Tag Archives: Restaurant

4 Couples, 12 Monkeys

MrC and I used to go out to watch bands a lot. Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever written about it here, but my husbandry used to sing in a band called Bobby Parks Movement. I was their manager. And oh my gosh, I just found proof of the band’s existence on the interwebsO diba? This was before we became parents, of course, when it was okay to come home at the crack of dawn and sleep until way past lunch time. 

Bobby Parks Movement on MYX Bandarito, 2005

 

I find it silly whenever I say, “Those were the days,” in reference to that time in our lives. I feel that it makes me sound older than I actually am. But that’s the truth, those were the days. Nights out have become rare occasions for MrC and me, because we have really grown into homebodies since becoming parents. But because we love Joei and the ABC, we got all dolled up and spent an evening with the group at 12 Monkeys Music Hall & Pub in Century City Mall a few weeks ago.

2 Piggies in 12 Monkeys
2 Piggies in 12 Monkeys

 

The moment we walked in I thought, wow I wish this place existed already when we were still very much involved in the band scene, aka in my past life working for events like Fete dela Musique and Red Horse Muziklaban. I would have loved to hold an event at this place! It’s roomy, simple but aptly decorated, and the sound is AMAZEBALLS. Plus, the food is really good, which isn’t something you find at bars very often. 

Welcome to 12 Monkeys

 

Given the roster of partners who put this place together, though, I’m not surprised at the excellence in detail put into everything from the ambiance, to the equipment, to the menu. Behind the amazing food and ambiance are Raymund Magdaluyo, who owns Red Crab, Sumo Sam and Seafood Island, Neil Arce, an old friend from Zobel, and co-owner of 71 Gramercy and Tipsy Pig, Neil Paras of Big Bad Wolf, Mike Gelacio, who co-owns Publiko and Universe, Prive’s JM Rodriguez, club and bar owner, GP Reyes, and one of 19 East’s partners, Yuri Allado

Musical programming is taken care of by Parokya Ni Edgar’s frontman, Chito Miranda, and Champ Lui Pio. Marketing and operations is handled by the lone lady in the group, Cesca Rivas. The DJ lineup is carefully put together by DJ Keith Haw. With JB Music’s head, Jerico Fernando involved, you know exactly why the sound system at 12 Monkeys is as good as it is. Completing the lineup of partners are Magic 89.9’s DJ Tony Toni Bueno and Solar Sports TV’s Jinno Rufino. Now that’s an all-star cast, if I’ve ever seen one.

Borrowing Jane’s photo of the opening band the night we were at 12 Monkeys

 

Our visit came after an intimate dinner at Yumi Japanese Restaurant (blogging about this soon!), which was just next door. That didn’t stop us from sampling the different dishes that we had heard were to die for at 12 Monkeys. First came drinks. No pub experience is complete without a beer, in my opinion, so it was a rather huge mug of Stella Artois for me, and a Cerveza Negra for MrC. The other girls ordered a pretty cocktail each – a yellow cocktail called Sweet Monkeys (PHP250) for Joei, a very pink Very Berries (PHP250) for Jane, and a kiwi-filled green Ivan’s Secret (PHP250) for Mish.

His & Hers beers, and colorful cocktails

 

Once we were all settled in with our drinks and the band started to play, the food came in, one exciting plate after another. Chef Pete Ayson developed the menu at 12 Monkeys based on the taste and preference of each of the partners.Our spread started off with Killer Chicharones, a basket filled with crispy hog skin, chicken tail poppers and skin served with spiced vinegar and spiced ketchup. A second basket on our table contained Cesca Pop – golden shrimp popcorn, grilled lemon, crispy fries and cocktail sauce.  

