Review: Relik Tapas Bar and Lounge

Review: Relik Tapas Bar and Lounge

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this turns into a night club after dinner

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a brick tavern

A couple of weeks ago, Spanky Enriquez invited me to a bloggers VIP night at Relik Tapas Bar and Lounge. I’ve never been there but my sister hangs out there with her friends and/or boyfriend sometimes so I accepted the invite out of curiosity. I came early because I had to drop off my mom at a meeting in the Fort area. When I arrived at the VIP room, only Spanky was there and we chatted until more guests arrived. I browsed the menu and decided to order the Roasted Bone Marrow (290) for myself.

food review

Roasted Bone Marrow

The Roasted Bone Marrow is topped with gremolata and served with caramelized onions and toasted baguette. The marrow itself is herbed and slightly toasted. It’s good with the rock salt and caramelized onion and baguette. I invited the other bloggers to taste it and they seem to like it too.

Relik brought out a number of food to try: Tasting Board, Baked Australian Brie, Quesadillas, Potato Chips with Truffle Oil, Chorizig, Deep Fried Manchego Cheese, Relik’s Mixed Paella, Mussels and Chorizo, Mother Ann’s Braised Ox Tail, Benny’s Certified Angus Rib Eye Steak (300g) and Vanilla & Amaretto Panacotta.

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Tasting Board

Tasting Board (P490) comes with 15 months Jamon Serrano sliced so thin, boneless “Diego Martin”, Chorizo Pamplona “Casedemont,” stuffed “Serpis” Spanish olives, 6 months Manchego “Artequeso, and toasted baguette. The meats are imported from Spain and the manchego is shipped from Davao. This makes for a great appetizer or if you’re at Reliks to drink, this makes for a great “pulutan.”

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Baked Australian Brie

The Baked Australian Brie (P530) is my favorite. It is a creamy Yarra Valley Brie wrapped in jamon and lightly glazed with honey. From the description alone, you can probably imagine all kinds of flavors a bite of this will bring you. The brie alone is divine but add jamon and I felt like I was in heaven. We finished this in a blink of an eye.

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Quesadillas

Quesadillas (P300) comes in three variants: Garlic Shrimp, Pulled Pork, and BBQ Chicken. It is served with tomato salsa and guacamola.  If I am not mistaken, the one served to us was garlic shrimp. It was really delicious but I was only able to eat one. I wanted more I can’t be greedy.

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Potato Chips with Truffle Oil

I couldn’t find the Potato Chips with Truffle Oil in the menu. I think this was made specially for us. Truffle oil makes everything taste better!

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Chorizig

The Chorizig (P295) is a crowd favorite. It is Relik’s version of sisig but instead of pork innards, they used crispy chorizo bits. It is one of my favorites as well.

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Deep Friend Manchego Cheese

Deep Fried Manchego Cheese (P300) is served cubed and coated in Panko bread crumbs. It is lightly coated in honey and cayenne pepper. The gooey cheese is delightful and is one of my favorites as well.

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Relik's Mixed Paella

Relik’s Mixed Paella (P820) is good for 8 to 10 people. It was moist, juicy, and tasty. The seafood and vegetables were fresh and the eggs were perfectly cooked. This is how paella is done!

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Mussels and Chorizo

Mussels and Chorizo (P330) is New Zealand green mussels sautéed in garlic cream and Spanish chorizo. I’m not a big fan or mussels so this is just so-so for me.

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Mother Ann's Braised Ox Tail

Mother Ann’s Braised Ox Tail (P450) is a home runner! It is slow braised Australian ox tails served with pomme purée and buttered carrots. The ox tail is very tender and the sauce is unforgettable.

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Benny's Certified Angus Rib Eye (300g)

Benny’s Certified Angus Rib Eye (P1,150) is how I want my steak down. The rubbing is simple, just pepper and salt. The burnt butter sauce makes this steak a killer. A definite favorite of mine.

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Vanilla & Amaretto Panacotta

Lastly, we had a Vanilla & Amaretto Panacotta (P160) for dessert. It was a joy eating this. It wasn’t too sweet, it was just right. Plus there were vanilla seeds in the panacotta so we knew Relik uses the finest ingredients.

All of us were so full after trying all Relik brought out. I stayed there with some bloggers and chatted the night away. It was really fun. Good food, good company, good conversation – what more could I ask for?

My sister hasn’t tried the food there. I hope that if she reads this, she’ll actually order something the next time she’s at Relik. I will definitely go back, probably to have lunch there or a dinner with friends. I just hope it’s not too crowded because I hate crowds.

