For those who don't like the messy shawarma sandwich set up, Turk's Shawarma offers an alternative: Shawarma Rice.
Pork or chicken shawarma pieces, smothered with mayo-based and cheese sauces, nestling on a bed of tomato, lettuce, cucumber and onions, served with [what-should-be] Moroccan rice.
We chose chicken for our meat.
The shawarma meat tasted like longganisa with unpunctuated flavor. Had it been saltier or sweeter, the meat would've been satisfying taste wise. The rice was also bland, which was unfortunate because it had good integrity and was of good quality. In fact, the only component that had flavor was the vegetable one. The vegetables were crisp, fresh, flavorful.
An order of Turk's Shawarma Rice costs Php 75. Try it and judge for yourself.
We were in the mall one day and were looking for some good, inexpensive food. We dropped by Pizza Hut and looked at their Super Panalo Value Meal offerings.
What exactly is a Super Panalo Value Meal? Well, it's a 99-peso meal that consists of an appetizer (salad or soup), main course (pizza, pasta, or rice dish) and a drink (Pepsi product or iced tea). You choose what you want to eat and they serve it in 10 minutes guaranteed (if late, the meal is free).
For our meal, we chose the Cream of Mushroom Soup, Spaghetti Carbonara, and a glass of Lipton Iced Tea. We also got complimentary bread sticks to enjoy while waiting.
The Cream of Mushroom Soup was GOOD! It had good consistency, and full creamy, buttery flavor. It was also teeming with earthy button mushrooms, and topped with delicious croutons. This hearty soup is a yummy start to any meal.
The pasta of choice, Spaghetti Carbonara, was a letdown. The noodles were cooked well, al dente. But the sauce was a tad too bland and a little too milky. The dish actually tasted like burnt sopas. And the ham pieces weren't flavorful enough to add some taste to the whole thing.
The iced tea was diabetes-inducing.
All in all, our Super Panalo Value Meal wasn't a winner. But for 99-peso, it was a good pantawid-gutom. Oh well...
Place: It's literally a house, converted into a restaurant. It's clean, well-lighted, and of course, homey. The dining tables are spacious enough and the chairs, comfortable.
Food: Delicious! And fresh. We ordered their bestsellers: Mutya ng Antipolo soup, Crispy Pata, Sizzling Bangus Pobre, and Classic Kare-Kare.
The Mutya ng Antipolo is the restaurant's version of Bouillabaisse. And it's SO good. Creamy, just-right seafood flavor, well-seasoned, teeming with fresh, fresh seafood. Yummy! We especially loved the texture and vibrancy provided by the mirepoix. This soup is a must-eat!
The Crispy Pata was a winner! Juicy and tender meat, plus SUPER crispy skin. It's perfect! It wasn't salty and the meaty flavor shone through.
The Sizzling Bangus Pobre was O-K. Sure, the fish was fresh, but the crust was too salty and a tad too garlicky. The strong garlic flavor overpowered the bangus.
The Classic Kare-Kare was hearty, flavorful, delicious. It had oxtail and ox tripe, with sitaw, eggplant, pechay, and puso ng saging. The sauce had good consistency, the right thickness. What sets it apart from the versions of other restaurants is the lack of peanut butter sweetness in the sauce. We suspect they use ground peanuts to flavor the dish, and ground rice to thicken it. Talk about authentic, home-cooked kare-kare...
Must-eat: Mutya ng Antipolo, Crispy Pata
Price: Considering food quality, serving size, and inflation (Haha!), prices are reasonable. Price range per dish is Php 200-400.
Service: OK! Our waiters were attentive and very nice. Waiting time between meals was acceptable.
Anix's House of Kare-Kare is along Sumulong Highway, Antipolo City.
Moist chocolate pound cake, with chocolate filling and frosting, topped with chocolate chips. It's chocolate everywhere!
