Cafe Adriatico

A Team Glasses Food Blog Note: Due to our hectic schedules for the next few months, we’ve decided to post every two weeks, whenever possible instead of the weekly posts. Do let us know if you have any suggestions of possible topics, trivia, recipes, or restaurants / cafes you’d like us to try soon.

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Even before the creation of the Team Glasses Food Blog, we’ve always aimed for having a date at Cafe Adriatico. From what we know and remember, Cafe Adriatico has been one of the few remaining hallmarks of the Malate food scene. And this time around, we finally got around to dining here after a long and tiring set of weeks.

Entering inside Cafe Adriatico felt like a time machine. The atmosphere inside was lively at the beginning of the dinner rush. It gave us the impression that one walked into an old Spanish-Filipino home, or even an Irish Pub because of the warmth of the wooden walls and furniture and the slightly dimmed lighting around the place. It set the tone for our meal, a casual and relaxed dinner together.

So for our meal here, we had the French Onion Soup which Kat swears by, I had the Lola Ising’s Adobo Flakes, and she had the Chicken Kiev.

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French Onion Soup

Given that I’ve never tried French Onion Soup, I didn’t know what to expect until that first bite. It was savory because of the beef broth and had a slight hint of sweetness from the onions. And the cheese on top bound these two elements together seamlessly.

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Lola Ising’s Adobo Flakes

After tasting Lola (Grandma) Ising’s Adobo Flakes, I’m tempted to actually ask how Lola Ising does it because it wasn’t as salty as the usual adobo flakes we get around here. One would still be able to taste the tender beef along with it. The fried rice and eggs were also a great complement to it because it was cooked to how I felt it ought to be in any iteration of a Filipino Millennial meal known as  Adobosilog.

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Chicken Kiev

The Chicken Kiev, while unassuming at first glance, turned out to be a buttery and rich concoction worthy of being listed as a best seller entree. It was delicate enough so as not to cloy the tastebuds, but satisfying on the stomach. Definitely worth the try!

As a pre-valentines date, our stay at Cafe Adriatico was definitely one to remember.

Food Score: 4.5/5: The food we had here was excellent. From how it was prepared to how well it was seasoned, it was a delight to the tastebuds.

Ambiance Score 4/5: The place did age well like wine because it still maintains its Spanish-Filipino home look throughout the years. Its classy yet cozy interior makes it stand out from the razzle dazzle of its neighbors in the Remedios Circle.

Service Score: 4.5/5: And our experience here was made better by the attentiveness of the servers in handling our dining needs.Warm bread and butter were served with our meal, and we were given a choice of hot or cold water as well.

GERD Score: 3.5/5. The only sticking point to be had as far as GERD or heartburn is concerned is the serving size and perhaps lesser food options. Both of these can be addressed by chewing slowly, good posture, and some company to help you out.

Neurodivergent Score: 4/5. While some of these dishes rely on classic preserved meats and fish owing to the nature of the Spanish-Filipino cuisine, there are still plenty of fresh home-cooked entrees for the picking. And though wine goes best with the meals here, feel free as well to sample the non-alcoholic selections.

Team Glasses Score: 4/5. Simply put, Cafe Adriatico is a must go whenever you’re in Malate, looking for great food, and a nice quiet niche to enjoy it.

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Kanin Club

For many Filipinos, a meal is simply not complete without a generous helping of hot, still steaming rice. It becomes a challenge for many establishments to bring new life to this staple, and one restaurant that is up to the task is the aptly named Kanin Club.

We chose a sleepy Sunday to visit Kanin Club’s branch at Greenfield District in Mandaluyong City. For this jaunt we were joined by two other hungry friends. It was just as well that the menu specified that dishes were good for sharing, since we had really worked up an appetite! Our lunch consisted of these four dishes: Crispy Tadyang, Adobo Combo, Bagoong Rice, and Sinangag na Sinigang

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Our delicious lunchtime spread

Crispy Tadyang is Kanin Club’s take on beef spareribs. As the name suggests, the meat is fried to a delightful crispiness, which brings out the beef’s deep savor. This main entrée is served with three dipping sauces, perfect for sharing or just solo gorging.

