Friday, December 30, 2016

K-Twins Restaurant - Ilocano Cuisine in Davao City

If you're craving for authentic Ilocano dishes in the heart of Davao City, you'll get your fill of igado, dinakdakan, Ilocano empanada, crispy dinuguan, etc. in a restaurant called K-Twins in Damosa Gateway in Lanang.  I was told they used to have a branch in Obrero, but moved to this new location, which opened last March 2015.

Ilocano dishes aren't exactly popular in Davao, except for bagnet. What caught my attention were a couple of dishes not quite offered in many Ilocano restaurants in Manila. So I ordered them to find out.

Crispy tambucho is a dish of deep fried, pork large intestines served with spicy vinegar. They're almost similar to "chicharong bulaklak" without the omentum. They're tasty and crunchy, though it's a matter of taste. Tambucho is a Spanish term for "muffler" - and is thus self explanatory why this is called as such. A serving costs PhP180.

Tahitian bagnet is "bagnet" (deep fried crispy pork dish similar to lechon kawali, but crunchier) spruced up with a salad of vegetables. The vegetables actually "lose" the taste of meat so if you love your veggies, you'd probably love this bagnet variety. Personally though, I couldn't appreciate the "concoction". I like bagnets and losing its taste (and even its crispness) to vegetables somehow dilutes the enjoyment of eating the dish. You might as well order their traditional bagnet. The dish will set you back by PhP255.

K-Twins Restaurant is located in Damosa Gateway, Mamay Road, Lanang, Davao City. They have a Facebook page too - or try this number if you need to contact them: 0928-397-6218.

This is the Eye in the Sky.

Crispy tambucho

Tahitian Bagnet

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Shangri-La at the Fort's High Street Cafe - Great Food, Modern Posh and Fine Dine

Every Christmas, I take my family to a special place. This year, I decided it was going to be at the High Street Cafe in Shangri-La at the Fort in Bonifacio Global City. 

The term "cafe" seems to be a misnomer here. After all, the term refers to "a small restaurant serving coffee, beverages, and light meals". But use of the term has evolved. Posh hotels now use this as a more welcoming name. Cafe, after all, is "less intimidating" for some people. But take Manila Hotel's "Cafe Ilang Ilang" or New World Hotel's "Cafe 1228". Nothing about these places are small, average or light weight, right?

The place must have been conceived to accommodate a limited crowd, even on special dates like Christmas, New Year. It also follows two dining shifts for night  diners: the first set starts at 6:30 PM and should wrap up at 8:30 PM, which is the start of the second set that wraps up at 10:30 PM (the official closing time). Having said this, reservations are necessary (63-2- 264-9069 extension 213). 

As a result, the dining experience doesn't seem like one big fiesta. Personally, I do not like clutter, manual or otherwise. Here, there's no chaos to speak of unlike in Circles Restaurant in their Ayala branch. More importantly, there's no ridiculous rule to actually go to their branch on the morning of the booked date just to pay for a reservation fee - the most ludicrous practice I have ever encountered in my life. Just call, book your seats and show up. Just as they do in the modern, civilized world!

High Street Cafe doesn't disappoint! 

The place is cozy, employing a palette of muted colors and home-style interiors. It has this very comfortable vibe. There are huge shelves all around and 9 kitchen stations (buffet stations) serving mostly Japanese, Chinese, Malaysian (laksa), Filipino cuisine. There's a table for frozen shrimps, lobsters, crabs, mussels, oysters and a variety of fish; another for desserts and fruits, 2 choices of drinks (lemon iced tea and fruit drink), and another table for breads and cheeses.

Take your crabs and shrimps and have them grilled or cooked with butter garlic - or however you want them done.

Their lechon (suckling roast pig) is constantly replenished and, more importantly, fresh, tasty and succulent. So is their lechon paksiw, which is among my favorites. I was looking for the "mango crab" which was recommended by someone, but it wasn't being served. No tempura either. I was also looking for their Dong Bao Claypot Rice which was nowhere to be found either. This must signify that menu changes every so often - for variety, which is a good thing.


Among the desserts, I loved their "Burnt Rice" Ice Cream (which smelled like pinipig or burnt rice) and their Molten Lava Cake which will send you to heaven and back. This should not be missed. Just proceed to the dessert table and order one. They'll prepare it and you can pick it up in 7 minutes. Have a slice of their bread pudding - it is delicious! 

The atmosphere in High Street Cafe is laidback. The crowd isn't rowdy or noisy so you can enjoy your conversations and light banter with friends or family. A senior among your crowd? Use their senior citizen card for a big discount. Mind you, the cut is considerable.

Shangri-La at the Fort is located at 30th Street, corner 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City (BGC), Taguig City. They've adequate parking (5-level basement parking) within the premises - so don't look elsewhere. I paid PhP100 for our 2.5 hours parking. 

Don't forget to look up the ceiling at the lobby to check out their gorgeous and grand chandelier set! Sia would be proud to have sung for it. 

This is the Eye in the Sky!

Brazo de Mercedes (left), cashew tart, bread pudding.
Break that upper crust for your sinful Molten Lava Cake

The grand chandelier at the lobby

#highstreetcafe   #shangrilaatthefort   #finedining   #manila