Alabang

3

Neil’s Kitchen

We decided to try someplace new for a change when we were down South (!!!) last weekend, so Neil’s Kitchen it was. I wasn’t able to take photos of the place which was very modern and quirky, but their Filipino food had unique twists as well. I love my calamares, and I think that Neil’s Kitchen probably has one of the most generous servings of calamares compared to other restaurants. Plus, the squid was perfectly cooked and not rubbery at all! The saffron aioli had a seemingly smoky flavor which went well with the dish. I had the Crab Cake Torta with Aligue (Crab Fat) Pasta - which is as indulgent and artery popping-ly good as it sounds. The tomato-based pasta had a richer taste, and the crab cake torta was packed with crab meat, although I wish the torta wasn’t too salty. G had the Chicken of the South, as it is his mission to eat every single “buttermilk fried chicken” dish out here in Metro Manila. The chicken had nice crunchy breading and juicy meat underneath, with rice that was smothered in gravy (very, very Pinoy, I must say ;-) ). 

Not a bad place at all for unique Filipino dishes! Come with hungry stomachs and family and friends as the servings are large and good for sharing!

2

Milkbox

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! Took some time to disconnect and spend time with my and G’s families, and of course, load up on lotsa good food! As if the holiday feasting weren’t enough, G and I ended up here at Milkbox after Christmas Day. I was initially interested to try their Wonuts (waffle plus donut, get it?) but they were doubly sinful (i.e. fried), plus didn’t come with ice cream which we wanted to try as well. 

So we shared a plate of Tres Leches Waffle Sundae, with a scoop of Malted Milk and Cookie Dough ice creams. They give you a small bottle of sweetened milk to drench the waffles in, and all I can say is that this waffle sundae is soooooooo milky it lives up to its name. Both G and I found the fresh mint leaves unnecessary, but the cereal crumbs and caramel sauce rounded up the dessert nicely. The Malted Milk ice cream had chewy chocolate malt balls while the Cookie Dough ice cream had crunchy chunks of chocolate chip cookies - both flavors were really yummy! I found the serving quite generous for two people considering the thickness of the waffles and the overall sweetness of the dessert, so best to visit this place really, really hungry!

Initial online reviews of this place aren’t too positive (i.e. venue too small, service too slow) but I think because we visited the place after the craze had died down, we had no problems at all.

5

Neil’s Kitchen

After a relaxing trip in Tagaytay, I treated my family to an indulgent lunch at Neil’s Kitchen on the way back home. I am not sure about other people, but I find the entrees in Neil’s Kitchen too much for one person, so this was the perfect time for all of us to try these dishes for sharing!

I would have wanted to take better photos but my family was raring to try the dishes so these will have to do. We ordered three paella dishes:

  • Sinigang Paella with Grilled Pork Belly - The rice was as sour as authentic sinigang soup. The pork belly would have been a delicious addition if it were more meat than fat…there was just too much pork fat served in this dish!
  • Paella Negra with Calamares - I still prefer traditional paella negra where the rice is more toasted at the edges rather than more moist, but the flavors of the rice and aioli were spot on. The squid was fried to a nice crisp.
  • Bagoong Paella with Kare-Kare (not photographed) - In terms of flavor, I liked the bagoong (fermented shrimp paste) paella among the three, but again, I wish there was actual beef in the kare-kare instead of just the lengua (tongue).

We all loved the salsa served with the Beach House Nachos Grande, which was made with fresh tomato and sweet corn bits. The Alabang Fried Chicken is G’s and my brother’s favorite, while the Crab Cake Torta with Aligue Pasta is delicious but definitely not recommended if you have health problems like high blood or high cholesterol (we all were pretty careful about having too much of it…while my dad had not touched it at all).

All in all, Neil’s Kitchen is a good place for sharing delicious and indulgent Filipino-Spanish fare with larger groups like family and friends. Was happy I got to bring my family here as they are based up North and rarely set their foot in the Alabang area.

Ramen Yushoken

This weekend, G and I decided to explore the Alabang area and try Yushoken which some of our friends have been raving about. Apparently, the place is well known for tsukemen or “dipping ramen” which was invented by Kazuo Yamagishi (that little blue statue you see on the shelf is a replica of the renowned chef).

As a side dish, G ordered some Karaage - Yushoken’s version is chicken that has been marinated, lightly breaded and fried. We both liked this version more than other Japanese restaurants, which had very heavily breaded karaage. The chicken was soft and juicy, and we could adjust the taste with a wedge of lemon, a bit of salt and Japanese mayo as we pleased.

For the tsukemen, G ordered the Tonkotsu TsukemenThe soup had a very porky taste, so this is perfect for pork lovers. 

I ordered the Gyokai Tsukemen, which had a smoky seafood flavor mixed with the pork broth.

Each of us had a plate of cold noodles for dipping. It may not be obvious in this photo but this was way too much for me - I was only able to finish half of my noodles. 

The noodles were perfect for dipping in the thick, extremely flavorful soups. Having tried tsukemen for the first time, I definitely found the broth more salty than that of the traditional ramen with the noodles already mixed in. But if you’re more of a noodle person than a soup person (I tend to go from one end to another), then tsukemen may be just the thing for you!