Saturday, July 14, 2018

Lugang Cafe at Robinsons Place Manila

Last summer, my US-based sister came over for an almost one-month vacation. We stayed for two weeks in our hometown in Quezon and more than a week at Adriatico Tower, that condo at Robinsons Place Manila. When she comes home every year, she stays either there or at The Grass in Quezon City but our favorite is Adriatico because that's where we love the restaurants, even the "lutong bahay ulam" and "merienda" available all day near the supermarket.
Anyway, one of the restaurants we tried and loved this year was Lugang Cafe, which is one of the latest to open at Robinsons in Ermita. It offers contemporary Cantonese-Taiwanese cuisine and judging from our orders on our two visits, I could say the restaurant serves food of high quality using fresh ingredients. Meanwhile, the store itself is elegant, very clean, airy and well-lighted. 
Lugang Cafe has been in the Philippines since about seven years ago but it was my first time there last May as the Robinsons Ermita branch is the first one near our place (I dislike venturing out of my comfort zone. Haha!). Their menu is a long one and covers everything from appetizers to soup to main course to dessert. 
Even the drinks have a lot of choices!
Anyway, here's what we ordered:

Seafood spinach soup, P380.
Healthy and delicious with a clean taste that doesn't overwhelm the taste buds. 
Whet our appetite, it did so well.

Sweet and sour whole grouper, P980.
Perfect harmony here between sweet and sour tones. There's lots of veggies too, such as diced carrots and green peas which don't just add flavor and nutrients but also beauty to this 
already good-looking dish with a deep, orange hue.

Chicken topped with scallion & ginger oil, P490.
This was my choice because I absolutely love white chicken. Lugang's version is steamed to perfection. The chicken is very tender though a little bland for me. I loved, however, that there is that huge heap of chopped spring onion that gave the meat a subtle zing.

Golden fried rice with egg and shredded pork, P380.
As you can see, there's a "commotion" in here with all those things mixed into the fried rice. This dish can stand on its own, having grains, pork, egg and vegetables. But it goes so well with any viand, too, and we enjoyed it to the hilt 
with our sweet and sour grouper.

Lugang Iced Coffee, P150.
My drink tasted just as delicious as it looked. I loved the boldness of the coffee balanced by the whipped cream that crowned it.

Fresh pomelo shake, P130.
My sister's drink which she loved for its rich pomelo sweetness with a hint of sour. 
She got herself loaded with Vitamin C!.

Hot tea (pot), P80.
My sister's friend's order on our first visit.

Two weeks later, my sister and I revisited the same Lugang Cafe branch, this time 
for afternoon merienda and these were our orders:

Steamed shrimp & pork shiao mai, P298.
Tender, juicy dumplings to make my day. Delicious!

Congee with preserved eggs and pork, P160.
My sister's choice. This was good, too. The porridge wasn't salty but not bland either. It was comforting to the tummy, just perfect for my sister who had bum stomach earlier in the day. This actually consisted her first decent meal of the day. The congee, by the way comes with pieces of bread, which we thought was fried tofu. We ate it after dipping in soy sauce mixed with vinegar. Haha! It was only after we were finished eating that we asked the server if it was indeed tofu. When we were told it was bread, we felt silly and had a good laugh. 😁

Steamed pork xiao long bao, P258.
Lugang Cafe is famous for this soup dumpling and I just had to try it. Well, it didn't disappoint. These round goodies were exquisite: delicious and a thrill to eat. If you gobble it up, you'd get "surprised" by the hot soup inside the dumplings. 
So be careful when bite into it, lest the broth inside scalds your tongue.

Milk custard with fresh fruits, P190.
This, undeniably, was the "star" at our table. Ain't it a beauty, with that myriad of colors? This dessert is the best! It's healthy and only the fruits provided natural sweetness. The milk jello-o wasn't at all saccharine but was very smooth it melted in the mouth. The shaved ice on which everything sits is milky, too, and provides 
a refreshing character to this unique plate of dessert. 
Yummy and guilt-free!

Coke with citron fruit, P130.
This was my sister's but she gave me some and we both loved it. I even ate the orange (it's supposed to be citron but tasted like orange to me) rinds and immensely enjoyed its sweet-sour goodness. I never knew Coke would go so well with citrus!

Inside Lugang Cafe

Lugang Cafe at the ground floor of Robinsons Place Manila

Have you been to Lugang Cafe? I highly recommend it if you haven't. Prices may be a bit steep but I assure you the exquisite food is all worth it. The servers are courteous and agreeable to our requests and as I mentioned, the physical store 
speaks of elegance and utmost cleanliness. 
I can't wait to be back to try their other dishes and drinks. 
There are currently seven branches in Metro Manila -- SM Mall of Asia; SM North Edsa; SM Aura Premier; Glorietta 2; Fashion Hall, SM Megamall; Robinsons Place Manila; 
and Greenhills -- so go to the one nearest you. 
See you at Lugang Cafe, folks! 
Happy eating!

Monday, June 25, 2018

Peri-Peri Charcoal Chicken and Sauce Bar at Robinsons Place Manila

Peri-Peri Charcoal Chicken is one of the newer restaurants at Robinson's Place Manila, opening at the start of 2018, if my memory serves me right. I was there for the first time on the eve of Mother's Day last May 11, together with my sister, a daughter and her beau. It was my sister's first meal in Manila after arriving from New York. 
And it was a healthy, delicious dinner that we all enjoyed. 
For a bit of info, "peri-peri" is a kind of sauce of Portuguese origin and used 
in marinating meats, especially chicken, for grilling. 
Anyway, we ordered a Columbia group meal (P1,850.) that included:

Soup and java rice

Shrimp Salad
This is definitely one of the best salads that I've had in a restaurant. The roasted sesame dressing made all the difference! Everything in the salad -- lettuce, cherry tomatoes, corn kernels, ripe mango and shrimps -- was fresh. A guilt-free indulgence!

