Monday, July 12, 2010

Definitely Shiok!

When you're eating within the Fort area, the first thing that comes to mind is to go to Serendra or High Street. This time though, we tried to look for an eating place outside the comforts of that familiar lane of restos. Looking around, we stumbled upon a very cute looking resto, situated in between a Shell gas station and a 7-11 store. How weird is that, right? But the food, ambience, and owner (hello, Ms. Christine!) were pleasantly surprising, it makes us want to go back again.

Shiok, which means "Tastes good!', is a Singapore-inspired restaurant, but not a franchise from Singapore, according to the owner. Christine said they made it sure that the Filipinos can appreciate Singaporean cuisine without compromising its authenticity. And sure it was well-appreciated! The restaurant just opened last January, but it already is very popular amongst the foodie crowd. 

On to the things we tried.

Roti Prata, 55 Php

Glutton Guy: I like my prata dipped in the curry sauce, unlike Glutton Girl. It makes the dish more of a meal. The curry sauce was tasty but not too full of spices. Just right for the Filipino taste. : )

Glutton Girl: The Roti Prata was chewy and tasty, there's no need to dip it in the curry sauce that it came with. It's somehow tastes like pita bread, for those wondering. I looked for prata with cheese and bananas, but the owner said they still didn't have that. I've tried that once in Singapore and I think the restaurant should add that to their menu as dessert because it's really good.

Hainan Chicken, 245 Php

Glutton Girl: I love Hainanese Chicken, so I already have a bias for this one. I like how the chicken doesn't taste oily at all. The chicken rice was also super good. You could really taste the chicken broth in it. I loved it best with the sweet black sauce (I think it's Hoisin sauce, but I'm not so sure) and the ginger shavings. It reminded me of Singapore. 

Nasi Lemak, 165 Php

Glutton Guy: It's my first time to try Nasi Lemak, but Glutton Girl said it's a must try so I obliged. The chicken was crispy and the peanut sauce complemented the chicken so well, I had to ask for another one! It's rice tasted a bit like pandan and coconut, but I guess that's really how it is with Singaporean/Malaysian food. I liked it; not recommended for first-timers though. : )

Spicy Pineapple Fish, 130 Php

Glutton Guy: I like the spice level of this dish. It's mildly hot, but the pineapples make up with its sweet, tangy flavor. : )

Glutton Girl: I think this dish is normal, something my mom can do at home. It's price is very affordable though. At P130, two people can already share this. The dory was cooked well: crispy on the outside but juicy on the inside.

Aside from these, we also tried out their famous drinks: Milk Tea (P50) and Milo Dinosaur (P55). Both should be tried when you're there. Unfortunately, we forgot to take pictures of them. 

It's rare that you find decent restaurants with very affordable prices, so Shiok is like a needle in a haystack. It is hard to find, but the look is very worth it. If you want to get authentic Singaporean cuisine, visit Shiok at the Fort some time.

Rating: Buddhalicious!
(Shiok is located at 0105 Fort Forum Bldg., Bonifacio Stop Over, 31st and 2nd St, Fort Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City.)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Cubao's Italian Offering

For most of us, Cubao can really be a populous area. Not only is it a place for shoppers (well, there's Farmer's Plaza and Gateway to name a few), it's also a place where thousands of commuters pass by (It's where the MRT and LRT2 are connected). Aside from these, you also have the Farmer's Market, the Araneta Coliseum, and the provincial bus terminals, which is why there's no doubt that the hustle and bustle happens here. Moreover, the area is known for motels, econo-tels, and the like, giving the stereotype of it being a "place of pleasure". Despite all this, however, it's not deprived of having good food. Cubao has a lot of food shops, from carinderia's to fine dining restaurants. And to show you how good Cubao food can be, we feature a food place that's located there.

