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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

May 2007 Manila Trip

Greenbelt 3, Ground Level, Ayala Center, Makati City
632.757.7811; 632.757.7898

This came highly recommended by KW and ironically, EW went there already in the past...another coincidence, SIL's godparents' nephew is the owner!

Capricciosa is a very popular and very "lined-up" Itallian resto in Japan. This resto sparked an Italian boom in Japan as a pioneer of casual Italian restaurant with its home made style delicious foods and casual atmosphere of sharing a large portion with many people. Its start was the one in Shibuya opened by Masaaki Honda in 1977. Since then, Capricciosa have grown rapidly and now it is operating more than 130 locations in not only Japan but also Guam and Saipan. Manila is now one of the lucky locations in the world to have opened its first doors at Greenbelt October 21, 2006. The resto's concept is still the same as in Japan, which is sharing a large portion of home made style pasta and pizza with many people and enjoying fun atmosphere. Everything is cooked fresh, before your eyes, in the open kitchen. That’s the kind of quality that has made Capricciosa famous for nearly 30 years. Although Capricciosa’s name means "spontaneity," this does not mean it’s sloppy. Leave the preconceptions of a family restaurant at the door. While the interiors are comfy enough for a Sunday lunch with the kids, the classy modern interiors are still classy enough for a date or a meeting with clients.

Ed and I ordered a Ceasar Salad and a Seafood Spaghetti to share. Caesar was caesar but the veggies were fresh and crisp so I enjoyed this. We both love the Seafood Spaghetti and at P310 for about 2 to 3 people, it's a pure steal! It was filled with fish (don't know what type exactly) calamari, mussels, shrimp in tomato and spicy garlic-like sauce. The portions are huge and thus we got to take home the spaghetti and I had it the following day.

Cibo @ Rockwell Power Plant
Level 1, Power Plant, Rockwell Makati
11am - 10pm

Just to let you know that "food" in Itallian is "cibo". Ultra chic and modern, in addition to great Italian food, Cibo has done it again! Although EW and I terribly miss "Arnold" our favorite waiter @Cibo PP, we did get to enjoy the new revamped menu of the place.

To quote Margarita "Gaita" Fores (the owner, founder and of her with pasta on her hair...that is also part of the menu), "...unlike in the past when most of her customers came from the A-B market, more Filipinos now are open to trying new tastes and savors. "Our market has diversified. We needed to make the menu more accessible and easier to understand but still maintain that edgy look we are known for." she said. The menu is now black (than it's former grey) and has popping images of bruschettas and zuppes, paninis, pastas, desserts and drinks. The menu is now more readable and is complemented with colorful pictures that works for me since I pick food through my eyes than through words. :P There are more sandwich and salad selections, pizza (a first!) and more pasta dishes that has whipped up for her frequent patrons. There are sharing portions for salad and the sandwiches are quite creative ~one having pulled pork on a bun with two different dips (apple/pear, and mayonnaise-like).

On my most recent visit, I tried their salad (forgot the name...can't believe it!), red grape shake and Spaghetti Alfonso (my fav!!!). Salad was okay though comparing this to Capricciosa's fresh greens that I was was hardly on the "green" side. Shake is and will forever be good...too bad it doesn't last through half of my meal. Spaghetti Alfonso was a bit different but quite good nonetheless. EW tried a new pasta yet again that has creamy sauce but he just said that it's "so-so" so I won't bother finding out the name for this blog. :P EW's always trying new pasta dishes while I, no matter how I try, still stick to the good ol' Spaghetti Alfonso.Quality is still the same but with the added menu and friendly & fast service ...what else would we really need!

