Agimat Foraging Bar and Kitchen

5972 Alfonso, cor Fermina, Makati, Metro Manila

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Located in the nightlife but quieter scene of Poblacion, Agimat is a food and drink treasure box you sure don’t want to miss out! You’ll be led upstairs of a rustic Filipino home, and be greeted a staircase lined with red candles. There’s a narrow outdoor area for smokers and beside it, are the toilets. I had initially checked out the place, through their instagram and was surprised with their jungle concept. Located behind the bar, is a gorgeous tree with vines flowing down the trunk and its branches reach, almost crawls under the ceiling. There are low as well as high tables, we unfortunately got the unstable high table, but later moved to a low seating table when it was free.

As you can see by my pictures below, we ordered a lot of food! Agimat’s dishes were quirky, in a sense that they presented Filipino food in oddly-shaped plates and with a modern twist. The ingredients are truly special, using local ingredients and delicacies, such as ant eggs and day old chicken. I am a bit biased, but I love tapas food because you get to try a bit of everything, and Agimat wonderfully delivered. The highlight was the balut, there’s no chick inside, so you get to taste it without freaking out haha. It was creamy and with the right amount of salt.

Agimat’s craft cocktails were interestingly categorised by elements. I’m not sure if all ordered cocktails had performances, but when they did, it was super fun watching the mixologist do their thing whilst a drum was played. They had these cute sun masks on! Loved the vibe. The flavour in these drinks were amazing, I could taste little of the alcohol and more of the other ingredients used. If I had a higher tolerance, I would ordered a bit more, but alas after a few drinks these deadly cocktails got me. These cocktails not only had Tagalog names, but were also entertainingly presented.

I highly recommend pre-booking by calling Agimat, as the place is quite small. I did see some walk-ins and they were seated at the bar. They looked more like they were there to drink. But if you decide to check out the place for dinner, make sure to pre-book. Prices are mid-high, and by the time we left (about 9pm) the place was getting crowded.

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StrEAT Maginhawa Food Park

91 Maginhawa Street, UP Village, Quezon City

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A great place to hang, honestly, I was super surprised with its location because the food park is smack in the middle of a very quiet, suburban area. StrEat starts operating at 5pm up until 12am, Tuesdays to Sundays! Great to start eating and drink after a long week of working or studying. The food park is not large, so make sure you come in early.

The parking is limited, so it’s best to either get dropped or take public transport. Once you enter, the place is lit up, you’ll see cute colourful lanterns in the ceiling, plants and quaint looking chairs. The place sure looks inviting! I don’t believe there was any background music from memory, so you won’t need to worry about shouting when talking. There are a small number of food outlets to choose from, conveniently surrounding the seating area. We just walked-in, but I did see some outlets had reservations.

 There was only one food outlet that was closed, a few names of the food/drink outlets include: Epicure, The Lost Bread, Schmidts Hot Dogs, Fujimama Manila and much more! Best to order a bunch of small plates so you can try a variety. The price was low-mid range, very affordable. The highlight for me was the delicious bucket cocktails from Epicure Mixology.

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Cow Cow Ice

EDSA corner J. Vargas Avenue, Mandaluyong City, Philippines

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What a surprising delight to stumble across this delectable store! Not only is Cow Cow Ice – Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory an instant head-turning store, with some nicely cut cheeses, cookies, small, cute cheesecake and cheese biscuits. I believe the store has three types of cheese biscuits, and I remember tasting one type of flavour and it was pure bliss. I’m thinking of purchasing a pack of 10, but because of its steep price… I don’t know. It’s definitely worth it, but still a bit pricey. The cookies would make a fantastic gift.

I couldn’t say no however to their soft-serves! I got one mixed (milk and cheese) and one pure milk soft-serve. Both were amazing, like it was not too sweet, had the creaminess of cheese and it tasted so bright. I enjoyed the thickness, has it slowly melted in your mouth, allowing you to enjoy every second. From looking at pictures, I believe you can also add the cookies or cheeses as toppings. Makes me want to go and visit Hokkaido.

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Little Flour Café

G/F Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall Building D, EDSA, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City, Philippines

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Part of the Wildflour group and a younger sibling of the well-known Wildflour cafe, you know Little Flour cafe will be just as good!

What I love about this cafe is that they offer breakfast all-day everyday, so if you’re like me who loves to eat breakfast for dinner, you’ll enjoy this place. You will find a mixture of continental and Filipino breakfast and brunch dishes. I ordered their Filipino Breakfast item, that came with their homemade longganisa, garlic fried rice, eggs, pan de sal and coconut jam. Everything spelled out Filipino in this one dish, though it did pull back on the oiliness, whilst still keeping its moisture. I was craving chips so I squeezed that in. My partner ordered their Veggie Rice Bowl, since he had wanted to eat a bit cleaner.

The lighting in the cafe was dim, setting the mood for a comfortable and laid-back dinning experience. Waitstaffs were reachable if you wanted their attention, music was not too loud and the price averaged around $15 AUD. For some gentle cleanse, try their Fresh Ginger and Turmeric Tea.

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Gallery By Chele

5/F Clipp Center, 11th Avenue corner, 39th St, Taguig, Metro Manila, Philippines

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I had Gallery By Chele down on my food list, when checking out awesome restaurants in the Philippines. Fortunately, I decided this restaurant is where I would be having my pre-dinner birthday celebration! Gallery By Chele did not disappoint.

