Friday, July 28, 2006

David's Tea House @ Greenbelt 1

It was still several days before payday (and a Friday to boot!) and we were tired of eating canned goods for lunch (not too mention it's bad for you). So half of the Brunch Clubbers decided to eat out for lunch. (plus it was raining... need comfort food -tinz)

After much deliberation (we're running out of budget-friendly places!), we decided on David's Tea House in Greenbelt 1 Makati. Usually this place is overflowing with people but today was not one of those days which was good for us. David's Tea House is a typical Chinese restaurant, it's bright, crowded and noisy. Thumbs up for the fast service and cleanliness of the place.

This is my second time at David's Tea House. The last time was pre-Brunch Club days. We ordered family style and it was yummy albeit a bit expensive for everyday eating.
This time, to save what little money I had left, I ordered their Wanton Hofan Soup and an order of Shrimp Siomai. Their Wanton Hofan was okay, not good but not bad either. It wasn't as tasty that I expected. I had to rely on their chili sauce to add some flavor.

The Shrimp Siomai from David's Tea House was actually pretty good. Very tasty and not all covered in siomai wrapper like some other dimsum places. (true true! love their siomai!-tinz)

I'd go back to David's Tea House in Greenbelt 1 Makati but maybe this time I'll stick to their family-style offerings.
~~ Leigh

Sweet and sour pork was average. Used to order their orange chicken... yummy too. Chinese food really is soothing. -tina

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Pizza Company @ Market! Market! Fort - Taguig

Today, the Makati Brunch Club decided to step out of its native roots, and headed off to Taguig for its first non-Makati restaurant review. The beneficiary of this “special” distinction: The Pizza Company at the Market! Market! shopping mall in Taguig City.
Idjea, Lean, Leigh and Tina pose in front of the Pizza Company restaurant in Taguig

Even more fun was the fact that the Makati Brunch Club – Lean, Leigh, Idjea, Tina, and I – was complete for the first time in months! With all this excitement, we piled into The Family Car (that would be my Revo) and headed towards Market! Market!
The Pizza Company's festive and clean interiors

The Pizza Company restaurant in Taguig is a delightfully clean place that offers Italian dishes for value. As the The Pizza Company - Fort photo above shows, festive wallpaper, preserved vegetables, and an open-air cooking area add to the pleasant vibes of The Pizza Company in Market! Market!

A thick, creamy Fettucine Florentine from The Pizza Company

We ordered The Pizza Company's Fettucine Florentine that was rich, creamy, and flavorful without being heavy. The pasta was cooked to perfection, al dente without starchiness. Abundant ham and spinach only served to enhance the fattucine experience.

A sweet and tasty Pasta Bolognese from The Pizza Company

We also ordered The Pizza Company's Pasta Bolognese, which was tangy and sweet, with generous servings of spiced ground beef.

Idjea posing with the Bacon and Cheese Twists from The Pizza Company

A special treat that I finally got to claim was The Pizza Company's Bacon and Cheese Twists, which were heavenly and flaky, rich and truly delightful. We got this free, thanks for the Pizza Company Taguig's Loyalty Card promotions, which I was finally able to claim on a weekday.

The Tom Yum Kung / All Meat Pizza from The Pizza Company

Finally, the piece de resistance, the Pizza Company's pizza, which was a half-and-half, a treat they give because of their first-year anniversary. The top half in the photo shows the Pizza Company specialty, a mouthwateringly spicy Tom Yum Kung; the bottom half shows this Taguig restaurant's half-sweet, half-salty all-meat selection. We ordered the medium size crispy, which it was.

Price-wise, expect a heftier bill than usual at the Pizza Company thanks to almost 20% add-on in taxes. Ouch. Other than the exorbitant bill, which almost didn't justify the cost of the food, The Pizza Company is a fantastic restaurant in Taguig worth experiencing. I'd go back in a heartbeat. - Ganns

It has been one Italian place to another! In this particular rainy day, the club was once again in complete attendance and in full force as we trek down Market Market and indulge in a much-awaited Pizza Co. experience.

I personally have been to this resto a couple of times and I can say that it never fails to satisfy not only one's hunger but also some major Italian craving.

We ordered a personal favorite of mine, Pasta Bolognese. I'm not much of a fan of white/cream-based pastas and this bolognese is cooked to perfection. The sauce is so yummy and not oily at all; the pasta itself is perfect in every bite.

The pizza on the other hand is a character in its own. It was my first time to try the Tom Yung Kung pizza and since it's the pizza's take on the famous Thai soup, which I'm not a fan of, I didn't like it as much as I thought I would.