Killer Chicharones (PHP195), Cesca Pop and His & Hers Iced Tea – Notice that the glasses for guys are different from the glasses for girls

 

I only tried one piece of chicharon, but the boys ate it happily. I really liked the Cesca Pop, and end up finishing the whole basket, including the fries. So good when you squeeze the grilled lemon over everything! The Spam Fries was something that we all couldn’t get enough of! This was tempura style assorted Spam served with honey mustard, cumin ketchup and kimchi mayo. So good, it was gone in 60 seconds! I would love to take Little MrC to try these. I’m sure he will really enjoy.

Spam Fries (PHP290) 

 

I love that the pizza selections are categorized as Picha Pie, obviously after that Parokya ni Edgar Song. We were served Ivan’s Palabok Pizza and The Sisig Tribute. The Palabok Pizza really tasted like palabok! As in, it’s even better with calamansi squeezed over it. I never would have imagined this would make a good pizza, but it works. The Sisig Tribute was yummy too, and nice and spicy. This is perfect for my friends who love sisig but don’t like eating rice.

Thai Beef Salad, The Sisig Tribute (PHP320), Ivan’s Palabok Pizza (PHP350), Chunky Monkey Pie (PHP290) and Sticky Pudding (PHP285)

 

I didn’t get to try the salads, but I will next time. Apart from the Thai Beef Salad, which had mixed greens, tamarind beef fillet, cucumber, tomatoes, radish, toasted peanuts and chili lime dressing, we were also given a Fried Chicken Caesar Salad. This I am interested in for next time. A bowl of this salad comes with homemade Caesar dressing tossed into romaine lettuce, and topped with saved Parmesan cheese, smoked bacon bits and a country fried chicken fillet. Sounds like my kind of salad!

I had a few spoons of the After Hours Goto Special because I love goto and just couldn’t say no. This bowl was goto perfection! It’s Filipino-style congee served with beef tripe, garlic flkes, century egg, pork floss, homemade candied dilis, scallions, tofu and fried crispy pork belly. If you ever come to 12 Monkeys, you MUST try this!

Borrowing Jane’s photo of the After Hours Goto Special (PHP285)

 

I knew I had to save room for dessert, so I decided to skip the Laksa Lomi, a red curry lomi noodle soup with squid balls, white shrimps and fried pork belly, and the Barbecue Feast. Note to self: Order the barbecue next time because it looked really good. The platter was loaded with chargrilled baby back ribs, barbacua chicken wings, coleslaw, potato salad and Java rice.

Laksa Lomi
Photo by Jane
Barbecue Feast (PHP780)
Photo by Jane

 

The last main dish served to us before we all threw in the towel because we were too full to function was the 12 Treasures Claypot Rice. This was black rice, soy chicken, Chinese sausage, pork ribs, shiitake mushrooms and bok choi cooked in a claypot bowl. I have to try this next time, coz it really sounds yummy, too. Diba, not your usual bar chow!

12 Treasures Claypot Rice (PHP365) Photo by Jane

 

Dessert was a slice of Chunky Monkey Pie and Sticky Pudding. Both had banana in them, keeping with the whole monkey thing, I guess. The Chunky Monkey Pie is a cream-filled banana cream pie topped with whipped cream, chunky peanut butter and crushed choc nut. The pudding was made of banana walnut bread in butter toffee sauce, topped with vanilla ice cream. Both were yummy! After a spoonful of each, I literally couldn’t eat another bite.

I just love our ABC group! It’s always fun when these guys are around.

 

THANK YOU so very much to the management and staff at 12 Monkeys for taking care of us and stuffing us silly. I had such a great time that I’ve already asked MrC to take me back there to see some of my favorite bands play. It’ll be great to hang out and pretend we are young and free, even just for a night. Thank you, also, Joei for putting this fun evening together for the ABC.

 

Loading

It’s been a while since MrC and I went to a bar hehe. Super enjoyed #GirlsNightOut with my #ABC loves and our husbandries at 12 Monkeys. The food there is amazing! And ang ganda ng sound! Hope to catch one of my favorite bands there soon.