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Crispy Tadyang

The Adobo Combo is more than the everyday chicken-pork-chicken liver stew that is a household favorite. Kanin Club serves this up with a unique reddish-brown sauce that strikes a balance between salty, sour, and spicy; just the way adobo should be.

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Adobo Combo

The Bagoong Rice is surprisingly not as salty as the usual bagoong rice most restaurants serve. At the same time, it also has strips of cooked unripe mangoes in the rice, which is a nice take on a Filipino classic snack, unripe mangoes and bagoong. The best part about this meal is that it blends well with most of the selections in the Kanin Club menu.

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Bagoong Rice

Last but definitely not the least was the Sinangag na Sinigang, a one-of-a-kind fried rice dish that is succinctly described as a ‘dried sinigang’. This is a meal on its own, with a mountain of sour and savory fried rice laced with bits of pork, and then topped with slices of pork fat and crispy vegetable tempura. This plate is an experience in itself, necessitating sharing with a friend if only to have someone to share in the raving about this filling dish. One will never look at either fried rice or sinigang the same way again!

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Sinangag na Sinigang

Other Kanin Club specialties include crispy dinuguan and loaded fried rice. We look forward to feasting on these and more in future visits!

Food Score: 4/5: The menu features classic Filipino dishes and household favorites, but these familiar entrees are done very well. The portions are great for sharing, perfect for family feasts and outings with friends.

Ambiance Score: 4/5: The feel of the place is like a traditional Filipino home, with stained glass decors and elegant but comfortable chairs surrounding large tables. The cozy yet classy feel is versatile and ideal for different occasions

Service Score: 4.5/5: The servers were friendly, polite and very accommodating. Our queries about food were readily answered, and bottomless drinks filled up promptly. The place was very clean, and kept in good order even during the lunch rush.

GERD Score: 4/5: The great thing about Kanin Club is that there are plenty of food and beverage options for people dealing with heartburn. However, one caveat is that, most of their menu items are good for sharing, so it is advised to bring in a couple of friends. After all, a Filipino meal is best shared with some company.

Neurodivergent Score: 4/5: A few of these dishes use processed meats such as sausages, or rely on a mix of seasonings. However there are vegetarian delights and other mildly flavored dishes that are ideal for sensitive diners. Non-caffeinated and non-alcoholic drinks are mainstays here.

Team Glasses Score: 4/5: Kanin Club epitomizes a great component of Filipino cuisine: hearty meals that are meant to be shared and cherished. We highly recommend this place for family gatherings and bonding sessions with friends. Thank you so much!

Kanin Club Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Pi Breakfast & Pies

Before we started with my enrollment for the second semester, we decided to go with Kat’s suggestion of starting the day at a place called Pi Breakfast & Pies. After all, it was going to be a long day out and we needed something heartier than the usual Maginhawa Street fare.

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Located at Malingap Street, Pi Breakfast & Pies had the relaxed vibe to it, which allowed us to just kick back and enjoy a casual meal. The repurposed chairs and tables was also a nice touch to the place being perfect for spending time with friends.

For this adventure, I took on Pi Breakfast & Pies’ interpretation on the classic Longsilog, while Kat went for a Bacon Mac & Cheese.

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Longsilog

Their Longsilog was definitely as hearty as it appeared to be. Their longanisa (Pork sausage) packed a combination of flavors reminiscent of the well-known longanisas from Vigan, Lucban, and Cebu. The sinangag (garlic fried rice) was cooked to the right consistency, not being too garlicky, bland, or oily for my tastes. And surprisingly, the dish had a slice of salted duck egg and soft boiled egg (egg being itlog in Filipino, hence the name Longsilog), compared to the usual sunny side up or scrambled eggs. When mixed together with some pickled papaya (atchara), it summed up what a quality Filipino breakfast should be. It was hearty, filling, and gets one pumped up for the challenges of the day.

