WATAMI – Casual Japanese Restaurant

Watami – Casual Japanese Restaurant

“Japanese food makes me feel particularly good.” ~David Mitchell~

Jen and I haven’t been hanging out lately and when we did. She suggested to veer away from our usual favorites.

After we got the stuff we need from some specialty shops at Shangri-la mall, our feet led us to this casual Japanese restaurant: Watami.

When it’s casual, does it mean that there would be no Geisha’s to serve you, there’ll be no Tatamis but the usual dining tables, still if it’s a Japanese restaurant, I normally think of the sublime execution of an authentic cuisine. Which is why it is one that always fascinates me. Refined, unmatched manner of preparing and serving each entree, this specific Art and not to forget that Japanese hospitality which is popularly known as “Omotenashi”. Lastly, theirs is healthy.

We’ve been to Akira and Sumo-sam in the past so Watami deserves a try. Besides, we haven’t had Japanese food in a while. =)

This friendly barker helped us decide right away after reviewing the menu that’s displayed outside. There was no mention of miso soup from the menu so we asked him if they have my favorite soup and they have it in 2 variants. A plain one and another that is spicy.

This is faultless, all of the restaurants I’ve tried didn’t fail to pour their guests some cup of tea.

Watami is one of the many restaurants under the Bistro Group:
#tastethelove

 – Plank Sourdough Pizza – Conrad Hotel Manila
 – TGIFridays and Italianni’s – with more than a dozen branches all over the country
 – Fish and Co – Mall of Asia and Trinoma
 – Krazy Garlic – Greenbelt 5
 – Bulgogi Brothers – Alabang Town Center, Greenbelt 5, Harbor point, SM Lanag, Mall of Asia
 – Village Tavern – Bonifacio High Street
 – Modern Shanghai – Mall of Asia
 – Tonkatsu – Ayala Cebu
 – Buffalo Wild Wings – Glorietta 1, Conrad Hotel Manila, Estancia Mall, Uptown Mall, Vista Mall Sta. Rosa
 – Texas Roadhouse – Uptown Mall, Conrad Hotel Manila
 – Denny’s – Trinoma, Bonifacio Global City, Eastwood, Vista Mall Sta. Rosa
 – Baker & Cook – Conrad Hotel Manila, U.P. Town Center

Sometimes, it is slightly annoying that while you’re enjoying your food, an attendant will approach you to offer the advantage of getting the Bistro Frequent Foodie card or popularly known as BFF Card.

Photo grabbed from: https://www.bistro.com.ph/

But come to think of it, if I review all of their restaurants, they are the most frequented and been thriving all these years and some of the best restaurants in the country. I must assume that those annoying attendants are one of their most effective Marketing Strategy for a continuous growth and carry one brand after another.

Personally speaking, I have been a regular customer of TGIF and TEXAS Roadhouse. I’ve tried Fish & Co when they still have one at Alabang Town Center. I even got this chance to see some contestants of “American Idol” (Jessica Sanchez’s time) since they held one of their activities at Italianni’s when they had their concert tour years ago.

So even if we haven’t seen and tasted our orders yet, we’re counting on that we will enjoy this early dinner. Later I learned that there are more than 700 branches of Watami all over the Asia Pacific region.

Take a look at what we’ve had:

Chasu rice for me and Jen, special curry Udon with cutlets for Jen and assorted tempura for me. Prior to deciding what to order, I had a miso soup called in advance.

All of these except for my soup were recommended by the attendant who took care of us.

The Chasu rice is truly delicious and its’ flavor matched my tempura. Jen’s Udon is tasteful too but is a little spicy and the hint of curry is just right, it is very mild. I enjoyed my tempura, however, I missed something from the sauce that came with it.

Over all, it was another gastronomic experience. Not to forget mentioning the intricately planned interiors of this casual Japanese resto.

I’ll ask Jen to try the sourdough pizza from Plank and pastries from Baker and Cook soon. =)

Aside from the New Wing of Shangri-la Mall, You can find Watami at the following locations:
– Greenbelt 2
– Mall of Asia
– Uptown Mall

Itadakimass! =)

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Spatzle Euro Market Cafe

Spatzle Euro Market Cafe

“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?” ~Vincent Van Gogh~

Just recently, I wrote about this restaurant in Alabang which I found one of those places to drink and dine with the best interiors.

And again recently, I discovered another just a few blocks away from my work place. It’s sitting there for years now, when the new wing was constructed and it’s been a while that I have been to this mall.

True enough, anybody or any designer can create a space, though not all can come up with something enticing from the first look, that’s why if you rate a place, there is an allotted score for ambiance. Spatzle has the modern country feel. It is very welcoming.

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We got our choice. =)

Shangri-la Edsa mall is a 15 minute drive from work. It can offer you a wide array of choices when it comes to dining. Some of our most favorite Japanese restaurants are there, some French, Mediterranean, Chinese, Italian and of course Filipino restaurants.

This time, we know for a fact that shopping can get so tiring and we ended up hungry like wolves.