View on Instagram

12 Monkeys Music Hall And Pub
5/F Century City Mall
Kalayaan Avenue, Poblacion, Makati
For reservations call (0917) 570-3222
For private event inquiries email 12monkeyspub@gmail.com
Follow @12MonkeysPH on Twitter and Instagram, and like 12MonkeysPH on Facebook

Doors open at 5pm
Entrance fees vary based on the performing band
Table reservations go for 6-8k, consumable
The VIP couch close to the stage costs 15k, consumable, and can seat 10-12 persons

Back-To-Back Tagaytay Weekend #FoodTrip Part1: QiWellness Living

When you are married with children, date night is always something to look forward to. Do you guys agree? I totally do. And so when I was asked to join a few blogger friends in an amazing date night at QiWellness Living Tea House + Bath House in Tagaytay, I was beside myself with excitement. 

QiWellness Living's Ken, Jeff and Rita with bloggers, Ging, Mish, Jane, Joei, MrsC, Kaity and Helene
QiWellness Living’s Ken, Jeff and Rita with bloggers, Ging, Mish, Jane, Joei, MrsC, Kaity and Helene

 

After weeks of planning, MrC and I almost didn’t make it to our Tagaytay dinner because the kiddo had a slight fever after football class that day! It’s a good thing that after a long nap, a couple of doses of Biogesic and a long bath, Little MrC was feeling better, and was okay to be left at home with my parents. Phew. It would have been really sad missing the QiWellness Living experience. I mean, you get there and you’re just completely blown away by how gorgeous the place is.

See what I mean?
See what I mean?
(These photos belong to QiWellness Living)

 

We were greeted by a loud gong right when MrC and I entered the red door. I have to admit, nagulat ako. I actually jumped a little coz I wasn’t expecting it. Waiting for us at the receiving area were the the wonderful owners of the place, Ken Tuason and Rita Sanson, who were both so gracious and accommodating the entire evening. Ken explained that QiWellness Living is made up of two main areas – the Bath House and the Tea House.

 

The Bath House

The bath house area is at the lowest floor of QiWellness Living

 

We took a short tour of the bath house while waiting for the other bloggers to arrive. This area is described as a sanctuary of relaxation, rejuvenation and renewal, bringing effective traditional and holistic healing practices in a modern setting through massages and hydrotherapy. If you are a massage-lover in search of a quick escape, I think you ought to try it here. You can check out the list and prices of their massage services and other treatments here.

To be honest, I have never had a massage in my life. I think, though, that this would be a great place for my first time. I would love to relax in the hot and cold yin yan pools afterwards! It seems like a great way to enjoy the beautiful the view of Taal Volcano.

The yin yang pool overlooking Taal Lake

 

The Tea House

Isn’t it so very Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon? I super love the ambiance at this place!

 

In between the top floor receiving area and the bottom floor bath house, you will find QiWellness Living’s Tea House. Here they serve 6-course and 8-course yin yang menus, multi-course degustations that change seasonally over spring, summer, autumn and winter. They also have ala carte items for lunch and dinner, which are served with the soup of the day and a salad. You can also try their dimsum selections in the afternoons. If you wanna check out their menu offerings, click here.

Casual, romantic dinner setup at the Tea House area

 

I was (of course) really happy that the ABC girls were complete during our quick Tagaytay escape. I knew that MrC would enjoy himself even more with the other husbands around. I feel so lucky to have met these ladies that I click so well with. Our husbands click, and our kids click, too, so it’s always a great time when we’re together.

Alabang Bloggers Clique (level-up na, dati Club lang) – MrsC, Michelle, Jane and Joei

 

The 8-course Summer Yin Yang Set Menu

Our dinner menu written on a scroll

 

For our dinner date, we were served the 8-course Summer Yin Yang Menu (PHP2,380 + 10% Service Charge, inclusive of VAT) paired with white and red wines. What an absolute treat. Our meal started off with Toasted Mantou. We usually have this with condensed milk on the side for dipping. This time, it came with a pat of butter on the side. I don’t like butter, but I gave it a try anyway. I think that the bread is better off on its own, thankyouverymuch. Everyone else happily ate theirs with the butter, though, so maybe it’s just me.