Relik Tapas Bar and Lounge
2F Commercenter Building
31st Ave cor. 4th St.
Bonifacio Global City
6248251

Review: Yabu House of Katsu

Review: Yabu House of Katsu

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I recently tried Yabu House of Katsu in Megamall Atrium after reading about the restaurant in other food blogs. The place was packed even on a weekday but I was alone so I was able to get a table fast. I decided to get a Tonkatsu Set which came with Japanese rice, miso soup, Japanese pickles, unlimited cabbage with gomatake (sesame dressing) and a small bowl of fruit. When ordering, you have to choose the kind of meat and its size. They have imported “Kurobuta” pork and local ones which are always delivered fresh, never frozen, or so their menu says. The local pork has 2 variants: Rosu which has fat and Hire which is lean. Of course I chose Rosu because I like to live dangerously 😉 As for size, there’s 180g, 120g, and 90grams. My Tonkatsu Set is a 180g Rosu which costs P365 (+12% VAT & Service Charge).

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roasted sesame

I like the fact that patrons have to grind the roasted sesame seeds. It’s very interactive and the smell of crushed sesame seeds can work up an appetite.

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Rosu Katsu Set

Did I like it? Yes I did. It was crunchy and meaty as it should be. The pork is fresh and soft. The batter is okay. The salad is satisfactory. However, I don’t understand why the restaurateurs said that the katsu melts in your mouth. How could breaded pork melt in ones’ mouth? I’d understand if it’s not breaded…maybe I’m just being too literal but I still disagree with their claim. There is also a slight aftertaste. A metallic aftertaste at that. I don’t know if it’s because of the oil or the pork but it makes the dining experience a bit unpleasant.

The redeeming factor is the Himalayan Pink Salt. I love rock salt and I sprinkled the pink Himalayan salt abundantly all over my katsu.

Will I eat there again? Yes, I will if it isn’t crowded.

Yabu House of Katsu
2/F Mega Atrium
SM Megamall
5763900

Review: Brasserie Cicou

Review: Brasserie Cicou

degustation

Brasserie Cicou

I posted earlier that we toured Istituto Culinario but I failed to mention that just right beside the school is Brasserie Cicou, a restaurant owned by institute partner Cyrille Soenen. Monsieur Soenen worked for years in the kitchens of Hotel Ritz in Paris, Duc D’Enghien, Le Drouant, and many more Michelin-rated restaurants before moving to the Philippines to be with his wife. He opened Restaurant Cicou in Hotel Celeste, Makati but it closed late last year. Brasserie Cicou is a resurrection but with a more French provincial, homey slant.

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an intern preparing desserts

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guests enjoying the pates at the charcuterie station

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with fellow blogger Brian Ong

We went to Brasserie Cicou right after the school tour for degustation and I found almost everything served that night exquisite. My favorites were the egg cocotte with squash foam, cromesquis of sea urchin, chorizo de palmito, pork head pate, pork knuckles terrine, onglet poeler and pork rillette. I immediately sent an SMS to my foodie friend Eloisa and told her about the food I was eating and how toe-curling good they are. Since she trusts my recommendations, she immediately agreed that we must come there and dine as soon as possible. My friends and I are like that, we talk about our next meal when we haven’t even finished our current meal. Oh foodies!

Ambiance, Design & Space

Wednesday, I called Brasserie Cicou to make a reservation for Friday night. When Friday came though, we didn’t have to reserve since the restaurant was half empty. I think Filipinos generally avoid French food, thinking it’s too sophisticated or expensive. I have to admit some French restaurants give off that aura but Brasserie Cicou is not too expensive. The lay-out and decorations are simple and homey, not snooty at all.

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religious frescoes adorn the wall. it's kind of a turn off but Syrille has to keep it. It's one of the conditions of the Dr. Preciosa Soliven, the owner of the space.

Brasserie Cicou is big. I think it can sit 50 people comfortably. Furniture is wooden and rustic. Lamps are scattered all throughout the restaurant and the lights can be dimmed to fit whatever occasion.

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lovely lamps

Rating: ★★★☆

Service

The staff are very attentive and they know everything the restaurant has to offer. Their pronunciation of the different French cuisine is precise. They also know how to pair wine with our orders.

Rating: ★★★★★

Food and Price

So there we were on a Friday night. We took Lorelene, another friend, with us. I was saddened to learn that most of the food during the degustation were especially created for the event and I couldn’t order them that night. The food we got more than made up for this though. We decided to just try their tapas because we couldn’t decide on our main course. We will save it for our next excursion.