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Bacon Mac and Cheese

The Bacon Mac and Cheese was topped with a coddled egg, which added some richness to the dish’s mild cream sauce. Although we would have liked a sharper flavor to the cheese in this dish, we realized that this mac and cheese had a light quality that made it great for a breakfast as opposed to a lunch or dinner entree.

And to top off our brunch, both of us also had a decent cup of hot chocolate made out of tablea chocolate. It was certainly a good brunch for Team Glasses Food Blog.

Food Score: 4/5: The flavors and the preparation for our meals are spot on and quite satisfying to say the least.

Ambiance Score: 4/5: Aside from reusing tables and chairs, the ambient lighting and subtle black hues evoke a sense that one’s dining in a fancier place without the need to be overly formal.

Service Score: 4/5: The servers here are attentive, immediately catering to our needs and orders, and letting us know if there are some changes that we needed to know with our food.

GERD Score: 3.5/5: An unfortunate fact is that, while there are some options within the menu that should be alright for someone dealing with heartburn, it is too few. One way of countering this is to have someone share a meal with you, especially when food volume is a lingering concern. And a perk they also have is the fact that they list down the ingredients they use in all the items within the menu.

Neurodivergent Score: 3.5/5: Some of the dishes use processed meats or other foods loaded with additives. There are not many sugar-free or reduced sugar options in both the entrees and beverages menu.

Team Glasses Score: 4/5: Even with some of our observations and concerns, Pi Breakfast & Pies is still a good place to dine with friends. And for those with health concerns, some precautions are necessary, but won’t ruin your time here.

Feeding the Speedy Brain: On Diet and ADHD

2017 was a year of plot twists, and one of my biggest would come in the last weeks of the year. Although I had known for some years that having epilepsy had certainly wired my brain a little differently, it did not explain everything that was going on in my everyday life like my inability to keep still for even a short period of time. After getting myself checked, I finally learned that I was one among several million adults worldwide coping with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, or more commonly known as ADHD.

Most persons living with ADHD have been diagnosed in childhood. In many cases, this arises from parents and teachers noting a child’s difficulties with schoolwork or other behaviors requiring much attention and focus. However, there are some persons (such as yours truly) who remain undiagnosed all the way into their adult years. This can be due to an adult’s increased insight and awareness about one’s behaviors and their consequences, or because seemingly ‘minor’ quirks and impairments in childhood become more apparent or a cause for concern in an adult’s environment. As of now, there has been no one cause or etiologic agent pinpointed for ADHD. Much still remains to be learned about this condition.

There are several approaches to managing ADHD, ranging from the use of medications and behavioral therapy, as well as lifestyle interventions such as diet and exercise. Yet there is still this question: what can people who have ADHD eat, and what foods should they avoid?

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Photo from: http://maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com

One food that may be beneficial for people coping with ADHD is omega-3. Yes, that same fatty acid that is ‘good for the heart’ may also be ‘good for the brain’. Omega-3 may be found in fatty fish, as well as in flaxseed, walnuts, and soybeans. For most people, it would not hurt to have a few servings of these foods each week, to help both the heart and the brain work better!

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Photo from: https://pixabay.com

It has also been suggested that probiotics may help manage ADHD symptoms. However, there are still few studies regarding the connection of gut bacteria to ADHD, and whether probiotics do have any benefit. All the same, probiotics have other health benefits even for people without ADHD, as intake of these ‘good bacteria’ also help improve digestive function and the immune system.  