The food place we found is located at the Cubao Expo. It's a place located at the Araneta Center where you can find unique (not to mention cute) shops. The shops there are small (they're just like small stalls), but most of them are uniquely designed. Tired from the long walk (we actually walked from Gateway to Cubao Expo hahaha), we, together with some friends, decided to have lunch. We luckily found Bellini's Italian Restaurant. Some of you might ask yourself, "This place kinda looks familiar...". Well, to answer your suspicions, YES, this is the restaurant where Basha (Bea Alonzo), Popoy (John Lloyd Cruz), and their barkada eat when they meet in the movie "One More Chance". And I think this was also featured in the movie "For The First Time" (Glutton Guy). 

The place is really really nice. You'll really feel like you're in a restaurant in Italy. The paintings on the walls were beautiful and the ambiance was excellent. Every wall was really designed to give the Italian feel. Wherever you look, you'll really be blown away. We were lucky enough to be greeted by the owner himself, Mr. Roberto Bellini. He offered us some pastas which weren't on the menu and which they just finished cooking. And to our amazement, Mr. Bellini and the waiter (get this, the waiter) talked in Italian! Mr. Bellini can talk English, though. We then assumed that the waiters were required to learn Italian. 

The food price ranges from 200-400 php. Some of the dishes are even good for 2 persons. There are some dishes, though, which are not on the menu. The waiter who'll take your order, however, will tell you the dishes they don't have. Also, there's a small board outside where they mention the day's specialties. After your meal, they'll offer you shots of wine (we think it's fruit wine. It's delicious, though hahaha). It's a really good way to end your Bellini's experience.

 Here's what we tried:

Iced Tea, 50 php - glass, 250 php - pitcher

Glutton Guy and Glutton Girl: There really is no point in telling you guys what we think about their iced tea since it's the drink that we have almost everytime. One thing that we have to say, though, is that their iced tea is different from the others in terms of taste. Bellini's iced tea is somewhat fruity and sweet, which is delicious. The one in the pitcher can probably serve up to 8 glasses of iced tea. : )

Pesto Mare, 250 php

Glutton Guy: Anything with seafood, I like. It's one heck of a dish. The dish is filled with clams and shrimps, big ones at that. The pesto sauce was really good, too. The seafood was just kind of difficult to eat since you have to remove the shells and all. But, overall, it was a worth it dish. I wouldn't hesitate on ordering this the next time I come here. : )

Glutton Girl: I really liked this dish. The pasta was very firm to the bite and the seafood were perfectly cooked. I'm not exactly a fan of pesto, but this was really prepared well. The pesto had a different taste. It seemed like an authentic Italian pesto dish. Also, it's a first for me to see a pesto pasta with seafood. Most of the pesto I see have either chicken or pork. Thus, this makes it a delicious and unique dish.

Spaghetti Allo Scoglio, 260 php

Glutton Guy: It was also a seafood pasta dish, but it has red sauce as base. Nevertheless, it was still delicious. As I've said in the previous dish, anything with seafood, I like. So, this dish worked really well for me. None of the ingredients were overpowering for me. There was complete balance, from the pasta to the sauce to the seafood. Plus, the seafood in the dish were already without shells, so it saved us the hassle of removing the shells while eating. The seafood were really cooked well and the sauce was really good, not too sour yet not too bland. The pasta would work well with or without cheese for me. : )

Glutton Girl: This was the pasta that caught my attention when I was glancing at the menu. It's actually better for me if seafood is paired with either red sauce or oil. The pasta was delicious. The seafood, perfect. It was also like an authentic Italian pasta dish. I think it would also work with angel hair pasta. Nevertheless, spaghetti pasta works as well. For me, it's a must-try here at Bellini's.

