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Food and Leisure

New food finds at Greenfield District

Joy Angelica Subido, Joy Angelica Subido, Karla Alindahao - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The time is right to venture out and explore new dining places again. With sufficient time to recover from the buffet bloat of the holidays and a resolve to ferret out the newest food hubs in town, we recently made our way to the Greenfield District in Mandaluyong.  

The area once known as EDSA Central is being redeveloped into a master-planned community that will consist of office and shopping buildings. Interestingly, a number of new restaurants have also set up businesses there. An afternoon gave us a chance to rediscover familiar joints and sample the fare at the new food outlets.

Wind down with brews and familiar favorites at Blackwood Bistro. After a long day at work, one looks forward to winding down with good company, good food and maybe a few drinks.  The good thing about Blackwood Bistro is that it has something for everyone. The crowd is friendly, the brews are reasonably priced and the bar chow is always good. Of course, one can opt to skip the alcohol altogether and enjoy a full meal.

Blackwood’s Reuben sandwich has always been one of my top picks and the Hamon Serrano pizza with a nice, crisp crust is equally good. Definitely, one must try the crab claws that are already shelled so that they are ready to eat. Share a draft beer with friends and enjoy an atmosphere of easy camaraderie.  Amiable co-owner-chef Junjun de Ocampo is usually around and his friendly, easygoing nature positively influences the atmosphere of the place.

Savor bowls of comfort at Ramen Bar. There’s nothing like a comforting bowl of hot soup when the weather is chilly. The RBS 1 or Ramen Bar Special Number 1 with soy-infused tonkotsu (pork broth soup) topped with tamago (soft-boiled egg), naruto (fish sticks), nori (seaweed), negi (chopped spring onion), chasyu (pork slices) and kakuni  (braised pork belly) is the top seller at the store. If you feel that you’re starting to get the sniffles with the unusually cold weather, ramen paired with kakuni buns (pork belly and lettuce in a steamed bun) makes for a filling and restorative meal.

Brazil Brazil opens in a new location. Missing Brazil Brazil’s churrasco barbecues of chicken thigh, pork loin belly and ribs, tender beef brisket, sausage, cuttlefish, lamb, pineapple, corn and banana, we were glad to discover that the restaurant has opened an outlet in the Greenfield District. But while the old Brazil Brazil was popular for its buffet, the restaurant’s new incarnation features a la carte dining. One good thing about this is that one is not tempted to go all-out and gorge, especially since the extra weight accumulated from holiday feasting is not yet shed.

Brown’s Gourmet Café serves comfort food from around the world. We like this little café because of its eclectic menu. Owner Kristian Gadia put together a selection that includes rice meals, pasta, salads, shakes and homemade desserts so there should be something to tickle one’s fancy even when dining as a group. For starters, we loved Brown’s salad of greens with caramelized pear and nuts that came with a chili-calamansi dressing, and for the main course, the herbed chicken was especially tasty. Best of all, the entrees are priced just right so that Brown’s Gourmet  Café is accessible to everybody.

Le Miel Café & Patisserie is for those who love dessert. Young Filipino-Chinese entrepreneur John Paul Chua and his Korean wife Gayeon “G” Lee, who met and fell in love on a cruise ship, own this café. After taking baking courses in Korea, G trained at the Ecole Lenotre in Paris, France. She personally bakes the desserts served at the café.

The lemon tart (tarte aux citron) is refreshing and Le Miel also serves a delicious red velvet cake. But the standout at this gem of a patisserie has to be the gateau fudge, a flourless chocolate cake made purely with real Belgian chocolate. Best described as “heaven in every bite,” everything else pales in comparison to it.

Taste authentic Persian Cuisine at Habib. Start your meal with Habib’s Delight, a sampler of hummus (chickpeas, tahini, olive oil and a dash of lemon), mirza ghasemi (eggplant and tomato seasoned with garlic, turmeric, salt and pepper) and moutabal (roasted eggplant dip,) and proceed with the shawarmas and chelo kebabs of beef, chicken or fish. Persian food has been around for a long time and diners already know what to order. We opted for an immensely satisfying plate of chelo beef kebab kobideh (grilled beef tenderloin and ground beef) that was served with buttered rice. We washed it all down with a delicious yogurt shake. (Habib’s makes its own yogurt from a culture from abroad.)  

What makes the food stand out at Habib Persian Cuisine is that the flavors are authentic because the spices used for cooking are sourced from abroad. A real Iranian chef mans the kitchen and Shahin Hafezan, who owns the restaurant with wife Camille Hermoso, knows firsthand what real Persian food should taste like.

 

 

 

 
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