For my usual manila blog (and I count Las Pinas also) it's just food, a series of places I’ve never tried before.
A Filipino restaurant in Alabang that seemed to always have a lineup. We ordered my classic"s Crispy Pata, Kare kare, Green mangoes with bagoong, adobong pusit (squid), and after seeing the unusual vessel it was encased in, rice inside some bamboo.
Unfortunately, the crispy pata wasn't very crispy. Visually appealing but really what is crispy pata that isn’t crispy? Kare kare was average, squid was ok, rice was ordinary, mangos were mangos. In the end, Abes was just ok for me. roughly 2500PHP bill wasn’t so bad.
I didn’t know such a place existed in the Philippines. Something that resembled a real cafe and not a Starbucks wannabe. If I ever were to put up my own spot it would look something like this place. A had the macchiato which was actually better than I had hoped. The Mocha was not very good. (Still haven't had a passable mocha in my entire Asian trip)
Black Canyon Coffee
A Thai restaurant chain in the Philippines? How I would have yearned for this had I still lived here. This restaurant, which I did catch a glimpse of in malls and stalls all around bangkok made several bold claims such as “winner of the best pad thai” and “winner of the best latte art” in some world championship that I wasn’t aware existed. Nevertheless, having tried arguably the “best pad thai in Bangkok” (Thip Samai), I had to try it just for comparison. We got the pad thai, some tempura like shrimp, and finally, a mocha.
The verdict... Actually very tasty. Thip Samai was good, this was also good, well balanced, a tad on the sweet side but I also like it that way. Everything has just become a matter of preference at this point. The mocha, although unusual in that I needed to put sugar, which probably meant they put unsweetened cocoa, was one of the decent mocha’s I had in my trip. I was fairly impressed with this place. If they indeed won some competition I found no evidence in their food that debunked that claim.
The final restaurant in my list worth blogging about was the pretty expensive Lolo Dads. Like Antonios I had no clue what cuisine they had or what the experience would be like. The place was a bit small and didn't look like a restaurant from the outside. The surroundings were a bit dim with not a lot of customers when we got there.
We got several appetizers among them a two soup sampler presented very creatively looking like an espresso. I got the rack of lamb for my entree which is something I don’t normally order but thoroughly enjoyed which I thought served as a testament to the quality of food that goes out of the kitchen. Before all our entrees came out, a sorbet that I heard acted as a palate cleanser.
For Appetizers, a ceasar salad, ahi tuna, and soft shell crab. I need to mention that these appetizers have to be paid for.
Our other entrees were sauteed scallops & prawn, kurobuta, and Angus beef tenderloin.
Overall the food was great as you would expect from the prices you pay which was the same level of Antonios although nothing came free. I honestly cannot think of any course that I was genuinely unhappy with. Everything was cooked to perfection. Unfortunately, compared to Antonios, Lolo Dads handily gets beat with ambiance, the amount of additional food you get (appetizers, sides, dessert), and in the end just the value for money. If I were in Manila though, this place would definitely be on my "gotta try" list.