Toasted Mantou with butter
(As you can see, I hadn’t quite gotten my camera settings right yet at this point)

 

Our first course was Money Bag of Foie Gras and Green Apple with Chestnut Purée. This was one of my favorites. There were big enough pieces of foie gras in the dumpling that you could actually taste them, but they weren’t too big to the point of being overwhelming. I liked that the dumpling pastry was thick and chewy.

Money Bag of Foie Gras and Green Apple with Chestnut Purée

 

For our second course, we were given Tuna Tartare with Pineapple and Pickled Shallots. I love raw tuna, so of course this was something I enjoyed, too. You get a little bit of sweet and sour when you pop the little ball of tuna into your mouth. And yes, I really popped the entire thing into my mouth. I did chew slowly and savor every flavor in it, though.

Tuna Tartare with Pineapple and Pickled Shallots

 

My absolute favorite was the third course, Lettuce Soup with Poached Egg and Shiitake Mushroom Dumpling. At first, I found that the soup was on the acidic side. And then I popped open the poached egg, and once the yolk mixed with the soup, everything became really creamy and velvety and rich. The mushroom dumpling was also really yummy, and went very well with the soup.

Lettuce Soup with Poached Egg and Shiitake Mushroom Dumpling

 

Next we had one of the prettiest salads I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. Too bad my photo doesn’t do justice to this Endive, Roquefort, Walnut, Roasted Pear Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette. The vinaigrette dressing was on the sweet side, and totally complemented the bitter greens mixed in with lettuce leaves and flower petals.

Endive, Roquefort, Walnut, Roasted Pear Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette

 

After the salad, the first of the main dishes started arriving. The Pan-Seared Sake-Marinated Scallops with Avocado Purée, Radish and Ebiko was really good, to the point that I wanted more. Ging sat next to me at dinner, and her husband is allergic to shellfish so she got to eat his share. Lucky girl hehe!

Pan-Seared Sake-Marinated Scallops with Avocado Purée, Radish and Ebiko

 

Dish #6 (and yes, we were counting them down as they were being served) was Pacific Black Cod on Buckwheat Noodles with Orange-Teriyaki Glaze. I like fish, so I liked this. The cod was perfectly cooked, flaky not chewy. The noodles were nice, too. This was sort of like a very sophisticated Chinese pancit.

Pacific Black Cod on Buckwheat Noodles with Orange-Teriyaki Glaze

 

They obviously saved the best for last where the main dishes of this degustation were concerned. Our 7th course was a Striploin of Wagyu with Sichuan Pepper, Spatzle, Snow Peas and Truffle-Beef Jus. Spatzle isn’t at all something you would expect to find in a Chinese dish, so this was a pleasant surprise. 

Striploin of Wagyu with Sichuan Pepper, Spatzle, Snow Peas and Truffle-Beef Jus

 

And finally, my favorite part in any meal – dessert. We were served a bow of Cardamon Custard, Strawberry Sorbet, Crumble and Soil. I love how Chef Jeff Ramirez did his fusion of flavors and textures in every dish. Everything’s so exciting, and this dessert was no exception. The sorbet was a little tart, the custard a little sweet, and the crumble and soil added a bit of crunch in every bite. It was a great way to end an excellent meal.

Cardamon Custard, Strawberry Sorbet, Crumble and Soil

 

THANK YOU so very much, Ken, Rita and Jeff for inviting us over, and for treating us all to an amazing dinner. QiWellness Living is so beautiful! MrC and I really enjoyed dinner, and we look forward to coming back for our first-ever couples massage and a dimsum-filled afternoon. Thanks also to the amazing staff who took care of us, accommodated all of our requests, and answered of our questions while taking us around the bath house and tea house.

