Monday, October 22, 2007

UCC Vienna Cafe

UCC Vienna Cafe

Specialty: Japanese

Location: Mall of Asia
Telephone No.: 556-0446

Location: 26th St. Forbes Town Center, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

Telephone No: 845-1365, 884-2477

Location: 8757 Paseo De Roxas cor. Sedeno St. Salcedo Village, Makati

Telephone No.: 810-4388, 810-2210

Location: Central Westgate Center, Filinvest Corporate City, Alabang, Muntinglupa

Telephone No.: 771-1549, 771-1550

Location: Rockwell

Telephone No.: 895-4088, 897-3223

Service Charge: 10%
Price Range (Meals): php 199 - 499
Rating: ★★★★

Founded in 1933 in Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan, UCC has taken over all aspects of its coffee business. It has since expanded to several countries and it has several branches in the Philippines alone.

The menu is dominated by Japanese dishes and unlike Tokyo Cafe, this place cooks their dishes the way we expect Japanese dishes to be. They don't have ramen and sushi here though. Instead, they feature the ever so fragrant curry rice, gratin, pasta, pizza, and risotto too.

UCC Blended Coffee
Price: php 109
Rating: ★★★★
We cannot make a review of UCC without tasting its coffee. So do you want to know what it was like? Imagine a coffee with a fragrant aroma, strong flavor bitter and a full body with a smooth wine-like texture. The flavor dramatically softened when I added the cream. Maybe I shouldn't have done that.

Iced Yin Yan Cha
Price: php 139
Rating: ★★★

For those people not liking strong blends, there is the Yin Yan Cha. Light bodied coffee served with ice and tea. Somehow, the mildly sweet tea flavor overpowers the light bitter coffee taste. Good for those who dislike bitter coffee taste.

Hamburg Curry Rice
Price: php 289
Rating: ★★★★

This is Japanese curry rice done right. I have long tried to find a local Japanese restaurant with an authentic-enough curry rice. This is one of the best I've tried. It smells right. People who have dined in Japanese curry houses know: If the smell doesn't stick to your clothes, it's not smelling right. A huge hamburger patty with curry sauce mixed with cashew nuts, sliced carrots and potatoes, raisins and pickled ginger.

Chicken, Mushroom and Cheese Risotto
Price: php 319
Rating: ★★★★

Risotto rice coated with curry sauce mixed with chicken stripes and mushroom bits topped with sticky mozzarella cheese. This is a heavy dish. Take this only when you are really hungry. There is a strong mushroom and curry flavor although it's a bit oily and there's not enough chicken.

Bacon and Sausage Penne Gratin
Price: php 279
Rating: ★★

Big mistake on my part. This was not the gratin I expected. This looks more like normal noodles rather a casserole dish. Penne noodles, bacon, sausages, mushrooms and mozzarella cheese. Eat while still hot. The noodles tend to stick when the cheese cools down. Not bad but a bit too expensive for its ingredients considering the quantity.

Expensive but worth it for some dishes. Great service, soft chairs and excellent dishes. I do not recommend eating here on a regular basis. It is much too expensive! Once in a while would be nice... a very long while. Its nice and quiet since there aren't a lot of people dining. For its apparent lack of customers, you might think they would persuade people to stay. We were almost thrown out when we were taking too long to order and I was taking pictures of the menu. I really need to get a moleskin notebook.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Savory Chicken

Savory Chicken

Specialty: filipino, chinese
Location: Mall Of Asia
Service Charge: None
Price Range: php 135 - 210
Rating: ★★★

In 1950, two Chinese brothers had the brilliant idea to start a panciteria in Quiapo. They eventually developed a "special" recipe for fried chicken and gravy that became popular with the local Chinese community. Savory Chicken then opened its first branch in Escolta serving Filipino and Chinese dishes. After more than 50 years, the third generation of the Ting family has re-launched the Classic Savory Chicken and that is our feature for today.

Yang Chow Fried Rice
Price: php 120
Rating: ★★★

Traditional Chinese fried rice with shrimp, minced pork, eggs and green peas. Yellow rice mixed with bits of meat, carrots and peas. I reckon it goes well with anything. Not spectacular, but not bad either.

Savory Chicken
Rating: ★★★★

We got a half piece of the supposedly famed Savory Chicken. It is served with gravy and a tiny slice of banana. I really don't know how you are going to share that banana piece but in any case, it's the chicken that is the focus here. The chicken is indeed meaty and juicy. Personally, I don't really see anything special about it. The chicken is flavorful by itself, anyway, but the gravy really does add a lot of flavor to it. The taste of the chicken gets tiring and monotonous after a while. Then again, that happens to most fried chicken anywhere else.

