Despite its bar brimming of top-line alcoholic drinks, Downtown and Halsted (Dwntown & Halsted) has humble interiors. Industrial and street, the graffiti wall is perfectly suited for the bar. Moreover, some artworks are displayed throughout the place and are for sale.
Downtown and Halsted is known in offering drinks but they are very much delighted to tell that they are also offering food which is crafted by Chef Marco Legasto. He is also the man behind the food of Abuelas and Prime 101.
The first food served to us exceeded my expectation. The Mushroom Soup (P250) tasted fresh. It is thick but not creamy and the flavor is well-balanced.
The Tikka Wrap (P240) has cucumber, lettuce, and yogurt with pleasing spices that did not overpower the vegetables. Chips are served on the side with a spicy dip.
The Portobello and Quinoa Salad (P250) is a mystery. The taste is very distinct. Maybe because it’s my first time eating quinoa, the couscous-like seeds that glide to my teeth as I try to chew it.
The pork skewer (P150) has the typical taste of barbecue but varied by less oil and less sauce. The chicken skewer (P150) has nothing much appealing unlike the lengua skewer (P250) that is sumptuous and toothsome!
The aroma of Spiced Black Mussels with Fresh Chili and Curry Leaves (P250) made me scream inside of me “I need vitamin sea!”
The Crispy Pork Knuckles (P580) knocked us out as it satiated our hunger for the night. I just like how they make a sinful dish less sinful because it was served to us not oily. The dip for this is also good.
The Baby Back Ribs (P580) is tender with the perfect non-smoky sauce.
The Seafood Pasta (P350) may look like a pesto based but as I got to try it, the parsley and garlic creamy flavor prevailed. The Chorizo Pasta (P385) awakens your breakfast taste bud.
The East Side Elavation (P350) is superbly concocted. It’s a drink made of hendricks, fresh lime, kiwi, basil, balsamic vinegar. A recommended booze!
As for the artworks, the artist may send their work to them for screening.
Dwntown & Halsted is a place where the people could actually talk while hanging out and drinking their alcohol. It’s a street concept but classy in a way. The food was presented has its craftsmanship and with well-balanced taste; I like the lengua skewers, crispy pork knuckles, baby back ribs, and seafood pasta. As for the waitstaff, they accommodated us in a friendly manner.
The transition of my life has been pretty crazy lately. In February, I quit my job because my family needs me more at home and my job was not really a practical work to stay. In March, I got a seasonal home-based work that pays 1.5 higher than my previous job. In April, I was totally in to my online job’s deadlines that I didn’t get to think it’s already May! I almost forgot that I attended a food event last April because it’s been really quite a while that I attended series of events so it was a valid reason that I have forgotten it. LMAO. It’s not a lame excuse, okay!
Too much of the introduction and let’s get to the point – Potts Point Café. This café is an organic restaurant, Aussie-inspired. Most coffee shops don’t do much with food and restaurants don’t serve much coffee so this is how Australian café rolls – a combination of food and coffee. It’s a good thing that Manileños could try this now because that day, April 11, was the grand opening in SM Mall of Asia (Bay Side 2nd floor South Veranda). Take note though, that some of the guards misheard me that I was looking for Padis Point. As I have said, they were not familiar because it just opened.
I know it’s summer and it’s hot. However, the ribbon cutting gets hotter because of this chef, Chef James Torres!
To start-off, the appetizer was served. Shakshuka with Organic Pork Sausage and Organic Eggs with Toasted Baguette (P 265) is a dish that is drowned in tomato sauce with chili peppers and onions. The eggs here are served poached and the whole dish tasted like a sauce of lasagna.
The soup served on our table is Cream of Organic Cauliflower with Truffle Foam (P 180). I like that it is not too creamy and the salt is just right. I can taste more of milk in this soup (or maybe I have tasted the foam portion more)
The Roast Australian Lamb with Bone Marrow served with Brown Rice and Demiglace (P595) is the best thing. The meat is so soft and flavorful with the full-bodied brown sauce. Lip-smacking dish!
My favorite dish – pasta! What we had is Salmon Linguine with Capers in Dill Cream Sauce (P 365). I have read that dill sauce is good for salmon and yes, it’s proven because this dish is superb! It’s my first time tasting it. Oh the greatness of firsts!
