adventurous diners. And oh, the fish seemed like it came straight from the freezer and dumped into hot oil because it has retained some water in it. Or maybe that was just my imagination. Am I such a finicky diner? Tsk, tsk.
Condiments, cutlery and salt are already on the table within easy reach. Placemats are made of recycled brown paper and cold water is served in former Tanduay bottles with mint leaves inside (see first photo).
I am a stickler for clean toilets and KITCHEN is definitely a winner in this department. Although it's rather cramped in here, one can forgive them because of the nice chandelier and the prints in mirror frames adorning the walls. Way before, there used to be a long mirror here so in the men's loo, diners can ogle themselves while taking a pee but all that is obviously history now (sorry, pervs!). Anyway, this is actually a shared toilet with the restaurant next door, EBUN, which we shall visit next time.
Attention to detail is a gift and the people who conceptualized KITCHEN actually had some winning details we really appreciate. First, the bill is served to you rolled in a shot glass. Next, the change and receipt are served in this paper pocket stamped with the resto's logo (the inverted K) with the words "thank you." Awwww.
1st level, Ayala Center
Tel. Nos. 757-4565 to 66 or 893-5804
Friday, March 07, 2008
Sunday, March 02, 2008
While waiting for dinner time, it was decided that a stroll through the newly opened Greenbelt V would be a nice way to get really hungry. Estimated to have cost 1 billion pesos to construct, G5 is a sight to behold. It's like a huge zen project. When we visited, more than ten (10) restaurants were already up and running. It's nice to see a Travel Cafe here (the other branchs are in Tokyo and Seoul; opened to promote the Philippines as a wellness destination to the Japanese). Myron's, known for its steaks, is also here. Seasoned restaurateur Gaita Fores wouldn't be left behind with Grace Park. Chateau 1771 finds a new home here as well at the ground floor near the Greenbelt Chapel. Personally, I am curious to try out Solihiya, John & Yoko, and Cafe Damaso (the latter looks cramped but the overall design - think Pinoy baroque - and little details, especially the silver candle stands on the counter, are what made it very attractive for me). There's a La Maison (not to be confused with La Maison du Chocolat of New York) that serves steaks. Very confusing branding to begin with, but I hope the food is outstanding just the same.
The fashion walk - all of 200 sq. m. of it - will be home to the world's most recognizable brands and the country's best coutouriers. I was surprised to find Cebu's very own Junjun Escario finally opening a shop in a mall in Manila. Congratulations, Junjun! You've truly come a long way.
Samples of lighting fixtures that are art pieces in themselves.
Even the garbage bag receptacle is not spared from the look. It has a very small opening though.
The centerpiece of this new mall is this stage-like area with very unusual lights and open spaces that looks like it's been designed for exhibitions. I think a fountain of sorts will be operational soon.
Detail. Lighting fixtures.
In other portions of the mall, the lighting becomes more dramatic and awesome. The mall is divided into several zones like Filipino Zone, Young Zone, and Family Zone. A spa and a gym will also open on the fourth floor.
Saturday, March 01, 2008
Beginning March 1 of 2008, SUPERPASYAL will be based here in Antipolo City in the Province of Rizal. We leave our host city of Las Piñas with so much sadness because we loved the place - it is convenient to go home to and so near to Manila, but we need to move on and leave the sad memories behind brought about by twin tragedies that struck our household in 2007.
Here in Antipolo, we will create new memories and will continue to blog about Manila and of our visits around the Philippines. Thanks for keeping up with us! Mabuhay!