The Noms at Twenty One Plates
I’ve been meaning to write about Twenty One Plates since we stopped by for dinner a couple weeks ago but things sort of piled up and I haven’t had the chance to until now. This  new-ish restaurant is conveniently located on Aguirre Street, along the well known (among Southerners) row of eateries and bars.
Too bad that it was drizzling when we got there and I wasn’t able to take pictures from outside. The restaurant’s exterior makes the place look homey, by that I mean you might mistake it for a nice suburban house instead of a restaurant when you first see it from the road.
At Twenty One Plates
The layout of the restaurant is homey as well, segregated into rooms, with each room having a different look and feel. The setup was a nice concept, it gives you and your party privacy at no extra charge. I’m told that you can have a TV set up in the room, and you can bring your own projector or gaming console or Magic Sing and have a mini party in the seclusion of your own private room with no extra charge. There is, however, a set minimum order amount, all of it consumable, and the room is yours for the duration of the night. Cool, yea?

Twenty One Plates is called as such because, and you probably guessed it already, they have twenty one unique plates on their menu, all of them specialties of different cuisines. Why 21? I don’t really know. But it’s not always the same 21 plates, they mix up the menu choices and put in new dishes every so often to keep things interesting.
Kimchi Rolls (p200)
We started the meal with the highly recommended Kimchi Rolls. Kimchi rolls are beef bulgogi and sushi rice rolls with a sweet/sour/spicy kimchi flavor. It’s a little strong and you get a nice jolt at the first bite but if you’re like me who likes all things spicy, you’ll love this appetizer. Make sure to have a tall glass of cold water by your side when you do try it.
Healthy Cordon Bleu (p290)
One of the healthier choices in the menu, the aptly named Healthy Cordon Bleu is a dish made of a couple slabs of chicken breast fillets without skin or breading, fried in olive oil, topped with smoked deli ham, swiss cheese and served on buttered pasta. The presentation was cute, the colors of the dish were a pleasing blend of pink (chicken and ham), green (lettuce), and yellow (noodles and bread).
Linguine Al’ Carbonara (p290)
The classic pasta plate, the carbonara, is called Linguine Al’ Carbonara at Twenty One Plates. Linguine noodles in creamy white sauce sprinkled with bacon bits, a dash of grated parmesan cheese served with slice of garlic bread. You might say it’s a typical dish with nothing new to offer, but who needs new all the time? Sometimes, all you want is something familiar, and this homey dish is it.
Indonesian Fried Chicken (p275)
Fried chicken with a twist, this one is flavored with the Indonesian spices and herbs. The chicken breast fillets of Indonesian Fried Chicken are coated in tumeric, garlic, black pepper and soy sauce, served on tumeric rice. Another spicy entree, this one’s definitely not for those who don’t like the feeling of burning lips spicy food.
Bo’s Kaldereta (p295)
Last, but definitely not least, is Bo’s Kaldereta. It might not look all that appetizing in the picture, but this one is for the books. Simply, this dish is made of tender beef cubes swimming in rich special kaldereta sauce. It’s not too spicy but it gives you just enough of a kick. It has a unique flavor to it, I might be wrong but I think they mixed coconut milk in it. Highly recommended by the people of BaconTunaMelt (me).

Why you should go-

  • The menu selection might be limited to twenty one dishes, but all of them are specially picked out. Think of it as a restaurant with 21 chef’s recommendations.
  • At Twenty One Plates, a simple dinner feels like a private party. You don’t get disturbed by other guests, and you don’t have to worry about disturbing other guests.
  • Prices are a bit more than average, but you get good and flexible service catered to your requests.

Where it is-
205 Aguirre Avenue, BF Homes, Parañaque
(02) 825-7348

Other stuff-

Check out news, contests, and promos from the Twenty One Plates Facebook page. They currently have a fantastic promo called Toll Free Dinners, where you reimburse your toll fee as long as you surrender the receipt. Pretty cool.