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L'Assiette de Pates

L’Assiette de Pates (P310) is their pate sampler. It consists of Pork Rillettes, Pate en Croute and Pork Head. It comes with fresh baby pickles and mustard. We loved all the pates in this platter. My favorite is the sinful Pork Head because of the big chunks of fat.

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Arlettes of Chorizo

Arlettes of Chorizo (P190) are toasted bread topped with chorizo bits. It was crisp, light and simple but still flavorful. This is a good appetizer because it won’t dampen your appetite.

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Merguez Sausage on Toasted Baguette

Merquez Sausage on Toasted Baguette (P190) is an explosion of flavors one you pop one in your mouth. This mixture of lamb, beef, and spices is so perfect with the Cabernet Sauvignon we had.

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Three Cheeses Egg Cocotte

Egg Cocotte with Three Cheeses (P200) is one of my favorites. This dish served in a ramekin is oh so creamy and delectable. It is heavy on the stomach but that’s good. The three cheeses didn’t overpower the taste of the egg so the way it was cooked was perfect.

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Marinated Sardines and Herbed Goat Cheese in Toasted Baguette

The Marinated Sardines and Herbed Goat Cheese in Toasted Baguette (P190) was a wrong choice. It didn’t go very well with our other choices but on its own, it would have been good. The sardines completely washed out the taste of of our other food.

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Blood Sausage with Mashed Potato and Caramelized Apple

Blood Sausage with Mashed Potato and Caramelized Apple wasn’t in the menu but they always serve this according to the waiter. I was looking for blood sausage that’s why we got this. This is hands down the best food we ate that night. The blood sausage is so earthy. Try eating this in different ways: blood sausage and mashed only, blood sausage and mashed with rock salt, blood sausage and mashed and the caramelized apple…so many combinations possible and all different results! You’ll think you’re eating different kinds of food when in fact it’s just one dish. I will definitely order this again on my next visit because it made Eloisa and I cry. It was that good.

dessert review

Kouing-Aman

To top the night off, we had Kouing-Aman (P280) for dessert. I wanted to share with Eloisa but she was being greedy and wanted one all to herself. Kouing-Aman is a decadent dessert made of caramelized laminated sweet dough and is served with salted caramel ice cream. It is very rich, it melts in your mouth, and the salted caramel dough and ice cream are sublime. I was able to finish mine fast but Eloisa only finished half of hers because it is very rich. See, Eloisa, I told you we should have shared.

Rating: ★★★★★

I highly recommend that you try Brasserie Cicou even once. Try French provincial comfort food at its finest. It will be an unforgettable culinary experience and it will be better if you share the experience with friends.

Overall Rating: ★★★★

Brasserie Cicou
57 Annapolis St.
Greenhills, San Juan
6619200

The Maya Kitchen Journal Giveaway Winner

The Maya Kitchen Journal Giveaway Winner

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The winner of my Maya Kitchen Journal Giveaway is Mayla Lagrimas! Congratulations! Please reply to the email I sent you so I’ll know where to ship it. I want to thank everyone who joined this giveaway. I hope you guys will continue to support Dementia Foodista.

If you want your own copy of The Maya Kitchen Journal for Cooks and Foodies, it’s available nationwide in National Bookstore, Powerbooks and Bestsellers branches. For more information, log on to www.themayakitchen.com or e-mail contactus@themayakitchen.com. You may also visit The Maya Kitchen Culinary Center every Tuesday to Saturday at 8F  Liberty Building, 835 A. Arnaiz Avenue (Pasay Road), Makati City or call 8921185 / 892-5011 local 108.

March classes at The Maya Kitchen

March classes at The Maya Kitchen

I got this press release from The Maya Kitchen and thought some of you might be interested.

