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Restaurant Review: The Buffet, Commonwealth

For the relaunch of my food blog I would like to review one of the newest restaurants along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City. The Buffet is, as the name suggests, mainly a buffet restaurant that serves Filipino, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Western cuisines, and is headed by Chef Park Gi Won. The Man and I decided to celebrate our anniversary here at The Buffet and we chose a weekday lunch.

It was a sweltering day and high noon at that. The venue wasn’t exactly full, but at that time there were no available parking slots in front of the restaurant. It was a very good thing that The Buffet provides free valet service. Upon entrance we were greeted by the hostess, got seated immediately and was offered a choice of fruit shakes for drinks. While they were preparing the drinks we went exploring the buffet line.

The section that immediately interested us was the Japanese section, specifically the sushi/maki/sashimi. We got ourselves a plate each of these. Unashamed, I even grabbed those last two pieces of inarizushi (sushi rice in a fried tofu pouch). It’s pretty rare! We made several trips to this sushi station.

thebuffet10 thebuffet11We took a look at the other sections. There as a salad area and a fruit area. I had a bit of salad for starters and some fruit for dessert.

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There was a bread section, with a toaster if you wish to toast your bread. There is a bowl of butter, as well as cheese and crackers at the far end. I think we didn’t have any of these, as we really were concentrating on the sushi.

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Near this area there was a section where you could get calamares and vegetable sticks, as well as a pizza area. I got none of these but The Man did. The pizza were thin and crisp and quite good, he said.

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Here is a view of some Chinese dishes (spicy crab and seafood hotpot). Beside it are slices of char siu, century egg, and soy chicken. I tried the char siu and it was good.

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Beyond the Chinese dishes sat the Filipino dishes. I was taken by this huge bowl of ginataang kuhol (snails!). I wanted badly to try it, but I wasn’t very sure if I’m allergic so I erred on the safe side. I couldn’t remember what the dish beside it was, but it looks like steamed fish.

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Let’s go back to some Japanese dishes. There were some nice tonkatsu slices, and curry sauce that you can dip it in. Beside it is roasted ham slices, and beyond is some more sliced meat. There was also a dedicated tempura station, where you can get a variety of stuff dipped in tempura batter and fried to a nice crisp.

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On the Korean side of things, there is an area where you can get the usual Korean side dishes (kimchi, etc). Nearby you can also get some nice pajeon (seafood pancake), and freshly grilled bulgogi. Check out that variety of things you can have grilled.

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Check out one of The Man’s plates. He’s pretty good at presentation, and this plate really looks awesome. From the top going clockwise there’s four assorted sushi, a pizza roll slice (the one with what looks like wheatgrass garnish), tonkatsu slices with curry sauce, two pieces of hakao, and several pieces of pre-dipped tuna and salmon sashimi. In the corner is a tiny cup of fudge dessert.

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I neglected to take a photo of the dessert stations.

We were able to catch their promotional prices, so we each paid only Php599 each which also included the drinks. Weekday dinner is Php799, weekend lunch is Php699, and weekend dinner is Php899. The full prices are Php200 more expensive.

The Buffet is open on weekdays for lunch at 11:30am-2pm and for dinner at 6pm-10pm, and on weekends for lunch at 11am-2:30pm and for dinner at 5:30pm-10pm. They also accept reservations and events. For more information you can check out their website here.

Summary: A great buffet place for northerners, with amazing selections (especially the sushi!). Drinks are also unlimited. Parking is readily available, and they even offer free valet service. They will soon be graduating from their introductory prices so you might want to try them out before that happens.

Food: 9.5
Service: 10
Ambiance: 9.5

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Posted by on July 22, 2013 in reviews

 

Restaurant Review: Wingman, The Collective

In our endless search for good places to eat, we stumbled upon Wingman on the suggestion of a friend. Wingman is located in The Collective, a commercial hub along Malugay Street. It took quite some time for us to actually go there, as Wingman is kind of hard to find or go to if you’re not very familiar with the back streets of Makati. To those who might be interested, here’s a map to The Collective.

