Of Fil-Mex Fusion // Silantro at Kapitolyo

One of the restaurants gaining huge attention recently is Silantro along East Capitol Drive, in Kapitlyo, Pasig City. If you remember our earlier post, we had originally meant to dine at Silantro one night, but ended up in Tomahawk (which is awesome, in case you haven’t seen our post yet), due to the large number of groups waiting for their tables at Silantro. That time, we were at Silantro at about 7:30 PM, so we figured it was rather expected that they’d have long queues (no actual queues, though, only people randomly crowded outside). So this one Saturday afternoon, after we’ve finished our usual fares at Rockwell, we decided to head straight to Silantro.

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Located further down East Capitol Drive, near the Church

We got there at 5:30, and to our surprise, it was already packed and there were already queues for tables. We had to wait around thirty minutes for our table, but thankfully they allowed us to place our orders already. They had some stools for those who are queued up, but if you come at an even busier time, you’d probably have to wait by the road side.

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Al Fresco Dining (and Waiting) Area

Since we were quite early, we were able to comfortably sit on the sides, where they had al fresco tables too.Though if you’re seated at these outdoor tables, it probably won’t feel good to have that many people lingering around you.

The Menu

The Menu

When we finally got our table after about thirty minutes, our drinks came first – Mojito (Glass) for just P90. Not the best Mojitos in town, but I couldn’t ask for more for just P90. You can upgrade to their unlimited Mojitos for just P250. We weren’t planning on staying for long, so the P90 ones were just right.

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For our starters, we got their Beef Quesadillas (P160). It was really good and cheesy, and came in a really good size for just P160. A person (who isn’t a big eater) can actually have it as a main entree already. They didn’t slice the pieces, so you’d have to take your knife and fork to be able to eat it more conveniently. If you look at it on the value-for-money perspective, it was definitely good. I especially loved the freshly-cut skin-on fries, which was fried and seasoned quite nicely. I found myself having more of the fries than the quesadilla, to be quite honest.

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After seeing how big the quesadilla was, we already felt we might have over-ordered. But screw that fact, and we continued to eagerly look forward to our next food. What came was one of their house specialties – Lucho Tacos. D chose their Medio size (P95), which came with two types of meat (you can choose) and came in a hard-shell taco. Lengua and Barbacoa beef were our choices, to be exact.

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Their tacos were a win, and if there’s anything worth coming back for, it would be their tacos. The meats were cooked and seasoned well, and the salsa had just the right amount of onions in it. A little too much green, leafy stuff, if you ask me, but real good nonetheless. I’d probably have soft-shell ones next time, though, since I always have a hard time eating hard shell tacos (and just always end up cracking the thing open and eating them using cutleries).

Silantro's Burrito

Silantro’s Burrito (P180)

Burritos are always my thing when dining at a Mexican joint, so despite looking at all the blog reviews which suggested other items, I decided to have Silantro’s Burrito (P180). The size is really good for its price, though admittedly, it’s not the best burrito I’ve had. The rice didn’t have that Mexican spice taste to it, and it just felt like they cooked it in basic tomato sauce. Not very well seasoned too, but the meat (which had bits of ox tongue) was quite good, however still without that kick of Mexican spices. Best to have their tacos rather than their burritos when you get the chance.

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Macho Lucha Steak (P360)

Steaks are always D’s thing, so he went with the Macho Lucha Steak (P360). It wasn’t very tender, he says, and they smothered it in brown sauce (which I don’t like in usual Pinoy steaks). It was all good nevertheless, as you don’t really come expecting much from steak which only costs this much. Shouldn’t be a problem if you’re feeling extra carnivorous, and just want a taste of good old carne. D vouches more for the tacos, which he’s already excited to have again.

All in all, a pretty good experience for us in Silantro. Really good value-for-money, more than anything, as the portions are very generous for what they’re worth. I’d still prefer hardcore Mex or Tex-Mex joints since I love the strong Mexican spice taste to things. We’d likely come back for the tacos and the unlimited Mojitos, and get some friends with us. Hopefully the queues ease up soon, since I doubt if they do reservations.