We learned earlier of this place that’s new to us. Spatzle Euro Market Cafe serves European cuisines with cool interiors, not too stiff and casual enough to literally enjoy another dining experience after a hard day’s work and shopping, and if I may I not miss to mention, the disappointment of getting something you really want when it is out of stock. Come on Jen, let’s eat!!!!

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Food and non – food merchandise.

So we headed right away to that part of this mall where the food spots are. Spatzle is situated in a corner, before reaching it, we came across a few, with barkers outside. However, we already know where we’re heading.

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I’ve always liked chalkboards.

Jen knew too, I do not like it, I mean “hard-selling” because it makes me doubt, why the place isn’t packed.

And even if at Spatzle, there are only a few tables occupied when we arrived, the more it encouraged us to get in since a crowded place only means longer waiting time for them to spread your orders. Besides, the open air feel is very inviting. And there are no barkers. =)

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The hexagons unified the rest of the place. From those upholstery, floor tiles, wall-mounted cabinets and tables.
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Hexagons here and there. But not tiring.

It didn’t took us long as well to place our orders. Yes, we’re hungry, and whatever angle I choose, our orders seems to be too much for 2 persons.

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We opted to share with one another this tongue twisting delight: the “Tarte Flambe Monte blanc”. Which toppings I especially liked, the paprika flavored potato chips, which they call as “Paprika chips”.

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Pizza was my first love. Or anything that looks and tastes like it. =)

I had the “Bacon mozza logs” 

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Honestly, I can only consume 2 at that time.

and Jen got a burger: the “Spatz haus burger”. One of their best sellers.

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USDA Angus burger for Jen.

We had “Watermelon slush” sweetened with wild honey to soften, in anticipation, the savor of all that we will consume in the next few minutes. We were offered to try their desserts, however, we were so full after digging.

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Watermelon slush.

After digging with no holds-barred kind of way, we knew that we will visit a second time. They pulled it off well. We both liked what we’ve chosen and enjoyed all the other extra ingredients thrown in it. We actually checked and eyed others from the menu. We will definitely come back. =)

PS:
I will get the bacon mozza logs once again. Since Mozzarella cheese in particular is like a happy pill for me! Yum!

Another PS:

I found it cute that they have sanitizers along the cubiertos comin’ in handy too. =)

Spatzle Euro Market Cafe is located at:

Level 5, East Wing, Shangri-La Plaza, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City.

Let’s go wild, wild West! – WILD WEST ROAD HOUSE grill!

Wild West Roadhouse Grill

“Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like.” ~mark twain~

I am not so sure if my readers are already taking my reviews seriously on restaurants, since I am not a Pro in the F&B industry though this is one of the best-tasting meal I’ve ever tried.

This is my third visit and I kept ordering the same roast beef that comes with a creamy & flavorful sauce, it is with a cup full of java rice and buttered veggies. Broccoli included in particular being my favorite vegetable of all.

beef n rice
“Rodeo beef!”

Something Western right? Over the years, restaurants in the Philippines has dramatically improved. There are only a few in the 80s, I was still a child then.

In Shangri-la Plaza mall alone, there are almost a hundred restaurants to choose from categorized such as American, European, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, & Chinese cuisines.

And this is where I discovered my marinated and lightly creamed beef strips (tenderness of which is just so right), the sauce comes with onion rings, which they fondly called as “Rodeo beef”.

rodeo
Didn’t change over the years.

They spoiled me by providing an extra gravy since I often consumed that creamy sauce right away. It’s a different sauce, however, it matches the beef strips as well. We loved the gravy a great deal.

Another fare that we spotted is the “Sta. Fe Nachos”. It is not the usual layered nachos topped with cheese, veggie strips, chili con carne and bits of jalapenos. It is more like a medley of picadillas and pizza handsomely laid-out in a huge plate, topped with slices of jalapenos and comes with two kinds of dips: sour cream and tomato salsa.

sta fe
Sta. Fe Nachos!

To satiate our penchant, we had this “All-American apple crumble ala mode”, the scoop of ice cream on top is vanilla which they smothered with caramel sauce. They honestly tasted like “One more please!”

epol pie
American Dessert!

The set-up in Shangri-la Festival mall is spacey as well, both with indoor and outdoor spots. I liked their rest rooms too.

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Once it was Halloween.
christmas na
And then Christmas!
sodexo
Western style!

I was about to call the attendants’ attention as it was humid when I landed on our chosen seats, however, someone adjusted the temperature promptly.

I don’t normally give details about the drinks they offer, because apparently, I do not drink that much, I mean, I’m referring to the hard drinks. But I think, they can serve most of everyone’s favorites. They have bottled and draft beers, shakes and fruit juices, wines and shots & shooters, alcoholic beverages and they have Perrier too. =)

road house 1
Drinks!

It is also part of their SOP to inquire how was our food, etc, etc. I actually responded that it tastes the same and as good as the last one. =)

They never failed to thank you too and invite you to come back again. A standard spiel that didn’t sound too canned.

I am definite to visit again even if there are a lot of food spots to choose from at Shangri-la Festival mall. It is one of my favorite malls, not only because it is the one nearest from my office, it is also where we held our Interior Design exhibit before graduating from college. We manned our booths for 15 days. So this place holds a special place in my heart, however, it is now entirely different from what it looked like, should I say 20 years ago. Ahahaha!