The owners and staff of QiWellness Living

 

Qiwellness Living
Aguinaldo Highway, Brgy. Maharlika East
Tagaytay City, Philippines
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Qiwellness-Living/306850776152706

For TEA HOUSE inquiries or reservations call +63917-5226969 or email teahouse@qiwellnessliving.ph. The Tea House is open from Wednesdays to Sundays 11:30AM to 2:30PM for lunch, 2:00PM to 6:00PM for dimsum selections, and 6:30PM to 10:00PM for dinner. Last order for the 6 and 8 course set menu is at 12:30PM for lunch and 8:00PM for dinner. Mondays and Tuesdays are available for group bookings and functions only.

For BATH HOUSE inquiries or reservations call +63917-5226969 or email bathhouse@qiwellnessliving.ph. The Bath House is open from Tuesdays to Sundays. Operating hours are from 1:00PM to 10:00PM. Last call is at 8:30PM. Special bookings for Mondays and Tuesdays, and morning bookings from 10:00AM may be arranged upon special request.

Overnight accommodations may also be arranged at the GUEST HOUSE. The package includes welcome cocktails, use of bathhouse facilities, reflexology for 2, Silk signature massage for 2, and traditional Chinese congee and dimsum breakfast for 2. Check-in time is at 2:00PM, and check-out time is at 12:00NN. The overnight package is for 2 persons only, and costs PHP15,800.

Our Orange Whisk #FoodTrip Field Trip

One fine Saturday, the ABC ladies (sans Jane, who was off enjoying a super fun weekend in Bohol) went on a quick lunch trip to Orange Whisk in Better Living. I’m sorry I can’t explain how to get there, but I can say that the restaurant is not hard to find, that is if you’re familiar with the area. Or if you have Waze.

 

Orange Whisk
You’ll know you’re there when you see the sign!

 

I always knew that there were these really good, homey restaurants and cafes hiding in that area. MrC used to live in Parañaque, and I’d see these establishments all the time when we’d drive around. After all these years, I finally got to try one.

One of MrC’s work friends had lots of nice things to say about Orange Whisk. He’s from Better Living, and my husbandry asked him for help with directions a few days before our visit. He says that the steak is a must-order. We didn’t have that, but we did get to try a version of steak. I’ll tell you more about that later.

 

But first, let me tell you about Orange Whisk

 

Orange Whisk Restaurant and Patisserie is owned by the award-winning tandem of Chef Isaiah Ortega and Pastry Chef Korinne Lirio (who are engaged in real life, yeehee). Honestly, you feel the chemistry between these two through their food. What stuck with me was how sophisticated yet simple the flavor combinations were. Remember that scene from Ratatouille where Remy was talking about how combining flavors created something new, with matching colorful visions and all? That’s what it was like for me at Orange Whisk.

 

Chefs Isaiah and Korinne, their wall of fame at Orange Whisk, and the restaurant’s super cute light fixture

 

Chef Isaiah whips up Filipino and international dishes at Orange Whisk. Chef Korinne is in charge of pastries and desserts. There are a lot of dishes to choose from, and they can even customize a dish for you, provided that they have the ingredients needed on-hand. Winner, especially for particular, picky eaters. They also recently started carrying Chef Anna Chua’s amazeballs Pink Wasabi Kashi Maki as part of their menu. Super yay for that! 

 

Starting off with bread and coffee

 

Chewy buns!

 

The boys and I had come from football before our Orange Whisk lunch, so we came hungry. While our gracious hosts were busy in the kitchen, we were served some pastries and coffee to start with. Seriously, I am not over these Chewy Buns. They are sorta like a cross between crusty rolls and mochi balls. These were really good while they were warm, and they were perfect with a cup of coffee. I regret not buying a few to take home. I also regret not trying the coffee buns.

 

Good news! They serve good, strong coffee at Orange Whisk.