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Silantro Fil-Mex Cantina
75 East Capitol Drive,
Kapitolyo, Pasig
+632-6549657

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Of Meats Done Your Way // The Butcher Shop & Pub

BGC has always been a place where we go on dates and just chill and go around. Despite having worked around the High Street Area, I never got tired of the place. It’s always been bright and maaliwalas for me, and the wide open spaces are just a good breather from the usual crowded malls or roads we have to go through. Both of us now work a good thirty to forty-five minute drive (on sane traffic days) from BGC, yet it continues to be one of the top of mind places where we go on dates at. The diversity of the food choices, the good shopping areas, and the generally manageable crowds are pretty much what drives us to come back.

After a particularly tiring work week, we went straight to BGC to try out The Butcher Shop & Pub. It’s located at the same building where 2nds is, right in front of the giant pineapple at the JY Campos Center. We passed by the place a few times before when we were looking around during some of the weekends, but we never got to try it out yet.

We were both particularly excited when we decided during the car ride to go for this restaurant since, hello — BUTCHER = MEAT. So we pretty much set the bar high in our minds as to what sort of meat we wanted to have that night.

Wonderfully, they did not disappoint.

How it goes is that you pick your meat, the type of spice combination for the rub, and the sauce that goes with it. I can compare it to an extent to some Mexican joints where you pick the meat, and whether you’d want it as a taco, as a quesadilla, or as a burrito, or whatever. At The Butcher Shop and Pub, you choose among different types of meat – there’s chicken, pork, fish, and of course, multiple grades and cuts of beef you can choose from.

Being steak-hungry that night, we both had 300g rib-eye cuts, mine medium-rare while his medium. To go with mine, I chose pasta, while he got fries with it.

Upon entering you’d notice their display fridge wonderfully stocked with the various meat options you have, along with other things on their menu like the sausages. In front of this is this set up where they have the different spice combinations placed in big jars, and you’d see their cooks actually doing the rubbing right then and there. Mine was rubbed with Cinnamon-Thyme, while his was rubbed in their Hungarian spice combination.

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Anyway, while we waited for our mains, we ordered in their specialty and best-selling starter, the Dumaguete Sisig. I wasn’t able to inquire much into why it was named Dumaguete though, so let’s assume it’s the style of sisig from the city of Dumaguete.

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I don’t really appreciate creamy sisig (those smothered in mayonnaise), but for the first time I actually liked one that did. Maybe it’s partly because I have a newfound liking for mayonnaise, and partly because their Dumaguete Sisig really was nothing like the usual creamy sisig. Just the right amount of saltiness, sourness, and -of course- spiciness to go with all that glorious fatty pork skin trimmings. The creaminess from the mayo was just right too, and it didn’t feel like you’re eating sisig-flavored sandwich spread. It went well with the ice-cold Hoegaarden we were having.

A few minutes after we cleared out the bowl of sisig, our steaks came!!

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Pure awesome meatiness! My medium-rare rib-eye had the right amount of spice flavor to it, with the meat almost fighting against the knife as I sliced, but still melting gloriously in my mouth when I took a bite. It’s still much thinner than what I would normally have and prefer (I like steaks which are at least about 1 inch thick), but this is one of the very few exceptions I have. It was cooked just right, and was in the right portion. We both had their mustard sauce on the side for the steak, though in general I don’t really use any sauce or gravy on my steaks. In terms of the meat, our expectations that night really was fulfilled.

One thing I realized though is that pasta doesn’t really go well with steak. Or at least for me. Steak should just have a plain starch or vegetable dish as a side, possibly like creamed spinach or mashed potato, because anything else will likely overpower the taste of the meat. I liked their Funghi el Melazone, but I felt that it didn’t really complement the steak. I’ll probably have it separately. It probably goes well though if you go for their grilled chicken or fish.

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There still are so many items in their menu that we’d love to try, particularly the sausages which looked so glorious as they hung inside their display freezer. The selection under their Smoke Room category of food items look particularly enticing too!

Will we be back? Yes, definitely. Location, ambiance, selection of food, and price = check, check, check, and check!

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The Butcher Shop & Pub
Ground Floor, Wumaco Building,
Lane P Corner 9th Avenue,
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City

Of Juicy Chops // Tomahawk Chops and Grill

A few Fridays ago, we headed to Kapitolyo because wanted to try Silantro, this Mexican place we’ve been hearing much about these days. Regrettably though, there were a lot of people waiting, so we opted to go look for another restaurant to dine in that night.

The last time we went further down the road to eat at Rub, there weren’t many restaurants yet, so on the way to Silantro, we were actually surprised to pass a few restaurants we hadn’t seen before. Usually, when we went around Kapitolyo, we would usually end around Thai Dara or a few meters from there. One of the restaurants we saw going to Silantro was Tomahawk Chops and Grill, and being the carnivore D usually is, we decided that was the next best thing to Silantro that night.

