Recently, I was invited by Ivan Henares and Robinsons Galleria to sample the exciting new restaurants in Robinsons’ Veranda. If you haven’t been to Robinsons Galleria lately, the mall renovated the side facing Ortigas Avenue and made it into a place for dining and hanging out. Together with some food and travel bloggers, I was able to try almost all the restaurants in the Veranda: Papa John’s, Delicious Kitchen by Eat Well!, Johnny Rockets, La Creperie, Hyphy’s, 8 Spices, Giligan’s, Golden Spoon, and Starbucks. I’ll try to describe what each has to offer and my favorites in the off chance that you, my dear readers, trust my judgement and find yourself hungry in Galleria soon 😉
Papa John’s is a pizzeria franchise from Jeffersonville, Indiana. They’re famous for, wait for it, pizza! Although they do have calzones, pastas, and side dishes, I haven’t tried any of those so I don’t know if they’re any good but I was able to try 3 pizza variants during the food tour : Fisherman’s Catch, Chicken BBQ, and Super Papa. My favorite was the Fisherman’s Catch which has shrimps and squid besides the usual green peppers and onions. It’s not tomato-based but has a special garlic sauce. I recommend that you get an additional Garlic Dipping Sauce (P20) and Pepperoncini (P20), a mildly spicy pepper, and you’ll be in for a real treat. The pizza costs P300 for the small pie, P430 for medium, and P530 for large.
Delicious Kitchen by Eat Well!
Delicious Kitchen by Eat Well! serves Cantonese food, like the ones we love in Hong Kong. We were treated to Xiao Long Pao (P92 for 4 pieces) which a delicate dumpling with pork and soup inside a wrapper, Home-Made Beancurd (P195 for 8 pieces), Shrimp Toast (P330 for 6 pieces) and Masachi with White Chocolate (P70 for 6 pieces). My favorite was the Shrimp Toast which was crunchy and flavorful not at all oily. The Beancurd and Masachi were okay.
Johnny Rockets is another franchise from America. It’s a true blue diner complete with jukebox, chrome furniture, and large servings of food. We were served Original Burger with Cheese (P335), Philly Cheese Steak (P395), and Chicken Club Sandwich (P415). All of these come with unlimited French Fries. I only took small bites because I needed stomach space for the Vanilla Milk Shake (P215) which I enthusiastically ordered. The prices can indeed be unnerving but the Johnny Rockets crew will dance for you if that’s any consolation. Nobody danced for me when I ate at a Johnny Rockets in Burbank. I was certainly not disappointed with my milk shake. In fact, I had half of it to-go which I took with me all the way to Tagaytay, refusing to let go of it even if I was so bloated after the Veranda tour.
I adored the quaint French interiors of La Creperie. It’s small but bright and cozy. It offers a refuge to the hustle and bustle of the mall. La Creperie imports teas from one of the finest tea-makers in the world – TWG of Singapore which was established way back in 1837.
That afternoon, we tried Silver Moon Tea, Moroccan Mint Iced Tea, Le “J.J”, Nami and a wonderful dessert called La Christine.
The Silver Moon is a blend of green teas accented with grand berry and vanilla bouquet. It also has a hint of spice which did wonders to my palate. Moroccan Mint is perfectly blended with strong Sahara mint which left me feeling invigorated. A single pot with 1 refill costs P145 while a large pot with unlimited refills costs P225. Loose leaf and tea bags can be bought from the restaurant as well. The teas were a perfect combination with the crepes we tried. Le “J.J.” (P215) combines ham, emmental, gruyere, tomato, garlic and chili flakes. Nami (P225) was my favorite. It has herbed goat cheese which was oh-so-creamy, shiitake mushrooms, and caramelized onions. La Christine is a dessert crepe with fresh strawberries, strawberry jam, and whipped cream. It costs P155 but the one we tried was the upgraded version which has chocolate (P175). Eventhough the strawberries were sour, the strawberry jam made up for it. I loved everything I tasted there. In fact, I asked a friend to dine with me there a few days after the event. I’ll devote an entire blog article on La Creperie and try their other fares.
Hyphy’s is a Filipino fusion restaurant by Chef Bruce Lim, a Fil-Am who grew up in San Francisco. He brought his San Francisco culinary adventure to usual Filipino dishes to give them a new twist. The group was served Cobb Salad (P260), Bangus Steak (P210), Calamansi Tuyo Pasta (P130), and New England Clam Chowder in Sourdough Bread (P170). The Cobb Salad is a variation to the classic chopped salad topped with tomatoes, bacon, chicken, olives and cheese. It was quite good but too filling for a starter. The Clam Chowder was served to us by chance. I lit up when the guide said they offer it in the menu. She must have seen how eager I was so she asked the kitchen to make us one. It was almost as good as the clam chowder in San Francisco which I’ve been craving. It’s so hard to find good clam chowder in Manila. Hyphy’s Bangus Steak is really good. It’s sweet and a bit tingy and I think it would be perfect for meals and as pulutan. The Calamsi Tuyo Pasta was so-so but I’m not fond of tuyo to begin with so I’m biased. I had a go at one of their house cocktails called Mestiza (P120) which I found so good. It’s refreshing, sweet, and has a bit of lambanog in it. I don’t know what juices were mixed into the drink though.
8 Spices claims to serve authentic Thai cuisine and damn right they do! The Pad Thai Goong Sod w/ Egg (P285), Pla Harod/Whole Fried Lapu Lapu in 5 kinds of herbs (P510), Tom Yam Ruam Mid Thalay (P380, large) and Thako (P150) were marvelous. I swear my taste buds celebrated that time. I’ve never tasted food comparable to the ones in Thailand until I got to try 8 Spices. I couldn’t get enough of the Tom Yam that I even took home a bowl of it. The thako was fresh and nutty. I ate Jonel‘s unfinished one. I know it’s boorish but the foods were just too good to resist. I will definitely go back to 8 Spices soon.
Sorry, Gilligan’s people. My stomach couldn’t handle any thing heavy after my gluttony in 8 Spices. I’m sure the Sizzling Pork Sisig (P168) and Giligan’s Grilled Platter (P575) were wonderful. Besides, who hasn’t been to Giligan’s?
Golden Spoon Frozen Yogurt
Golden Spoon is my favorite yogurt place and I always get either New York Cheesecake with graham and heath bar toppings. Unfortunately, the Veranda branch is small and couldn’t carry all flavors so I got the fat free Cake Batter as my base instead. I prefer the non-diet yogurts. I dug into my yogurt as soon as I got it and forgot to take a photo so instead, here’s the one Spanky got.
By this time I was too full so I just got myself a glass of water. This particular branch is big and I think it would be a great place to hang out. I’m not particularly fond of coffee and for frozen drinks, I prefer Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf’s. If there’s none near me, I usually just get a Mocha Frappuccino from Starbucks.
So there you have it. The Veranda restaurant selections are excellent especially La Creperie and 8 Spices. Parking isn’t hard compared to Megamall’s. True, they may have more stores but if you’re like me and hate crowds, shop at Robinsons instead then dine at the Veranda. It’s practically stress-free and more rewarding.