May 28, 2011
We’ve been to Midnight Mercato at Bonifacio Global City a handful of times before but we always forget to document our experiences. Midnight Mercato happens every Friday and Saturday night, from 10pm to 3am.
To date, we’ve tried out Manang’s chicken, Red Wagon’s burger, Offbeat Cafe’s Ensaymada burger, Mochiko in sesame and azuki, Margie’s Paella Negra, Bubble Tea Chills’ assam milk tea (50% sweetness), Lola Diding’s chicken isaw, Taclings in beef, Med Chef’s dessert samples and a bunch of others that I can’t even remember. [Note: If you’re going to Mercato Centrale instead, why not try Bale Dutung’s Pan de Bagnet or Baked by Anita’s cupcakes? Some stalls participate in both Midnight Mercato and Mercato Centrale. Check the websites out for the schedules and stalls.]
Finally, during our most recent visit, we finally brought a proper camera that has a flash strong enough to fight the darkness inside the tents.
Taclings (beef) - P60 (12pcs for P100)
We both like this a lot, which explains why this is probably our 3rd try of this. Lorra prefers the beef over the tuna because of the sauce but both flavors are worth a try.
Although, we noticed how these were better-tasting and better made back when Midnight Mercato was just a few weeks old. The taco shells were crunchier and there was more of the filling. It could have been just for that one night so we’ll probably try this again just to see. They do make it in lots of batches and have rows of this waiting for customers to order. That might explain why the taco shells lost some of their crunch.
Paperboat Dumplings - P130
Elbert decided to give this a try because he know owner Dwight Co of Crazy in the Classroom. The Hong Kong-style glutinous rice tasted great, the rice sticky but not too dry, the chicharon (pork cracklings) bits adding much needed savory texture. The pork dumplings had a fried crunchy bottom and a soft top, complemented well by the soy sauce, giving it a salty and savory taste.
We didn’t try very many stalls this time because we’d already eaten dinner before going there. Big mistake really, but then again, the main goal for going there that night was for Lorra to get her milk tea fix. Unfortunately, Bubble Tea Chills was nowhere in sight for that night and after consulting the website, we found out that they weren’t at Midnight Mercato the previous week as well.
It can’t be explained how much Lorra is wishing that they’d be back soon, but let’s just say that because of them, she’s been in search of the milk/bubble tea blend that can top the one that she tasted from them. So far, no good. [Note: Any other suggestions? We’ve tried Serenitea, Chatime, Bubble Tea Boy and Tokyo Bubble Tea. None of them came even close. Next try is Happy Lemon’s milk tea and we hope it’s a winner!]
Midnight Mercato is certainly worth a visit, or two, or three…you get the idea, but don’t expect to have an intimate and romantic date there because when you arrive a bit late, you’ll find yourselves navigating your way like sardines in a can.
There will also be a shortage of seats and tables so the earlier you go, the better. Don’t be afraid to share tables with strangers but remember to ask them if they don’t mind first.
If you’re not sure of what to get, don’t worry. Most stalls offer free taste tests. Use that to your advantage to sample the food you’ll enjoy. Be adventurous and don’t forget to try out Manang’s, Bubble Tea Chills, Mochiko and Margie’s Paella.
And if you’re the kind of couple, or person, or group that doesn’t enjoy staying up late or eating too late, you might want to try Mercato Centrale in the mornings. They’re open every Saturdays and Sundays, 7am to 2pm.
Value for Money: 3.5/5
Serving Size: 3.5/5
May 24, 2011
We decided to try Serenitea out because a lot of people have been raving about it and Lorra has been obsessed with bubble tea lately. Sad to say, we were sorely disappointed with what we found.
As with most new bubble tea places, Serenitea is designed mostly for grab-and-go customers, despite the chairs and tables provided. Situated near the entrance to Eastwood Cybermall, it can be very hot, especially when you’re waiting for your order with a bunch of other people.
Hokkaido milk tea with pudding (medium, cold, 50% sweet) for him - P95
Assam milk tea with pearl and pudding (medium, cold, 50% sweet) for her - P90
Both tea mixtures were too watered down for us to taste anything.
Elbert found the pudding sinker okay but realized it wasn’t his cup of tea.
Lorra didn’t like the pearl as well because the texture was too soft. It almost felt like the pudding in her mouth.
Krispy Kreme black forest doughnut for him - P44
Black forest…in doughnut form! It’s genius. I’m a sucker for cake and I like doughnuts enough, and when you combine it, there’s really no reason not to like it.
You buy it because the chocolate is rich and you mix it with the tangy sweetness of the cherry, making it a well-rounded flavor. Given Krispy Kreme’s penchant for excessive sweetness, this flavor tasted just right. It wasn’t too sweet at all.
Value for Money: S - 2.5/5; KK - 4/5
Serving Size: S - 4/5; KK - 4/5
Service: S - 3.5/5; KK - 4/5
Ambiance: S - 2/5; KK - 3/5
Presentation: S - 3/5; KK - 3/5
Taste: S - 1.5/5; KK - 4.5/5
Overall: S - 2.75/5; KK - 3.75/5
May 24, 2011
Modern Adobo for him - P
Adobo holds a special place in my heart, having grown up with it as one of my comfort foods. That said, while I appreciate this particular adobo’s chili-and-vinegar-based sauce, I’m partial to the traditional soy sauce and vinegar version, and so was mildly disappointed.
Binagoongan for her - P
I’m sure Binagoongan isn’t supposed to taste burnt but this one did. I couldn’t taste the bagoong at all. The rice was also a big disappointment because it was a bit overcooked.
Gising-Gising for us - P
We expected Gising-Gising to be spicy and drowning in coconut milk sauce but this was neither. What’s worse is that the serving size is inconsistent (the order before ours had at least 75% more) and they FORGOT to cook and serve us this order until we called their attention.
Value for Money: 2.75/5
Serving Size: 3/5
May 24, 2011
Echoing Japanese minimalist sensibilities, Ramen Bar feels fresh and clean. You can see this in the interiors, the placemats that double as their menus and the maintained ambiance of the whole place.
If all seats were taken, the place might feel a bit cramped.
The high ceiling also gives you the feeling that this place is modern and the framed artwork adds a cute touch.
If you love to doodle or draw while waiting for your food, Ramen Bar also has the perfect placemats for you. Elbert just couldn’t resist.
Shoyu Ramen for him - P280
I like that it’s filling but not heavy on the tummy. The pork was soft and juicy and the noodles were very savory.
Spicy Karaage Ramen (mild) for her - P280
I felt that this bowl of authentic Japanese ramen would be perfect for rainy days or times when you would want to feel good and be comforted by tasty soup.
I really liked the soup base. It was a little bit salty and a little bit spicy, with some sweetness mixed in. The noodles still had that wonderful bite in the middle and were very smooth in the mouth. Ramen Bar certainly doesn’t scrimp on the ingredients too. I couldn’t really finish the whole bowl because it was that big of a serving.
The only thing that I didn’t like with this is that the chicken, which was supposed to be fried and crispy, came out soggy because it had been submerged in the soup for too long. Next time, I’ll ask for the chicken to be placed on the side or on a plate so i can eat it separately and still get the crunch.
Value for Money: 4/5
Serving Size: 4.5/5