But don't be fooled by its look, for its taste, not ultimate at all. To be fair, it's not bad; the sweetness is just right and the chocolate flavor is pronounced. What the Ultimate Chocolate Cake lacks though to be considered truly the best are depth and sophistication, taste wise. It's just forgettable, flat, one dimensional. A contrast of chocolate nuances would have made this cake interesting, superb, ultimate.
Ice-cold, slightly bitter chocolate drink, topped with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. YUMMY!
We loved the bitterness of the chocolate drink; it complemented the subtle flavor of the ice cream and the sweetness of the chocolate sauce. With all these ingredients together, twas like drinking a cup of good ice cream. We were actually thinking of removing the straw, buy some nuts and pinipig and put them in our drink. Haha!
The Chocolate Float costs Php 45. Not bad for a tall cup of choco goodness. Try it!
Good, bittersweet, ice-cold coffee, topped with yummy and creamy vanilla ice cream and sinful, semisweet chocolate sauce.
It's the Coffee Float, one of the latest refreshing drinksoffered by the country's leading fastfood chain. And it's DELICIOUS! Great complementary flavors, velvety consistency. It's a must-drink!
It actually rivals the pricey concoctions of those fancy coffee shops (read: Starbucks). Same flavors (maybe better because Jollibee uses ice cream while the coffee shops use bland whipped cream) for only Php 45. Now beat that!
Go to a Jollibee branch near you and conquer summer with a cup of Coffee Float.
We were in a mall one day and we thought of pigging out for lunch. So we decided to eat at Yakimix, a restaurant that boasts of a smorgasbord of Korean, Cantonese, and Japanese cuisines.
The place is nice, pretty. The decor is beautiful: from the light fixtures, to the granite surfaces, to modern lines and furnishings. The dining tables could be made more spacious but they're O-K.
Now, the food. We started our meal with a good, hearty corn soup. It wasn't salty and was very flavorful. Next, we went for the salads. We had the Tuna Macaroni Salad (which was unusually sweet; we thought it was a dessert item. And no tuna flavor whatsoever), the Gelatin Salad (too sugary sweet, but we loved chewing the jelly), and we made a salad with a Mango-Sago dressing (WE LOVED THIS! Vibrant, authentic mango flavor! A must-eat) and another with a Blueberry dressing (No tartness, not a hint of blueberry flavor. We suspected it's just violet Thousand Island dressing. It's delicious however.).
Next, we went for sushi. We were impressed with the manifold sushi served. Our favorite, the Tempura Maki. It was fresh, crunchy, and had clean flavors. We also liked the Chicken and Apple Maki. We also tried the usual fare: California Maki, Kani, Tuna, etc. They were all good.
Then we went for the noodle dishes and rice. We had the Yakisoba (Good enough, noodles were of low quality, taste was forgettable.), the Japchae (Too sweet! And watery!), and the fried rice (DELICIOUS! Taste was punctuated and satisfying. Very savory!).
Next, the savory dishes. We tried some roasted chicken (dry and bland), some lechon kawali (delicious. juicy meat, super crispy skin), sweet and spicy spareribs (meat was tender, good mixture of sweet and heat), some chicken on a sizzling dish (tender meat, flavorful soy-based sauce), fried dumplings (the shell had hints of corn flavor, the filling was well-seasoned), and some green, breaded meat (we weren't sure if it's chicken or pork. Anyway, the meat was bland, and the breading, soggy).
Then we went and grilled some meat. We grilled some beef, luncheon meat, sausages, squid, salmon, and some vegetables. We loved the Spicy Squid: tender seafood with a kick! We also enjoyed eating some pepper steak and fresh, buttery, delicious salmon.
We also tried the Ebi Tempura. Now this one's a letdown. The shrimp was salty (weird!) and the batter wasn't airy enough.
Next on our plate: some food that's not Asian: Hawaiian pizza, cheese sticks, and shrimp crackers. The pizza was TOO sweet, the cheese sticks were yummy, and so were the shrimp crackers.
