Morganfield’s

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It was a idyllic sunday afternoon and Team Glasses Food Blog wanted to try something new at Mall of Asia, just before the Ed Sheeran concert. In the midst of the groups of people moving to and fro, we saw Morganfield’s and thought, ‘why not give this a shot?’

Stepping inside, the place is reminiscent of a pub by the sea with its wooden chairs and tables, and dim lighting for the mood. These makes the place a good place to hang out with friends for a drink (if we could still drink in the first place).

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Bacon-wrapped meatballs

To whet our appetites (and for our bacon cravings), we started our meal with some bacon-wrapped meatballs. The meat was well seasoned and the bacon added a layer of saltiness.

For our late lunch, I ordered the Seafood Basket and Kat had the Bacon and Egg Aglio Olio, and we had a glass of Ginger Pop each to wash it all down.

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Seafood Basket

The Seafood Basket consists of beer-battered shrimp, fish, and calamari with a bed of french fries, tartar sauce, and coleslaw on the side. Personally, I would have liked a wee bit more pepper or paprika on the batter, but it was alright in itself. The shrimp and calamari are cooked well but the fish wasn’t as impressive. In my opinion it’s better as a snack with four or more people than an actual meal for one.

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Bacon and Egg Aglio Olio

The Bacon and Egg Aglio Olio was generously flavored with toasted garlic, with a little zing from some chili flakes. The egg was a bit too well cooked for our tastes though, and we would have preferred it a bit runny.

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Ginger Pops

The Ginger Pop is a nice balance to clean the palate with the mint subtly toning down the sharpness of the ginger, and the sweetness of the honey and brown sugar mix.

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Just before we left, the scent of their ribs tickled our senses. We dare say that the Carnivore is worth a try sometime, from the Home of the Sticky Bones.

Food Score: 4/5: The meals we had here at Morganfield’s are great for filling up our stomachs for the long night ahead, without making it feel like a chore.

Ambiance Score 4/5: Its overall look from the wooden furniture and walls, hues, and decor gives the place a cozy and warm feel to it, a place to unwind from the daily stress in a casual environment.

Service Score: 4/5: The servers we have are attentive and the food arrived at the right time and temperatures, a sign of a freshly prepared meal.

GERD Score: 3/5. Unfortunately for people with GERD, unless you have company and try their less fried meals, there are barely any options here that one can enjoy by their lonesome, or even in a group.

Neurodivergent Score: 3/5 : Oily options, grilled sausages, and full on fat make for comfort food, but not for a happy brain. This is just the sort of thing to have after a hangover, not to focus! That being said, there are plenty of fruit juices and non-alcoholic options such as the Ginger Pop that are great for health-conscious neurodivergents.

Team Glasses Score: 3.5/5. Weighing everything, the place is great for a casual meal for those that don’t have health conditions to worry about. However, for one that deals with neurodivergence or heartburn, the place has fewer options to offer.

Morganfield's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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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

Locavore

Sometimes there is nothing quite as comforting as ‘homecooked food’, and for many Filipinos this points to some classics such as sinigang, kare-kare, dinuguan, lechon—just to name a few.  It has become a challenge for restaurants to serve up their own versions of these favorites, especially in the face of trends such as fusion cuisine, food parks, etc. One place that is up to the task is Locavore, a sit-down restaurant/bar that caters to culinary purists as well as adventurous gourmands alike.

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I had the opportunity to dine here one Sunday lunchtime, as per the recommendation of one of my siblings. Fortunately, my family had made a reservation beforehand, as there was already a line of patrons outside the restaurant as early as 11:30 in the morning. Perusing the menu was a serious matter, as all the dishes were simply yet enticingly described; here at Locavore, tapsilog is not just meat with fried rice and a sunny side up egg! Eventually we decided on these entrees:

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  1.    Chori Silog

This is far more than simply chorizo sausage + egg + rice. What arrived at our table was an intimidating set-up of garlic rice topped with a soft and runny scrambled egg, crowned with a homemade chorizo patty. This very rich mountain of food was dripping with labuyo aioli and barbeque sauce, providing that sweet and spicy mix so beloved by Filipinos.  A side dish of picked cucumber and onion helped round out this sumptuous meal. In my opinion this meal is more appropriate for a breakfast or brunch as opposed to a family lunch. Nevertheless, it was very filling and definitely brings value for what one pays for.

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  1.       Dinuguang Lechon

Who would have thought that two fiesta favorites could make such a good marriage? The thick and tasty dinuguan makes a balance to the crisp and slightly salty lechon, especially the skin! This is not a dish that is meant to be enjoyed alone.