Previous studies conducted in the US and UK have suggested that food additives such as artificial colors were associated with hyperactivity in children. Other studies have also suggested that high sugar intake may also be associated with hyperactivity. At present though, this evidence is not yet strong enough to show that intake of these foods causes or worsens ADHD symptoms. Nevertheless, regardless of whether one has ADHD or not, it is still a healthy practice to reduce intake of foods that have high amounts of additives. Cutting down on sugar is also considered good dietary advice for all ages, especially as part of preventing heart disease and other disorders later in life.

Some people claim that caffeine intake may help their ADHD symptoms. While it is true that caffeine may work in synergy with some of the medications used to treat ADHD, it does not work the same for everyone. Other patients claim to have no benefits from drinking coffee, or claim that this only makes their situation worse!

Regardless of these prescriptions and prohibitions, the general advice for people with ADHD (or with most other conditions for that matter) is to continue to eat healthily: hydrate, have adequate intake of fruits and vegetables, have enough protein both from plant and animal sources, and avoid excessive sugars, fats, and above all trans-fats. That is advice that we can surely stand with!

So what does this mean for us at Team Glasses? As it turns out, nixing the soda, chips, and fast foods might have been one of our better ideas. All the same, we probably won’t be going back on coffee any time soon since this still triggers attacks of GERD or epileptic seizures.

Just like with all conditions, ADHD manifests differently for each person, and no two persons have the same exact treatment. It’s just one thing to contend with in this never-ending quest for wellness in the life of two gourmands. All the same, we began this blog to help readers like you to deal with this, while still enjoying great food.

(note: featured photo from: https://goo.gl/images/2VNTpu)

Old Swiss Inn

After a quick dental check-up due to a bad toothache, we sought out our usual remedy—food! This time we went to the Old Swiss Inn, a long-standing restaurant located near the Ayala Triangle.

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Although we’d been here before on separate visits, this time we took the opportunity to really take in the feel of the place. The vibe was akin to that of a quaint dining hall somewhere in the Alps, with the added embellishment of Swiss flags on the ceiling. In short, this was a cozy but relaxed vibe for a casual meal.

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For our dining experience, we chose an old favorite, goulash, to start the meal. We also opted for light entrees such as King Salmon and Chicken Forrestiere. Of course, we could not leave without trying the signature Classic Toblerone Chocolate Fondue.

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Goulash: already ladled out for sharing

Compared to our previous experiences with goulash in other establishments, Old Swiss Inn’s  goulash has a stronger mix of tartness from the tomatoes and heat from the black pepper, making this concoction perfect for a crisp December day. This soup’s unique punch to the taste buds coupled well with the tender beef, potatoes, and peas within.

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King Salmon!

I would have preferred the King Salmon to have a lighter treatment with a vinagrette dressing and a side dish of green salad, however I still enjoyed how well this dish’s cream sauce and au gratin  side dish were conceptualized and executed. The salmon was cooked exactly how I liked it: crisp on the outside, yet juicy on the inside. On the side, the potato slices were firm but were yielding under the knife, and the onion rings were not overpowering. The sauces underneath cut the sharpness of the melted cheese topping the dish.

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Chicken Forrestiere

The Chicken Forrestiere was basically grilled chicken fillet with pepper gravy, on a bed of linguini pasta. This dish may have seemed simple, but Old Swiss Inn’s iteration is particularly thought-out. The chicken was well seared on the outside, locking in its natural flavors. The gravy had just the right amount of heat, with subtle flavors from a variety of mushrooms. This attention to detail is what took this dish several steps above home cooking.

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Classic Toblerone Chocolate Fondue

We finished off our hearty meal with dark chocolate fondue. Unlike other fondue establishments in the city, Old Swiss Inn prides itself on using actual Toblerone. This was evident in the nougat and nut bits we found in the chocolate. Paired with a selection of dippers such as fresh fruits and cake squares, our dessert was enough to send us into a blissful ‘food coma’.

Food Score: 4.5/5: Our meals were superb from start to finish. Each ingredient and element was well balanced and in harmony with its companions, making every bite a treat. This is not just hearty cooking; it’s hearty cooking done well!