CYMA (pronounced as see-ma)
Greek Taverna
G/F Greenbelt 2, Ayala Center, Makati City

EW and I met up with two of our classmates, Jen & Ker at Cyma on Saturday night for some catching up and EW to ask Ker on some stuff. It was Jen & Ker's first time since our group bondings wouldn't include Makati since some of our other friends are further from here. I handled the ordering since Jen didn't know what and where to start while Ker & EW were in conversation already by the time we were complete. I ordered for us the Saganaki (House specialty - flaming cheese with people yelling Opa!), Roka Salata to share (Cyma's House salad - veggies and sun dried tomatoes on balsamic vinegar dressing with candied walnuts...yum!) , Lamb Souvlaki, Cyma Pork Chops (Popular - charbroiled served with traditional yoghurt dip, and choice of Greek potatoes or rice stuffed peppers --> the stuffed peppers are nicer), Solomos Angel Hair to share (a Cyma's original - sauteed salmon with tomato, basil cream sauce, fresh lime juice, feta and Romano cheese). The Saganaki came first and was so-so based on the other expressions on people's faces. I didn't have any since I already know what it is and to be honest...nothing really new. I do have some weird cravings for salads when I got home so each meal EW and I had included a salad. :P This time was no exception...but I do know that Cyma's house salad is one of the best, I've had in months. :P Jen & Ker would agree...heck, even EW, who hardly eats greens, did too. I love their candied's a great balance! I still crave for this tangy, sweet salad as I write this. :P The pork chops were good and thick. I missed out telling the waitress that we would like the stuffed peppers instead but the potatoes were good too. The Lamb Souvlaki was a bit of a problem since it seems a bit drier than it used to be.

Cyma's 2nd branch at Greenbelt 2 is nothing like it's predecessor branch at Edsa Shangri-La Mall. The service could be better and denifitely still needs to be work on. This is the difference with some Philippine-based restos. I'm not saying that Filipino hospitality is dead but it is in danger. I have read through so many other postings of people who had blunders worst than mine so I am thankful. One of these had to wait 15min to be seated then not getting their food even after 30min though the table next to them who were seated 10 before they left, got their food by the time they were about to leave! Oh my indeed! I wonder why the service would deteriorate especially it's now in the heart of the upbeat Makati. Their Shangri-La branch is still somewhat better. I wonder why Cyma's owners didn't train their servers first like what the Agnes b Le Pain Grille did...they trained them for a good few months then have most, if not all, of their well-trained waiters/staff move to the newer branch and got to maintain their very friendly and personalized service.'s far better than having bad reviews posted online to such a well-positioned Makati nonetheless!

Martinis @ The Mandarin
G/F The Mandarin Oriental Manila
11am-3am (Monday to Friday), 6pm-3am (Saturday), 6am-12am(Sunday)

No night can be called a night without a nightcap. And the perfect place is Martini's, Mandarin's newest, hippest watering hole. I definitely needed a night cap after an unsuccessful dessert trip to Bizu (Due to the fact that the store didn't bother to replenish their stock the following day. They didn't have the dessert I wanted and ran out of hot choco for EW! What do you expect us to have dessert which I've already forgiven but to not have anything for EW to drink?!?)

Martinis is fast becoming a hot spot as what Ed and I were told by friends. Ed found out about it when he applied for the Mandarin Card. It's normally standing room for peak times but thankfully EW and I went early since our earlier event at One McKinley Place's Pool Party was not a good idea with the constant rains at that time.

Interior design is in the art deco style. There is a baby grand piano when you enter the place that brings up a sophistication atmospher. The place is smoker friendly, which EW was informed when he inquired about the place a few days ago. Smokers are allowed inside...a first for Makati. Although this, the place was not as smokey as other places that EW and I have visited. I think the ventillation can accommodate the smoke...and most of the people there were digging the music and the martinis than smoke. A lot of chatter and has a really great vibe.

Martinis menu boasts 33 (!) different types of customized martinis, which our waitress helpfully informed us when we asked for the specialities or her fav, to suit anyone and everyone and is definitely worth investigating, with such temptations as Sake Martinis, Choco-chilli Martinis, and Dirty Martinis. There are the typical classics like from Singapore Slings to Mai Tais and offered alongside a range of scrumptious bar snacks and diverse selection of premium cigars. At P320++ for a cocktail that totals to about P400/martini, with taxes and service charge. Ed had the "Flirt", Vodka, Pineapple while I had the "Tiramisu", a mixture of Belvedere vodka, Bailey's, Amaretto and Chilled Espresso.Live music starts every night at 7pm and carries on until two in the morning. I have got to go back and try the "Sake Martini" with EW again!