PS

Jen, my foodie buddy had her an extra rice… oh well! Lol!

They do accept reservations too:

Contact details: 655-3023/6542993. They are at unit 6002-6003, Level 6, East Wing, Shangri-la Festival Mall, corner Shaw boulevard, Mandaluyong City, Philippines.

Duck & Buvette… An authentic French Saveur…

Duck & Buvette.. An authentic French Saveur…

fat girl
Is she the Chef? =)

I was a bit skeptical stopping by at Duck & Buvette. Besides, I was eyeing to stop by one of those ritzier restaurants on the other wing of Shangri-la mall.

But the aroma of brewed coffee enticed me and I sit pronto at the nearest available seats instead.

The attendants with their invariable smiles, are keen enough in bringing you their menu.

menu
Drinks and main..

I requested for the cold brew iced coffee while simultaneously scrutinizing info bits about their coffee. Which brought me to that vitrine.

my coffee
My iced coffee..

intelligentsia

glass display

I got that easy apple cake with lots of walnuts. I’m pretty sure it matches my cafe latte.

walnut pie
Walnut and apple cake…

The profile of their coffee is strong for me but it has a unique gusto, something I haven’t encounter for a long time. Still, I requested for a simple syrup to trim the robust in every sip.

syrup
Syrup please..=)

And I found a non-chicken dish that suits me: 8 hour Angus briskets. The description is that it’s a slow roasted “melt in your mouth” black Angus beef served with roast garlic rice and roasted mushroom sauce.

angus
Literally melts in your mouth..

cubiertos

condiments

 

I thought of something for my mom and my son, a sourdough pizza topped with fennel sausage and crispy pepperoni.

pizza
An all-time favorite..

It was indeed an artisanal pizza.

In my humble opinion, I got qualms because a few guests were present when I came. They looked like aristocrats all the while attendants are taking turns pouring wine in their Bordeaux glass.

chairs
I chose al fresco, but the inside is more intimate I guess..

I am grateful they have coffee since I am not a wine drinker. Be it red or white, I’d still prefer having coffee or smoothies of fresh fruits.

Their coffee by the way is from Intelligentsia. That it originated from Chicago. And that Intelligentsia coffee per my research and curious questions, is one of the biggest coffee roasting company that represents the “third wave coffee”. They are from better (best) produce and are curated in a special and distinct process which makes it an artisanal delight. Oh, I can now taste (and smell) the difference. =)

I can’t help but confirm from them that If I remember it right, something else is here years ago, and they happily told me that this is formerly Cafe Provencal, same owner, same staff, everything same, only better, I told him that it was good and that it is rightfully necessary to innovate. Always. That we can never allow ourselves to be stagnant for a looong time. It’s just cool to reinvent from time to time.

I think I’m bringing my friends here. =) And I know what to get as well on my next visit. =)

It is located at the 2nd floor of Shangri-la Plaza’s main wing (just across the elevators), EDSA Corner Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong, 1550. You can make reservations too. Just give them a call at: 631 0675.

To blog or not to blog – BAGNETified…

To blog or not to blog – Bagnetified

“Take time to eat what makes your tummy happy.”

Every year in the Philippines, new restaurants are born. It became so conspicuous that well-known bloggers even come up with their own top 10 list each year. For there are so many of different kind. So bloggers like me are cajoled to visit them if chance permits.

One of which is BAGNETified!

It is a chain of restaurants and has eyed to open a hundred stores this year. And luckily, we’ve got one just across the street.

“Bagnet” is a delicacy from the north, specifically in the Ilocos region.

My first to try it is a pasalubong from a friend in my previous job. And when I visit that region in the north, I immediately looked for it and ordered it and honest to goodness. Enjoyed it!

As for health concerns, this might not fit those who are health conscious. Bagnet is first and foremost a big portion of pork belly, deep fried until crispy. It is the Ilocano version of “Lechon kawali”. The best part of it is the skin being crispy and paired with a special soy sauce where different spices are chopped thinly and voila, more rice please!

At BAGNETified, they did some special twist. The staple viands of the Filipinos they utilized as specialties created with bagnet on each of it.

Like vegetable bagnetified, seafood bagnetified, and so on. Here’s what we’ve got:

bagnnet again

bagnet kare

bagnet pakbet

So what is the step by step procedure to cook it?

bagnetified
So here it is.

Some sinful desserts are available too.

bagnet bb
Blueberry cheesecake with fresh mangoes on top..

They even have pastas and chicken too. The choices are plenty so no worries, you will be able to choose one that fits your palate well.

As for the ambiance. Their interiors are simple yet pleasant.

bagnet red

bagnet dining area

This is a place for diggers like me, who might not mind an extra fat or calorie every once in a while.

PS

The iced tea is great! (–,)

bagnet iced tea
Not more of just being polite, being a coffee lover, I like their iced tea…=)
bagnet
More please..=)

They accept deliveries within Metro Manila, to sate your cravings, just dial: 99-SARAP 

Happy eating! (–.)