As for the All Meat pizza, as expected, it's so sinfully delicious. The crust is superbly thin and crunchy and the portions of meat are bountiful.

This place makes you fall in love with Italian food over and over again. - lean

Like Lean, I've also been to The Pizza Company in Market! Market! before. My all-time favorite dish there is the Fetuccine Florentine. I'm partial to tomato-based sauce as well but this pasta dish is to die for. Perfect white sauce in my opinion. It's not too creamy nor is it too oily. You don't feel your arteries clog up with the cream.

I also like their Tom Yung Kung pizza but then again I'm a thai food junkie. I don't think it's for everyone though, especially not for those that detest Thai food.

Other items on their menu that I recommend but we didn't order: their Stuffed Calamari (yummy baby squid stuffed with crabstick) and their Cheese Garlice Bread (yummy yummy for your tummy).

I will definitely go back to The Pizza Company in Market! Market! You go too!
-- Leigh

I'm not really a fan of pizza company. Maybe because I prefer my red sauce to be more italian- a little sour and not so sweet. And I didn't like the crust of their pizza that much too. I prefer homemade dough. Their cream based pasta seemed starchy. And maybe because I didn't like the Tom Yum Kung seafood pizza that we ordered that much. There's this tang of salty water or is it just my imagination? hehe I just liked the colorful decor amongst the wooden chairs. Nothin' beats
Itallianis for me. :P -tina

Friday, July 14, 2006

Pizzeria via Napoleone @ Jupiter Street

Pizzeria Via Napoleone
#28 Jupiter St., Bel-Air Village, Makati City

In an Italian restaurant in Makati foodfest, Pizzeria Via Napoleone along Jupiter hosted half of the Makati Brunch Club today while the other half dined at Italianni's in Greenbelt 2. Tina and I took time out to travel from our office in Legaspi Village to sup at this charming Italian restaurant in Makati and enjoy authentic Italian cuisine.

Together with four other friends, we ordered two pizzas (Gorgonzola and Tutta Carne) and two pastas (Carbonara and Amatricana), a selection adequate for a party of six but certainly not for four hungry gentlemen and two famished ladies.

So how did I find Pizzeria Via Napoleone's food?

The Pizzeria Via Napoleone's pizza dough was obviously fresh and handmade, with the chefs making the pizzas in full view of diners. The pizzas of this particular restaurant in Makati may be designed to be light, which they were. In my opinion, the pizzas lacked toppings, especially the gorgonzola, which was supposed to highlight blue cheese, which I hardly got to taste, even hints of it, in the pizza. The tutta carne, which means all meat, had meat, but certainly not enough to make the pizza filling. To add insult to injury, at the bottom of the plate, underneath the pizza, was one solitary hair; Tina and I then glanced over to the chefs' corner to discover, to our horror, that the chefs were not wearing hairnets while they kneaded the dough and baked the pizzas.

The pastas, on the other hand, were overcooked, so instead of a pleasant al dente, we got a relatively tough, almost starchy pasta. I did not try the carbonara, but the amatricana was relatively bland, and one other diner with us noted the lack of flavor.

"Maybe real Italian food is supposed to be bland," he noted.

"Believe me, it's not," I countered.

In fairness, the prices of this Italian restaurant in Makati were quite reasonable, so I imagine that may have softened the blow of this otherwise noteworthy restaurant. The ambience lent itself to a pleasant experience, with its clean, austere surroundings and Italian decor. The service was lightning fast (food arrived within minutes), and there was no wait for seating. Ultimately, though, I was not particularly impressed with the food of Pizzeria Via Napoleone, and when the food of any Makati restaurant leaves me wanting to eat more, albeit not of the same cuisine from said restaurant, I do not see myself returning. - Ganns

Ninja turtle in the past life. (hehehe kidding)
by: Tina
I've always been a fan of pizza. Pizza could sustain me. hehe I just love pizza and any kinds of italian food! (I know it's not forever that I could just escape the implications from all the calories hehehe) Coming across Pizzeria via Napoleone's at Jupiter Street, Makati, I knew I've found another favorite italian restaurant. The blue cheese pizza is just heavenly. This runs third place in my favorite pizza list! (And it's in reasonable prices too. Although the carbonara seems a little starchy. Still I love it's not so cheesy, not so salty, not so buttery taste... a little bland and sour pizza and not-so creamy white
sauce. The restaurant is really not so fancy. But they serve your order really fast! I'm definitely coming back! ~ Nice boxy lights on top... ~

Seattle's Best Coffee @ Greenbelt 3

And for dessert... we headed off to Seattle's Best Coffee at Greenbelt 3 Makati. I've been craving for Seattle's Best Coffee's all-time best SBC Javanilla Shake since last Tuesday (when I last had one!).

