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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NANA & Co.-Indulge sweetly

NANA & Co.

“Count the memories, not the calories.”

My son and his girlfriend just had our late snack from this burger joint at Molito Lifestyle Center. What we’ve consumed were so flavorful, not to mention, a little oily too, so we agreed to have some dessert somewhere else just to cap everything off.

We found “Nana & Co.” It is a dessert and sandwich bar. I wondered why I have overlooked this place, my friend told me that we usually passed by this restaurant but were always heading to Starbucks just fronting Nana & Co each time.

It is a cozy place, very quite, its’ high ceiling made an impact to create an eminent ambiance and their display shelves were the ones that will attract you to go inside. What awaits you is a very colorful and happy scene.

The walls are white and those flashes of happy colors matched the neutral colors of the chairs and table.

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Their shelves are stocked-up, there were no empty space, so it is very inviting.

All the staff are smiling too when we came and one of them rushed to welcome and had us sitted. He even courteously asked if where do we want to be sitted.

Their products are neatly labeled and are very attractive, and there are stuff about baking all over the place.

It was pleasing to the eye especially if you’re a dessert lover.

I ordered for their pistachio sansrival. I usually asked what’s their best seller. It just so happen that it is what I ordered. Other items that sells best according to the attendant is the blueberry cheesecake. My son ordered for one.

I honestly loved the sansrival, not too sweet and there’s a generous amount of pistachio in all layers, I could have it in exchange with my all-time favorite blueberry cheesecake.

The blueberry cheesecake is the usual like how it should be.

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I would have to try their home-made artisanal ice cream soon. Their flavors are very enticing.

Nana & Co is located at: Molito Commercial Complex, Alabang, Muntinlupa City

Luna Cafe…

Luna Cafe…

“Coffee and friends, make the perfect blend.”

On my way to work, I spotted this newly-opened coffee shop in our hometown. Luna Cafe. It looks cozy from the outside, and I saw some splashes of the color pink inside. I instantly wanted to pay visit and check their menu so I scheduled it immediately over the next weekend.

Facade… They’re on the second floor.

I have been on the look-out for a coffee shop ala “Starbucks” that’s just near my place, like a rendezvous. I think this one’s the nearest so far. I have a leaning with “Picked” but it is 2 rides away from where I lived. And Starbucks is an hour drive from home.

Luna Cafe happens to be sitting beside another coffee shop. I just wondered why the owner of the place allowed tenants in similar businesses, it should be offer a variety as they will both benefit from it, looking at it, the other coffee shop looked gloomy, there was no guests at that time. While there are 2 tables occupied at Luna cafe.

Their interiors is the typical shabby looking, modern take of whats’ eclectic since they combined industrial chairs with girly and chic pieces, there are even flowers mounted on their walls that are made of papers. It actually added charm to the place or could be, because I just love the color pink.

My instant favorite is this wall. It inspired me to mount photos of those personalities that somehow inspired me and impacted my mindset, the likes of Mother Theresa, Frida Kahlo, or maybe even a photo of Madonna along my own portrait. Ahaha

Jen got quesadillas, as always, it has become her favorite. I tried the chipotle, because It reminds me of someone very special looking for chipotle when he visited the Philippines a few months ago.

Quesadillas..

We also wanted to try the mozarella logs, which also reminded us of the mozarella logs from Spatzle. I think I want to go back.

 

One of Cafe Luna’s best sellers are their artisanal coffees, intricately prepared in an artistic way, good to look at but you will always wonder if you’re going to eat all those decors since they are edible. Or should I leak the dripping chocolates on the sides of the mug.

I had avocado and Jen had their best seller specialty coffee: Cadbury Nutella.

The serving time was a bit longer than usual, so I again questioned what if it’s peak time. Jen asked me to not complaint and told her I will complaint, I am just sharing my views just with her. Or maybe they should have this standard spiel of informing their guests prep time of each item that we ordered.

Anyway, I just took photos of each corner to kill time, I even went out and took this pretty windchime, a hot air balloon, which is made of glass. It’s sound is so pacifying as soft wind came in that late Saturday night.

Their line-up isn’t pricey and I think is worthy for another visit when boredom at home hits me or should I need a little change in my environment. Anyway, it’s just 15 minutes away from home.

Cafe Luna is located at: Pacita Avenue, corner 16th avenue, Pacita Complex, San Pedro, Laguna.