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  1.       Kare Kare Wings

I do have a weakness for chicken wings in all kinds of sauces, but it usually takes some persuading for me to eat kare kare (especially since most kare kare requires bagoong and I have some pretty dreadful allergies). This time I was won over; Locavore serves its kare kare wings with a choice of dips: bagoong and a special buttermilk ranch dressing. The kare kare was surprisingly light on the palate, with just the right amount of peanut flavor. The ranch dressing was an especial treat, since it lent a great contrast to the classic kare kare taste. Here’s to my adding kare kare to my list of ‘Things that Chicken Wings Must Be Dipped In.’.

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  1.       Sizzling Sinigang

It’s not every day that one gets served stew that is sizzling on a plate. Locavore does just that, with its beef sinigang sa sampaloc served with sautéed French beans and a garlic confit. The soup itself was so thick and flavorful, perfect for dipping in the French beans or spooning all over hot rice. The beef was so tender that it could melt in our mouths. It can only take culinary magic to make a dish that is this rich and yet does not overwhelm the taste buds.

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We washed all of this down with Locavore’s sorbetes, which comes in the classic trio of Tsoknut, milk (gatas) and cheese (keso). The other dessert offerings such as the sizzling pandesal pudding were just as tempting, but these will have to wait for subsequent food trips.

Although Locavore also styles itself as a bar, it also has a friendly selection of seasonal fruit juices as well as mocktails for those eschewing alcohol. We tried the Cucumber Lime Cooler and the Apple Lime Cooler mocktails. Both of these icy drinks had just the right amount of sweet-sourness to cleanse the palate and whet one’s appetite for the rest of the feast.

 

We cannot look at Filipino food (especially sinigang!) the same way again after this trip to Locavore. Hopefully we will have the opportunity to try more of its delights soon!

 

The Food Score: 4.5/5:  The food here is rich, sometimes overwhelmingly so. Nevertheless the cuisine at Locavore exemplifies the Filipino mode of feasting, all the way down to appealing to the Pinoy penchant for sweet sour dishes. And I will insist that the sinigang is sheer sorcery.

Ambiance/Service Score: 4/5: The service here is excellent and prompt, however the restaurant itself is quite crowded. The black and white décor may be appealing for patrons who will go to this establishment in the evenings for the bar aspect, but it seemed a bit dreary for the Sunday family lunch crowd.  

GERD Score: 3.5/5: Some Filipino favorites and heartburn normally don’t go hand in hand, but the wide selection of dishes makes the place worthwhile to visit. One’s best option is to share on the heartier meals.

Epilepsy Score:  4/5: Again, variety saves the day. While some foods here are definitely processed and should be eaten in moderation, there are enough fresh options such as ensalada for those with dietary restrictions. The mocktails also make this place an option for partygoers and night owls who may wish to accompany friends to the bar, but cannot partake of the other alcoholic offerings.  

 

Team Glasses Score: 4/5: Locavore is definitely a place to go if one wants Filipino food taken to a new level. Whether for a family lunch or a loud night out, this place has you covered. This is a place worth the excursion, whether for newbies to cuisine in this part of the world, or die-hard aficionados.

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

Gotti’s Ristorante

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Away from our usual haunts in Makati, we found ourselves in Megamall with dad and his business partner for a surprise dinner, and with a challenging budget of 300 per head, we decided to take a chance at Gotti’s Ristorante at the Atrium 4th floor.

The place reminds one of the different modern casual dining areas here in the metro, from sleek designs of solid red mixed with pictures of Italians, to the wooden chairs and cushioned leather seats, as well as the restaurant being lit and pleasant to the eye.

 

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Margherita Pizza

So for dinner, we shared a Margherita pizza. Aside from that, I had the Gambino Gamberi, Kat had the Salisbury Steak with rice, and then dad and his business partner had the Grilled Chicken Pesto and Creamy Basil Bacon pasta.

As we see it, one gets their money’s worth here in terms of volume. The pizza was more or less alright with its crisp thin crust sides, the cheese complements the tomato base and I would say, a guilt-free margherita.

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Creamy Basil Bacon Pasta

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Grilled Chicken Pesto

The grilled chicken pesto and creamy basil bacon pasta had well-cooked pasta for both. As for the taste however, I have to say that it’s a little uninspired and too overdone in either creaminess or the oily feel to the tongue. However, these are things that can be improved on in the future.

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Gambino Gamberi

With the Gambino, it’s quite filling and the stone-baked rice meal concept is actually quite interesting, especially in keeping our meal warm. At the same time, I’m quite a sucker for seafood and they cooked this one well enough.

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Salisbury Steak

The Salisbury steak on rice was served piping hot, with enough cheese on top to make the first bites delectable. However a little sauce coating the rest of the dish would not have been amiss. Nevertheless for a solo dish, this was a pretty tasty deal.

There was actually a lot of food left over from the two pastas that we took some home too. That said, if one wants to be full and hang out with friends at a budget, Gotti’s Ristorante is a good place to dine in.

Food Score: 3.5/5. The food here is a testament to the adage you get what you paid for, with decent taste suited for the Filipino palate and decent serving sizes, but there’s some room for improvement with some hits and some misses here and there.