Lo Han Chai
Price: php 120
Rating: ★★

A medley of seasonal vegetables. Perfect for vegetarians. As far as I can tell, it has cabbages, baby corn, mushrooms, peas and carrots. There were other veggies that I wasn't able to identify. Looks a lot like chopsuey but much less appetizing.

Their menu list is a bit sparse for something that serves two cuisines. The technique employed here is specialization. Less dishes but supposedly better than others. Casual dining is the style here. Not really for romantic dates nor for large gatherings but more suited towards casual family dinners. On a side note, a rather unfortunate incident happened when we dined here. The receipt was taking forever to make. Customers got rather upset and frustrated at waiting. I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt that it will never happen again. It's a rather unpleasant wait between giving your money and getting your receipt.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Zhu: Part 2


Specialty: Chinese
Location: 103 Tecoma bldg. 5th ave. corner 32nd street, Fort Bonifacio, Global City, Taguig
Service Charge: none
Rating: ★★★★

This an update to Zhu since we covered it before. We had a chance to dine there again so here are more entries you could examine.

Beef Hofan

Price: php 160
Rating: ★★★★

Flat noodles and vegetables cooked with that secret Chinese sauce that I could never figure out. Actually, I couldn't figure out almost all of the ingredients in this dish. It could be made out of unicorns and I wouldn't know. It tastes good, thats for sure.

Crispy Fish Fillet with Salad
Price: php 220

The fish is definitely crispy but the taste is a little bland compared to their other, more flavorful offerings. It tastes good with the salad and the accompanying dip. But once you run out of those, you get left with bland crispy fish.

Chicken Fillet Teriyaki

Price: php 198
Rating: ★★★★

Bummer. This one is exactly the same as the Chicken Teriyaki Rice Topping. Well, its still the same 4 stars.

Cafe Adriatico

Cafe Adriatico

Specialty: Spanish, Filipino
Price Range: php 145 - 395

Service Charge: 10%

Location: Mall Of Asia


This place is all about style. The lighting, furnitures and food are all style. Same goes for the price, unfortunately. Specializing in Filipino dishes that are borne out of our 300 years of Spanish heritage, this place is sure to delight those that have an appetite for rice.

Cafe Adriatico Favorites
  • Spanish Callo (php 250)
  • Lengua Estofada (php 275)
  • Lola P's Embutido (php 235)
  • Salpicao Rice (php 295)
  • Haianese Chicken Rice (php 285)
  • Steak Cafe Adriatico (php 395)
  • Teriyaki Steak (php 395)

Gising Gising
Price: php 145

Rating: ★★★★

Minced stalk of kangkong, spiced with small chillies and simmered in coconut cream. Yummy. Perfect companion for dishes that are dominated by meat. You could opt to make this dish less spicy. Just say so when you order.

Tapang Baka
Price: php 215


Marinated sirloin served with rice and a side dish of sliced tomatoes and a sunny-side up egg. This one gets poor marks. The meat is simply too tough. My flimsy geek arms get tired after trying to cut it up into bite sized pieces. It does taste good but I doubt if the taste is enough to redeem this tough meat.

Salpicao Rice
Price: php 295


A winner in my book. Sauteed tenderloin chunks grilled in olive oil and bedded on garlic rice. It's not too oily and it's definitely much better than the Tapang Baka.

Coupe Adriatico
Price: php 105
Rating: ★★★

We rarely feature desserts here but since we decided to have one, I might as well comment on it. Basically, this one is a bunch of sliced bananas and mangoes with some kind of syrup on top of a scoop of caramel ice cream.

Banana Minacolada
Price: php 95
Rating: ★★★
Banana and mint flavored drink. An odd tasting drink. Its like drinking a blended banana flavored mint candy. It's a nice drink after you have already finished eating. Otherwise, it kills the flavor of your chosen dish.

Blue Hawaiian Shake
Price: php 95
Rating: ★★★
Mildly sweet shake. If the Banana Mintacolada tasted odd, this one looked odd. It's blue. If you have no qualms about eating blue food (or drinking blue drinks), give it a try. It's good.

A bit on the pricey side and their drinks are served by a sister food chain called the Mojito Bay. If you are looking for Spanish-Filipino taste with an ambiance worthy of a romantic date, this is the place. Family gatherings for wealthy people are also good here. They have something for the whole family. Tourists wanting to try good old Filipino food but are scared of street food should be invited here. That is, of course, if they aren't scared of the price. In all likelihood, tourists should be able to afford this.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Davao: Food Trip Part 3: Ahfat Seafoods Plaza

This is the last part of a running series on Davao. Here is part one and two.