On March 3, Saturday, 1-6pm at The Maya Kitchen, Heritage Hotel Manila Executive Chef Alex Chong brings you on an Asian Culinary Journey as he demonstrates well-loved regional cuisine like Hainanese Chicken Rice and Laksa plus Grilled Prawns with Healthy Coriander Curry Sauce and Carabao Mango Mint Salad along with Nyonya Chicken Soup and Pork Dumpling and popular Malaysian dessert Onde Onde.
Heritage Hotel Manila is part of the Milleneum Hotels and Resorts Group and is one of the few places in Metro Manila that offers Halal certified cuisine.
The Maya Kitchen also has the following One-Day Lifestyle Courses: Restaurant Best Sellers Lenten Dishes, March 10, Saturday, 9am-1pm; Homemade Sausages, March 17, Saturday, 9am-1pm; Nego Kakanin, March 17, Saturday, 2-6pm; Sugar Free Desserts, March 24, Saturday, 1:30-5:30pm; and International Breads Workshop March 31, Saturday, 9am-3pm.
Certificate courses with hands-on are now offered both on weekdays (Tuesday-Friday) and weekends (Saturday) with the following schedules: Advanced Pastry Class, February 29, March 1 and 2, 9am-3pm; Basic Culinary, weekdays, March 6-9 and March 20-23, 9am-3pm; and weekends, March 3, 10, 17, 24, 8:30am-1:30pm; Fundamentals of Bakery Production, weekdays, March 13-16 and March 27-30, 9am-2pm and weekends, March 3, 10, 17 and 24, 2-6pm; Basic Cake Decorating March 30-31, 9am-4pm.
Enroll now and get early bird discounts for the upcoming Junior Culinary and Teen Workshops scheduled on April 10-13 and May 8-11 and April 17-20 and May15-18.
For more information on other courses offerings, log on to www.themayakitchen.com or e-mail contactus@themayakitchen.com   or visit The Maya Kitchen Culinary Center every Tuesday to Saturday at 8F  Liberty Building, 835 A. Arnaiz Avenue (Pasay Road), Makati City or call 8921185 / 892-5011 local 108.

Review: Queso de Bola Cheesecake by Indulgence By Irene

Review: Queso de Bola Cheesecake by Indulgence By Irene

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Seldom do I come across a dessert which stops me. The Queso de Bola Cheesecake by Indulgence By Irene did and I can’t get enough of it. The delectable cake is rich and creamy with a consistency similar to Sara Lee Cheesecakes. The Queso de Bola plays in the background, not overpowering the cream cheese and graham. I was expecting it to be pungent but it’s not. You can still get a whiff of the Queso de Bola but it’s pleasant. I made my mom and my sister try it and all of us are now fans of this cake. I’ll surely order a big one when I come back from Bacolod. 4 1/2″ costs P200 and 9″ costs P900.

Indulgence By Irene
0922-8303900/0917-6225800

Review: Ginzadon Japanese & Korean Restaurant

Review: Ginzadon Japanese & Korean Restaurant

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Last week, my Aunt Amor celebrated her birthday and she treated us to a dinner at Ginzadon in Resorts World Manila. It is a smallish but busy Japanese-Korean restaurant. I noticed that a lot of Koreans and Japanese nationals eating so that’s a really good sign.

Ambiance, Design & Space

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the sushi bar(s). Ignore my cousin

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Japanese design

The earthy colors dominate the color scheme highlighted by vibrant red. Japanese minimalism in design, there are a lot of curves and lines incorporated in the fixtures, walls, ceiling, flooring and even the utensils. Ginzadon could have used narrower tables because their current ones obstructed foot traffic in almost all sides. The chairs were very comfortable but too big and heavy in my opinion. The dim lighting design makes for good ambiance for dates but not much for family gatherings.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Service

Perhaps there were too many of us at the restaurant but service that night was slow and the staff seemed distracted and confused. I had to repeat my requests several times and some were left unheard. The wait seemed knowledgeable about the food though.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Food and Price

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House tea was always hot and abundant

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complimentary appetizers

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assorted sushi

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Canadian Maki

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Yaki Soba

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Gal Bi Jim

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Ebi Tempura

Unfortunately, I don’t have the prices but I expect it’s above average since it’s in Maxims Hotel/Resorts World. The seafood were very fresh and of high quality. I particularly loved their uni and madako sushi. The Canadian Maki was also good and California Maki with Tuna (I forgot to take a photo). Their tempura is ordinary but I don’t expect much from tempura anyway. My companions loved the Yaki Soba but it was just okay for me. My sister and I’s favorite was the Gal Bi Jim which was very tender, mildly sweet, and had some fat. For dessert, we had green tea ice cream (no photo again) which was creamy and invigorating.

Rating: ★★★☆

Just to recap. Ginzadon is far from being my favorite Japanese-Korean restaurant but they serve quality food. Koreans, Japanese, and Chinese seem to frequent the place. The restaurant can be crowded because of the size of the furniture. I will suggest this to those who are on a date.

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

Ginzadon
2F Maxims Hotel
Resorts World Manila
Pasay City