Le Petit Souffle

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French and Japanese fusion has been something not unheard of. What comes to mind for me when this type of fusion is mentioned are the ending scenes of the Japanese movie “Tampopo”, replete with mouthwatering ramen. But as Kat has pointed out on more than one occasions, Le Petit Souffle takes fusion to another level. And on another level it sure was.

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Furikake Pomme Frites

For our date and de-stressing session, we started out with an appetizer, which was the Furikake Pomme Frites. When it arrived, the imagery of a pile of shoestring potatoes was a long step up from that of canned shoestring snacks. The texture was crunchy yet light on the taste buds. We managed to catch the natural flavor of the potatoes as well as the combination of nori, sesame seeds, and other seasonings they’ve mixed in, without the typical oiliness one usually expects from fried appetizer.

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Carbonara Souffle

For our main course, Kat picked the Carbonara Souffle. And it was a treat to be had aesthetically with the egg on top like a cloud ready to be mixed in with the firm pasta, crisp bacon, and grated parmesan. And once mixed together, it transcended all our expectations because the creaminess of the carbonara sauce wasn’t overpowering. The pasta created a platform for each ingredient to shine through.

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Japanese Beef Curry Souffle

I, on the other hand, took on the Japanese Beef Curry Souffle. I honestly did not expect myself facing a meal that’s good for two people. At the same time, it was just as inviting to the eyes as to the tastebuds. The fluffy texture of the scrambled egg complemented well the rice and curry underneath it. The beef was thinly cut into strips that absorbed the flavor of the curry, though I felt that the texture would have been better with the meat cut into cubes.

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Valrhona Guanaja Chocolate Souffle

As we were in dire need of stress relief after the rigors of graduate school, we immediately picked to our old stress relief motto of ‘Get chocolate when stressed’.  The one thing that would fit the bill was the luscious Valrhona Guanaja Chocolate Souffle. The dark chocolate caressed our taste buds, while the souffle itself achieved a balance of moist and firm  textures in the same bite. It was the ideal decadent ending to our meal.

After our meal, we took time to glance around the place, which evoked the feel of being in an Parisian garden cafe., with a touch of adorably barmy courtesy the rolling pins hanging out among the leaves and branches. This odd and welcoming charm cinched the deal for us.

Simply put, this was a dinner date to remember.

Food Score:5/5. Each item of the menu here is well thought of and combines well with each other. But we personally like the Carbonara Souffle because it is a class of its own, and the Valrhona Guanaja Chocolate Souffle is sublime.

Ambiance / Service Score: 5/5. The entire restaurant gives of the vibe of being in a chic Parisian garden, which makes it a calming and comforting place to dine in. Their servers are also on top of our dining experience, informing us when the souffles will be ready and even assisted us to have the chocolate souffle come out 25 minutes after our main meals come in.

GERD Score: 3.5/5. My only problem with the menu is that since it is French-inspired is that there are plenty of dairy and eggs, which doesn’t help my heartburn. But thankfully they have plenty of options in their menu that can cater to most diets.

Epilepsy Score: 4/5. Hooray for well sourced ingredients, and rich dishes that do not rely on preservatives. Although coffee is a must-have at Le Petit Souffle, the teas and juices are also very much recommended.

Team Glasses Score: 4/5. All things considered, it was an amazing experience dining in Le Petit Souffle’s way of doing Japanese-French fusion cuisine. And we recommend that it should be experienced at least once by any casual gourmet here in the Metro.

Le Petit Souffle Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Recovery Food

The search for a cure to hangovers may be almost as old as the existence of breweries and alcohol consumption. Old wives’ tales and urban legends list a whole plethora of remedies ranging from peppercorns up one’s nose (not recommended!) all the way to consumption of copious amounts of coffee. More sound cures include rehydrating as well as getting a good breakfast, two things that all-day restaurants such as Recovery Food are more than ready to provide.

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We visited Recovery Food’s branch in the BGC Stopover, and found it to be quite full even as early as 8 in the morning. The no-frills menu here featured a complete lineup of dishes from starters, rice bowls, all the way up to dessert. For our breakfast here, we picked the Amadobo rice bowl: traditional pork adobo and rice, topped with a scrambled egg. We also indulged with a bowl of Hey Jude’s Paksig: bangus belly with rice. For this venture we chose to upgrade the rice in this dish to ‘talangka rice’, or rice cooked in crab paste. We also ordered the Oriental Salad, which was comprised of greens mixed with a combination of fruits such as green mango and pineapple, with a choice of either peanut dressing or citrus vinaigrette.