Having opened just last June, Tomahawk Steaks and Chops is one of the newest restaurants along Kapitolyo. From the street, it initially seems like a small place which would sit about 20 people, but it was much roomier. Further inside would likely sit another 25 people, which makes it a good place in Kapitolyo since some restaurants sit only a few tables.

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Photo from Tomahawk’s Facebook Page

One of the corners inside

For our starters, we were still on a high from the calamaris from Mad for Pizza, so we decided to give Tomahawk’s Calamaris a go. I liked the crispiness of the batter and breading, and the juiciness of the squid. D though thought Mad for Pizza’s was still yummier. Still, I’d advise you to go for Tomahawk’s Calamaris. I would hope they have a tomato-based dip though, other than the mayonnaise.

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We of course had to get the specialty of the house, which were Tomahawk Chops. What are Tomahawk Chops exactly? Well, the tomahawk is actually a type of an ax that had been used by Native Americans as a general tool. The logo of the restaurant is actually a silhouette of this ax. The pork chops got their name from this ax because of its shape. The chop is left with its bone in, though cleaned up so that the bone can be used as the handle. I would guess they used the bone as a way to hold the chop.

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See the shape?

You have the option to have the chop fried or grilled. We both had it grilled, and had the rice upgraded to the Dirty Rice, which had very good notes of spice and flavor. It went well with the barbecue and the juicy meat, and I’d suggest to have that upgrade. You also get to choose a side to go with your meal – i had mushrooms, while D had mac and cheese. You can skip their mac and cheese, as it felt a bit powdery, and your Instant Mac & Cheese Dinner at home might taste better.

Thick, juicy goodness!

Look at that thick and juicy goodness. It’s so amazing how Kapitolyo has been home to so many new dining places! We’re super excited to try out all the new ones soonest!

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Tomahawk Chops and Grill
56-A East Capitol Dr
Kapitolyo, Pasig
(0917) 840-9876

Of Pizza and Toppings You Want // Mad for Pizza

Pizza is awesome. This is especially true after a hectic busy day at work. So after one very long, tiring work day, this is exactly what we decided to do. It’s actually just been a couple of weeks ago since we first tried Mad for Pizza, and we were right back in because of two main things: good food and value for money.

Mad for Pizza offers a topping-all-you can pizza in their menu for P280. You can also select from one of the three pizza flavors on their preset menu for P250. For just an additional 30 bucks though, you get total control over all aspects of your pizza, from the dough to the sauce and of course, all the toppings. Yes, you can go crazy with the toppings even, and it’s still going to be P280.

Unlike Project Pie, Mad for Pizza is more of a casual dining sit down restaurant. Well, sort of. You enter their restaurant and you don’t line up at their pizza counter. Instead, you’re directed to a table and given a menu. When you choose to make your own pizza, you’re given the option to either fill out a sheet with which toppings you want, or head up to the counter and tell the pizza-maker what specific toppings you want. You can even do two flavors on one pizza. Which is what we did.

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Capers putting the toppings on our pizzas!

Here’s what we ended up with:

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2/3 of our Pizza

Half all-meat and cheese and half cheesy pepperoni mushroom. Regrettably this is the best photo I have, since we got excited and immediately took out slices the moment our server put the pizza on our table. The first time we went there, we thought we needed one each. We realized one pizza was good already for the two of us, unlike Project Pie’s where one pizza would be too bitin for sharing.

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Pizza!!

The first time we were in, we randomly picked a starter – Fried Calamari. It easily became our favorite, so we had it again this time.

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What we loved about their calamari is the juiciness of the fried squid, though I’m actually betting the batter tastes more like fried chicken batter, which it probably really is. Still, not a bad thing, really, as it coated the squid rings well, giving way to that juicy and tender squid meat.

If you’re an extra hungry couple, you’d likely need to get one pizza each. But otherwise, their pizza is heavy and topping-filled enough to make up a satisfying meal for a couple. You can just add sides or pastas instead of adding another pizza.

For a dinner time, Mad for Pizza wasn’t filled with many people, which I actually feel rather sad about. It’s got good food and great value for money, and while the location can be a big factor (not really much foot traffic in Il Terrazzo), I’d wish more people would drop by to give their pizzas a try.