Ambiance & Service Score: 4.5/5: Some patrons may be put off by the Swiss flag decor, but nevertheless the establishment maintains its homey charm. The service here is top notch, with attentive staff who can anticipate diners’ needs and take note of any requests.

GERD Score: 4/5 : At first glance, the servings may seem intimidating for persons dealing with heartburn. However these meals are very much designed for sharing, so bringing friends is encouraged. The dishes in themselves though are not triggers, as the preparation and ingredients are varied and done very carefully.

Epilepsy Score: 4/5: Although a hallmark of Swiss cooking includes the use of sausages and cured meats, there are still so other many dishes at Old Swiss Inn that utilize the freshest ingredients and go easy on the additives. Some individuals who are sensitive to alcohol may need to skip some of the fondues, or at least request that they not be made with liqueur.

Team Glasses Score: 4.5/5: This classy place is excellent for special family occasions, corporate events, or simply celebrating the best of times. We cannot have chosen better for a place to cap off a most interesting year!  

The Old Swiss Inn Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Green Bar

Can the terms “vegan” and “comfort food” belong in the same sentence? The answer is a resounding YES if one is dining at Green Bar. This chic spot located at West of Ayala in Legaspi Village serves up a variety of light meal items as well as more substantial all-day breakfast and bowl sets, all with a uniquely healthy twist.

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We arrived here on an odd Saturday evening when we needed both comfort food as well as study fuel in preparation for a long night of reviewing for exams. Thankfully Green Bar had just what we wanted. We ordered the Queso Pop, which is Green Bar’s vegan take on the quesadilla, as well as the Texas BBQ bowl for a more substantial entree. Lee was in an adventurous mood, hence he ‘built’ his own bowl with a variety of greens, vegetables, and non-meat protein choices. We chose to wash this all down with two glasses of light and refreshing lemongrass pandan juice, ideal for cleansing the palate!

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The Queso Pop turned out not only to be larger than we expected, but also much heartier thanks to its being filled with a mix of three vegan cheeses: Chipotle Cheddar, cream cheese, and mozzarella. Each bite was molten comfort, with a slight spicy kick from the Chipotle Cheddar. This starter came with a small saucer of salsa fresca, which was a great tangy complement to the richness of the quesadilla.

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The Texas BBQ bowl was touted as being the perfect comfort bowl—and indeed it lived up to its reputation. There were some familiar favorites such as smashed potatoes, coleslaw, and chipotle dressing, as well as pleasant surprises such as “bacun”, a healthy yet flavorful coconut based alternative to bacon. The meal in itself was very filling yet not overly savoury, with the flavors of each ingredient nicely balancing out each other. We’d definitely recommend this not only for comfort food but even for carbo-loading purposes!

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As for the build your own bowl, the mixed greens and veggie spirals were fresh and crisp not just in appearance, but also with in terms of taste. The bbq tofu added some much needed bite with its sweet and peppery notes. The “bacun”, while not as smoky in flavors as its porky cousin, still offered a nice crunch. With the garlicky red rice, with a splash of balsamic vinaigrette bringing all these individual elements together, it became a guiltless treat in itself.

Green Bar also has its own daily specials as well as a small lineup of desserts and pastries to round off a meal. Also highly recommended are its breakfast selections and ‘handhelds’, which are healthy take-offs on sandwiches and burritos. We will certainly keep this place on the radar for future visits and study sessions!

Food score: 5/5. This place has fairly large portions that do not skimp in terms of flavor or freshness. Green Bar also has some of the best meat substitutes we’ve encountered so far in our food trips.

Ambiance/Service Score: 5/5: One perk of this place is its calm and cozy interior, reminding one more of a sedate lounge than a city cafe, making this spot excellent for meetings or quiet casual dining. The service is prompt and friendly, making dining here even more pleasant.