I will start off by saying that you might have problems parking there. There are only about six parking slots in front of The Collective, and if you’re not lucky enough to score one of them, you’ll have to make do with street parking. It appears that street parking here is acceptable, mainly because it’s a one-way street. There are parking boys to assist you, or maybe the security guard.

Once you’re able to park, you will see Wingman as the leftmost establishment. It is long and narrow, and can seat about 20-30 people. The Man and I usually just take one of the couple tables along the bar. Here’s a view of the bar from our table.

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As this is Wingman, of course we have to try out their buffalo wings. We took the set of 12 wings, which we can order in two flavors. We tried out the classic hot and the hickory barbecue, with the bleu-cheese add-on. It comes with a side of raw carrot sticks and ranch dip. This costs Php350. I have to say that this justifies the name of Wingman.

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We also ordered Roast Beef Au-Jus, which is a roast beef sandwich that comes with a dipping bowl of what I can call steak juice. It costs Php260, and it already comes with a side (your choice of fries or onion rings). Conveniently it comes sliced in half, so the Man and I are able to split this sandwich without much trouble. This is amazing! We ran out of sandwich too quickly, and unfortunately Wingman does not offer any bready sides that we can dip in the leftover steak juice. I would say that I would gladly take a trip out to Wingman just for this dish.

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For our drinks we just got their bottomless lemonade, which came in this quirky shade of blue. Php80 each for this.

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Summary: Arguably the best place to get your buffalo wings fix. The drawbacks here would include 1. it’s also a watering hole (we aren’t really drinkers) 2. limited parking slots and 3. they don’t have a good place to wash your hands. The ambiance of Wingman itself is pretty great, but I’m docking points because of the location and lack of amenities of The Collective. We paid about Php800 total for two people.
Food: 10
Service: 10
Ambiance: 8.5

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2012 in reviews

 

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Restaurant Review: Yabu Megamall

This article should otherwise also be titled “I can’t believe I’m writing this review.” I have long since scoffed at the raves I’ve been seeing online about Yabu. I have had experiences where the online hype was generally just that: to generate interest, but usually it doesn’t really have anything backing it. I’m glad and very surprised to say that Yabu rises up to the challenge more than adequately.

The Man and I finally found the time to try out Yabu, and we decided to see what it’s all about. First you are greeted with this nice little setup of condiments. The tall ones at the back are the salad dressings, the three small ones in front are chili powder and oil, and the big pot on the left is the teriyaki liquid. I forgot what was in the right pot.

The menu teaches you how to mix your teriyaki sauce. You are given a small bowlful of sesame seeds, which you are to crush to let out the flavor. The Man chooses to keep his seeds whole, so he can use it as furikake (sprinkles over rice).

Our individual orders came in. I got the seafood katsu set 1, which included cream dory, squid, scallop, a huge prawn tempura, and what is perhaps the hugest oyster I have seen. As with nearly all meal sets in Yabu, these come with a side of pickles, a small bowl of fruit, and unlimited rice and cabbage. I also got tartar sauce for the fish. My meal costed Php485.

Take a closer look at this oyster. This is awesome! 10/10 would go back just for this oyster. It may be a little too rich for me though, so I don’t think I would ever get the meal set that gives you four of these. That much rich seafood might give me allergies.

The Man chose a Rosu 180g set, which is a pretty big piece of pork katsu. It’s nicely fried and sectioned, and since it’s not the premium pork, it has a bit of fat. This slab of pork can probably feed two people. His meal costed Php405.

Here’s a closer look at a pork katsu slice.

On the overall, it was a great experience. The staff was very friendly, and refills of rice, cabbage, and iced tea were offered frequently. Perhaps the only drawback one might encounter are the lines. Yabu has become pretty popular, and it’s not unusual to see a wait list before you can be seated.