Ahfat Seafoods Plaza

Specialty: Chinese Seafood
Price Range: php 150 - 250
Location: Davao
Rating: ★★★★

Ahfat Seafoods Plaza is a no-nonsense place that focuses on nothing but the food. The place is not posh but it's clean with deep hues of green for the walls. It has a decidedly Chinese atmosphere to it with several red dragons and red Chinese lanterns hanging from the ceiling. It's Chinese food with Filipino influence.

The Menu

The chef's recommendations were:
  • Minced Pork with Lettuce (San Soy Bao)
  • Prawns with Lobster Sauce
  • Spare Ribs with Taro (Gabi)
  • Taiwan Pechay with Garlic & Salted Fish
  • Pompano with Alexander Sauce
  • Big Scallop Cook(ed) in Two Ways: Sauteed & Fried

Despite the recommendations, we didn't pick any of them. I decided to let my voracious companions choose lest I be castigated for my apparent lack of decision making skills. We were also sporting two guests this time (our unofficial tour guide and her SO). I managed to whip out my camera earlier but nonetheless, much to their dislike, I am still taking too much time and decided to attack some of the food while I was taking photos. I apologize for the hurried and blurred, darkened look. Besides, we have hungry guests to feed and these were the same people who treated us to Taklobo during the first night in Davao.

Hot and Sour Soup

I was terribly misled when I read this menu entry. I was thinking "hot" as in "not cold" and not "hot" as in "spicy". It was my first time having this kind of soup and it was a nice treat. It was a little too spicy for my taste and I really don't like too much spice in my food but my companions really seemed to have enjoyed it. Anyway, if it's too spicy, take a tip from my Chinese friends: add a bit of black vinegar. It dulls the spice.

Yang Chow Fried Rice
Of all the rice platters I have ever seen, this one takes the prize for presentation. You won't see a single grain of rice at the time of serving. The rice is enveloped in blanket of thinly fried scrambled eggs.

Shrimp Gambas

The serving is huge and the scent is mouth watering. When we entered the place, it was already full of this dish's aroma. After inquiring what it was, it was decided that we must have this dish at our table. Crunchy, spicy and plenty to go around.

Spicy Spare Ribs
Cholesterol goodness galore. Served just the way I like it: crispy and not too oily. I like my cholesterol to come from the meat. Not the oil. I recommend people with hypertension problems to stay away from this dish and also the Shrimp Gambas. I also recommend getting a veggie dish to go with this one. Since the taste gets monotonous after a while.

Seafood Roll

A veritable concoction of seafood bits stuffed inside a breaded flour shell. Tastes good with or without a sauce. As with the dish above, I recommend getting veggies to compliment this dish.

Food, more specifically seafood, is at the core of this place. The setting, ambiance and furniture are mere afterthoughts. I wouldn't recommend this for a romantic date. I most certainly advise against marriage proposals at this place although family gatherings would do fine here . Nonetheless, it's still a recommended place if you visit Davao. Ahfat serves excellent Davao cuisine at bargain price.

I would like to thank our unofficial tour guides, the beautiful Ms. Elvira Uy and her beau, during this amazing trip to Davao. Thank you for showing us where to eat good food. :D

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Davao: Food Trip Part 2: Blugré Coffee

This is part two of a running series on Davao. Part one is here.

Blugré Coffee

Specialty: Coffee and pastries
Price range: php 90-120 for beverages, 40-100 for pastries
Location: Matina town square; Landco Corporate Center, Davao City
Rating: ★★★★

Espresso, latte, mocha, durian, cappuccino. Yep you got that right. Durian along with our usual coffee favorites. Blugré coffee's signature drink is the durian cappuccino. Hot cappucino with the durian fruit bits. It also available in iced form called durian larcepuccino. Aside from the usual espresso, latte, mocha and cappuccino, this place also serves ice-blended coffee drink which they call larcepuccino coffee. They also have larcepuccino cream and Blugré shakers for non-coffee drinkers. This chic cafe is similar to those found in Manila with their concept and designer coffees.

Hazelnut Caramel Mocha
Price: php 110
Rating: ★★★★★

It fills your senses with a delicious blend of hazelnut and caramel syrup, chocolate and coffee. a classic combination that never fails the sweet tooth. The cup comes with an unmistakable scent of hazelnut accompanied by the sweet taste of caramel. As you drink, you encounter the warm froth of mocha followed by a lingering bitter coffee flavor.

Caramel Macchiato
Price: php 1XX
Rating: ★★★

A signature Starbucks beverage found its way to this unique cafe in Davao. Creamy and foamy with a hint of caramel. It is not so different from the more popular creator of this drink but still addicting and good with any pastry.