GERD Score: 4.5/5: Green Bar’s selections allow people with heartburn to immerse themselves with a meal but without the worry of having the acid act up badly. Depending on your appetite and serving size considerations, a bowl is good either for one or two people as well.

Epilepsy Score: 4.5/5: Fresh ingredients make this place a great stop for diners with restrictions on preservatives. Gluten free selections also are available here.  However one may want to go for less heavily seasoned choices or simpler dressings just to err on the safe side with allergies and sensitivities.

Team Glasses Score: 4.5/5: For a quiet dinner out, or pregaming before a long evening, this place fits the bill. We hope to be able to try the other recommendations such as the breakfast dishes soon!

Green Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Pappadom-Masala

Swagat Indian Cuisine

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For a change of scenery from our usual haunts, we decided to explore the other side of Ayala Avenue into Legaspi Village for some Indian Cuisine here at Swagat.

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After entering the quaint restaurant, the strong hint of spices permeated through the entire place, a sign of an actual Indian eatery. The pink walls and random portraits added to the simplicity of the facade, and a casual place to dine.

Our dinner started with an appetizer of pappadom masala (a crisp deep fried lentil wafer with spices, onions, and tomatoes on top) each. Kat got some paneer korma (homemade cheese cooked with onions, tomatoes, and spices) and roti, with masala lassi (yogurt drink with masala) to wash it down. On the other hand, I ordered some sangam biryani (lean and tender pieces of chicken and lamb cooked with fresh herbs, spices, and Indian rice and in cream mughalai sauce), along with rose lassi (yogurt drink with rose petals).

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Pappadom Masala

The pappadom masala was a welcome start to our meal and got our palates going. The pappadom was full of flavor and the crispy texture blended well with the fresh tomatoes and onions on top.

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Sangam Biryani

The sangam biryani reminded me of a smaller portion of the ones I ate on a daily basis during my stint in Qatar, with the various South Asian eateries around the country. Choosing the mildest spice levels they had, I would say that it was just a touch above the right amount of heat for an ordinary Filipino tastes. The chunks of chicken and lamb absorbed the spices exceptionally well too. Washing it all down with the inherent sweetness of rose lassi became a nostalgic journey back to two years ago, during my stay in the Middle East.

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Paneer Korma

The paneer korma was the sort of dish that needs to be shared with friends, all equipped with plenty of bread. The spices give a subtle kick to the milder cheese and tomato flavors, which can also be enjoyed alongside other dishes. The masala lassi was more of an acquired taste, with the strong spices competing with the natural sourness of the yogurt in the drink.

Great things are coming up for Swagat, which  will be moving to their new location at The Columns Legaspi Village at Amorsolo St. cor. Arnaiz Ave. Makati City this December. It should be worth a check at their new home.

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Food Score: 4/5. Food wise, Swagat hits right on the mark with Indian home cooking flavors. At the same time, each dish is done well to complement each other.

Ambiance / Service Score: 3.5/5. The service was attentive enough for taking care of our needs. Unfortunately, the place doesn’t look cozy for anyone wanting to have a pleasant dinner.

GERD Score: 3.5/5. While there are plenty of options here at Swagat, it’s not a guarantee the spices don’t include the usual triggers such as chili powder. One saving grace is the fact that there are plenty of lassi and yogurt choices to help counteract the heat and the aftereffects of the heartburn.

Epilepsy Score: 4/5. While there are plenty of food selections to suit all kinds of diets and restrictions, the heavily spiced dishes may not agree with some diners. We recommend in particular the non-alcoholic drinks section for a safe night out.

Team Glasses Score: 3.5/5. Swagat Indian Cuisine, simply put, is a quaint place for the curious to have a taste of home-cooked Indian food. And with their new spot in Arnaiz Avenue, it should still be worth a look at, if you’re just going out with friends and not too conscious about any health conditions.

Swagat Indian Cuisine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato