Monday, September 23, 2013

Antonio's Breakfast, Tagaytay

Antonio's Breakfast in Antonio's is one of those places people go to from Metro Manila just to get away. I see this placed used by car and bike clubs as the destination for a weekend fun run, the breakfast point after an hour or so of spirited dawn driving through sleepy towns forced to wake by the rumble of a convoy of machines.  It could be argued that this venue was selected because of its ample parking space but the most compelling reason is the good food.  I didn't come here because of a fun run and came in the evening but I did see two or three muscle cars parked there.  I was with my family and we went in this cold rainy night.

This wasn't my first time here, I love Antonio's breakfast, the country inspired interior, the fresh bread, herbs and dessert takeout counter on the immediate right of the door and the view of Taal lake at the far side all let you know that you aren't in Metro Manila anymore.  Antonio's is a hallmark of quality Tagaytay cuisine whether it be breakfast, grill or the cliche everybody proposes there coz its so pretty Antonio's Garden. I tell you that most guys only take a really long drive to a destination restaurant to either a) drive a fast ride over a long distance or b) to impress a girl they really like/love.  I however was there because of a previous engagement nearby, destination eating is not my thing.

I just love breakfast food, I love fried garlic rice, eggs, salty meat and what not.  I just don't like eating all of that for breakfast, there is nothing like massive amounts of oil and carbs to slow you down before your day has even began.  However, what I love is breakfast room for dinner, thats right folks and I have come to the right place for my dinner.

Bacon and Cheese Rosti

Mushroom and Truffle Pasta

Reuben Sandwich

Fresh Corned Beef, Cheese, Sauerkraut goodness

Now Antonio's Breakfast is very well known for its Beef Tapa.  Beef tapa, the standard issue Filipino breakfast is indeed good here, but in my opinion it is not what you should be having.  And I present our choices above for your consideration.  The Bacon and Cheese rosti is a wonderful medley or rich, salty flavors which I feel is best shared as a side dish as is can be overpowering as a main.  Another great to share is the five cheese pizza which is good though not spectacular, it is still a good filler in case your main comes short of satisfying you.  Another companion had the truffled, mushroom pasta which too was delicious but none compared to my Reuben sandwich.

As we arrived late I was being hurried into making a decision, being unable to decided I was about to blurt either the tapa or the house burger until the table next to us had the piece of sandwich heaven served to them.  And like a stunned teenager at a soiree I had to shyly ask our waitress for the identity of such a beautiful looking dish and the rest is history.

My Reuben was a delicious combination of fresh corned beef, sauerkraut, cheese and bread.  It was filling, tasty and quite satisfying.  It is now my new hamburger, the dish to be ordered automatically whenever I find it served.  Now the hunt for Reuben sandwiches in Metro Manila begins.

A very odd thing about Antonio's breakfast are the signs that people who speak abusively to their servers would be asked to leave.  This made me wonder just how many rude people come here that necessitate the fixing of the aforementioned signs.  Maybe the testosterone and adrenaline infused idiocy of some people on fun runs but who knows.

Oh, the chocolate truffle cheesecake is something to try.  Truffle oil, cheesecake and chocolate leaves you wondering for a few seconds whether you like it or not, chances are you will.

Breakfast is a great place, drive carefully and always treat everyone everywhere with respect!

Antonio's contact information here, they don't do reservations at Breakfast though.

How to get to Antonio's Breakfast through this map.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Hosseins Restaurant: Persian, Arabian and Indian cuisine at Serendra

Filipinos love Middle Eastern food, don't believe me?  Take yourself back to the mid to late nineties explosion of Shawarma joints all over the place.  There was Shawarma everywhere including the famous Shawarma Snack Center (SSC) in Sucat which was the hangout of people there before the recent explosion of establishments within Aguirre road(if you haven't been there in a while you are in for a shock).

Back to Hossein's!  Hossein's in Serendra is one of the nicest looking Middle Eastern restaurants in Metro Manila complete with those booths partitioned by curtains to make you feel like a Caliph about to be served his dinner.

What I like about Hossein's is what differentiates it from the other restaurants serving the same fare, quality and authenticity.  There is something to each dish, extra spices, extra steps such as imbuing smokiness into the grilled meets that make everything ooze quality, no shortcuts here and its worth the premium.

The rich beef kebab can be ordered in mild or spicy is hearty with its saffron rice, filling and again the meat quality is evident as it is free of gristle and what not you get from ordinary ground beef.



Although we went through a crazy day of rain and traffic, Hossein's was surprisingly full.  Its just that good, I can think of few others that give you so accurate (I imagine) a taste of Persia.  Although Persia Grill is quite good and is at half the price and is a great place to drink - read

I highly recommend this place and its great for a date..

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Bellini's Italian Restaurant, Cubao X

Bellini's sticks out like a sore thumb at the Cubao X, it just doesn't seem to belong among the thrift shops, shoe stores and other restaurants and bars there that all gasp for space since compared to them Bellini's literally occupies half of the biggest block there.  I have been to Cubao X thrice now, the first two times I was unable to go to Bellini's however, I have been to Fred's Revolucion (brilliant article by Cheryl Tiu).  Fred's is a fantastic experience in Cuban Revolution and well, other Red revolution memorabilia as you see that Soviet Woodblock type art in their propaganda posters and is worth going to after dinner at Bellini's.

Bellini's is a formal looking Italian restaurant that from what I gather was one of the early establishments in Cubao X.  Cubao X for the un initiated is an eclectic mix of thrift shops, shoe stores (Marikina Shoe Expo or showrooms of Markina Shoe Makers) and the odd art store and beauty salon in the mix.

Bellini is well appointed and reminds me of an aged Italianni's, the interior is adorned with famed scenes of Italy painted onto the walls and wine displays of what look like three kinds of wine but in many, many bottles.

I was there on a Sunday with my mom, the great thing was they had a non stop New Wave mix going on which kinda struck me.  We ordered two dishes to share, the spaghetti with longganisa, tomato and chili (p270) and a roast pork (P300).  The waiter suggested Focaccia bread (P100) to go with the order of spaghetti.  Odd because usually you get a few baguette slices with pasta but what the heck.  The bread was a loaf without the end pieces and was crunchy on the outside yet soft and warm on the inside.

Bread sticks are complimentary and quite flavorful with a hint of cheese.  The spaghetti was just the way I like it, with a light sauce, real tomato taste and perfectly cooked noodles.

The roast pork is well, two thin slices quite well made, tasty but very little considering you need meat to balance the carbs out.  I didn't care, I stopped mid way in my meal to sing the chorus of "A Little Respect" by Erasure, wonderful!

I can't give a full opinion based on two dishes but everything tasted authentic, rustic even, free from being drenched in heavy "Italian" sauces, here it is more herbs and vegetables doing the talking, more organic flavors which lend to the authenticity of the food.

The very pleasant owner (Signore Bellini himself!) doesn't seem to speak much English and it is quite endearing to see the waiters speaking Italian to him.  There is even a chalkboard with Italian words of the day and their translations.

Each meal is finished with free red wine in shot glasses a quaint and pleasant touch.  I am coming back with my entire family so we can share more dishes and try everything.  I am typing this while listening to guess.

Bellini's Contact Info from Facebook
Cubao Expo, Cubao, Quezon City, Philippines(02) 913 2550

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Sneak Peek at OTKB Olive Tree Kitchen & Bar at High Street, Bonifacio Global City

Known as OTKB, because Olive Tree Kitchen & Bar can be quite a mouthful or a lot to text is the newest restaurant on the block.  I seriously thought OTKB was a spin off NKTOB (or new kids on the block) - something something restaurant on the block.  Anyhow the Olive Tree Kitchen and Bar is the newest restaurant of Master Chef Rob Pengson.

Breakfast Terra Cotta
sous vide egg, baguette

Fresh Ricotta
Roasted Cherry and Heirloom Potatoes, alfalfa sprouts 

Caesar Salad with Chicken Milanese
Caesar Salad with breaded chicken on the side

Pepperoni Pizza

Char grilled Wagyu Bistecca

OKTB Burger
 The pizza is very, very good, so much so I kept thinking of Stella Wood Fire Bistro's Pizza my new pizza favorite, OKTB's pizza is very good and I could come here just to eat pizza.  I actually prefer a thinner crust and more of the toppings area but this was very good indeed.

We tried two of the breakfast dishes or egg dishes which come in deep dishes and you stir everything up to distribute the egg and allow it to cook slightly more.  I love dishes like these, the yolk and bread tend to thicken making this hearty and mellow accentuated with a tinge of spice to give you a bit of a bite.

The salad comes with the chicken and Caesar dressing on the side. The dressing was pleasant and not overpowering and the chicken's breading was delicate and thin.

Everything was good and mind you this is the soft opening or trial period.  The staff is friendly and quite eager.  I see a great future for this really nice family place.  The ambiance is pleasant and although still not completely finished I can imagine more eye catching accents as it comes closer to its grand opening this third week of September.  I will be back.