Bag of Beans, Tagaytay’s (In)Famous Coffeeshop & Bakery
Still on a Tagaytay hangover, we went back just a weekend after the last roadtrip, with family in tow this time.
One particularly interesting stop that weekend is a quaint (not so) little coffeeshop along the main road of Tagaytay called Bag of Beans. We weren’t particularly hungry then but we stopped by anyway for a coffee break and light snacks.

Clockwise from top left: Bag of Beans storefront, bags and
bags of coffee beans, one of Bag of Beans homey garden set,
and Bag of Beans resident kitty cat

What’s a coffeeshop without heartwarming coffee? The shelves at the bakery were lined up with bags and bags of coffee beans of different flavors with prices ranging from p200 to p300 per 500g packs. And although they didn’t have it that weekend, Bag of Beans is the only place I know of that sells Civet (cat poop) coffee. It’s what they’re actually most known for.

Bag of Beans’ Freshly Brewed Baraco
(p90 per cup; p105 for bottomless)

If you’re a coffee junkie, you’d surely enjoy the option to go bottomless on their strong coffees for a reasonable price. Not bad if you’re going to while away the time reading the newspaper or chatting while enjoying your coffee and the cool Tagaytay weather.
Some pastries and pies that we ordered to go with the coffee-

Breads & pastries of Bag of Beans:
Cinnamon loaf, Choco roll, Chicken empanada

Desserts: Apple Pie Alamode (p135) and Strawberry Cheesecake (p135)

Everything was delicious, special mentions deserve to be made for the Apple Pie Alamode and the Strawberry Cheesecake. The Apple Pie Alamode arrived freshly baked and warm, it was a whole mini pie instead of a regular slice of a bigger pie. The Strawberry Cheesecake is noteworthy too. While the strawbery jam topping isn’t anyhting special, the cheesecase was meltingly good.

Bag of Beans would be/should be a Tagaytay staple from now on. Loved it! <3


My Comfort Drink – Starbucks Coffee Jelly (with mocha drizzle on the jelly)
You wake up late and the traffic is extra heavy making you miss your morning meeting and get yelled at by your boss. After which you find out that your credit card bill is already due but you don’t have enough in your bank account until next payday which isn’t until next month. It starts pouring as you head home, you forgot to bring an umbrella and you’re wearing your newest pair of shoes. Then you get home soaked to the bone and find a nasty little surprise from your puppy right dab smack in the middle of the living room carpet.  

Isn’t life just grand? We all get bad days like this every so often. We just trudge along as best we can after it, what other choice do we have but to cheer ourselves up and believe that tomorrow would be a better day? And for a good majority of us, the simplest way to cheer up is through good food. Comfort food, they call it.

I love Coffee Jelly  (p155)
Mine comes in the form of a drink. In particular, my comfort drink is Starbucks’ lovely Coffee Jelly. This drink can give me the happies no matter how down I am. But the typical order of Coffee Jelly won’t lull me into a false sense of security. It has to be this specific mix that few people know of- Coffee Jelly; grande, light, no whipped cream, with mocha drizzle on the jelly. 

What makes all the difference in my drink from the regular one is the mocha drizzle on the jelly. Yes, not on the frappe, not on the whipped cream, not anywhere else, but on the jelly, and just on the jelly (I’m anal like that). My regular coffee date, Mr. Poopie (guess why that’s his new nick) looks at me like I’m batshit crazy every time I order like this. Deep inside, he adores this drink too. I love how the jelly gives texture to the drink. It’s nice to be chewing on something while mulling things over, it soothes me, comforts me.

What about you, what’s your comfort food? ^_~

Tagaytay Getaway (3 of 3): D’ Banquet is a Surprise Find
The day after the overnight stay in Andanita Taj, we started making our way back to Manila around noon. Traffic was horrible along the main Tagaytay highway because of a bicycling tournament that blocked an entire stetch of the road. Because of this, we decided to stay away from the popular restaurants along the main highway and postpone lunch for later.
From the Tagaytay-Calamba road, we took a left to Aguinaldo Highway in search for Amira’s (a pasalubong place that deserves an entry of its own because they make the best buco and blueberry tarts in the whole wide world) before grabbing a bite to eat. After a good 15 minutes or so of searching for it with no luck, we were about to turn the car around when the orange sign of D’ Banquet caught our eye. We decided to stop by and have a look-see.

The setup in D’ Banquet’s reminded me of
preschool chairs and tables

The parking lot was near empty at noon, it turns out that the power was out when we got there. But the weather was cool and the menu was interesting that we decided to stay in for lunch. We ordered most of what the helpful waiter recommended starting with Xandro’s Instant Kapeng Barako (p40).

Instant Kapeng Barako (p40)

The goodies store in D’ Banquet was also selling these in boxes at p200 per 10-bag box. Xandro’s Kapeng Barako work much like tea bags, all you need to do is to plop it in hot water and wait a while to have instant barako coffee. It was a bit weaker than expected, but it was alright, considering the fact that there’s no need for brewing.

The perfect Calamares (p105)

To get started, we ordered an appetizer of crispy Calamares. It took a while to arrive but it was well worth the wait. Perfectly fried, the squid wasn’t at all rubbery and the coating was just the right amount of crunchy. The best part about it was the sauce, it wasn’t your run-of-the-mill mayonnaise dip, they paired it with a soy sauce/vinegar mixture that complemented the squid rings well. It was a spectacular combo.

(EDIT: Tagaytay date told me to add more praises for the calamares. His take- “Best fucking calamares IN THE WORLD MUDDA FUKKA!”)

Lengua Estofado (p120)

The house specialty that is Lengua Estofado was one of the things we ordered. The ox tongue had a slightly bitter taste to it but it was tender and tasty. It was pretty good, and it also came with a nice mix of potatoes and carrots and a cup of steaming white rice.

Mechadong Bibe (p120)

This was another recommendation made by our waiter for the day and am I glad we took his advice. This is the best duck meal I’ve had in a long while. I usually don’t like duck meat because it’s stringy and rougher than chicken, it can also be chewy and dry if not cooked right. D’ Banquet’s Mechadong Bibe, which also came with a cup of steaming white rice, was nothing short of fantastic, I tell you guys. The duck meat was very tender and juicy and it was very tasty right down to the bone. This has got to be my second favorite preparation of duck meat (next to peking duck with hoisin sauce).


D’ Banquet is a really, really great find. The ambience was relaxing, the service was good, the price is right, and most importantly, the nomz were delicious. Try to find it next time you’re in Tagaytay, you won’t regret it! Luckily for us too, we found Amira’s only a short distance after D’ Banquet. We got some pasalubong and headed home with tummies happy and hearts content. It was an enjoyable Tagaytay getaway of good noms and good company. I will most definitely do a Tagaytay roadtrip again and again, and again.
D’ Banquet, Tagaytay
Location: Aguinaldo Highway, corner Pink Sisters road, Maitim II East, Tagaytay City
Contact number: (046) 483-0345.

This ends the Tagaytay Getaway series; read parts 1 & 2 here and here respectively. 🙂


Tagaytay Getaway (2 of 3): An Indian Dinner at Andanita Taj
Part two of the three-part Tagaytay series is all about Andanita Taj of Tagaytay:
After visiting the animals at the Residence Inn Zoo and the yummy lunch at Residence Inn’s Gazebo, we headed to the hotel to check in and get ourselves settled. We were pre-booked for an overnight stay at Andanita Taj of Tagaytay.
Andanita Taj is an Indian-Mediterranean Bed & Breakfast boasting of a gorgeous view of the lake. Taj is located along Aguinaldo Highway in Tagaytay, just a few hundred meters after Residence Inn. The facade is different from expected, either the place looked weatherbeaten or the gloomy weather made it appear so.
The view from the viewing deck of Andanita Taj
Taj’s accomodating staff ushered us in, scheduled us for the free massage that came with the room and guided us down through a Mediterranean themed stairway leading to the rooms. The rooms smelled strongly of mold and mildew, we were sneezing shortly after we entered. A couple hours later, spent lounging and getting used to the smell, it was time for more relaxation as we were called to transfer to the spa area to get our treatments done. I had opted to get a free body scrub and it was oh-so-relaxing, the sound of the rain pitter-pattering on the windows made it even more calming.
Interior of Andanita Taj
The spa treatments left us feeling lazy so we just popped in a DVD (Grown Ups– it was trash, btw), leaned back, and whiled away the time. The rains hadn’t stopped by dinnertime and the weather was perfect for staying in. So instead of heading out, we decided to head upstairs, use the free WIFI while having an easy dinner at Taj’s 24-hour restaurant.