Choco Oatmeal Bar
Price: php 45?
Rating: ★★★

Oatmeal bar smothered with generous helping of chocolate. This sweet pastry may pass for a granola bar except that it has more calories. This is normally one of my favorite sweet treats. Unfortunately, this one may have been left on the shelf for some time already because the oatmeal is a little hard to chew and the chocolate is no longer gooey.

Dark Chocolate Cake
Price: php 9X
Rating: ★★★★

This dark chocolate treat lived up to its name. The cake is rich and heavy and mildly sweet with a strong heart-attack-inducing, calorie-laden chocolate flavor. Delicious and sinful to the last bite.

Blugré also sells their coffee beans and they grind it free of charge. On one side of the cafe are mugs and souvenir shirts for sale. a place to hang out, catch up on stories or simply read today's news this place is not much different from the usual cafe in terms of ambiance. For the not-so-daring enough to try the durian cappuccino/larcepuccino, this place offers decent coffee and pastries that are a little less expensive than the usual cafes found in Manila. But definitely try the durian cappuccino/larcepuccino for an authentic Blugré experience.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Davao: Food Trip

Davao: Food Trip

Location: Davao

This is part one of a series of specials on Davao restaurants and cafes (ok, one cafe). The first two places are not documented too much since there aren't much pictures because my companions have managed to devour the food before I had a chance to whip out my camera (fiesty, I tell you.). They are, however, recommended to us by people who live in/have been to Davao.

Kuya Ed's

Specialty: None
Price Range: php 99
Location: DCI Bldg, A. Pichon street Davao City
Rating: ★★★

This was our first stop. With the very low price of php 99, you can afford to eat anything you want on their buffet table. No kidding. Well, there is a hidden charge on the drinks which costs around php 35 (php 36 for bottomless iced tea) but even then, it's still reasonably priced. There isn't much to say about the buffet line since the food is pretty much unpredictable. Every time a dish empties out, an entirely different dish replaces it. If you have a limited choice of food for a particular diet, you'll eventually find food that you will be able to eat.

The service, however, is horrendous. There isn't much service to begin with since it's a buffet. You basically have to stand up to get the food yourselves. You do have to grab the waiters' attention in order to get some drinks unless you managed to bring your own and this is where the trouble begins. There aren't enough waiters for every table. I reckon that this is the reason why the food is so cheap. I recommend getting there earlier or later than lunch time to get the most out of your stay. Bring your own tissues/napkins/toothpicks unless you are willing to wait forever.


Specialty: Filipino
Price Range: php 195 - 220
Location: Jack's Ridge, Shrine hills, Matina, Davao City
Rating: ★★★★

Location is key. Jack's Ridge is located on a high piece of land that formed part of the headquarters of the retreating Japanese during World War II. Several caves line the place and it overlooks the city of Davao. As for the food, It's not that spectacular although it's not bad either. They do have the usual Filipino favorites like kare-kare, lechon kawali, spicy pork ribs, sweet and sour lapu-lapu and camaron rebosado. They also have something like "Jack's Fried Chicken" which is deep fried chicken seasoned with spices. Didn't try that though. I have developed a certain dislike for Davao's famed native chicken. It's just too small and too lanky. It's like eating coat hangers.

Pinakbet Special
Price: php 188
Rating: ★★★

A medley of native vegetables stewed in tomatoes and shrimp paste. This one is good. Although it's tiny bowl hardly serves 3-4 persons as indicated in the menu.

Sizzling Squid
Rating: ★★★
Filipinos have always confused squid with cuttlefish and this one is no different. This may also have something to do with the fact that the local translation pusit does not differentiate from the two. I'm no biologist but I can safely say that this is probably cuttlefish. Despite what I think is a misnomer, this dish has nothing to hide in terms of flavor. Flavor bursts in your mouth after every bite. The fish is not tough but soft and squishy. This is one of those instances where my companions managed to devour the food before a picture was taken. I apologize for the lack of photographic evidence.

Kilawing Tanigue
Rating: ★★★★
Cubes of raw fish pickled with vinegar alongside garlic, onions, ginger and cucumber slices. Nice combo right there. For something served raw, it certainly whets this author's appetite. The lighting was bad but I somehow managed to take a picture while my companions weren't paying too much attention to it.

Sinigang na Isda
Rating: ★★★
Ordinary to say the least. Although I did manage to take a dark blurry picture.

Rating: ★★★
Oily and spicy pork spare parts served on a sizzling plate. Flavorful but not at all that special.

It's a great place to visit if you are new in Davao. The view is awesome. You feel like royalty having lunch (or dinner) wherein your table is overlooking your kingdom while being serenaded by guitar playing amigos. The food is not that spectacular though but the location does make up for the mediocre food. They also serve wines (php 700 a pop) for those special occasions. Combine not-so-spectacular food with excellent location and you get yourself and nice solid 4 stars (+1 for the location).