22714A46-4C95-4BF8-ACD2-309F651F5130The Amadobo had just the right blend of salty-sourness that one would expect from an excellent adobo recipe, with an added kick from a crunchy garlic topping. The fluffy scrambled egg provided a good contrast to the stronger flavors of the pork and the sauce soaked in the rice. In practice it was not much different from home-cooked adobo, but it was an adobo done very well.

BF78B539-026E-477F-AC7F-62D37BA6C915The Hey Jude’s Paksig is a treat with the subtle flavors of the talangka rice and the sweet and fresh bangus blending together. Along with the well-cooked sunny side up egg mixed in, it’s a succulent experience mixing in all three.

0BC91025-6CBF-4AB2-94D4-57DB7BE4D7B9We made a good choice with having citrus vinaigrette with our Oriental Salad, since this dressing provided a light tanginess that complemented the sweetish flavors of the fruits and greens. This refreshing starter was a surprisingly good partner to our more savory entrees, thus rounding out our breakfast in a way we never had before.

Although Recovery Food caters to those who need a hefty meal to end a late night, we would recommend this place too for those who want a filling start to their day, or just plain good food to suit all hours.
The Food Score:  4/5: Recovery Food serves up its meals in two sizes: regular and Full Recovery. We tried the Full Recovery size, and found it good for two, or for one very, very hungry person. The menu here also features soups such as pho and mami, Filipino desserts, and a wide selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, making this place perfect for dining at all hours.

Ambiance/Service Score: 4/5: Despite its simple, no-frills ambiance, this restaurant was still comfortable and well-lit. The service at this branch was prompt and courteous, adding to the dining experience.   

GERD Score: 3.5/5: While there are options for different people, Recovery Food doesn’t offer much for anyone with heartburn. And if one makes the mistake of ordering the full recovery size alone, best to have half for take out.

Epilepsy Score:  3.5/5: Some of the dishes here are prepared from canned and preserved meats, thus making them less of an option for some diners. Nevertheless there are other fresh dishes (apart from the salad) that are worth considering even for those with concerns about medication interactions or high preservative intake.   

Team Glasses Score: 4/5: Recovery Food is certainly an option not only for late nights but also for early mornings and even casual lunches and dinners out. Although this is not exactly a place for fine dining, it is one for good old comfort food to suit most everyday ventures.

Recovery Food Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wild Ginger

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During one of our recent dinner trips, we initially thought about having big and juicy burgers. After a bit of consideration we opted to dine at Wild Ginger, a place that offers something closer to our tastebuds, which is Southeast Asian and South Asian cuisine.

Upon stepping inside, we found that the restaurant has a homey dining room feel to it. With subtle walls, various paintings, comfortable atmosphere and knick knacks adorning the interior, Wild Ginger is perfect for dining in with company or not, particularly for quiet and casual dates.

Their menu encompasses a selection of Southeast Asian entrees such as curries and rice toppings, as well as street food favorites such as Banh Mi, and Adobo Flakes Sandwich. We decided to try out two full on meals, namely the Vegetable Biryani and Indian Butter Chicken.

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Vegetable Biryani

The Vegetable Biryani was superb, with the balance of flavors and textures all encompassed within this one dish of biryani rice with a mix of carrots, peas, potatoes, lentils and other veggies. The crunch from the roasted garlic and peanuts blended in perfectly with the parsley and melded together with the biryani.

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Indian Butter Chicken

In the case of the Indian Butter Chicken, the heat from the spices of the curry was subtly cooled down by the butter without making it seem too creamy for its own good. The chunks of chicken were perfectly seasoned from within, which was enhanced by the curry. The papadom that accompanied it was just the right amount of crisp and ability to hold the curry itself. The only gripe we had was that there was not enough papadom to do justice to the sauce. We actually ordered an extra cup of rice when there was still some curry left.

During our meal here, we also found out that Wild Ginger is involved with Action Against Hunger, a global humanitarian organization that’s committed to ending world hunger. And their restaurant is listed as a Restaurant Against Hunger, wherein proceeds from certain dishes are donated to food aid and assistance efforts especially for refugees. Not only is this restaurant a treat for the tastebuds and the stomach, but it is also doing its part to feed the world.

