a rose from Cantinetta restaurant

I really did not expect to eat at Cantinetta, Burgos Circle.

On a Valentine's Day, I am going to have a dinner with my family on Shi Lin using my 500 pesos for 1000 peso-value voucher from Groupon.  Since the dinner will be tonight, while having an office break and looking for lunch alone, I stumbled upon restaurants in Burgos Circle. I know that restaurants here are more expensive than the other western parts (business district) of Bonifacio Global City (BGC) and employees are too scared to enter this restaurants because of the so called scary or expensive menu items. As many employees said: "Don't be hungry here, if you do, you'll become poor".

I am glad that Shi Lin wasn't too expensive even it's located on BGC. Aside from convenience stores, I find that on restaurants or cafe category , Starbucks, Coffee Bean and Serenitea are the cheapest in Burgos Circle area. Bugsy's used to be one of the cheapest but price increase occurred so it's out now.

I want to eat at Wrong Ramen but I'll wait as customer #6 so I told the staff: "Thanks! but I'll look for another". She smiled after that instead of ignoring me as if nothing happened kind of scenario. My backup plan is to eat pasta instead of ramen. Then, I saw this Italian restaurant called Cantinetta.

Since I was alone, I am shy to take the picture of their front store. Below is their front store by night. During the day, the sign is of color red/orange.

picture from Cantinetta's facebook page
There are only a few people dining inside. I was wearing a shirt, leggings and rubber shoes instead of a semi formal beautiful dress but who cares, I don't look like a street kid and I want to try this out. I took a brave step to come here in this resto and look for Cantinetta's menu or price list.

I ordered for Fettuccine Tartufo for Php 550 (a service charge of 10% will also be added upon bill out). I was still wondering if the serving size will be just enough for one or only a half like in Parvati. While waiting, the waiter served me these:

After spreading the grey spread on the bread (slight tongue twister :P), I tasted it on its own. It tastes like liver spread. I asked the waiter about its name and then he said it's chicken liver. He asked me politely if I like it. Then, I said Yes with a smile. I also tried the tomato spread one and still it's delicious but I find the chicken liver more addicting that I ate it again on its own.

Larger than average fork and knife
I forgot to be curious if this rose on every table (including mine) is only for Valentines Day or not.

rose set at Cantinetta

At a moderate waiting time, here it is, the Fettuccine Tartufo,

Eating Fetuccine Tartufo

I think this pasta can be shared by a couple since it's Valentines. It has mushrooms, ham, garnish leaves that I don't know what it is called but I am sure it is not parsley, and bread. The fettuccine pasta is more on a brown color and also same with the sauce.

Upon tasting, I like this creamy sauce and this is more delicious and cheaper than pasta from Mary Grace where pasta price ranges from Php 400-Php 500 inside a cramped, small cafe.

I can taste the mushrooms. The pasta has many ham slices which is good for me Well, I am a pasta lover. I can finish Cantinetta's pasta leaving a clean plate. While dining, the waiter gave me a rose. Even the rose is somewhat ready to wither, I appreciated it and took it outside after eating.

I am happy and satisfied. You can have a date in this restaurant at night. For employees, if you plan for a romantic dinner or group date. It's not bad to try this out.

Rating: 5/5

Cantinetta, Burgos Circle - Taguig
Burgos Circle, Forbes Town Center, 29 St. Rizal Drive, The Fort
Taguig City, Metro Manila
Su, M, T, W, Th, F, Sa: 11:00 am - 11:00 pm

Yabu tonkatsu with cabbage and japanese mustard

Tonkatsu is 豚カツとんかつ or トンカツ is a Japanese food which consists of a breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet. There are two main types, hire and rosu. It is often served with shredded cabbage. - Wikipedia

Usually, a Japanese restaurant is not complete without tonkatsu in the menu. It is one of the most ordered dishes whenever everyone dines in. I will do a Yabu restaurant review today. Sit back and read this review. I am sure you will not regret reading this. Presenting, Yabu: The House of Katsu review

On the year 2013, lots of restaurants in SM North Edsa The Block were newly opened. I usually eat at Lugang Cafe and Mary Grace but never tried Yabu and Slappy Cakes. I did not try Yabu back then due to my traumatic dining experiences at Tempura Japanese Grill and Sumo-Sam. The former for bad service and the latter one was too expensive and not worth the price. I am hesitant to come back again to these restaurants knowing that I will waste my hard earned money.

This year 2014, Yabu: The House of Katsu is still the talk of food blogs these days. Upon passing the JLPT N5 exam, I want to have my Japanese non ramen dining adventure once again. Believing that Yabu review from other food blogs are not sponsored by anyone else and really looks honest, I will take a gamble to taste a high grade tonkatsu inside the mall again since I cannot drive a car. (In my family, only I and my mother cannot drive a car due to laziness and my priority budget issues ^^)

Last Saturday, going to SM North to buy something, I first look at the large Yabu The House of Katsu menu outside first so I will know if I can afford the prices. Gladly, the price list is on my budget and upon seeing the diners, the servings look adequate even sharing a dish between two persons. I called my friend Mallix to invite him for Yabu since he already tried dishes at Yabu, SM Megamall Atrium. Lucky me, he was willing to bring his DSLR. :D High quality photos here they come! :) By the way, thanks to him that I am able to post all these pictures.

All photos were taken by Mallix. You can visit Mallix's facebook page and his Nendo Shelf.

Please click the photos if you want to see larger versions of these.

Pretend that he's not there :P

Yabu displaying awards

After buying and strolling, I entered Yabu The House of Katsu restaurant for reservations. Luckily there is a table available despite many customers. Staff is very courteous especially their managers. They are courteous to the point that they will ask you if someone already assisted me for my orders. There's also wi-fi here but unfortunately, I did not succeed trying this because I cannot connect to their own wi-fi even the password was right. Upon looking at the menu, I saw the picture of their most famous chef.  Below is the information I got from the official site.

Chef Kazuya Takeda
We are honored to have Chef Kazuya as Yabu’s partner on all things katsu. As the head of chef of Tonkatsu Takeshin, a popular tonkatsu restaurant in Tokyo, he has graciously and generously passed on his knowledge of katsu to our chefs, ensuring that each and every katsu we make is delicious and perfect.

Display of sakes inside Yabu
Sake (Japanese wine) bar
I enjoyed reading these big manga (japanese comic book) walls. Testimonial walls have fun signages and Instagram printed posts.

Wanting to take this dining opportunity granted, I ordered the Premium Tonkatsu Set made from Kurobuta 黒豚. Kurobuta, also known as the Black Berkshire pig, is the world's finest pork. It is called the "kobe beef" of pork, due to its rich marbling, softness and flavor.

The Premium Tonkatsu Set is served with unlimited Japanese white rice or organic brown rice, miso soup, Japanese pickles, organic cabbage with your choice of dressing and a bowl of fruit. It has 3/4 inch cutlet made from pork with a trimming of fat.

There are 90 and 120 grams of kurobuta available. I chose the 120 grams.  Upon waiting, I saw a glimpse of the washroom full of notes and testimonials. I did not bother to take a picture since I don't have the need to go to the washroom.

While still waiting for my order, the waiter came to me and introduced all their spices. The three bottles contain, Goma (Japanese mayonnaise), Soy sauce with vinegar with a bit of lemon extract, and the last is Wasabi.

displaying sauces and condiments

The leftmost pot contains the Katsu sauce and the rightmost one contains Himalayan pink salt. 
The three spices are chili powder, chili sauce and I forgot the last one but I think it's pepper.

Katsu sauce

himalayan pink salt in a spoon
Himalayan pink salt

In making the katsu sauce, grind the sesame seeds by just moving (not pummeling) the wooden pestle. Then, katsu sauce can be poured and the tonkatsu can now be dipped.

Dripping Yabu katsu sauce

Grinding sesame seeds

The tasting is now open for us. Cannot wait to eat this!

I love watermelons! There is miso soup inside the black bowl

Drinking hot miso soup
Hot! Still, I can drink it immediately.

Dining at Yabu SM North

Close up of Yabu kurobuta tonkatsu
Close up
The actual size is just right. The mini flag design is somewhat cute.  There are cabbage and japanese mustard on the plate. The cut is really a 3/4 inch. No over-breading. Unlike other tonkatsus, the breading doesn't totally come off the meat. The meat is not too thick and it doesn't taste like a boiled hard porkchop. Yabu's tonkatsu tastes great that the fried meat's flavor is still there. Also, Yabu's tonkatsu is not oily. It is safe for those who wanted to avoid too much fat and oil. Though, not crunchy, this tonkatsu has the exact texture and you will not feel or taste the overcooked breading.

