Thanis Lim

All Rounder Chef and Food Journalist

Manila Restaurant Review: Classic Cuisine C2

Classic Cuisine C2 has many branches in Manila. The easier ones to find is one at Robinsons Mall, Malate and Powerplant Mall, Rockwell. Classic Cuisine serves classic Filipino favourites with modern twists.

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I checked out their Robinsons Mall branch in Malate – ground floor level.

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Loving this glossary of Filipino food terms for the non-Filipino foodie tourist like me to learn more about Filipino cuisine.

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Classic C2 comes highly recommended for their Crispy Kare Kare – a crispy chunk of pork served with a rich peanut sauce, vegetables and shrimp paste!

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Would you look at the gelatinous fatty bits under all the crispy skin~~ ooooh yeshhh!!!

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To eat this dish – you can dunk the whole crispy pork into the peanut sauce, drizzle the sauce on your pork or eat it piece by piece like me ~~ be sure to add some shrimp paste to add saltiness and fragrance to the sauce!

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This is their express Sisig – minced up parts of pork ~~ together with crispy chicharon (crispy pork fat) sizzling on a hot plate with a spicy sauce! Oh yes --- how can anyone not love SISIG!?!

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Next is their Crispy Fried Chicken, served with crispy shredded potatoes and that delicious tamarind sauce. It reminds me of Ayam Penyet, which has pretty tender flesh– but with more crispy skin, served with a sweet sour sauce instead of the spicy Indonesian sambal. Kids and adults alike will enjoy this dish!

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There were so much choice of fried rice – but I decided to go for a fried rice with more kick and went with the Bagong rice – stir fried with Filipino style shrimp paste.

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For dessert, I ordered their famous bibingka souffle - a classic Filipino dessert using cheese and salted yolks - reconstructed into a souffle! Yummy! I love the taste of the salted yolks along with the creamy coconut cheesy sauce. A salty and sweet dessert! Something you ought to try!

Locations/Branches – easily accessed by tourists

2nd Level, Archaeology Section, Power Plant Mall

1st Level, Midtown Wing, Robinsons Place, Manila

Oceana, Bldg. A San Miguel By The Bay, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City

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Manila Restaurant Review: Mango Tree

Located at Bonifacio High Street Central, Mango Tree is a classy Thai restaurant, headed by Chef Korsem, promises a great authentic Thai fine dining experience with their great service and freshest ingredients.

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The tall ceilings and interior design gives a very classy feel yet gives you the feel of a Thai restaurant. During dinner, it will be dimmer and have moving spotlights around the restaurant while chillax music is also being played.

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Stay classy ~~ Mango Tree ~~ One thing I liked about the restaurant is the good service and the amount of preparation they had before dinner service. I arrived quite early and noticed their group of waiters and waitresses gathering together – apparently for a briefing and pep talk before opening service. You can tell they pay good attention to the service and I must say – it’s one of the big plus points of my dining experience here.

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Now let’s get started with the food!

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Spiced peanuts ~~~ sweet and salty crisps to nibble while waiting for your food

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Nothing signifies Thailand better than with a glass of mango juice or coconut juice ~~ in this case ~~ hmm ~~ simply mango juice please~~

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We usually get Thai style fish cakes in Thai restaurants – but breaded prawn cakes are something different. I personally enjoyed the fresh taste of the prawn.

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This is their Thai style roasted chicken – which has a good char, packed with flavours, moist in some parts but a bit dry for me for some parts.

 

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The dipping sauce goes very well with the chicken ~~ fresh ingredients always make the best sauces!

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I’m always a fan of pineapple rice – so I ordered their version as well. Personally I should had told the waiter to give it a more spicy kick to it ~~ I felt the freshness of the pineapple and other herbs but it could do with added ommph – which I will make sure to tell the waiters next time.

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Next is one of their signatures ~~ Stir fried mud crabs with yellow curry spices. A beautiful yet delicious dish! You can have the option to have them remove the meat from the shell for you for easy eating but I requested for the shell for picture taking. Once again –I felt it should be hotter as it lacked heat ~ something that one should notify the waiter as well.

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Considering me and my brother had a big breakfast and lunch, two of us managed to finish all the food. I liked the ambience and the good service throughout my dining experience and wished I had more space for their Mango sticky rice dessert – which is always a winner in Thai cuisine. Just remember to tell the waiters your heat preference for your food for that extra kick!

MANGO TREE:
7th Avenue, Bonifacio High Street Central,
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City
(Across Pancake House/Starbucks)

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Manila Restaurant Review: Mamou

In the high street of Serendra hails a restaurant called Mamou by Chef Malou Fores, specializing in good Filipino Comfort Food. The food mostly comes from her creations for her own family. Take a cab and ask the taxi driver to drop you at Market Market – then walk across to Serendra, you will find Mamou (pronounced Ma Moo).

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Mamou is a home kitchen – bringing food from the home kitchen to your table ~ my favourite kind of food and the type of restaurant I hope to open one day.

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You can see they are published in magazines and well known throughout the foodie scene in Manila.

