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 Japanese Food Cooked Right in Front of You // Akira

Shangrila’s East Wing is one of the happening places for new restaurants. So far, we’ve tried Kettle, Chops (somehow I remember it having a different name then, though), Balboa, and Woo Galbi. All have been really good experiences, but happened too long ago for me to even remember or make a post about it. Will just have to wait until we get to try it again before I make a post, maybe.

This time, we were feeling some Japanese, and Akira seemed like the best Japanese restaurant since I didn’t feel like having Katsu at the other Japanese place in the new wing. Plus, teppanyaki sounded especially yummy to D and I that night!

And so off we went to Akira!

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They’ll ask you upon coming in if you prefer a teppanyaki table or just a normal a la carte table. We chose a teppanyaki table, obviously, and sat on one corner of their teppanyaki table, which seats about 8 pax.

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They carry a good selection of classic Japanese favorites, from your usual tempura, sushi, and sashimi and to bento boxes. Their teppanyaki selection comes in the set-selection type or ala carte, where you can pick which type of meat you’ll want cooked. You can go fancy and choose their Kobe or Wagyu sets, or go modest like we did and opted for their US Tenderloin set D, which comes with 150g of Beef, Chicken, Shrimp, and Fried Rice (P948). They say the set is just good for one person, but I think it’s easily shareable for two people. What we did was to get the Set D, added an ala carte order of US Tenderloin, Oysters, and Squid. I guess you can say we were feeling kinda hungry that night.

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Beef, chicken, squid, oysters, vegetables, and of course, more beef!

The nice thing is that Chef Erwin showed us the meat he’ll cook before even starting. So we had a clear idea of what was to come, which is good to help keep your level of anticipation high. He then proceed to ask if you want to see a show, to which we excitedly obliged.

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Beats before your Eats!

He played some beats and rhythms with his teppan tools, doing flips and catches and totally fun juggling acts. You’ll realize later that they do more than just cook your meals, they make sure it’s exciting and your dining experience becomes more than just eating food served. You also get entertained with what their chefs can do while cooking your food!

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Even the way he puts pepper or sauces on the food being cooked is amped up, as Chef Erwin really puts a rhythm or beat into things. He’ll also do a cute little heart while making the fried rice.

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One of the most amazing parts is when he starts to spin a raw egg, then carefully picks it up with his teppan spatula and starts bouncing it up and down!

CaptureWhat happens at the end is that the egg lands in such a way that the spatula slices through its side, like in this picture.

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Amazing egg-juggling skills! Haha

What’s really great with Teppanyaki is that you can see how they cook the dishes.You’ll get three sauces for the dishes – one for chicken, for seafood, and for beef.

Here’s what happened to those plates of raw meat:

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Oysters!

Oysters. Cooked on high heat with the outside slightly made charred and crunchy. You can feel each oyster ooze with its juiciness as you bit into each. Really good flavor too, as it was seasoned well while he cooked it. He also used the oyster shells to present it nicely.

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Squid!

The Squid meanwhile was also cooked juicily – something I think is usually hard to achieve as squid can quickly get too tough to bite if you exceed a certain level of doneness to it.

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Chicken

The Chicken was also good, though not exactly our favorite. Specially since we were anticipating this bad boy right after:

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BEEF!!!

The US Tenderloin beef was absolutely divine. We had it cooked Medium Rare, and again Chef Erwin made the seasoning just light, so we could really taste the silky juiciness of pure beef. It was the last thing cooked and served, and possibly the best part of our meal. We can totally go back to Akira just to have this one.

Like any teppan meal, they’ll also serve Fried Rice and Teppan Veggies, which we liked. The meal also came with miso soup. No dessert though in their set meal, but we’re not complaining.

I’m already excited to have that beef again. I’m sure D is too.

Ooooohhh.

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Akira 
5/F Shangri-la Plaza Mall,
Shaw Blvd cor EDSA
Wack Wack, Mandaluyong(02) 654-3920

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