Saturday, September 15, 2018

Soban K-Town Grill at Robinsons Place Manila

I first saw this Korean restaurant, Soban K-Town Grill, at SM North Edsa earlier this year (or was it 2017?). Last summer, I saw a branch open at Robinsons Place Manila. One Sunday soon afterwards, my daughter and I tried it out for early dinner after worship service at our church nearby. I loved the food and ambiance of the place that I came back the week after with my youngest son, who loved the food as well.
What we ordered on our first visit: 

Samgyupsal Set, P405.
The samgyupsal set is available in 120 grams of pork for P355. and 180g for P405. My daughter and I would be sharing so we ordered the latter. The set includes fresh strips of pork belly for grilling plus side dishes (unlimited!) of soup, lettuce (not pictured here, though), green onions, fried egg, kimchi, and mashed potato with macaroni. All the side dishes are really good especially the green onions which are a bit sweet.

Dolsot Bibimbap, P280.
I super love this Korean dish of rice mixed with egg, seaweed and vegetables for that burst of various flavors and textures, not to mention all the nutrients! 
This bowl of goodness is both healthy and yummy!

Coffee Prince, P120.
So aptly named, this dessert, I  thought when I laid my eyes on it. This sweetie sure looks regal, it has a "crown"! Sorry, Prince, I just had to eat it that crunchy milk chocolate on top of your "head". Writing this review, it's hard to decide which the highlight of this dessert was - the crunchy chocolate "crown", the delectable coffee ice cream or the bed of sweet red beans sandwiched in between graham crackers. Absolutely everything - from top to bottom - was 
sooo good it sent me to dessert heaven!

Meanwhile, these were my son and mine's order: 

Samgyupsal Set, P405.
Again! My son loved grilling and of course, eating!

Ultimate Beef Bap, P250.
My little big boy was super engrossed in this dish and demolished it in record time, though with some help from mom. Tee-hee. He ate everything in the bowl, 
including all the veggies, thankfully.

K-Taco, 2pcs, P145.
My boy and I shared this and loved the Mexican-Korean fusion. There was some heat from the kimchi mixed into bits of chicken but the sour cream and cheese 
tamed it and gave balance to the overall taste. 

 Inside Soban K-Town Grill

Tables are separated by screens which made me feel I was about 
to make a confession. Haha!

Soban K-Town Grill at Robinsons Place Manila

On both occasions, my kids and I left Soban K-Town Grill really full and satisfied! We savored everything we had. The dessert was most unforgettable, though, 'coz it's indigenous to Soban. Aside from good food, ambiance is something I give my thumbs up to as the place is clean and relaxing (although a little cramped). As for the price, it's quite steep on some items but others on the menu have reasonable tags. 
There's a 10 percent service charge, however. 
Still, I'd love to be back! I recommend this place if you're feeling up to some good Korean food. Aside from the SM North Edsa and Robinsons Place Manila 
branches, there is one too at Eastwood Mall, Greenbelt 3 
and ATC Corporate Center in Muntinlupa.
Happy eating!

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Mai Wei Fang at Robinsons Place Manila

 Chinese cuisine has been embedded in Filipino culture for many years. Just think of pancit, siomai and siopao. These have been so much a part of our daily meals that we take for granted these are actually part of Chinese influence in the lives of Pinoys. 
I read, however, that what we are familiar with are only foods that are part of Southern China's cuisine which mostly consists of rice and noodle preparations. Apparently, we haven't known Northern China's cuisine 
that is mainly flour-based.
Enter Mai Wei Fang -- that cheery-looking hole in the wall at the Robinsons Place Manila (near the Adriatico entrance). This eatery has the "mission" to introduce to Filipinos Chinese cuisine from the Northern region. According to an online article, the owner (or one of the owners) toured Northeastern China for months to study the cuisine and gather recipes before building the menu for Mai Wei Fang, 
which, by the way, means "wheat mill room".
The restaurant occupies quite a small space but what invites one in is the happy-looking yellow interiors and the glass-walled kitchen that lets diners see all the action happening inside. What could be a better way to work up an appetite than to let one see his food being skillfully prepared? Well, the food being actually served right in front of you, I guess? Tee-hee. Anyway, I tried Mai Wei Fang with family last June and came back solo last Saturday before going to church. 
What we've had:

Sheng Jian Bao

This is Mai Wei Fang's signature dish that's similar to xiao long bao, only this one is pan-fried and the skin is a bit thicker and chewier. Just like its more popular version, these dumplings could be tricky -- and fun -- to eat. Because the soup inside each dumpling is hot, don't gobble apiece up, lest you scald your tongue. Bite into the skin just a bit to open up the dumpling and let the soup cool down awhile before popping the whole thing into your mouth. You may also dip it first into the vinegar that comes with every order of the dumplings. Now let your taste buds enjoy the play of flavors and contrast in textures coming from the softness of the dumpling skin at the top and the subtle crisp of the pan-fried bottom. What an enjoyable gastronomic 
experience it is, eating these Sheng Jian Bao!