The Katsu sauce itself is not sweet unlike in commercial products. It tastes like a bit of sake or a bit of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce. I don't like using Wasabi in tonkatsu. I used the katsu sauce we made earlier with sesame seeds and the Goma sauce in dipping the tonkatsu. The japanese mustard is sour and I like the mustard in burgers more than this.

eating Yabu kurobuta tonkatsu slice

Since there is unli rice (pinoy slang for unlimited rice) and we can choose between japanese rice and brown rice, we alternately request for both kinds of rice.
Requesting unli cabbage and dressing
We took the unli cabbage and dressing for granted. We can also request for additional fruits and pickles.

small plate of few fruits and pickles

We both enjoyed dining here. The service was also great!

Please don't forget to like this site or subscribe by email for honest and non sugarcoated food adventure updates! See you!

Yabu House of Katsu
Megamall 631-1192 
Robinsons Magnolia 961-4975 
Mall of Asia 511-7202
North Edsa 351-6983

Hi everyone!

I began blogging when social media wasn't yet the medium for expressing thoughts and sharing experiences.

Google Docstoc was my first medium in sharing personal files. Ever since 2011, I did not have news updates about this. 

Wanting to express and share what I like whether it is about celebrities, politics or shows, on 2010, 
Sari saring isip is my first blog. Overwhelmed that somehow a few people visited my blog, I continued to share my posts until thousands can read my shared articles.

Now, this year 2014. I created this site, Pinay Food Junkie, to exclude my honest food reviews from Sari saring isip.

I am also a contributor to boring.ph and astig.ph

I hope you can enjoy your food trip. 

To know more about me, you can visit my Google+ page or my professional website for online freelance work, http://jienruiz.wordpress.com

Thanks for visiting! (◕‿-)

Update as of 7/5/2014:

I decided to visit again this Brickfire branch, June 29, 2014. to see if this issue did really reach to the owners of Brickfire. The manager listened to my follow-up in regards to the incident. Tonight, I received an email from one of the owners himself and I am glad that they took an action already about my issue. In my response, I gave additional suggestions and thanked the owner at the end. I am still considering eating there again. :)

Update as of 5/19/2014: 

I am very happy that the incident has been addressed by the management.  This is the reply from their email:

Good afternoon Ma'am. 
After investigating what happened, we found out that you were actually talking to one of our OJTs. 

Our staff have names embroidered in their uniform, as seen in the picture below: 


(I didn't post the 2nd picture because it's a full name ^^)

The OJT has been addressed by the owner himself. We will report the incident to their school directly. 

Thank you. 

I admit that I didn't notice that Brickfire's staff have their names embroidered since the OJT mean girl wore a black top, not a uniform. I thought she's a regular staff there at that time.

I think I can promote Brickfire again for their management and ethics improvement. Their action is enough for me to think that Brickfire management really cares for their customers.

Yey! :)

5/9/2014 (Here's the incident if you want to know) or you can read my first post for my original review.

BEWARE! "Ugly people" aren't welcome!!!"

I hope Brickfire Management will hire not just skillful (are they?) but polite staff. 

Around 8pm at Brickfire SM North EDSA Annex, I am so disappointed with Brickfire because anyone who are let's say physically and intellectually challenged aren't welcome in this restaurant. I just mispronounced the word Duke and I understand that someone will not avoid to snicker and laugh but instead of politely correcting me or for them to stay on the kitchen and release what they feel about the funny situation, the fair skinned lady with colored brown hair laughed and whispered to the other staff about it. They didn't show respect so when I ordered the Duke and they took my order, I just waited in a minute where I thought they prepared my order and left the restaurant in irritation ( I don't know if they really did prepare my order. Also, I've lost my appetite because of my frustration). I don't want to be the next "amalayer" where the video taken wasn't really complete and I don't want to be a notorious sensation that's why this is the way I can share my disappointment.

My first post:

We will be having a celebration back then. I searched for credit card promos and good thing, Eastwest bank offers a promo that orders reaching a minimum single receipt purchase of P1000 at Brickfire Oven-Roasted Steaks & Chops, you'll receive either Seafood chowder or Cheesy Nachos and fries.

I really love steaks with vegetables and mashed potato or rice but the regular prices hindered me to eat at steak restaurants. I am content eating tenderloin even if it isn't really made of US or Wagyu beef. I am not a fan of bistek tagalog due that I can cook this in our house.

Expecting lots of people on our celebration day, I called Brickfire SM North Edsa branch to have our reservation. Our celebration day comes and I ordered Cowgirl Annie (Brickfire's version of T-bone steak) and others ordered Duke (Brickfire's version of tenderloin steak).

All orders will be subject to 10% service charge. We're happy that our dinner is sulit. Better to buy here than steaks at Pancake house. We tried the P99 steaks before but these ones are more decent.