Food Score: 5/5. Simply put, the food at Wild Ginger is sublime. Each dish is well executed and thought out from the textures to the flavors. This is a good pick for diners still needing initiation into the nuances of Southeast Asian cuisines, as well as culinary diehards.

Ambiance / Service Score: 4.5/5. The place gives a calming home vibe to it, which lends itself to a quaint dining experience. And their servers are attentive to our needs throughout our meal here.

GERD Score: 4/5. The good thing about Wild Ginger is their selection that leaves a lot of options for people who have various triggers on their heartburn.

Epilepsy Score: 4/5. Hooray for freshly cooked home-style meals with quality ingredients! The food here utilizes all natural flavorings without resorting to powdered or artificial seasonings. The non-alcoholic drinks selection is also a boon.

Team Glasses Score: 4/5. Considering all factors, Wild Ginger is lovely restaurant to go be it for lunch or dinner, even with people with existing health concerns to consider.

Wild Ginger Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Ziggurat: Going All the Way With Mezze

Appetizers are an important part of a sit-down meal as well as food trips and bar crawls. During a recent night out in the Poblacion area, my companions and I decided to whet our appetites further with a stop at Ziggurat, a cozy casual dining establishment on the corner of Durban Street and Makati Avenue.

During previous visits to Ziggurat, we have always been charmed by its Persian inspired ambience, complete with luxurious low seating arrangements and silver accent pieces. This restaurant’s extensive menu has always been a challenge for us to navigate, owing to the sheer variety of Middle Eastern, Indian, Mediterranean, and African dishes available to adventurous diners. On this particular jaunt we decided to eschew heavier dishes such as curries and kebabs in favor of lighter dishes dubbed as mezzes, a term which originates from the Persian word for ‘taste’ or ‘snack’.

Ziggurat offers its signature mezzes ala carte, or in various mezze combos and platters good for three to five persons. We decided to try a large mezze sampler known as Mezze Forte, a tower of eight different appetizers served with toasted khobiz, a bread that is a little thicker than the usual pita breads utilized for dips.

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Our eight mezzes for the evening were as follows:

-Muttabal: chopped grilled eggplant with tahini

-Muhammara: roasted capsicum and walnut puree

-Qeema: ground beef with eggplants

-Jazar: spiced carrot puree with tahini

-Hummus: garbanzos with tahini

-Taramasalata: a Greek recipe for smoked cod’s roe

-Dukkah: a traditional Egyptian nut dip

-Mahroussa: fava beans with tahini

This combination of sweet and savoury mezzes necessitated our ordering extra khobiz for us to fully appreciate and polish off the entire order. In particular, the spicy mezzes such as Muhammara were a delight to the palate. Some like the Dukkah were a little difficult to eat owing to the crumbly textures, but were otherwise excellent in terms of flavor. My personal favorite had to be the Qeema, as its richness would make the perfect prelude to a hearty meal.

Other mezze combinations such as Mezze Vege (an all vegetable combo) and The Great Pyramid of Mezze are available for larger groups or diners with particular tastes. It may take a good number of visits to fully appreciate Ziggurat’s menu, but these appetizers are a good way to begin a round the world food trip, or a night out.

The Food Score:  4/5: The food at Ziggurat, in particular the appetizers, will suit both finicky diners as well as newbies to less known cuisines. While some menu items may not be available on some evenings, there are more than enough dishes to compensate for any gaps.   

Ambiance/Service Score: 4.5/5: The staff here are friendly and are quick to inform diners if there are unavailable foods in the menu. They are also more than happy to help patrons navigate the assortment of appetizers, as well as give recommendations.  The ambience is comfortable, casual, and yet gives one the feel of having stepped out of Makati and into another country.

GERD Score: 4/5: The wonderful thing about Middle eastern cuisine is that, even without chili, you get the heat spikes without ruining your stomach. Of course it depends on one’s tastes and heartburn triggers, but overall, Ziggurat is definitely be a good place to just kick back and dine.

Epilepsy Score:  4/5: While some of the more heavily flavoured items may be problematic for sensitive diners, there are still enough dishes to cater to different tastes and conditions. There are also non caffeinated and non alcoholic drinks available at the bar.

Team Glasses Score: 4/5 : While we acknowledge that mezze or other items on Ziggurat’s menu may not be to everyone’s tastes, we still suggest including this restaurant either as the main star of a casual night out, or as a stop in your Poblacion food crawl.

Ziggurat Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato