Nikkei

G/F Frabelle Business Center, 111 Rada, Legaspi Village, Makati City, Philippines

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Treated at Nikkei for Valentines Day, and my partner knows how much I enjoy Japanese cuisines. There are 3 other branches in other popular cities and this was our closest. When he mentioned the restaurant was serving a fusion of Japanese and Peruvian cuisines, I was super excited!

Let us first talk about the interior, which was gorgeously simple, with the wood accents covering both the ceiling and furnitures. The restaurant is quite cozy, fitting a small amount of people, which you are sitting very close to other diners. Wait staffs were attentive in refilling glasses, removing empty plates and was easy to get their attention. Food and drinks came out timely, all presented in an appealing way. From the plates, plating and interior, everything was balanced.

I am no Peruvian food expert, but it is evident from the Japanese cuisines, that there are slight twists to each item. Playfully colourful, each dish had its own unique texture, whilst staying consistent to the combined culture-fusion theme. The highlights would have to be the flamed edamame (surprisingly addictive), house-made ice cream scoop, kurobutoa gyoza and the miso soup! My bowl which had the grilled squid was ok, the grilled squid was comforting but unfortunately everything else in the bowl was bland. There’s a good amount in the bowls, so if you plan to eat small plates, skip the bowls. Cocktails were created beautifully, highlights would have to be their yamazaki umeshu and orange prosecco.

Everything was priced mid-range, a great place to explore fusion dishes, catching up with friends, lovers or for business meetings.

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Chatkazz

Shop 4/14-20 Station Street East, Harris Park NSW, Parramatta, New South Wales

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Chatkazz is located next to the bustling Parramatta CBD, in Harris Park. There is limited parking; I recommend taking a train to Parramatta station, as the walk from the station is only about 2 minutes.

The restaurant specialises in Indian street food, from chapatta chat, south Indian, chatkazz de parathe, pizza, Mumbai roadside specials and Bombay Chinese dishes. I forgot what dishes we purchased that night, but overall the quality was delicious! The sweetness in the dishes were tastefully done right. The texture of the curry was creamy and had so much flavour and fullness to the taste. I really appreciate fresh watermelon juice and the juice I got was perfect. Service was attentive, friendly and the dishes came out in a timely manner. With so many dishes to choose from, definitely pace yourself and try a few! I love seeing the orange, reds, yellows and brown colours of Indian cuisines, it just looks so appetising.

Chatkazz has two branches, the other in Bella Vista. There are plenty of tables, both inside and outside the restaurant, great for families, couples and friends to dine in. On a busy night, the restaurant sure does get loud, but it adds to the almost homeliness ambience of the place. Price is mid-range and serving size of most dishes is perfect for two people.

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Las Flores

One McKinley Place, 25th St, Taguig, 1634 Metro Manila

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Spending Christmas Day indulging in flavoursome Spanish tapas for dinner, was the best finale for the day. The restaurant was not hard to find, as it is located next to a busy road, I suggest getting dropped off and reserving a table.

The staff greeted us quickly and showed us to our seats; I was so glad the chairs were super comfortable! The inside was well lit, low music and had a lot of warm, cool tones reminiscent of Spain. Las Flores is known to serve modern Spanish tapas, that won’t break your bank and leaving you extremely satisfied. My recommended dishes would be trying one of their paellas, and definitely ordering their “conos de tartar de salmon” – not only was this dish presented in a fun way, but the cones exploded with delicious salmon, white truffle oil, hint of wasabi mayo and kimchi mayo… drool. For the night, we ordered the “paella cochinillo” which had big 5 bites suckling pig (sad there wasn’t more); the paella was more on the dry side. The bites of suckling pig had a thin layer of crisp, and the rest was almost lean meat. The paella was sauced in every area, not too sweet and had the right amount of saltiness. The paella is actually not deep at all, so does not have to be shared. Churros were crispy on the outside and smooth in the inside, perfect with the dips – warm chocolate and vanilla ice cream.

Service was professional and the food came out in a timely manner. You can choose to dine outside or inside and the other best thing of Las Flores, was that the room temperature was perfect! Get a bit of everything, and from what my partner said, try their very smooth mango juice!IMG_2062.jpg

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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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Tomatito

Ground Floor, BGC Corporate Center, 11th Avenue Corner 30th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City

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Stepped into Tomatito and did not want to leave, wanted to try all them delicious tapas. Settled in quite quickly and stepped into a spacious Spanish themed restaurant, also 80s inspired, with splashes of red and fairy lights definitely giving the interior a festive vibe.

You will find the menu filled with fun Spanish tapas, priced mid range upwards (200 php +) and the quantity per plate was not a disappointment. Between E and I, we ordered about 7 plates to share and dessert. I highly recommend the ‘Salmon TNT’, it was a sweet mix of smoked salmon, honey and truffle, that exploded under a bite. I have been craving for it since arriving back to Sydney. Special mention to their ‘Dessert Platter’ and ‘Ibericos Croquettes’ Colours and its matching flavours made the dinning experience exciting, that if given the time, I would have ordered more! Cocktail I ordered, called ‘Livin La Vida…’ was smooth, no hint of alcohol was tasted.