The live jazz band was nice since it was filled with good bossa music while I can still talk to EW at the end of the table without me having to shout or yell.

Also, remember to check the back of the menu for some martini quotes that totally rocks! EW's favorite is
"One martini is perfectly fine;
Two martinis at most.
Three martinis put you under the table.
And four put you under the host!"
**Note that a lady quoted this.

A noted one for me is
"One martini is all right. Two are too many, and three are not enough."
by James Thurber

Paseo Uno @ Mandarin Oriental
G/F The Mandarin Oriental Manila
Daily: 6am-12am, Breakfast: 5am-10:30am, Lunch: 12pm-2:30pm, Snack: 3pm-4pm, Dinner: 6pm-12am, All day dining menu: 6am-12am

Supposedly, this restaurant has created quite a stir since it opened in June 2003. The interior is dramatic, with indoor and outdoor ponds and glass encased rivulets of water. Designed by respected Tokyo company - Design Studio Spin, Paseo Uno combines modern elements with touches of colonial history in the little details like Spanish glass, Japanese paper and Filipino shells. There’s something delicious being served at every hour of the day, from buffet breakfast to a la carte dinner. If you like something to watch while you’re eating, the open kitchens are a hive of activity.

Sunday lunch buffet consisted of me, EW and Lex. Too bad, Charms wasn't able to come with us due to a family affair. I saw the biggest tuna (dead of course) I have ever the chief was slicing it into sashimi pieces on top of the sushi/oyster counter. Huge! I was just so amazed on how big that fish could was right smack at me.

Some notable dishes: Lamb Kebabs, Salmon Sashimi, Shrimp Tempura, and Grilled Swordfish. The tomato soup was not the same as when I first had it there. I think they somehow changed the seasoning...not as happy with this batch.

Manila Updates: Now what did I do in Manila...met up some suppliers as usual like the printers, designer and definitely visit my darling nephew, JJ Jr! I was able to rest up on Friday and catch Spiderman 3 with EW since he hasn't seen it yet. It's as good as how I remembered though I already know the ending and what's to happen.

Chanced upon a blog entry about "cool business cards". Pretty interesting stuff and definitely is up in the unique standards. I especially love the stylish embossing - simple yet elegant indeed.

Would you believe on how much weird freebees companies give out? DHL, the courier company, gave out mints to their customers. I didn't know they would even come up with these things. A co-worker of mine had to show this to me and I thought at first that it was his medicine...till he told me to look closer. What happened to good ol' dependable company pens with their contact details or websites on them? I could use a good few of thoese instead...or maybe a keychain measuring tape. I know I would rather have something I can use everyday than making sure I whip these things out after a meal and offer this to friends like gum. Plus with DHL brand mints...quality and effects might be questionnable. :P

Raining Knots...
Congratulations to Berns & Sher for their upcoming wedding this coming weekend. I'm sorry to miss this out but do hope that you enjoy the gift I was able to get for you.
The same goes for CO for March 2008 ~ you rock girl! Can't wait to chat about how this came about on my next trip back. I want details, dear!
Also, just found out that my BFF, CC, is finally (!) pushing through with her wedding also in December this year! Congratulations girl! Let me know if you need help. :D
The latter two are my groupies and will be joining Swats, Lua, me, Denis to enter marital status. :P

For now...still prepping other HK things outside of work and it's so far driving me crazy!
March 30 (Wednesday)...mark that ~ "the day everyone BUT MY OFFICE drove me off-the-wall"!


Valerie said...

All the food sounds so yummy!! I totally want to go and check out Martinis...yum!!

scrapgeek said...

For some reason I feel hungry!! Sounds like an interesting trip :)

MARYLOU said...

You know what, girl! You are my favorite foodie blogger, he, he!