Shao Bing Sandwich
Sandwiched in between flaky and crusty bread are scrambled eggs, pork floss, green onions and you tiao, which is an elongated piece of bread. You might be thinking, "What? Bread in bread?" Well, I was just as surprised as you are. I haven't had anything quite like this Chinese sandwich! Each bite gives an interesting interplay 
of textures and flavors. It's unique, savory, delicious and filling.

Chinese Fried Chicken
If you love chicken like I do, you surely would fall for this enormous serving of fried chicken breast that's juicy and tasty. Best with some steaming white rice! Share this with your sweetie or best buddy. Up to three persons 
may share one order of this chicken chop. 😊

Chinese Fried Chicken Rice Bowl
Going solo isn't bad if you want to eat in peace. Haha! Opt for this chicken rice topping if you're coming in alone. Unlike the extra large chop, the chicken here is drizzled with soy glaze sauce so it's sweet and savory at the same time. Yummy!

Cong You Bing
This is crispy green onion pancake. It's something light -- both in flavor and texture and might just be perfect when you're not really hungry but want to munch on something. This could be perfectly paired with a hot pot of tea.

Wintermelon Chilled Tea, Chinese Iced Lemon Tea
My gang ordered Wintermelon Chilled Tea to wash everything down while I chose Chinese Iced Lemon Tea as suggested by the crew who took our orders. I asked for a drink that wasn't sweet, and true enough, it wasn't at all saccharine, with a strong 
tea taste and a hint of lemon. Very refreshing!

As I mentioned, I went back to Mai Wei Fang last Saturday and ordered the Sheng Jian Bao and Chinese Iced Lemon Tea again. 

In and around Mai Wei Fang

Watching our food being prepared stirs anticipation, 
not to mention hunger. Haha!

Frying the Sheng Jian Bao


 Mai Wei Fang at the ground floor of Robinsons Place Manila 
near the Adriatico entrance

What Mai Wei Fang offers is a welcome deviation from the food offered by most restaurants, including those Chinese establishments that are too many to count in the metro. It's the perfect choice when you're kinda tired of the usual 
food in the usual places you go to for a meal. Try it now! 
Happy eating!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Tim Hortons opens at SM City San Lazaro

Me and my friends had been eagerly anticipating the opening of Tim Hortons at the SM City San Lazaro and finally, the long wait is over. Canada's favorite coffee shop opened in this mall in Sta. Cruz, Manila on Friday, Aug. 17, 2018. 
On my birthday last Monday, Aug. 20, I chose to have brunch there 
with my good friend and we both loved the place. Unlike the small, cramped UN Ave. branch where I used to spend Sunday afternoons after our worship service nearby, the Tim Hortons store at SM City San Lazaro is spacious and airy, very welcoming 
and homey. It's a place most suitable for hanging out either 
to work or have a chat with friends. 
Anyway, it was brunch for us, as I mentioned, and we had:

Crispy Chicken Ciabatta combo, P230.
This would have been a great sandwich, chicken being my favorite but the patty was dry, sadly. I hope this isn't always the case 'coz I still want to have this next time. By the way, a combo comes with a small drink, either hot or iced coffee, and a serving of Tim's delicious potato wedges.

Italiano Grilled Bagel combo, P270.
My friend's. I forgot to ask her if she liked it but I loved the bagel when I ordered it at the UN Avenue branch. There was a lot of filling and the ham was great-tasting and fresh. (The S'mores Pocket is a separate order.) 

S'mores Pocket, P35. 
Small original blend coffee, P70.
I ordered hot coffee (with cream but no sugar) after nearly two hours of exchanging stories with 
my friend and I was really feeling cold inside the store.

Well, what do you know, I was back at Tim Hortons just five days later after having a much-needed pedi and bag-shopping. Oh, I wanted to celebrate having scored a nice tote at 50% off from Charles & Keith and ordered:

Steak and Cheese Panini combo, P250.
Loved this one! There's a huge mound of thinly sliced beef as you can see. No scrimping! It's cheesy, too and with some slices of red onion. The only thing I didn't like so much was the bread (ciabatta, I think) 'coz it wasn't as soft as I wanted. This combo is very filling, aside from yummy!

In and around Tim Hortons at SM City San Lazaro



Weekend crowd! 
No vacant table on a Saturday afternoon.

Just over a week after it opened, Tim Hortons is already giving coffee shops at SM City San Lazaro stiff competition. It was jam-packed last Saturday! And I can't 
blame all those people, both young and old, for trooping to this place 
even if it's hidden, tucked away on one far end of the mall. 
This place is lovely, very comfy-looking and the coffee is really good! The sandwiches could still improve but the pastries are crave-worthy. I've tried
their muffin and donuts at the UN Ave. branch and I loved them, 
especially the red muffin (blueberry, I think). 
If you haven't been to Tim's Hortons, I highly recommend this store 
at SM City San Lazaro. You'll love it here. 
That's a guarantee!