Ambiance / Service Score: 4/5. Gotti’s ambiance is pleasing to the eye, from clean lines and welcoming appearance, it’s a treat to dine here every now and then. The servers were quite attentive as well, which is always welcome.

GERD Score: 3/5. One could say that each order of food is for sharing, so it can be a task for someone with heartburn to go at it alone. That said, there are thankfully some good options for selections, but again, for sharing.

Epilepsy Score: 4/5. This is a case again of not knowing what exactly goes in the seasonings and flavorings. Unlike some other establishments, diners don’t have as much control over any dietary limitations and modifications to menu items. However there are enough food selections to cater to the preferences and needs for most diners.

Team Glasses Score: 3.5/5. When one puts everything into consideration, Gotti’s Ristorante is a decent place to dine in on a budget, giving value for money with their serving sizes. The place is certainly great to bring some friends in for a casual dining experience. However, for people who have medical conditions such as ours, we believe they can do better.

Persia Grill

Ah, Valentine’s Day: a big night for couples, traffic, and overbooked restaurants. According to a relative of mine in the restaurant business, this occasion is a major day for revenue if only for all the couples, families, and even groups of friends celebrating this holiday dedicated to the expression of romance. So this year, for Team Glasses’ first Valentine’s Day out, we decided we’d have to look beyond the lists of ‘romantic restaurants’ in the city. We eventually chose to go to an old favourite, Persia Grill.

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Luckily for us, there are several branches of this restaurant located in Metro Manila, with one of them found in the Greenbelt area. We arrived here in the early evening, before the dinner time rush. Right away, we were charmed by the restaurant’s cozy interior that still had distinctly Persian touches such as the elegant colored glass lamps hanging from the ceiling, and a small collection of traditional art prints on one wall. The overall effect was welcoming and classy, without resorting to Middle Eastern stereotypes just to make the restaurant live up to its name.

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We decided to try out the Peshgaza appetizer, which was a sampler platter of four dips and bread. The dips were salad oliveyeh (potato with chicken, herbs, and pickles), baba ganoush (roasted eggplant in olive oil), must o’ khiar (yogurt, cucumber, mint and onions), and hummus. The servings of this particular appetizer were generous enough for three to four people, or perhaps just two very hungry ones. All of these dips were flavourful yet not overpowering; in particular the must o’ khiar was perfect for cleansing the palate as a prelude to a hearty main course.

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I was determined to have Lee try out the gormeh sabzi, a favourite dish from some of my previous excursions to Persia Grill. This stew of slow-cooked beef, beans, and pickled gherkins is touted on the menu as a ‘national dish’. One bite was certainly enough to explain to us why this dish would be a worthy candidate for the title. Although the beef was not yet tender enough to melt in one’s mouth, it had been cooked long enough to pick up the flavours of rest of the ingredients. The stew itself was aromatic and spiced well without being too hot on the tongue, something we certainly appreciated during our leisurely dinner. We also opted to have Persian rice on the side, served still warm with butter on top. 

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Unfortunately this was still the busiest night of February, and by the time we thought of having dessert, we could see the place already beginning to fill up with couples and groups of friends also eager to celebrate. One of these days we’ll have to head back there to try the baklava and yogurt, among other concoctions on their menu. But that is another tale.

The Food Score:  5/5. Whether this is ‘authentic’ Persian food is still up for debate, but it doesn’t change the fact that the food in this restaurant is filling, tasty, and very friendly to diners who may not be as accustomed to Persian or other Middle Eastern cuisines. The spices go further than simply hot chilli, and employ a whole range of flavours to tickle one’s curiosity and fancy. The serving sizes are meant for sharing, so this is perfect for group or family nights out.

Ambiance/Service Score:   4/5. This particular branch of Persia Grill was a bit small, thus limiting the number of diners who could enjoy this place at any given time. Although some traditional Persian music was played on the speakers to add to the ambiance, the occasional selection of European classics occasionally detracted from the mood. The set of colored lamps are a nice touch, which caused Lee to reminisce his Friday rest-day adventures in the Middle East.

GERD Score: 4/5. While there are some dishes that could and perhaps will trigger one’s heartburn from their menu, a couple of advantages are that most of their meat options are grilled, and that they have a wide variety of food options to prevent burping episodes.

Epilepsy Score:  4/5. Perhaps the one drawback about this place is that it may not be easy for a diner to request for a dish to be made without ingredients that could trigger or aggravate seizures. However the menu offers a wide range of food and drink options, thus giving one a better opportunity to avoid trigger foods. The restaurant’s ambiance is relaxing and far from a sensory overload, thus reducing the likelihood of having a seizure induced by too much light or sound.
Team Glasses Score: 4.5/5. We’re not picky about whether this is ‘authentic’ Persian food; we just love to eat and tell people about it. And this place fits the bill of ‘food to share’, both in terms of size and quality. Now, time for dessert.

Persia Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato