Without a doubt, Mexican food is one of my favorite cuisines. It’s festively colorful and rich in distinct flavors and spices. If it is one of the dining options, it would always be among my prominent choices. It’s been a long time since my last Tex-Mex food trip and I admit to miss it big time. Good thing, the chosen venue for our latest team meeting was at Cobalabamba — a newly opened Mexican cantina in Venice Grand Canal Mall. Instantly, I knew what to order based on my classic favorites.
If there is one thing I am amused in this restaurant — it’s the vibrant interiors. The color palette is lively — from the furniture, wall mural, neon lights, door holder, dining utensils and the table ornaments. If the authentic Mexican restaurants are known to be rugged-looking and unfurnished, Cobalamba dared to be different. It is hip and catchy, trendy and non-traditional.
This was the previous location of Agave, another famous Mexican restaurant in Venice. Not really sure why it closed, but the replacement is notably worthy checking out. I just hope they would last long unlike its neighboring restaurants which closed probably due to location and competition.
Since we dined as a group, we ordered a mix of appetizers, rice meals, and dessert. In every dish, it is interesting to note the variety of ingredients and spices used. Every food had its own unique character.
The Coba Sticky Wings (Php 225) or the Baked Honey- Garlic Glazed Wings was sweet and tangy, yet well-flavored. There is no need for the Ranch dressing at all.
The Grilled Chicken Taco (Php 150) was also good. It was served with fresh corn salsa, lettuce, and Chipotle Ranch. However, the serving size seemed so small.
The Four Cheese Quesadilla (Php 205) was oozing with Cheddar, Mozzarella, Sharp Cheddar and Cheddar sauce. The Sriracha sauce complemented it well. Same as the Grilled Chicken Taco, the serving size was too small for its price.
Doble Nachos (Php 340) was one of our favorite appetizers. The crisp Corn Tortilla Chips was generously sprinkled with Chili con Carne, Pico de Gallo, olives, tomatoes, and drizzled with cheese sauce and sour cream.
The Mexican Chopped Salad (Php 260) is also a good way to start off your Mexican indulgence. The greens are fresh and the special dressing is also awesome. The grilled chicken toppings are a perfect match to the refreshing salad.
My Breakfast Burrito (Php 185) was a comforting rice meal. It was a complete meal having meat, vegetables and spices in one bowl. The Sriracha Aioli does not only add spice, it also binds the flavors together.
The Mexican Sisig (Php 200) imitated the famous Pinoy version, but with an added twist. Aside from the spiced-rubbed smokey pork, it has Chipotle sauce and Jalapeno for that extra zing. Since I’m not into pork that much, I find the pork fat too big and fatty as compared to the regular sisig.
The Tipsy Pork (Php 205) was a bit sweet and had hints of Tequila, but not too overpowering. It was something worth coming back to.
To cap off, we also had desserts, Churros.
Because the restaurant is on its soft opening, it is understandable that there are a few things to be considered as rooms for improvement in the speed and quality of the service. However, the staff are still polite and accommodating that you can say it is still a good experience.
Anyone who loves Mexican cuisine with a Filipino twist should definitely try this out. Not only the place is instagrammable, the tastes are generally satisfactory. Except for its appetizers, the serving portions are reasonable for the price.
This new concept will surely fascinate the students and young professionals in McKinley Hill. If you are bored with your usual dining routine, then this will strike the difference.
P.S. Thanks good friend Cath Redona for the photos!
My friend Kit and I thought of celebrating my post birthday in the newly opened branch of Mendokoro Ramenba in BGC last week. However, I suggested that we consider dining in another Jap restaurant because I just ate at Yushoken Ramen with my family last last weekend. When she agreed, Nanbantei popped up to my mind first. First, it is Japanese (she loves Japan culture so much so it’s a default choice), second, it’s another interesting Japanese cuisine aside from Ramen, and third, I love Nanbantei. I’ve known this restaurant too well to recommend it to my friends and not be embarrassed afterwards.
I told in my blog post before how I loved this restaurant for its Yakitori dishes. Now it’s a different experience with a different company, but some good things never change at all. Let me elaborate more.
Casual Japanese restaurants are known for having tiny spaces but Nanbantei BGC is an exception. The wide space matched with its cool AC makes the restaurant cozy and relaxing. Whether dining intimately with your beau, friends, families or big groups, Nanbantei is a sure place to recommend.
On the far right of the restaurant is the side where the comfy couches are separated by bamboo dividers and accentuated by round lamps. At first we sat here but this side was quite hot so we transferred to one of the regular tables on the far left.
To fully enjoy the Yakitori experience, we ordered one platter of Best Sellers (21 sticks at Php 1,050) This platter has a little bit of everything – Aspara Maki, Tebasaki, Pork Garlic Yaki, Shiso Maki, Negima, Corn and Potato Maki. One platter is good for 3-4 people.
Servers can offer you the option of shredding the corn if you don’t prefer eating it on a cob.