We ordered two kinds of Indian bread to munch on while updating ourselves with online life- buttered naan and the chapati with curry dip.
Naan (p140)
Taj’s Buttered naan is truly a must try. It is unleavened bread brushed with a light coat of butter and smothered with all kinds of awesome. The bread was fresh, chewy and warm; the butter gave it a creamy taste. Perfect to nibble on while checking e-mail or while tending to your farm in Farmville.


Chapati (p90) with curry dip (p100)
The Chapati is unleavened bread much like the naan, but is folded into half and has no additional flavor. That’s what the curry dip is for. The bread is warm and perfectly baked to a chewy crisp (contradicting I know, but that’s the description that comes to mind). To eat, you peel off a piece and dip it into the very tasty and spicy curry sauce. ‘Twas a pretty good combo. 

Mutton Biryani (p390)

We ordered the Mutton Biryani to serve as our main dish, at the recommendation of a friend. And it was a great choice- this dish is good for 2-3 hungry people, the mutton was tender, the rice mix was very tasty and was perfectly spicy. This is another must try!

Indian ice cream (p120)

For dessert, we tried the only one on the menu that was available- Indian ice cream. It’s frozen milk mixed in with bits of beans with a consistency not unlike popsicles. It’s an acquired taste, and my tastebuds have not grown fond of it. The picture on the menu is also a bit of a lead on, it looked quite larger than the actual size.

To cap the Indian-Meditteranean feel of the restaurant (and the whole place) with its sparkly curtains, curved arches and patterned seats, the hotel staff also wore Indian inspired uniforms. They also play Indian music for the guests unless you request them to change it (which we did). I would like to note the excellent service of the hotel staff, they were all very accomodating and good-natured, and had ready smiles.


When you’re in Andanita Taj, you feel serene- the tasty food, the low lights, jazz music and the non-stop rain painted a romantic and very relaxing setting. My only gripe is the allergy-inducing smell of the rooms. Other than that, Andanita Taj, including the spa and the restaurant, is a fantastic place to spend a cool Tagaytay night.

Hurry and book now while they’re on sale, their rainy days promo runs until September! Check out Andanita Taj’s website for more information.

Next and last in this series will be about a new find- a lovely restaurant called D’ Banquet. Read about it soon here on BaconTunaMelt!


Tagaytay Getaway (1 of 3): First Stop – Residence Inn
Last weekend was spent in cool Tagaytay for a nice break from the hustle and bustle of Manila life. It’s everyone’s favorite weekend destination to relax and unwind, with good reason. Tagaytay is wonderful in August- the weather is cool even during daytime and most places have rainy day promos but the rains (if any) don’t start until late afternoon to night giving you plenty of time to go around.

This is the first part of a three-part Tagaytay series. This one’s all about Tagaytay’s Residence Inn. To get there from Emilio Aguinaldo Highway, you take a right to Tagaytay-Nasugbu Highway and head towards the direction of Batangas past the rotunda and Taal Vista hotel until you see the entrance sign. Soon as we got there, we made a beeline for the zoo and proceeded to coo at the cute one-month old tiger cubs right by the entrance (you can feed them baby formula!).

