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

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

The Social’s Kashmir

To celebrate our recent triumphs in passing our respective applications to the university we both wanted, we decided to go back to something right up Lee’s alley, and that is to dine with Indian cuisine.

After walking through the Poblacion area, we find ourselves in the midst of the colorful hues of the refurbished steel containers that contrasts the LED lights, palm shrubs and artwork, all found in a small food and art place called The Social. The place does not only feel like a place for expats as most places are in this side of Makati, it also feels like a place where young professionals or college students can grab a bite and some brews after a long day at work or school.

Inside its gated compound, we picked Kashmir and ordered up Lamb Curry with salted lassi for Lee and Palak Paneer with sweet lassi for Kat.

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Lamb Curry

The Lamb Curry’s taste is adjusted to the Filipino palate, slightly sweet but with a bit of a kick to it. With its thick consistency, it reminds us of caldereta. At the same time, the lamb is firm and tender which perfectly suits the pita bread that accompanies it.

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Palak Paneer

The Palak Paneer on the other hand is a mix of spinach and cottage cheese thickened into a gravy or curry-like stew. One could say that it was a good idea that we actually ordered some extra pita bread for this dish, which would make a great side dish as well as an appetizer. The Palak Paneer had a full, hearty flavor, but one that was not overwhelmingly spicy. It was the sort of dish that would whet the appetite further, perhaps in preparation for a heavy main course like roasted lamb with rice.

As a matter of preference, since the food is generally either spiced or salty, in hindsight, maybe Lee should have ordered sweet lassi too to pair better with his lamb curry. The sweet lassi that Kat ordered was mild in flavor, with a hint of sourness from the yogurt.

All things considered, we definitely enjoyed our dinner here and as a nice place to hang out and have a relaxed and fun meal with friends.

 

Food Score: 4/5. The balance of flavors was pretty good for the meal itself, but I think the pita bread could be less doughy to better absorb and complement the meal.

Ambiance / Service Score: 4/5. Except for the cigarette smoke here and there since the place is an open space without smoking restrictions, the place is vibrant and neat with attentive servers in and around the area.

GERD Score: 3.5/5. The food was quite good, but at the same time, the spices may throw off people with heartburn, depending on one’s own triggers.

Epilepsy Score: 4/5. Although the food is not heavily spiced, some seasonings may not be very friendly to a few diners. There is a great selection of non-alcoholic and non caffeinated drinks, both in this stall and throughout the rest of the food park. The dining area, though brightly lit, is still friendly on the eyes and unlikely to trigger seizures.

Team Glasses Score: 4/5. Overall, Kashmir is a welcome experience for us and a great venue in celebrating our recent successes together. After all, great food, good ambiance and a selection that suits people with or without our medical conditions.