Seattle's Best Coffee's Javanilla Shake is like no other's. I love it mainly because it's not sweet. You can actually still taste the coffee in this great coffee creation from this coffee shop in Makati. You are not overwhelmed by the whipped cream. Between Starbucks, Gloria Jeans, Coffee Bean and Seattle's Best, the best ice blended coffee (for me at least) would be SBC's Javanilla Shake.

My dad once asked a barista from another coffee shop in Makati what their counterpart for SBC's Javanilla Shake was. The barista recommended one drink but let's just say it doesn't even come close to the ballpark.

YUMMY!!! -- Leigh

I must admit that I am not a coffee drinker. I do love coffee shops, though. There's something quaint about them.

Anyhow, I am such a Starbucks, Seattle's and Coffee Bean fanatic. Not so on their coffee concoctions but on the other drinks they offer.

Arriving groggy and sleepy today, I had to get my caffeine fix, so I went to Starbucks during the morning. Quite satisfied, I was taken aback when Leigh wanted to get a Javanilla Shake at Seattle's, which of course, I could never resist. C'mon, it's Javanilla! No one can resist that, right?

So with a palpitating heart, I bought my Javanilla even though my eyes are almost bawling out of their sockets due to coffee overload. Told ya I aint no coffee drinker. A cup makes me an energizer bunny already. And having two, well, just keeps me going and going and going......

But, yummy nonetheless. Never fails. - lean

Italianni's @ Greenbelt 2

Don't you just love paydays? Everyone does but more so us Makati Brunch Clubbers. It's a day when we can splurge and eat to our stomachs' content at any restaurant in Makati.

This payday, we went Italianni's at Greenbelt 2. (Actually, we were craving for the Japanese food at Yaku at the Somerset, but due to ongoing renovations, that review would have to wait until August.)

Smoked Salmon Pizza

Before anything else, forgive us for the pictures of the half-eaten food we ordered at this Italian restaurant in Makati. The only excuse we can give is that we were so hungry we totally forgot to take photos.

Anyway, because of the sashimi cravings, we decided on the Smoked Salmon Pizza and it was good. Not great mind you, I found the crust too chewy for my taste. I tend to like my pizzas with a little crunch in them. (If you guys are looking for an Italian restaurant in Cebu, try La Tegola Ristorante! The Parma Ham is yummy!).

The smoked salmon was satisfying, with the many flavors - cheese and dill, among them - blending very well with the fish.

Baked Ziti

The baked ziti of this Italian restaurant in Makati was fantastic. Italianni's baked ziti was very good; the meat and sauce was delicious. It wasn't flavored for the Filipino preference of sweet tomato pastas. A little dash with Tabasco sauce and it's perfect.

The Italianni bread looked yummy as well but I'd have to get Lean's take on that since she was the only one who had a taste.

Italianni's serving size is perfect for two. Maybe three if you're not too hungry. With the pizza, one serving was enough for us three girls.

-- Leigh

One good reason to go to Italianni's: free foccacia bread!

Makati Brunch Club was craving for Japanese food, and we wanted to go to Yaku at the Somerset Millenium, but it is unfortunately closed for renovations. We head our way to Greenbelt instead, without any clue where lunch was going to be. We decided on Italianni's at the last minute, and we didn't regret our choice.

The Baked Zitti was great! It had lots of cheese, which I liked, and lots of sausages, which I also liked. The serving was a bit small to be shared by 3 people, but with a slice of Smoked Salmon Pizza, which also had generous toppings of salmon and cheese, which I also liked, what we had was definitely filling.

I would like to especially commend on the service rendered by the staff at Italianni's. They were very quick with their service, from the time they seated us to our table to the delivery of our change. What's worth mentioning though is how they didn't throw away our packed left-over pizza when we left the resto to buy our coffee elsewhere. We went back to the resto hoping that they haven't thrown it away yet. Apparently, they kept it at one of their counters for just in case we had to come back for it. Great service, ain't it? :) -- Idj

I adore Italian food. I have good enough reason to believe that I'm a Sicilian native in my past life.

Yep, Idj is correct when she said we did not plan on eating at Italiani's this fateful payday. But since the Jap resto near the office is closed for renovation, we had no choice but to scour for a new place to dine.

And yes, Greenbelt is the answer to our aching tummies. And what better way to satisfy it but indulge in some Italian loving!

So we, the fantastic three of Idj, Leigh and I, decided to have pasta and pizza. Smoked Salmon Pizza and Baked Ziti. Good thing it's already payday and we can dine in our hearts' content without much of the annoyance that we'll end up penny less afterwards. Come to think of it, we almost did.

Every single bite was sumptuous. The pizza crust is perfect. The pasta is al dente. It was simply heavenly.

- lean

Thursday, July 13, 2006

McDonald's - Greenbelt 1 we still need to do some review for McDonalds? (whining) Filipinos love McDonalds. Everybody does. Who doesn't? Of course, excluding people who are working in call centers, claiming it as their 24/7 fast food chain and source of survival that they basically have to eat it everyday. Don't ask them they'd probably throw up first before saying one word. Or those that are extremely health conscious and deprives themselves of once-in-a-while indulgence.

But of course, McDonald's is the all time favorite American fast food chain all over the globe! Let's not dig into the history, all we know that if it's raining, or if we are low in budget like today... (since payday is not until tomorrow) there's no other comfort food better than McDonald's french fries, quarter pounder, double cheeseburger, bigmac and chicken meal.

Lei havin a Car's (movie) Happy Meal - chicken nuggets, twister fries and soda

my big mac meal =)

Our common favorite: Hot choco fudge brownie.... delicious when topped with vanilla icecream

McChicken Meal of Cel

YUM! JUNKFOOD we know, but there's no other fulfilling super quick meal than McDonald's! It's good to eat sinfully sometimes. Extra cardio! I'll probably walk an extra hour this weekend.hehe As what Ganns would say when he is doubted of his food choices. "You live longer, but at least, I'm happier." ;)
Donna and Cel, two fellow designers joined us today by the way. Thanks to you two! Hope you enjoyed our makati brunch sessions. We're a little feisty today, it's probably the weather. hehe -tina

A Quarter Pounder

Love ko to! : )

McDonald's is one of those comfort joints that never fails to soothe one's craving. Not to mention it's being budget friendly.

Love their McCafe, with its cozy ambience best partnered with their delightful sweets.

For today's rainy day edition, I had my usual McNuggets Turbo Treat. I'm not much of a rice fan but since I love chicken, this is the closest I can get.

Thanks Tin for the pics, even though we have that "depressed area" look because of the awful weather.

- lean

When the Makati Brunch Club is on a budget, and none of us has baon, McDonald's is always on top of the list. Apart from its ideal proximity from the office, we just love hanging out at McCafe, where we'll have dessert - most of the time the fudgy choco, a common favorite - after we have had our very satisfying comfort meals.

See that meal above? That's my absolute fave when eating at this joint -- Double Cheeseburger Meal, just plain, without the dressing please. For cheese & meat lovers, you must absolutely try this for the following reasons:

1) Since it is a special request, your burger is served right off the grill
2) The taste of alternating cheese slices & burger patties is absolutely heaven!!!

Sinful -- I know! But who cares? :) -- Idjea

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Fish & Co @ Greenbelt 3

Today, the Makati Brunch Club eats at the Fish & Co. restaurant in Makati, located on the third floor of Greenbelt 3 in beautiful Makati City, Philippines.

the girls at Fish & co

Grilled Calamari
We ordered Fish % Co.'s grilled calamari to share among the four of us and it was delicious, cooked to perfection!

Squid is tricky to cook. If you overcook it, it's so hard to eat. But Fish & Co's Grilled Calamari was perfect. It was a great starter as we waited for our next course.

Fish and Chips

We had two orders to share among the four of us. The fish was yummy.
Fish % Co.'s Fish and Chips was definitely juicy and flavorful. The breading didn't overpower the fish. Other fish and chips from other restaurants in Makati sometimes have the breading thicker than the fillet of fish. The fish at Fish & Co. also came with some sort of sauce (tartar?), although it was not enough for the entire fish.

The chips were also great. It had spice (cajun powder?) on it which gave the potatoes an extra kick.

Overall, I loved Fish & Co. If I were hungry enough, I could have finished the entire dish. I would definitely go back. And if they were more affordable, I'd be there twice or thrice a week. I love fish.

-- Leigh

Birthday treat: Free cake from Fish & Co. because it was Idjea's birthday.

Thank God for Fish and Co. because eating healthy has never been this good and filling.

I have always been a fan of everything and anything seafood. Thanks to my boyfriend whose love affair with seafood has rubbed off me big time.

I love all the food at this restaurant in Makati. The fish and chips are sumptuous to every bite; the calamari is tender in every way and we even got free cake!

Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum :)

- lean

I just like this photo of Leigh I took! Red striped shirt in synch with the background! hehehe I need to post it! hehehe. I love the blue painted walls of fish and co.
I love their chair too. I just love their interior and ambiance. Food is great! Healthy and satisfying! :)

yours truly,