Summary: A very excellent meal! I am glad that the experience was able to support the online raves. We would definitely be back to try the other items on the menu. We spent about Php1100 total, as we also each got bottomless iced tea.
Food: 10
Service: 10
Ambiance: 9 (when the restaurant is full, the space for walking between the tables/aisles is very narrow)

Yabu

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2012 in reviews

 

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Restaurant Review: Linkin Pork

One of the recent restaurants we tried recently is a very newly opened one appropriately and hilariously called Linkin Pork. As you may gather from the name, their specialty is pork, in the form of sausages (links!). One Monday evening we decided to give this a shot.

Here’s a very low res shot of their menu.

What caught our attention is of course the house specialty: sausages! Here’s a close up of the three types of sausages they serve, and the meal combos you can make with them. Basically, cajun is spicy pork sausage, cincinnati is the nonspicy version of cajun, and boudin is a pork-and-chicken sausage.

Let me show you the things we ordered: First up, drinks! Iced tea and complimentary house water. I love their glasses!

Playful posing for the camera while waiting for the orders to arrive.

The Man’s order arrived first. It’s a plate of vigan longganisa and rice, with a side of sliced tomatoes and fried egg. He chose vigan longganisa because this is the type of longganisa I don’t like, and we will definitely not be having this on a regular basis at home. Why don’t I like it? It’s a little bit too weirdly spiced for my taste. On the other hand, he loved it!

The appetizer arrived next. It’s fried sausage and mushrooms, topped with what appears to be wheatgrass or lemongrass. The sausage tasted like the cincinnati sausage.

My order arrived next. It’s a cajun sausage combo B, which meant I got herbed potato salad and mixed greens with red wine vinaigrette. The sausage wasn’t as spicy as I was expecting, but it was pretty good! It had a slight cheesy taste, and was very tender. I swapped my potato salad for The Man’s egg.

Lastly, Tee’s order arrived. It’s a cincinnati combo C, so she got bread, meaty red sauce, french fries, and honey mustard dip. Her sausage tasted the same as our appetizer. She loved everything on her plate! although she was not able to finish the sausage, and gave away her leftover red sauce.

We also got to try out their coffee and cinnamon roll, courtesy of David (owner of Linkin Pork). They also have a coffee menu again appropriately called LinkinPerks! I love their naming conventions! Here’s a shot of the menu.

My coffee is a latte with irish cream. It was amazing coffee! I would love to bring my coffeeholic dad here so he can try this.

Lastly, here’s a pic of the cinnamon roll. I forgot to ask if this will be on the menu, but I sure hope so as this is amazing as well!

Summary: Great sausages for a fair price. We paid about 800 pesos for the three meals, the appetizer, and the drinks. Will definitely be going back. Linkin Pork has two street parking slots, but they have more at the back. They also have provisions for functions on their second floor. Check out their facebook page here.
Food: 10
Service: 10
Ambiance: 8.5

Disclaimer: Linkin Pork is owned by my highschool batchmate David. He provided the coffee and cinnamon roll for free, but the rest are paid for by me.

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2012 in reviews

 

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Restaurant Review: Sandwicheese Katipunan Ext.

Finally, another review post! It’s been a while.

My husband and I went out in the late afternoon for some errands. Since we have not eaten lunch yet, we decided to stop on the way south at Sandwicheese, located along Katipunan Extension. Sandwicheese is of the same company as Banapple, I think, and is in fact located near the first Banapple branch. We have always wanted to try Sandwicheese but was never able to find the correct timing. Finally we found a perfect time, and it was not crowded since it was some time between lunch and dinner.

We each ordered their house blend iced tea (Php 60 each). It was the same iced tea that Banapple serves, and it was great although it was not very big. They also gave us a glass of cold water each, without being asked.

We also ordered the Banapple Potato Salad (Php 90) to share. This is a salad we’ve been ordering whenever we eat at Banapple, so this is nothing new. It is basically a carrot and potato salad tossed with a cream dressing (mayonnaise based, my husband thinks) and is spread over a bed of lettuce. I love this salad.