Some photos courtesy of: http://www.decobake.com.ph/luna-cafe

Little Flour Café

Little Flour Café

“Love doesn’t just sit there like a stone, It had to be made like bread, remade all the time, made new.” ~Ursula K. Le Guin~

It was just accidental that I discovered Little Flour Café, it is the brainchild of Wild Flour Cafe, that charming country-style bakery which instantly became famous for the Cronut (Crossant + Donut) craze as they were the first one to do it, but I remember a hotel in Makati did Dossant (Donut + Crossant) too. Still, they captured the discriminating taste of Filipinos (4 branches in less than 3 years) but with some tweaks that are intentionally executed to create a signature distinction, still, both has achieved the same recognizable theme.

Very country-side signage.
“Off-mall.”

However, it saddened me when the “Pistachio Au lait” isn’t available during our visit.

Originally, I was eager to witness how those chairs were hung and instantly created a different and unique form of art.

One of my fascinations.

It isn’t peak yet, there are a few guests in some tables, so I was free to have my photo taken with those hanging chairs. You know how much I love chairs!

It’s almost lunch, so we kinda have like a brunch:

I had my mushroom bowl, it is packed with roasted mushroom, pickled vegetables, grains with fried egg. It is a bit spicy for me but I can manage. Besides, I am in front of half a dozen sweets ordered for me by my other-half.

My mushroom bowl…

They also do coffee art. You can even request your name be spelled on it. =)

Latte art. =)

These pastries that we personally choose from the display area, with an attendant who helped us decide by describing each and what sells best, so we came up with 5 different items. Both of us love “ube” (purple yam) so we get that one too. They call it “Ube Bomboloni”. Bombolini are doughnuts in Italy.

Neatly arranged goodies.
Are those flowers for sale too?
There are jams too. =)
Almost half a dozen goodies in front of us.
A very simple menu board.

There is a waiting area furnished with different types of chairs, in anticipation of guests waiting to be sitted while waiting during peak hours.

Nice chairs.

With its’ cozy interiors and well-appointed furniture, it is surely a place to linger with both colleagues and friends. And of course with a loved-one. =)

=)

PS

They also have special wines and beers. =)

But no Blue moon. =( Just Stellas.
Little Flour Café is at the ground level of World Plaza Building, 4th Avenue, corner 31st. Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

         You can contact them at 02-777-7383. They’re open from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm                 daily.

The Gardens – Brunch Club & Social House

The Gardens – Brunch club & Social house

“No matter how busy a person is, if they care, they will always find the time for you.”

Jen and I only had a short time left after she bought something from Tiendesitas. Our feet were just lead by our stomach, hungry enough to land in this dainty restaurant fronting Tiendesitas. Initially, we intend to just grab our favorite coffee but we decided to look around and spotted “The Gardens”.

It’s almost lunchtime and most of the tables were occupied when we arrived after browsing on the menu that they displayed outside.

Isn’t it so welcoming?

Their walls are made of glass so we can see what’s waiting for us inside. The interior is a combination of rustic and shabby chic in my opinion as there are flashes of pastels around. So it is very inviting too.

We always have this fear of ordering something we won’t like eventually, or won’t passed our taste buds, especially if it’s our first time, not only that but because we know how to cook and we’ve tried similar recipes in many different places. But because we get easily lured by the attractive presentations. We are both “visuals”.

While carefully choosing what to order, we had sweet potato fries called – out in advance. It’s supposed to be our dessert but we’re already hungry. =)

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Menu photo courtesy of: http://thegardens.com.ph/brunch-menu/

Sweet Potato Fries

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When they served it, we are ready with our orders, and it’s nice to calculate that it took them less than 15 minutes to serve the rest of our food so while we’re waiting, we were nibbling with the sweet potatoes that could do us good, especially for our skin, except for its’ sugar content.

So I had this:

Truffle Eggs with Mushroom and cheese

And Jen, declaring she’s trying to lose some pounds lately, just took this tempting Basil Aglio Olio Gambas to her heart’s content. But you see, there’s a rice on the side. =)

Basil Aglio Olio Gambas

The place isn’t too big, it can seat like more or less than 50 guests, but it was nice to realize that there is privacy in each table.

Before we left, I was able to take some pictures of their counter and ceiling which looked familiar to me. I saw something like this from Alabang, however it’s sad that said place was close already.

I want something like this at home.=)

Nowadays, it takes a lot for a restaurant to thrive, to improve the menu, maintain excellent service aren’t just what it takes to keep the business going. I think it takes passion, maybe invite your network to try your place and let the words reach people around. And let it evolve continuously, do research and seek advice or recommendations.

As for me, I like what I ordered, and if this place is just near to me, I won’t mind going back every now and then. Not to forget mentioning the contagious smiles of their attendants too.

The Gardens is located at 117 E. Rodriguez Jr. Avenue (C5),Barangay Ugong, Pasig