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Mad for Pizza
2nd Floor, Il Terrazzo
305 Tomas Morato cor Scout Madrinan

Of Ribs and Roasts // Smokin’ Pig Legendary Rib Joint

Tipsy Pig, Black Pig, Flying Pig, Fancy Pig. For some reason there’s an influx of restaurants / gastropubs named after our favorite porky friend (I made the last one up though). However, if you want direct-to-the-point, juicy, meaty goodness, then Smokin’ Pig Legendary Rib Joint is the one for you. No frills, just good food you crave for cooked to its best, served with appetizers and sides which taste, I must say, more than what you would normally expect.

Tucked in one of the corners of Capitol Green Street right beside Capitol Golf (several hundred meters away from Celebrity Sports), you’d find Smokin’ Pig. It’s pretty straightforward – all the seats are at the veranda, which means everything’s al fresco. This probably adds to the rib-joint / roaster feel to it, and you’ll feel the fresh breeze while enjoying bird’s eye views of Marikina, Balara, and Loyola Heights. We went there for dinner, so the nighttime breeze was good, but I’m not too sure how this fares during lunch hour when it’s generally hotter. 

With the typical gastro-pub / beer-match feel to it all, they had nachos, chicken fingers, onion rings, and some sloppy fries as part of their appetizer selection. However, D and I have been always on the lookout for the best chicken wings we can possibly find, so we got the Smokin’ Pig Fire Wings.

Smokin' Pig Fire Wings

Smokin’ Pig Fire Wings

D and I agreed that this was one of the best chicken wings we’ve tried so far. Just the right amount of flavor to it – without it being too much of a fire bomb (i.e. too spicy). Well-cooked, juicy wings smothered in just the right amount of glaze. The chives in the sour cream also added to the savory taste. The taste was just right, and it’s such that it’ll make you want to get more without you getting tired or sawa from it.

14-Hour Slow Roasted Beef Belly

14-Hour Slow-Roasted Beef Belly

D got a plate of the 14-Hour Slow-Roasted Beef Belly. With the right red-wine taste and the slow-cook process, it was a hit. The meat was tender, flavorful, and oozing with juiciness with each bite. It came with a side of mashed potato and stir-fried beans, the taste of which really complemented the rich flavor of the beef belly.

Smokin' Pig's Signature Baby Back Ribs

Smokin’ Pig’s Signature Baby Back Ribs

Ahh, rib joint. I, of course, had to try their ribs. After all, I do enjoy a sinful serving of baby back ribs every so often (the last one I had months ago was at Casa Verde in UP Town Center, which proved to be very depressing). Their Ribs come in A La Carte, Plate with Sides, and Platter, which would suit your or your group’s appetite for ribs, depending on how many you are. Since D already got himself the Beef Belly, I opted for the Solo Plate which included 1/4 rack of rib and two upgraded sidings. They ask you whether you want it wet or dry, and being the traditionalist baby back rib-lover that I am, i just had to have it wet. Slobbery, better. 

As far as ribs go, I think Smokin’ Pig’s is one of the best-tasting and best value-for-money ribs around the metro. Tony Roma’s rank up higher in the taste and meat-quality aspect, but theirs also cost more so it should follow that they rank higher in those aspects. Smokin’ Pig’s, on the other hand, combines good quality meat with a really good recipe.   

Almond Almond Cookiezza

Almond Almond Cookiezza

Another surprise of the night was the dessert. The Cookiezza felt more like a chocolate cookie dough pie a la mode, but its taste wasn’t overpowering or too sweet. Just the right hints of sweetness to close the palate after all that savory goodness.  

The Legendary Rib Joint!

The Legendary Rib Joint!

 With its location being just a few minutes away from my house, and with me not having to go as far as BGC or Ortigas for good ribs, I have a feeling I’d be dragging D to Smokin’ Pig pretty often to address the occasional barbecue rib craving. I’m sure he wouldn’t mind, as he also loved everything, from his beef belly, to the side dishes. The Mac & Cheese was also a surprising find – I wasn’t able to take a closer photo, but it’s something I would come get again when we come back. All in all, definitely a good dining experience, as D and I agreed everything we tried tasted delicious! 

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Smokin’ Pig Legendary Rib Joint
Ground Floor, Capitol Greenstreet
Capitol Hills Drive, Matandang Balara
Quezon City
(+632)9043148

*address and contact details taken from MunchPunch