Even if you are not in the BCG, Taguig area, I recommend the drive down and getting a taste of Tomatito’s Spanish tapas!

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Sepia

201 Sussex St, Sydney NSW 2000

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You’re looking for a place to dine in style and receive explicit service? I would recommend to dine at Sepia, to celebrate a special occasion or maybe if you have a few dollars to burn, to dine-in randomly. They did not dissapoint!

E and I are not frequent fine-dinners, and it was fresh of breath air to experience it again. We were seated early, as we arrived earlier. The interior spoke aloud the words of class, modern, comfort and security. In the sense, that throughout our experience, the floor staff was on point in their deliverance and timeliness.

Each plate we received had their own unique presentation and style, however the theme was consistent throughout. They dishes presented was Japanese-influenced. I believe we ended up doing the 9+ course, just because it was tasty throughout! I can’t tell you my favourite, but I can tell you I was full after. Scroll till the end!

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Blues Point Hotel

116 Blues Point Rd, McMahons Point NSW 2060

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Recommended by a mate of E’s, Blues Point Hotel has a cosy and charming bistro where it is great to visit, after a long week of work. I couldn’t get over how the lounge area looked! Now back to the bistro…

Their menu was interesting, in that they incorporated a variety of flavours. Offering salads, grilled items to your usually pub food, pastas burgers, curries and seafood. The service was extremely fast and the quality of the foods were comforting! I left quite full and I was digging the flavour of their curry. The pepper squid was to die for, the mayonnaise and lime that came with it, was a tasty blend.

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VIVO Café

388 George Street, Sydney CBD

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If you are ever about in Sydney in the CBD, this café is a great spot to dine-in/take-away. It has a relaxing atmosphere with attentive wait-staffs. Extremely spacious within and outside, where they have those heated poles making it a perfect area to also enjoy the city scenery.

What I chose for that day was a French brioche I think which has a nice sweet after taste. But let me tell you, their piccolo was bomb! It had that right consistence of milk and espresso.

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Black by Ezard

Harbourside, The Star Level G/, 80 Pyrmont St, Pyrmont NSW 2009

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Located at a gorgeous front at The Star, Black by Ezard is timeless restaurant to eat whether it is for lunch and/or dinner. Once you step in, you are immediately greeted and shown to your seats. Efficient and timely, I like.

Beautifully set out, your eyes are greeted with warm interior colours which immediately sets the mood. A mood to dine and relax. We had chosen the Weekend Champagne Lunch, includes 3 courses and an endless pour of NX Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial for $125 OR $85 without the champagne. All in all I loved the service, the ambience and how the wait staff did not wait until my drink hit rock bottom.

If you haven’t checked it out yet : https://youtu.be/6HV9OZNT-58

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Oxtail – ravioli, smoked potato, walnut gremolata, bone marrow, watercress salad.

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Prawns – sauteed spencer gulf, sweetcorn puree, watermelon, red onion, tomato, coriander, jalapeno peppers, crispy pancetta.

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Snapper – salsa verde, fennel salad. 

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Fillet – grass fed angus 200g, roasted cauliflower and pearl onion salad with gremolata.

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Cheesecake – lavender honey, blueberry sorbet, sable crumble.

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Chocolate – warm couverture ganache, ginger ice cream, orange, pear, cookie crumble.

RATE: 4/5

Rebo

Ground Floor, SKYCITY Atrium 
Cnr of Federal and Victoria Streets, Auckland 

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There’s only a few restaurants inside the Sky City Casino, we decided we didn’t want Asian because we’re Asian and we tried eating at the buffet but it was booked (damn!). A security guard pointed us outside to a few restaurants, which I previously read on before arriving at Auckland, but since we were lazy we opted to eat here instead. Longest reasoning haha.

This all-day-cafe turns into a fine dining restaurant by night. Dim lighted near the entrance, as you can see on the last pictures there’s a place well lit. It’s not too fancy where you have to dress up, since it was extremely cold I opted to wear something cosy but still nice. It’s contemporary design is easy on the eyes, I barely heard any background music which makes it a perfect place to have a lovely conversation. The staff were attentive… a bit. I don’t think they ever came back to refill our glasses. A young man did when he was setting up for our dessert.

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I give them a thumbs up, for not restricting their establishment to bookings only! As you can see the ranges are $18 NZ +.

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His: Moroccan seasoned lamb rump $27.50NZ  – The pumpkin puree was a perfect blend with the rump, as well as the pine nut with couscous salad, jus and watercress.

20140620_173436_resizedHers: Goat cheese and mushroom gnoochi $18.50NZ – was like melted cheese in my mouth, creamy and rich. It contained wilted baby spinach, parsley and broad beans.

20140620_180333_resizedShared: ooh unforgettable double chocolate slice, crunchy hazelnut, chocolate soil, hokey pokey ice cream. Just marvel in that presentation too!

RATE: 2/5