The Curator Coffee and Cocktails

134 Legaspi Street, Legazpi Village, Makati, Metro Manila

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A popular speakeasy bar in the heart of Makati city! We didn’t book a spot before we arrived and to make sure we did get a seat, we came in early around 6-7pm. The bar is located inside a cafe, there are no signs, so make sure you use your GPS. You go into the cafe and through a sliding door at the back. The Curator is located at the corner of a t-section. Headed to the bar straight after dinning close by, which made getting to the bar a breeze.

The Curator is well-known of their craft cocktails, which are all described inside an insightful and detailed drinks menu. The menu had this little radar section, which would simply identify whether the drink is on the sweet and/or alcoholic side; see image below. I was just fascinated at the very detailed menu. There are only a handful of cocktails to choose from, but don’t be afraid to speak to the bartenders, as they welcome suggestions to create from guests. I believe The Curator had previously been listed in Asia’s 50 Best Bars and rightfully so, as the quality was obviously there in each drink we ordered. There was something unique but also familiar; some cocktails were ridiculously smooth, clean tasting and presentation was on point. Drinks are not surprisingly on the higher side, but it was definitely worth it. A great place for a relaxing catch-up or pre-drinks before a night out.

The bar is quite dim inside, with two long tables in the middle, a bar at the back and small tables near the entrance. It’s also quite cold inside, so if you do decide to stay long, make sure to wear something cosy. You don’t need to dress up, it is very relaxed, with comfortable seating and overall had a casual vibe to the place. Waitstaff was lovely, bartenders were welcoming and gave us an introduction to their menu. There’s no food here, but they do serve peanuts to keep your taste buds going. We also received some cute stickers!

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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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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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Mr. Cafe

Shop 11/418 Darling St, Balmain NSW 2041

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Visited during a bright lit day, it was a refreshing start. With plentiful street parking, Mr. Cafe is located comfortably in a quiet suburb, with ample open indoor and outdoor seating. The staff are friendly, prompt and I can say the same thing when the food came out. Coffee was strong but beautifully roasted.

I got what I heard was popular from their menu, which was the ricotta filled cinnamon doughnuts. It was tastefully topped with honey, ginger and peach crumbs and half a peach on the side. The dough was sugary and soft and with the fillings, it gave another hit of sweetness. Ordered another plate of sandwich, separating chicken, avocado and eggs. I definitely would come back!

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The Smoothie Co.

The Smoothie Co. is a pop-up bar that you can find at events in Sydney. I came across this cute little bar, during my visit to The Finders Keepers markets a few days ago and we were currently on a hunt for a healthy smoothie/drink option. They were where the other foodie stalls were and had fresh vegetables and fruits on their tables.

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E wanted to get a smoothie, but instead he got a bowl haha. He couldn’t even finish it because it was so much! I had a taste of it as well, and the consistency wasn’t too thick and not too creamy.

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Lean Machine Acai Bowl $12 – Acai, banana, avocado, organic cacao coconut protein, organic almond milk and yummy toppings!

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Clean Green Smoothie $9 – Kale, avocado, green super-foods powder, banana, organic agave, coconut water, ice

When I had a sip of mine, it was delicious! It looked healthy and when drinking it I felt proud of myself that I stayed away from the other sweet drinks. I absolutely love how the consistency came out to be, there blends are perfect! I actually wanted to try the Salted Caramel smoothie…. maybe next time.

RATE: 4/5