Located within  Clipp Centre, was a bit hard to find at first because there were no signs, so keep your GPS switched on. You take a life up to the fifth floor, and you are warmly welcomed by their first of house team member. Pre-book if you plan to feast! I believe they have a few private rooms at the back. There interior was stunning, warm with all different tones of wood, lines with hints of grey marble. Screams elegance mixed with South East Asian interior flavour.

What drew me to this restaurant was its mission to source local produce and flavours, unique to the Philippines and South East Asia. As you can see by the images below, we ordered a few colourful dishes. All the dishes were amazing; the highlights for me was the Coquille starter, Tunamansi main and the Single Origin dessert.

Service was amazing, not over bearing and were very attentive. Food timely came out and no dish disappoint. Highly recommend if you have something to celebrate or even have time to get your tastebuds alive and kicking! Almost forgot to mention their impressive drink list and make sure to try a glass of their moscato… it was delish! Hats off to the sommelier and the waitstaffs that night.

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Shake Shack

SM Megamall, Mandaluyong CityPhilippines

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Shake Shack has opened his second Filipino branch in SM Megamall, right at the mall’s entrance… deadly. I believe the restaurant had just opened at SM Megamall, and we were blessed with available seats and tables! So no waiting for ages to order and find a seat, though it did get busy by the time we finished. I played it safe, by ordering the classics, a single ShackBurger, Fifty/Fifty and the Cheese Fries. An instant hit, the burger was moist, sweet and extraordinarily soft. The mayo or sauce used in the burger, was quite unique. The cheese fries were great, had its own style and complimented well with the burger. The fries weren’t salty surprisingly. The drink was alright. If you do decide to go and you are mid to super hungry, get large, because small is way too small.

Shake Shack has been on my food bucket list, and when I found out they had one opened in the Philippines, I quickly noted it down. Did not disappoint and would come back for more.

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Hawker Chan

Ground Level Entertainment Mall SM Mall of Asia, Pasay, Metro Manila

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Sceptical at first, with its Michelin-star but still insanely super affordable… this all disappeared when our dishes came out! Hawker Chan is a well-known Singaporean quick dine-in restaurant, serving you with popular noodle and rice dishes, but with its own unique flavours. There’s now a number of franchise restaurants around the world, with 6 branches in the Philippines.

Service was quick, the food came out efficiently without loosing any of its flavours. I ordered their season vegetable, freshly steamed and poured with a generous amount of garlic bits and sauce! Our mains was the Char Siew Noodle… I am salivating thinking about this dish. The pork belly was cut proportionally, soaking in the delicious sauce. It was not too oily, just right. I believe they used egg noodle, just because of its fuller and creamier taste. I highly recommend dining in Hawker Chan, the fullness of its flavours, you won’t be disappointed.

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Two By Four Cafe

Fairwater Boulevard Fairwater Sales and Display Centre, Blacktown NSW 2148

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A new local community popped up recently, which has their own lovely cafe. The cafe is surrounded by leafy greens, a waterfront and has a verandah on the side if you prefer eating outdoors! We were fortunate to be eating on a clear, blue sunny day, as the wide windows in the cafe allowed a flood of sun to enter. There’s a mixture of table sizes in the cafe, small and large groups can be accommodated.

Two By Four Cafe did not kid, with the bowls, I was struggling with the size of mine. The chicken strips/cuts and vegetables blended great together, it tasted clean and was not heavily sauced. The juices were cold pressed, which was definitely refreshing. The highlight, that I really want to go back for, is their french toast. It was delicious, dangerously soft and not too sweet.

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Crispy Crib

16 First Avenue, Blacktown 2148

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Operating just over two weeks now, this little food truck will satisfy your love of Korean chicken and chips! You may miss it, it’s a black food truck, nestled cosily in the Asian Food Market carpark and next to a round-a-bout.

Menu is simple, 5 options at the moment, with their chickens drizzled with the most tastiest sauces. Yesterday, we ordered the homemade teriyaki and onion dressing fried chicken and it was addictive! Who knew these two sauces would mesh so well, both sweet and creamy at the same time. The chicken was in great bite-sized pieces, and I loved how it wasn’t too oily and wasn’t soggy. The fries was clean and I believe it had normal salt on them. They have a promotion at the moment, this meal plus a free drink, comes down to only $10.

Service was quick and friendly, they’ve got a cosy eating area at the front. I’ve got my eye on their soy fried chicken next.

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Chuuka

Suite 62-64, Jones Bay Wharf, 26-32 Pirrama Rd, Pyrmont NSW 2009

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Chuuka came into the Sydney dinning scene just a few months ago, I actually came about it on Instagram. I thought hey, a Japanese-Chinese infused restaurant is something I’m definitely going to check out!

With two known Australian chefs, Chase Kojima and Victor Liong, heading Chuuka, expect the quality to be fun and authentic. You’ll find familiar dishes, with a touch of the other culture’s ingredients. It was fun guessing which dish belonged to which culture. The interior is warm, cosy and if you’re sitting on the lower level, the main kitchen is right behind you. Dishes are small, so definitely order a few dishes, that night we ordered at least 3 mains and 2 deserts. My favourite was the duck pancakes and it came with 5 sauces. Price is mid to high, food came out quickly, cocktails was amazing and complimented the menu, our section waitstaff was patient and super friendly.

Excuse the low, low quality of the images, tried sooo hard amping up the brightness without losing the colours. One more reason to check out this place!

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