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The restaurant looks empty because I dined in at around 9:30 – this was taken around almost 11pm – so I can get a good shot of the restaurant ambience.

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Well and ready for the Mamou comfort food!

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The complimentary buns ~~

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Their dry aged Angus Ribeye USDA Prime Grade Steak is simply tender and melt in your mouth (very highly rated by Manila bloggers)! Packed with flavour and while it might look oily ~~ you’re basically looking at it’s own fat! Hmm ~~~ steak bathing on its own fat~ yum yum ~~

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I ordered the creamed spinach and rice as sides for my steak ~~ I’m always a fan of creamed spinach~ nom nom ~~

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This is their Lorenzo's Truffle Cream Pasta, initial impressions was that it looked so plain but upon smelling the pasta, I can smell the strong kick of the truffle cream! This was so good ~ that me and my brother mopped it up very very fast – poor Shelly who met up with us only had a few bites of this yummy dish!

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Their citrus rubbed roast chicken and pork is also one of their specialties. You can choose to have all chicken or all pork. This is served with black beans ~~ and cinnamon roasted bananas. Quite a treat!

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Pork and Chicken Adobo are very common staples of Filipino cuisine but cooking Duck Adobo is something new. The Duck Adobo shredded into flakes, are served with duck egg topped with truffle oil ~~ mix them up and you have a very delicious combo! Simply YUMMERS!

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I really wanted to order dessert but even with Shelly’s help ~~ we were too full to eat some more~~ I will surely come back here again for their Duck Adobo and Truffle cream pasta ~~ and try their desserts~~

Mamou
Unit 1C - 15 G/F Serendra, Fort Bonifacio Heights, Fort Bonifacio, Philippines

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Manila Restaurant Review: Kanin Club

In the Ayala Triangle Gardens in Makati, there's another popular restaurant specializing in modern Filipino cuisine. You just need to locate Ayala Triangle Gardens, and look out for a row of restaurants. It has earned rave reviews from popular bloggers from Manila such as Shoot First Eat Later, and OurAwesomePlanet.

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I actually walked here from Green Belt using google map!

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Their interior – simple hardwood chairs and floors. Pretty cosy but nothing too fancy.

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We came here around 3pm – which explains why it’s so quiet. Usually people have cakes and tea around this time – not your average heavy Filipino food.

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I tried their sinangag na sinigang, which is a reconstructed sour soup (sinigang) into a fried rice dish. It has quite an appetizing sourness to it! It’s served with fried crispy veggies and yummy thinly sliced pork belly ~~ oinkness!

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The next dish is their famous seafood kare kare, assorted seafood, dipped in special Filipino style peanut sauce and served with their powerful shrimp paste! Quite a big portion!

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Be ready for a flavour explosion when you sample their shrimp paste! BOOM!

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My last but not least dish was their version of Dinuguan, which is usually pork liver and other porky parts, cooked in a pig’s blood stew, which can be a love it or hate it dish for many. Their version is this Crispy Dinuguan, which is a stew made from Pig's blood and crispy fried pork bits minus the liver! It’s been claimed even anti-Dinuguan foodies will even like it. I personally like the crispy crunch of the pork which matches the pig’s blood sauce nicely! Thumbs up for this dish!

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They have many branches but I think the easiest one for tourists like me would be the Ayala Triangle Gardens branch. Thanks Google map!

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Manila Restaurant Review: Mesa Filipino Moderne

Located at Greenbelt 5, shopping hotspot in Makati, Manila, MESA is one of the highly recommended restaurants serving Filipino Cuisine. They are pretty authentic when it comes to their food but their food presentation and style of serving in a more classy dining environment gives the modern feel to Filipino Cuisine. I heard about this restaurant from blogs and of course the prestigious Manila Best Kept Secret Awards – they were nominated every year from what I’ve read – so I can’t pass up the opportunity to dine in this restaurant when I saw it while shopping at Greenbelt. 

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Quite an attractive logo that looks like steam rising above your food on top of the table. Clever design.

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The utensils looked like extensions of metal bones ~

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As you can see – they are full during lunch ~ I had to wait quite long just to get a small table by the side of the restaurant – bathed by the hot sun rays! So be sure to make a reservation if possible!

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Special home made vinegar for your meals~~

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They are famous for their CRISPCHON – which is Crispy Lechon in a way. Suckling pick with very crispy skin! You can choose to have it on it’s own or served 2 ways with pandan crepes or tossed in chili garlic. I opted for the original and just dipping it with three dips~

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You don’t need me to tell you how crispy the skin is ~~ simply phenomenal!

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As you can see – there’s three dips to choose from – I personally love the garlic mayonnaise the best, it’s tangy kick gives a good match to the crisp fatty pork lechon!

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Oh my PORK indeed~~ I would hashtag #porkporn for this! Simply delicious!

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Did I mention that their Fragrant basil duck fried rice is delicious as well? Good to eat on it’s own I tell ya!

Meso Filipino Moderne

Greenbelt 5, Makati

Manila

Telephone: +632 728 0886

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