Another side we ordered is their thick cut fries (I forgot what it was actually called, and forgot the price as well!). We just got the plain one, but you have the option of getting flavored fries. It came with a small container of blue cheese I think. In my opinion this is their weak link, as I didn’t like their fries. They seemed too starchy, and seemed pretty redundant considering we already have potatoes in our salad. I gave most of my share to my husband.

My husband ordered their Drippin’ Roast Beef Sandwich (Php 160). He seemed a bit disappointed that it was only a six-incher, but once he took a bite of it he immediately changed his mind! It was delicious! The beef was cooked perfectly and was very tender. The gravy was plentiful, and very tasty.

I ordered the Cheesy Roast Beef Sandwich (Php 160), which was identical in every way to the Drippin’ except for a layer of cheese pimiento underneath the roast beef. And, presumably, it has less gravy. I have to admit that I enjoyed this sandwich very much, and lamented that I couldn’t finish all of it. I would definitely be coming back to get this sandwich again. My husband, on the other hand, didn’t like the cheese pimiento (I gave him my leftovers, hehe!) and preferred an all-gravy topping.

One caveat of eating the roast beef sandwiches is that one must be prepared to eat with her hands. It was a bit messy eating the sandwich, and the fillings kept sliding out. They do have a nice bathroom to wash in, so getting clean again should not be a problem. It’s not a really expensive place, in my opinion, and getting flavorful sandwiches seems to be worth its price. The place itself is also very small, can probably serve about 5-6 groups of 4. The parking is very tight, since it has to share with the stores beside it.

Summary: Great food and service, fair price, small place and relatively bad parking. Definitely worth going back to! Check out their menu at their facebook page.
Food: 10
Service: 10
Ambiance: 7

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2012 in reviews

 

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Hawker food trip at Megamall

You’d probably ask, how can you have hawker food at a mall? Isn’t hawker food the type of food you find at an open air establishment? To me and my husband, hawker food is basically food you can purchase at a stall in a place where there are lots of stalls, and maybe eat as you walk. In the Manila there are probably some open air places that would qualify as hawker centers, but in this scorching weather it’s rather impractical. We decided to try this in Megamall, one of the largest (airconditioned!) malls in the country.

We have just finished a clothes-shopping run while our daughter was off playing, and we were all pretty much famished. We started off with bottled water (Php20) and a small cup of corn kernels slathered with butter and cheese powder (Php30) from King Corn.

Next, we headed for Spam Jam on the other side of the mall and ordered a spam musubi (Php48) and lemonade (Php10 if you bought a spam item). Spam musubi is basically a giant sushi made with a slice of fried spam. T- finished up the corn, and went on to work on the lemonade. She didn’t like the flavored rice with the musubi, unfortunately, so she just nibbled on the spam which she likes very much. C- and I liked the musubi just fine.

We moved on to the nearby Empanada King stall and ordered a couple of super empanadas (Php49 each). This, in my opinion, is the absolute highlight of the experience. Empanadas are essentially baked pastries usually filled with meat. Super empanadas are filled with steak (!!) and is injected with gravy. Check out their banner.

You’d think that a hawker stall like this would just give you some inferior cut of beef, or something that isn’t beef at all. But let me tell you, this is some prime steak meat! And the gravy that comes with it is wonderfully made as well. Everyone liked it so much that we felt that two empanadas for the three of us weren’t really enough.

We also got a large cup of mixed berry tea with extra pearls at BubbaTeaLicious for Php60 near Empanada King. I realized just now that I forgot to take pictures of all the drinks from this point on. Here’s the best one I have of the tea. Note the supremely bored expression on T-‘s face, but actually she was just chewing on the empanada.