 

We also shared a plate of Calamansi Chiffon. You know how I love calamansi-flavored pastries. These were the bomb. They were light, fluffy, soft and moist. They were perfectly tart yet perfectly sweet. My matakaw self wishes that they were bigger, but I feel that they really are just the right size. These go great with coffee, too.

 

Calamansi Chiffon

 

Finally, the kitchen was ready for us

 

Isol Salad

 

After a few minutes of snacking and chatting, we were told that we were ready to be served. First came the Isol Salad, which Joei and Mish were a little scared of. In case you didn’t know, isol is chicken butt. I’ve had it before, but never in a salad. I have to say, this is not your ordinary isol sa kanto. Chef Isaiah’s treatment is a bit more refined. This dish had crispy chicken bottom, heart of palm, cucumber, cilantro, key lime and Japanese mayo. Isn’t it so pretty?

 

Calamansi Sherbet

 

After the salad, we were given small portions of calamansi sherbet to cleanse our palettes. Afterwards, they put big bowls of rice on the table, and there was just no way we could skip rice with the dishes that followed. It was a “Diet? What diet?” kind of day. Here’s a rundown of all of the dishes that we got to try.

 

Aubergines in Char Smoked Coconut Cream Sauce

 

The Aubergines in Char Smoked Coconut Cream Sauce is pan-grilled eggplant slathered in a smokey coconut cream sauce. This cannot and should not be eaten without rice, in my opinion. I like eggplants but only done a certain way because I don’t enjoy them when they get soggy. These were cooked perfectly, firm but not tough, and sliced thick. The sauce worked so well with the eggplant! If you like coconut cream, you will enjoy this.

 

Steamed King Fish in Crispy Mashed Soy Bean Sauce

 

The one problem I had with the Steamed King Fish in Crispy Mashed Soy Bean Sauce was that the fish was bony. A bigger fish would have worked better for this, most likely. Absolutely no complaints as far as flavor goes, though. MrC really loved the crispy crumble on the fish. I’m guessing that’s the crispy mashed soybean? He mixed it in with his white rice, and it was just perfect.

 

Grilled Mustard Tuna Loin in Bacon Saffron Cream Sauce

 

The Grilled Mustard Tuna Loin in Bacon Saffron Cream Sauce was my favorite dish of them all. And no, it’s not because it has bacon. I’m not super gaga over bacon ya know. I really love tuna, and the bacon saffron cream sauce made everything so rich and flavorful. I could have finished this entire plate of mustard marinated tuna loin with rendered bacon, saffron and cream, but I had to share it with the rest. I am coming back for this one for sure.

 

Wagyu Saikoro Steak in Blue Ginger Sauce

 

Little MrC happily ate the Wagyu Saikoro Steak in Blue Ginger Sauce. You know how this kid loves his steak. He really has sophisticated taste buds for such a small boy. I’m just happy he loves to eat good food. They used Japanese beef for this dish, and it was melt-in-your-mouth soft. I love that it is lightly seasoned with bell peppers, garlic, blue ginger and soy caramel, so you could really taste the beef. 

 

Braised Butabara Steak n Blue Cheese Tomato Red Wine Sauce

 

Finally, another dish that must be eaten with rice, Braised Butabara Steak n Blue Cheese Tomato Red Wine Sauce. This was my second favorite, next to the tuna. The skinless prime pork belly was super soft with layers of melty fat in between the meat. So bad, I know. But that does make it yummier, right? I liked the combination of tomato sauce, red wine and blue cheese in the sauce. Though, being a super bleu cheese fan I would have asked for extra cheese in mine. Maybe I’ll do that on my next visit.

 

Of course, there’s always room for dessert

 

You know the boys were happy with their sweet treats

 

After the amazing chewy buns and calamansi chiffon, I was really looking forward to what Chef Korinne prepared for us for dessert. She surprised us by bringing out not just one or two sweet treats, but a sampler plate of desserts for each of us. Sweet tooth heaven!!!!! We each had a Chewy Choco Walnut Bar, a White Chocolate Spoon with Dark Chocolate Mousse (so cute!), and Sticky Date Pudding. 