Lasagna Meatsauce, 350 php

Glutton Guy: Probably the best lasagna I've ever tasted. It was served hot, which was an added plus for me. The lasagna was stuffed with meat sauce and eggplant, which really was delicious for me. The lasagna was soft and was super stuffed with sauce. The eggplant, for me, was actually the star of the dish. It worked really well with the lasagna. It made it unique, not the same old boring lasagna. Plus, it made it more delicious. I actually wanted more, but I was already full hahaha If you want a pasta that's worth the price, order this lasagna at Bellini's. : )

Glutton Girl: This was actually suggested by both the waiter and Mr. Bellini himself. The dish wasn't actually on the menu. It's one of those specialties for the day. At first we didn't want to try it. Eventually, though, we gave in to their suggestion and gave the lasagna dish a shot. I do have to admit, though, it turned out to be a good decision after all. This was also one of the best dishes for me at Bellini's. It was cooked perfectly well. The sauce was good. The lasagna was superb. The eggplant inside the lasagna were delicious. If you're a lasagna or a pasta lover, I suggest you try this dish.

Rigatoni Cocinghiale Penne Selvaggi, 350 php

Glutton Guy: It was an okay pasta for me. It actually was not on the menu. The waiter just told us that they offered this dish for the day and so we tried it out. The penne pasta was mucho al dente, but it just didn't work for me since it was kind of hard and difficult to chew. The sauce, however was good. My only problem with this dish is the pasta itself. If they made it softer, it would probably be better, in my opinion. : )

Glutton Girl: Just like what Glutton Guy said, the pasta really didn't work out in the dish. The sauce was delicious, and the dish was even served hot. However, the pasta was not the usual penne pasta. Unlike the usual one, the penne pasta that Bellini's used was bigger. This, together with it being a bit hard,  gave a problem to the dish. The pasta being hard gave the feeling of the penne being uncooked.

Blue Marlin Alla Griglia, 280 php

Glutton Guy: I ordered this one out of love for fish. It was a delicious dish. Though I'm not so sure of combining a grilled fish with butter sauce. Because it was grilled, the fish gave a somewhat bitter taste. The lemon, though, made up for that bitter taste. I also liked the potatoes and the onions side dish. It really complemented the fish. : )

Glutton Girl: The fish was grilled well. It was delicious and soft. Plus, because it's grilled, it's healthy. It's actually healthier because it's a fish dish. The sauce of the fish was also delicious. It was a good idea to put lemon butter sauce on top of grilled fish. The side dish was also delicious. The potatoes were soft and cooked perfectly while the onions were caramelized to perfection. There were bits of burnt rosemary, but it didn't matter. Overall, it was very very good.

Ai Frutti Di Mare, 300 small, 600 large

Glutton Guy: Probably one of the best Italian pizzas I've ever tasted. It was a very delicious pizza that you'll surely love. The toppings worked really well. There weren't too many toppings, which was good because it didn't give me that confusion of what the pizza really tasted. And to think what we ordered was just the small one. It's already good for 5-6 persons, just in case you're imagining how big the large one is. : )

Glutton Girl: If you're gonna order a pizza, I suggest you try this one. It's a very delicious pizza, and a very affordable one. For a small sized Frutti Di Mare, it's already a lot. The sauce wasn't too much, so the pizza wasn't soggy. There was also an added crunch from the crust which made the pizza better. The toppings were also delicious, the amount not too much yet not too little. Better share the pizza, though! You probably won't be able to finish it all alone hahahaha

Eating at Bellini's won't just let you taste authentic Italian dishes, it also gives you the feeling of eating the dishes at the country itself. You'll simply admire how the place is designed. More importantly, you'll admire how the dishes are perfectly executed and cooked. You will be very pleased on the kindness and patience of the waiters. It's more of the good things that matter at Bellini's. They'll really make you feel comfortable and let you relax and savor their food. Overall, we'd say that it's an experience you'll surely love. So what separates Cubao from any other busy places in the Metro? Simple. Bellini's.

Rating: Buddhalicious!
(Bellini's is located at the Marikina Shoe Expo (Cubao Expo), Gen. Romulo Avenue, Brgy. Soccoro, Cubao, Quezon City. The Cubao Expo is in between Puregold Cubao and the Cubao bus terminal. Bellini's is at the farthest end of the Expo.)

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