Mozzarella Sticks
If you're a cheese freak, you're gonna love this one. The sticks are firm on the outside and gooey on the inside. I didn't enjoy it much though, as I found the batter too thick.

One whole Peri-Peri Chicken
I loved this for being perfectly seasoned and roasted (not charred, which is bad for the health). The meat is tender, too. Be forewarned, you'd eat a lot of java rice with it. Haha! 
The tangy-sweetish-sour coleslaw makes a perfect side dish.

Variety of sauces
We were served with different kinds of sauces to go with our orders. These included Scallion Ginger Mango Lime, Mesquite BBQ, Sweet Soy, and Hoisin Sesame, among others. It could be confusing and difficult to decide which sauce is for which dish because they're not just for the meats, they could also be used for the salad and other dishes, so let your taste buds decide.

El Fuego
It's a brownie topped with vanilla ice cream then covered with roasted marshmallow. 
Something that's nice and different for a dessert.

My sister, who's not fond of eating chicken, ordered this for herself:

Grilled honey pork belly, P280.
My sister finished it before I could have a taste. Haha! It was good, she mused.

Peppermint hot tea, P60.
I felt really stuffed after eating a lot of chicken and this gave me a relief.

Aside from eating, there was another highlight to our first Peri-Peri Charcoal Chicken visit: receiving freebies! As it was my sister's birthday the day before, 
we were able to avail of the birthday promo.

What could be better than taking home one whole roasted chicken? 
Not paying for it! Haha! Awesome!

What's more, it was Mother's Day the following day and we were gifted with 
a duo of spiced vinegar and chili sauce. Thank you, Peri-Peri!

It was a delicious, healthy and satisfying meal that we had on our first visit to Peri-Peri Charcoal Chicken. My sister so loved it that over two weeks later, she brought us there again! This time, we ordered one whole roasted chicken with four side dishes plus others.

One whole chicken with four java rice as sides, P720.

Coleslaw, P65; Corn and carrot, P65.
Extra side dishes.

Sebastian salad, P199.
Fresh greens with hard boiled eggs. Why not? My youngest child loved this.

Salted egg potato chips, 100.
I didn't enjoy this much because aside from being too salty, the potatoes were also sliced too thick, resulting in lack of crunch.

Chorizo con queso fundido, P150.
We loved this: nacho chips served with a dip of melted mozzarella and cheddar cheeses topped with chorizo bits. Great munchees while waiting for the mains!

Todo carne flatbread, 195.
This was awesome! Taste-wise, it can rival the popular pizzas out there! I love that there's a lot of toppings spread out over thin, crunchy crust! Yum!

House blend iced tea carafe, 160.

Cucumber lemonade glass, P60.

Guyabano smoothie, 80.

Inside Peri-Peri Charcoal Chicken at the Ground Floor of Robinsons Place Manila
I love that fiesta vibe!

Peri-Peri Charcoal Chicken at the ground floor of Robinsons Place Manila 
near the Pedro Gil wing

Now we have a new favorite family restaurant. For the good food, affordable prices and fast and friendly services, Peri-Peri Charcoal Chicken and Sauce Bar is now among our go-to places. Try it, folks, if you still haven't. It presently has 15 branches in Metro Manila 
and three in provinces so find one near you. 
Happy eating!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Discovering Blackport

I have this strange (for some people but not for me!) passion for black food and have been on quite a long-running quest for it. Last month, I was happy to discover Blackport -- a travel-themed restaurant and bar that serves black pizza, burgers and pasta. Yay, was I thrilled! I wasted no time and went there, in the scout area in Quezon City with one of my kids, to find this quaint place. Alas, the black pizza was not available, much to my dismay. So I went a second time yeterday with another of my kids, to finally meet my black pizza and eat it, but of course. 
Our orders on two occasions:

Margherita Pizza, P349.
Thin-crusted and very cheesy. Love, love, love!

Blackport Carbonara, P249.
I loved the deep black color of the noodles in contrast with the whiteness of the creamy sauce. This pasta, aside from being a beauty in my eyes, was also a joy to my taste buds. It was delicious and lusciously creamy once I mixed up the noodles and the sauce, of which there was enough such that it wasn't dry nor soupy.

American Burger, P279.
This was my son's and he said he liked it.

Pita Rack, P159.
Lots of tasty beef chunks and veggies on top of pita bread. This is something 
that's quite unique and filling!

Mexican Nachos, P209.
My daughter and I shared this. I loved the colorful chips but cringed at the thought of ingesting the food additives. Good thing there were lots of chopped tomatoes and onions to provide us some needed nutrients. Haha!

Nutella Milkshake, P160.
Kids are crazy for Nutella and my boy is no exemption so it didn't come as a surprise that he ordered this. He enjoyed it, though it was too sweet for me.

Four seasons juice, P60.
My daughter's drink.

Passport-sized menu

In and around Blackport

Blackport at 51 Scout Rallos St., Diliman, Quezon City

Blackport is one nice place for your HOHOL (hang out, hang-out lang!) with the gang for hours of banter and laughter. I say this because there was a small group of three people seated outside and they looked to me like they were having a really nice time (except that they were drinking beer and smoking which are both a no-no to me). 
Well, even if I was with my kids and just enjoying the food as there was no coffee nor tea on the menu (the only drinks I order when eating out), I also did savor my time at Blackport as it's a casual, laidback place with no loud music, making conversation easy and comfortable. The free wifi also allowed me to do some thinking and writing. It's a plus that the lady server was very friendly and of course, 
the Eatigo discount was awesome!
Swing by Blackport when you happen to be in the Tomas Morato area, folks. 
Happy eating!