 

Black Sesame Panna Cotta with Strawberries

 

There was also a Black Sesame Panna Cotta with Strawberries, which was my favorite among Chef Korinne’s desserts. It was light and delicately flavored. I love that the panna cotta wasn’t the Jello-ed out kind. I seriously wanted more.

 

Reggie’s Cheese Kashi Maki from Pink Wasabi

 

And of course, I saved Reggie’s Cheese Kashi Maki from Pink Wasabi for last. I’m biased because I already love them. And really, what could be a better combination than cheese and chocolate to end a meal with such an amazing mix of flavors? 

 

Our little lunch group – Timmy, Joei, MrsC, Little and Big MrC, Chef Korinne, Chef Isaiah, and Mish

 

THANK YOU for having us, Chefs Isaiah and Korinne! We really enjoyed Orange Whisk and we can’t wait to take the family there. Thanks also Chef Anna and Reggie for the invite, and Michelle for putting all this together for ABC. 

 
Orange Whisk
35 Michael Rua St.,
Betterliving Subdivision, Parañaque
(02) 501 6454
Open on Mondays, and Wednesdays to Sundays 11AM – 11PM
Closed on Tuesdays!

Food, Friends and Fun at Sweet Bella Molito

It has happened. I am becoming old(er) and forgetful. Those of you who are my friends and followers on Facebook know that, earlier this month, I went to a restaurant to do a food review and forgot to bring a camera. That would have been okay if my phone was nice and high tech, but no. I have a BlackBerry and a very, very, very, VERY low-end Samsung. Basically, I sat down and realized that I was toast.

But, because I was with amazing friends that day, this post won’t be a boring, wordy account of what the food looked and tasted like. My new-found friend Jane of Sugar & Spice, and my neighborly neighbor Michelle of Momma ‘N Manila decided to save me by sharing their photos with me. Thank God for these two, because trust me, one look at the photos and you will want to come to Sweet Bella for lunch or dinner.

With wonderful friends at Sweet Bella - Michelle, Kathi, Patty, Cai, Jane, and owner, Veron
With wonderful friends at Sweet Bella – Michelle, Kathi, Patty, Cai, Jane, and one of the owners, Veron

All the other ladies were there when I arrived. I was really rushing that day because we had football in the morning, and then I was scheduled to enroll Little MrC at school in the afternoon. Yes, that’s my excuse for forgetting my camera at home. The other mommies actually brought their kids with them, but mine was too tired to go out for lunch. It was too bad, because they served all of his favorite things at the kids’ table.

Four Cheese and Rustica Pizzas, and Penne Carbonara

I got to try some of the Rustica Pizza (Php395), which is topped with Italian sausage, Hungarian sausage, frankfurter, pepperoni, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Yum. I could even eat this for breakfast. There was also a Four Cheese Pizza (Php395) with fontina, mozzarella, bleu and parmesan cheeses, and Penne Carbonara (Php350) served to the kids. Like I said, all of my little boy’s favorites.

Now that I think about it, a lot of the dishes served to us mommies are faves of my kiddo as well. I swear, I need to take the boys here real soon. For sure, MrC would love the Seafood Chowder (Php250), which is one of the super winner dishes in my opinion. It’s loaded bits of seafood, a definite plus considering that most restaurants have more soup than meat in their chowder. The zigzag bread stick that comes with it is a perfect complement. I also truly enjoyed the HUGE Rockefeller Oysters (Php395) served to us.

Beef Salpicao, Rockefeller Oysters and Seafood Chowder

One dish that deserves special mention is the USDA Beef Salpicao (Php450), which is served with steak rice. The rice has bits of crispy beef and bits of crispy fat in it. So, so, so good. This is perfectly flavored, very garlicky, and an absolute must-try. You won’t regret it, I promise. So worth the calorie splurge.