We actually didn’t eat the empanadas until we got to the food court, where there are some great free seating. Since we were already there, and there are also several other hawker stalls in the area, we decided to get some more stuff. We got a three-piece takoyaki (Php27) at a stall unsurprisingly named Takuyaki; a shawarma with extra meat (Php60) at Fireshack Shawarma; a big cup of calamansi juice (Php25) at a stall that sells only calamansi juice, Green Fresh; a small order of nachos (Php45) at a stall whose name I forgot; and a stick of Purefoods Tender Juicy jumbo hotdog at the similarly named stall for Php40.

The only fail among the orders was the nachos – it didn’t taste that good and was pretty much forgettable. Otherwise everything was tasty and nice.  T- ate most of one of the empanadas, and about a third of the hotdog. C- and I more or less split the rest. My favorite was of course the steak empanada, so much that we went back to get one more before we went home. Pretty good stuff!

Total expenses for the hawker food trip: Php512 including the take home empanada

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2012 in Blog, reviews

 

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Restaurant Review: Homerun Trinoma

Homerun Hotdogs is a recent discovery we made earlier this month. It is a food stall located in the second floor food court of Trinoma, sandwiched between Pao Tsin on the left and Maru Maru (a new Japanese food stall) on the right. Homerun isn’t a new stall or anything, but for the longest time we haven’t tried that because they almost always never have any customers. We recently developed a craving for hotdog sandwiches, and Homerun seemed like a good candidate.

Our first try left a very favorable first impression, that we ended up going back a couple of times more. We were able to try all of their sloppy joe offerings, and all types of their hotdogs (regular, frank, Hungarian) except the cheesedog. Here are pictures of what we ordered the last time we went there.

Texas BBQ Regular – It had ground beef and tomatoes as toppings, and their barbecue sauce. This was just an okay sloppy joe.

Hell’s Kitchen Regular – It looks remarkably like the Texas BBQ one, with the same ground beef and tomato toppings. In addition, it had some red pepper slices, and hot sauce. It tasted better than the Texas BBQ since it was spicier. This is The Man’s personal favorite.

Triple Cheese Frank – As the name suggests, it has three kinds of cheese topping: a bottom layer of melted chizwhiz, a generous sprinkling of grated processed cheese (like Eden), and around 3-4 strips of cream cheese on top. I chose franks because it’s supposed to be made of beef, and the regular hotdog was pork (I avoid pork as a rule). This is my favorite.

The other types of sloppy joes not pictured are: New York Supreme (tomatoes, onions, pickle relish toppings), Heart Stopper Supreme (bacon and egg toppings; yes, egg!), and Garlic Cheesesteak (ground beef, cheese, and garlic toppings). Garlic Cheesesteak is my next favorite. Heart Stopper is just weird with that egg topping. New York Supreme is good because it has pickle relish, but bad because the onions aren’t cooked enough (almost raw!).

The sloppy joes were quite filling and satisfying taste-wise, especially our favorites. For Php55 per sloppy joe with regular hotdog, it’s not a bad dinner choice. The Man considers two sloppy joes more than enough, and for me, one already hits the spot. Upgrading to franks will cost Php79, while getting the Hungarian sausage will cost Php89 (the most expensive type). The service is well enough; since there’s almost never any lines, you’ll get your order relatively fast. They fry the hotdogs and ground beef and toast the bread, so the sandwiches are served hot and fresh. They offer you your choice of condiments: mayo, ketchup, mustard, and hot sauce. The Man usually asks for everything!

We get our drinks and side dish elsewhere, though. Since Homerun is located in a food court, there’s nothing stopping us from ordering other stuff from the other stalls. Our mainstay side dish is this big order of fries topped with mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, and melted cheese from the neighboring Slammers Burger.

  • Summary – A great inexpensive place to get great hotdog sandwiches, served fresh and hot. Make sure to say that you’re dining in (if you are), so they’ll use those nice yellow plates instead of the default cardboard box. Sayang sa trees! Depending on your dining time, it might be a little difficult to get seats.
  • Food: 9
  • Service: 8.5
  • Ambiance: 5 (well it’s a food court!)
 
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Posted by on January 30, 2011 in reviews

 

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