At last, dessert. There were lots to choose from: Selecta ice cream products, cupcakes, fruits, cakes, and halo-halo. But we made our own dessert: we took some crushed ice and put Mango-Sago dressing on it. Delicious! Refreshing!
Our complaints: sure, food variety was impressive. But food quality was disappointing. Also, some dishes didn't have labels so we were clueless about their names.
Must-eats: Corn soup, Tempura Maki, Mango-Sago dressing, the lechon kawali skin, the fried rice
Price: Php 599, no service charge.
Service: Waiters were attentive enough. We just wished though that they were there to educate us about the dishes we were getting.
Place: The restaurant is spotless. And cold! Brrr! The dining area inside is relatively small but it's spacious enough. The interior and the furnishing actually reflect the kind of food the restaurant offers: clean and simple.
Food: Delicious! We had the Thai Spring Rolls, Catfish-Mango Salad, Spicy Squid, Chicharon Bulaklak, Lechon Kawali with Kangkong, General's Chicken, General's Tofu, Adobo Flakes, Crispy Tilapia, Kare-Kare, and Seafood Rice.
The Thai Spring Rolls are really tasty. The filling doesn't have any meat (vegetables and vermicelli), making this appetizer light to the palate and the tummy. They're perfectly fried, golden and not soggy. They come with a sweet, chili dip.
The Catfish-Mango Salad is refreshing, with its juicy mangoes and tomatoes. The grated fried catfish adds a chewy texture to the dish and much needed saltiness. The bagoong (shrimp paste) that comes with it tastes good; it's not too pungent or overpowering.
The Spicy Squid is another good appetizer. The squid pieces are well cooked and are not tough at all. The sauce has the right amount of heat and sweet.
The Chicharon Bulaklak (crispy pork innards) is a winner. The pieces are clean, have absolutely no bitter aftertaste. They are also well-seasoned. Absolutely yummy!
The Lechon Kawali with Kangkong is a good main dish. The pork belly pieces are meaty (rather than being all-fat) and perfectly salted. They are nestling on a bed of fresh, deliciously sautéed kangkong.
The General's Chicken is for those who want their dishes with a little more heat. Imagine: crispy fried chicken pieces smothered with a dark, sweet, spicy sauce. With the chicken comes sliced eggplant to provide contrast in texture. You may need to order a lot of rice though with this dish. Now, the General's Tofu is the same dish, just change the chicken and eggplant with fried high-quality tofu.
Next, the Adobo Flakes. Shredded pork meat infused with the classic combination of soy sauce and vinegar flavors, with a hint of sweetness. Crunchy, fun to nibble. The dish comes with a reduced adobo sauce and hardboiled egg. Again, a warning: this dish goes well with A LOT of rice.
The Cripsy Tilapia is a winner. Most of the meat has been removed from the fish itself, for easier munching. Crispy, flavorful. It is really delicious.
The Kare-Kare is a must-eat! Fresh vegetables (eggplant, sitaw, puso ng saging, and pechay), and very tender ox tail and ox tripe all swimming in a tasty sauce that features the DELICIOUS marriage of meat and peanut flavors. The sauce also has good consistency; it is not too thick. And just like the Adobo Flakes, this dish demands a LOT of rice.
The Seafood Rice is OK. It's not too oily and not pungent.
For drinks, order a glass of hot calamansi juice. It has a the perfect balance of sweet and acid. Yummy!
Must-eats: Come to think of it, everything mentioned. =)
Price: Considering taste and serving size, reasonable. Prices are VAT-inclusive and the place has a 10% service charge.
Service: Our waiter was very efficient. He immediately directed us to our preferred seats and gave us the menu. He suggested dishes without being annoying. Waiting time between dishes was between 10-15 minutes.
This is a good place to go to if one wants good, inexpensive Filipino food.
Recipes by Café Metro is on the 5th floor of Shangri-la Plaza.