Gambas with Foccaccia Bread, Grilled Salmon Steak and Capellini Pomodore e Salsa Verde Pasta

Michelle says that she likes to order the salpicao, plus an order of Gambas al Ajillo (Php270) for an instant surf n turf meal. Sounds like a good idea, for sure! The best way to eat the gambas is to pop a piece of shrimp in your mouth, whole if you can, then soak up some of the oil with your bread and pop that into your mouth right after. Mmm, good. 

If you’re craving for pasta, you need to try the Capellini Pomodore e Salsa Verde (Php395). It has truffle oil, pomodoro sauce AND pesto sauce, plus crunchy balsamic-glazed eggplant on the side. This goes really well with the Grilled Salmon with Lemon Butter Sauce (Php495). I have to tell you, I don’t normally like cooked salmon. I don’t like the rubbery texture that comes from overcooking the fish. Sweet Bella’s though was cooked perfectly. It was tender, flaky and just melts in your mouth.

Actually, everything we ate that day was perfectly cooked. Even the salpicao cubes were a little bit pink inside, imagine that? Now, if the beef cubes were perfect, you can just imagine how amazingly perfect this piece of wagyu beef was. 

Steak. Enough said.

Sweet Bella is actually the pretty, pink sister of Melo’s and House of Wagyu, so you can be sure that the steaks they serve are superior-grade. I can totally eat an entire Rib-eye Steak (Php995) all by myself, coz I’m takaw like that. But, I was smart enough to only have a small piece because the best part of our meal was yet to come – DESSERT!

As you walk into Sweet Bella, you are greeted by a display of gorgeous cakes. I was so happy when I heard that we were going to be given six different mini cakes to try. I love cake! Oh, note that the prices for the cakes below are for the personal size. 

Mangotier and Chocolata

First, there’s the Mangotier (Php275), an oven-baked cheesecake with mango mousse and fresh mango coulis. The Chocolata (Php220), which has been voted as best dessert, is a chocolate cake layered with ganache and topped with chocolate glass and butterflies. So pretty! They warmed this for us before serving, making it all melty and delicious. The chocoholic in me is happy.

Trio and Mi Camille

Just when I thought that it couldn’t get any better, I had a bite of the Trio (Ph275). It has layers of coffee mousse, and dark and white chocolate mousse, and just literally melts in your mouth. This, along with the Mi Camille (Php295) are my favorites. The Mi Camille dome is made of a delicate Belgian milk chocolate mousse on top of hazelnut praline on top of French biscuit on top of an almond praline crust. Chocolate plus nuts, for the win.

Strawberry Shortcake and Pearl

These last two cakes win simply because they are pink. The Strawberry Shortcake (Php275) is a tower of vanilla cake layered with strawberry cream. This is so good with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate. And oh, the Hot Chocolate at Sweet Bella is a must-try, too. If you want something unique, try the Pearl (Php295), a pink guava mousse filled with flambeed mango. This one was voted best dessert as well.

I’m really so glad that I got to borrow photos for this post! It wouldn’t be the same without them, right? I’m even happier that I actually made it to this lunch. I almost missed it because of my nutty summer schedule, and I’m glad I made an effort to be there. I know what I would have been missing, and really, it would have been a lot.

Oh, one last thing. Sweet Bella has AMAZING sugar free ensaymadas and cheese rolls. We recently got some for my lola, and she loved them. She had them as a snack, as dessert, as breakfast, and I think as lunch also, once. You have to order these in advance, though, and it takes 2-3 days before they are delivered to the branch. 

Thank you, thank you, Michelle for inviting me, Michelle and Jane for sharing your photos, and, of course, Veron for having us. I will definitely be back soon with the family! 

SWEET BELLA CAFE
Cluster II, Unit IIB
Molito, Alabang
(02) 556-4247
sweetbella_alabang@yahoo.com
sweetbellacakes@yahoo.com
https://www.facebook.com/sweetbellacafe