 Tiger cubs, owls, alpacas, goats, miniature horses 
and various amphibians at Residence Inn Mini Zoo (Entrance: p100)

While the animals were adorable (most specially the energetic tiger cubs and talented baby boars), we’re here to talk about the nomz! It was around lunchtime when we arrived, so we decided to eat there to be able to  go around the zoo while waiting for the food. At Gazebo, the restraurant in Residence Inn, you experience al fresco dining while overlooking the pretty Taal lake.
Cool weather comfort food
What better way to dine in cool weather than 
to be slurping on hot soup?

Because of the cool weather, we just had to order hot soup. We settled on the classic Sinigang na Hipon (p220 +/-). Served in a palayok, it was exactly how sinigang should be, hot and tasty. It was surprisingly seasoned well, like yummy home-cooked sinigang, with plenty of shrimp and vegetables to go around.
Music sets the right tone and feel-
Residence Inn’s resident crooner had a nice baritone

During the meal, you get serenaded by Gazebo’s one-man-act with songs of your choice. Because we had no particular song to request, he sang for us three feel-good classic love songs which made the meal even more enjoyable.

Something new-

Half a Honey Glazed Chicken (p160 +/-)
One of newer dishes in their menu is the Honey Glazed Chicken. We decided to get just half a chicken to try it. When the plate arrived, it looked like a lot and we had to ask them if they incorrectly gave us a whole chicken. They didn’t. Their half chicken order was more than enough for 3-4 hungry people. It was fried chicken coated in thick honey sauce, it was good but it was tad bit too sweet and overpowering for my liking. There was too much of it and the leftovers lasted us until breakfast the next day.

The food was delicious, prices were more than affordable, the staff was very accommodating, and the service topnotch. There’s absolutely nothing to nitpick on. Residence Inn’s Gazebo is an excellent first stop.

Up next would be about tasty Indian food from Andanita Taj. 🙂


Classic Chicken, Classic Savory
As a kid, I was in love with anything that was chicken and asked for it for every meal that my relatives ended up calling me manok instead of my actual name. I wasn’t really very picky with my chicken, but I had favorites. Savory Chicken was one of them. My lola would order a whole Savory chicken (she pronounced it as “sah-vor-ee“) as a treat on some days and I’d be happily enjoying every last spoonful on my kiddie plate, even going as far as licking the plate clean.
 The store front at the Bicutan branch

Savory Chicken’s fried chicken has a distinct taste that no other restaurant has replicated up until now. They seem to have gone away for a while because my most recent memories of Savory Chicken were the random trips to the Binondo branch when my lolo from Davao would be in Manila (he also pronounced it as “sah-vor-ee“). These trips were few and far between and couldn’t have been less than 7 years ago. But they’re back now and in full force. Branches have sprouted in many malls of the city, giving us chicken lovers more chances to have a go at their special fried chicken.
 Classic fried chicken from Classic Savory (p345)
They’re now called Classic Savory and one of their newer branches is tihe one in SM Bicutan. Caught sight of the store about a month ago and I’ve been meaning to eat there since. And then came one Sunday when my family came to visit and we had no food in the house. It was the perfect excuse to head to the mall to finally try the food at Classic Savory.

The restaurant was surprisingly full for a late dinner on a Sunday, families are usually headed home by that time to rest and prepare for work/school the next day. We had to wait for a good 20-30 minutes to get us a table. But boy, it was well worth it. I am happy to report that their Savory Chicken is as good as I remember it to be. If anything, it’s more flavorful now. The skin is light and crispy while the meat is tender yet firm with that delicious Savory secret flavor that I still can’t identify but absolutely love. You can tell that I’ll be going back to Classic Savory for more feel-good chicken dinners!


A Not So Proper Review of Mom & Tina’s
Come dinnertime last Saturday, we were having a difficult time deciding where to eat in Greenbelt or anywhere close by. We were looking for a place that didn’t serve fastfood that isn’t so expensive where food is filling.
Twenty minutes later, after ticking off all the nearby restaurants one after the other for failing to meet the above requirements, we still didn’t have a place to eat. And then someone had a lightbulb moment and suggested to eat at Mom & Tina’s, which was a few minutes walk from where we were. We all agreed immediately (not just because we were already hungry).