I love everything! Each Yakitori stick is savory and well-balanced in terms of flavor and seasonings. The meat sticks are so tender, grilled right to perfection. The vegetables provide that delightful contrast to the meat which prevents you from getting sated too fast. The corn, asparagus and potato, did that wonderful trick.
I’d always vouch for my favorite Poteto Maki (potato wrapped in Bacon), Aspara Maki (Asparagus wrapped in pork) and Pork Garlic Yaki. We also ordered cups of Japanese rice which made us very full in the end.
My friend Kit, who had failed attempts for the Chicken Oyakodon (Chicken Rice Bowl, Php 175) recipe tried the version of Nanbantei. It was good —the thigh fillets are soft and the sauce was nice. The pressure to imitate the recipe is real.
Now this was quite interesting to me — having tasted Onigiri for the first time. Onigiri is Japanese rice ball, formed into triangular or cylindrical shapes and often wrapped in nori (seaweed). The Onigiri that we ordered has pickled plum in it and I never imagined before it can be that good. I didn’t know how to eat it so I separated the rice from the seaweed. It should be eaten together!
We received complimentary desserts from their Manager, whose name I forgot to ask. This was after I asked permission to take photos of their open kitchen for my blog. We had Green Tea Ice Cream, Coffee Jelly and Avocado Ice Cream. Thanks for the nice birthday treat!
Catering to a diverse group of diners to professionals, hip youngsters, couples and families, Nanbantei delivers exceptional customer service and warm hospitality across all types of people. Waiters would always ask if your dining experience is okay or if you need anything else.
The open kitchen gives you a sneak peak on how diligent and skilled are the chefs in preparing your food, with nothing less than serving the premium quality and freshness of the ingredients. To see the meticulous process makes you appreciate the cuisine even more.
Our dining experience at Nanbantei summarizes our passion for good food and celebrates the strong friendship that we have. Thanks to my BFF Kit, who’s been there not only in celebrating countless birthdays, but in all of my significant journeys in life.
Our friendship is like Japanese food — the process is tedious, the ingredients are complex. But you can expect it’s always of high quality.
When you are in the corporate world, achieving a healthy lifestyle seems nearly impossible. Unless you prepare your own meals, your food choices are limited to fast food, junk food and processed food. I am not exempted from that so I take time to prepare my own meals at work just to maintain a balanced diet. However, it requires diligence and consistent efforts to sustain that everyday. Well, good news for corporate junkies like me trying to shift to a healthy lifestyle. Salad Bar Ph is your ally to your road to wellness.
SaladBar started from the humble dreams of two high school friends who have decided to put up their own business after realizing the lack of healthy food choices in offices. Having worked in corporate offices themselves, they saw that more and more people are getting seriously ill each year because of unhealthy food choices and stress. The partners decided to put up a food cart where office workers can buy fruits, vegetables, and other healthy food options but with a twist.
Usually, most people have the mindset that healthy food are not delicious. There are times that pre-packed salads and healthy meals include other ingredients that one does not like. With this, the partners decided to have the customers choose their own fruit, vegetable, and healthy choices that will suit their liking so that eating healthy food can also give pleasure to their palates.
Salad Bar Ph offers an assortment of fruits, vegetables and dressings you can mix-match to suit your preference. A healthy platter contains all the vital nutrients that our body needs. The price starts at Php 30 per 100 grams. Not bad right? Considering you spend almost the same amount for fast food, why not shift to fruits and vegetables instead?
Since I am more fond of vegetables, protein and carbs, I made a potato-macaroni salad with tuna over a bed of lettuce. I added onions and bell pepper as toppings and sprinkled corn for a touch of color. I drizzled my favorite Caesar sauce over it to add more flavor. My salad has the combination of different textures and colors and the tastes are not contrasting to each other. It was evident that the ingredients are fresh and crisp, neatly sliced according to proportions.
I wished that the mushroom is sauteed in butter though.
I also brought home one order of fruit salad which was a mixture of oranges, mangoes, pomelo and peaches.
Contrary to the popular notion that salads are boring and bland, this one is tasteful. I liked that Salad Bar Ph gives us the liberty to choose our toppings and ingredients based on our preference. Compared to the pre-packed salads at the groceries, here you can eat everything because it was carefully selected.
Aside from their physical stores in Makati, they also offer delivery, pick-up and catering. You may order online and check the combinations suited for you. They also offer fruit and vegetable platters for group meetings and parties. You may want to check their corporate wellness program packages if you want your employees to include healthy diet as one of their benefits. You may refer to their website http://saladbarph.com/ for more information.
Aside from cash, Salad Bar Ph accepts credit card and Pay Pal as modes of payment. Convenient right?
As an advocate for promoting healthy lifestyle to young professionals, Salad Bar Ph envisions itself as a leading distributor of healthy food selections. With the keen process of ensuring the freshness and quality, Salad Bar Ph only serves the best fruits and vegetables for everyone.
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Salad Bar Ph