 See all those heads outside? Mom & Tina’s is as busy as if it were early evening

Mom & Tina’s Bakery Cafe in Makati can be found at Perea corner Dela Rosa Sts. It’s one block away from that corner of Greenbelt 5 near the huge Zara shop. They also have a branch in Pasig, their first one if I’m not mistaken.
We got there for late dinner, around 9:30pm or so, and I was pleasantly surprised that the restaurant was still teeming with life. Most chairs and tables, even the ones outside, were taken and were filled with people enjoying the food and/or coffee and dessert animatedly talking to each other. It was a surprise because the place was a bit out of the way and usually, restaurants are less lively during this time.

For starters- 
  • Garlic rolls- Mom & Tina’s garlic rolls come with their soup of the day (more on that later) and pasta dishes, or they can also be bought at p7 a piece. These lovely rolls have a consistency similar to croissant but are less flaky. These are a must try.
 The half-finished squash soup and garlic roll
  • Soup of the day- the soup of that day was creamy squash soup (they had a fancy name for it, but it was so long, I forgot). I’m calling it squash soup and it was really good. You can get half an order (p55) with one garlic roll or a full order (p105) with two garlic rolls.

Main Dishes-

  • Chicken Alexander- creamy mashed potatoes mixed in with chicken chunks prettily served in a bowl with two pieces of garlic rolls on the side. It was creamy and tasty. The dish was loaded with carbs, it was very, very filling.
Carbo-overloaded Chicken Alexander (p160)
  • Beef Stew (p175)- didn’t get to try this one, but I’m told it’s pretty good. There was so much of it that one order can be shared between two people.
 The Beef Stew that would never end
(tahong not part of this dish)
  • Callos (p175)- another dish worthy of note. Tender ox tripe, sausages, chickpeas, and bell pepper. The serving is good for two as well.
The Callos didn’t make it to the picture

  • Brazo de Mercedes- the cake was light and not overly sweet. It’s a great deal at only p35 per (really huge) slice.
  • Dark Toblerone Walnut Torte (p95 per cup)- a refrigerator cake flavored with dark toblerone mixed in with nuts and cream. It’s lovely. They also have White Toblerone Walnut Torte and Toblerone Walnut Torte, both are fantastic as well.
I’m really sorry for the lack of details and good pictures. But you can take my word for it (and the fact that we nommed immediately and forgot to take pictures), Mom & Tina’s Bakery Cafe is a dinner stop worth the walk- the food is delicious, the desserts aplenty, the serving size large, and prices are easy enough on the pocket.
It’s nearly weekend already, yay! I’m heading to Tagaytay for this one. Have a good one guys. ^^,

The White Hat Remains to be my Favorite Yogurt Ice Cream Shop
Since late last year and until the first half of 2010, many different yogurt ice cream shops have sprouted in every other corner of the metro. It’s the flavor of the season, so to speak. Personally, I like yogurt ice cream better than normal ice cream or any other dessert because it’s a healther choice.
The White Hat’s 98% fat-free yogurt ice cream
Yogurt ice cream shops are aplenty and they all have a different extras to offer besides the obvious, of course. From when the fad started up until today, my favorite has always been The White Hat’s plain yogurt ice cream. Unlike other shops, they don’t have other flavors and the toppings are few. But before you count The White Hat out, their yogurt ice cream tastes the BEST compared to all the other ones out there. Theirs is not as sour as the others and the consistency is always good. Best of all, their yogurt ice cream is 98% fat free! This is the perfect guiltless dessert.
My mom, enjoying The White Hat’s yogurt ice cream

My most frequented branch is the one at Greenbelt 5 and it’s also my favorite one. Why? They have books and magazines for the young and old as well as board games and toys to pass the time while having yummy yogurt ice cream. It’s also right next to Marta’s Cakes and if you get a cookie to design with colored icing from Marta’s, you can also design your yogurt ice cream as you please!