The Australian Grass-fed All Beef Burger with Australian Cheddar, Pickled Beets, Olive Oil Aioli and House-made Brioche Bun with Baked Sweet Potato Wedges (P 395) is expensive. Lol. I mean it’s delicious like the burger chains Filipino locals used to dine but this one, the cow is “grass-fed” with tender loving care which makes this burger special.
The Strawberry, Kiwi and Mango Trifle with Light Vanilla Custard and Cookie Crumble (P185) have nothing special but their English Sticky Toffee Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream (P 210) is a-must try. I was totally into it. I could have emptied the dish if I’m thick-skinned. Hahaha! #SugarRushAlert.
Expecting that this is casual fine dining restaurant, the serving is meant to be not as humungous as the hungry people would like but the taste of their food could please you so paying a visit is worthy. The spacious café has a dim-light and an open kitchen. The staff is courteous and young and that makes the resto juvenile even if it has a formal vibe.
Aside from the rising offices in BGC, the place has become a restaurant hub, too. This is one reason why a foodie like me makes it a point to visit Taguig at least once a month. When my blogger friend, Mars, offered me to join a BGC Eats tour, I was ecstatic. I was excited with the thought of knowing FIVE great food finds all in one day. This happened last August 16 where the event’s theme is Healthy Eats with Denise Celdran, a healthy living expert. Meanwhile, the contributing editor for Rogue and the founder of Pinoy Eats World, Chef JJ Yulo, was our energetic tour guide. We rode a BGC bus together with the other customers. I guess 80% of those who joined were were customers while the remaining 20% were bloggers.
We began the tour at Salo in the Fort Strip and we met Miss Anna, the owner. Minutes after, we were served Tokwa’tBaboy (P 120.00). I loved how sharp-tasting it was. The Kamote Chips (P 105.00) they served next was excellent. In fact, everyone in our table loved it. The Adobong Kangkong (P 84.00) and the Tapsilog (P 140.00), on the other hand, tasted typical. However, the Tuyosilog (P 145.00) has a delightful kick to it. Knowing that BGC is high-end, one would immediately think that the pricing in every establishment would put a dent in one’s wallet.It’s a good thing that Salo offers affordable dishes.This was surely a shocker for me.
Healthy tip from Denice: Eating colored rice makes you lose more calories than eating white rice.
Yummy Soy is also located in the Fort Strip. Yummy Soy originally came from Singapore and the brand sells Soy milk and beancurd products. Their prices range between P 75.00 – P 85.00. You can put add-ons like pearls, nata de coco, strawberry pops, lychees, coffee jelly, grass jelly, mixed fruit jelly etc. Their soy lasts for five days only. One can distinctly know the difference of Yummy Soy from taho.
Healthy tip from Denice: Soy is great for vegetarian sand it also contains isoflavones. The news that claim that eating soy could increase a person’s estrogen level is merely a propaganda created by the beef industry. In reality, one must eat eleven kilos of soy a day of soy to have increase their estrogen level. I doubt anyone could handle 11 kilos of soy in a day? Pfftt!
Suzhou Eastern Chinese Cuisine is located at the 2nd floor of Crossroads Building in 32nd Street. The two young Chinese owners warm-heartedly welcomed us to their restaurant. the place is designed with traditional Chinese interiors. Our lunch started with a thick Sour & Spicy Soup (P 180.00) with mushrooms, tofu, and carrot tidbits among others. This was the first time I had this kind of soup and I liked how it tasted. The Pancake with Spring Onions, on the other hand, is just ordinary. However, I was so happy with the next dish they served, which are the Steamed Xiao Long Bao and Steamed Kuchay and Dumpling. Theywere totally irresistible and succulent.
The Salt and Pepper Fried Tofu looked like nuggets. We braced ourselves when we saw the Stir Fried Noodle Beef being carried by the waiters. I did not like how it tasted, though. Some of my old friends know I’m not fond of some Chinese dishes since I feel like tasting medicine. According to my Chinese blogger friend, Jam, that kind of flavor is from the sate sauce. I finally knew what that taste was! We capped off our meal with a Fortune Cookie. Their cookies were good!
Healthy tip from Denice: Colorful vegetables are the healthiest, because they have phytonutrients, which flushes out toxins from our body. The purple kamote is one of the healthiest leafy veggies, by the way.
Phat Pho is a Vietnamese restaurant, which opened first in Cebu and now has branch in Serenda. We also met Miss Maita, the owner. She told us a little background about the menu. We tried Chicken Satay and I would compare to a BBQ we used to have here. However, this one has caramelized toasted shallots paired with peanut butter sauce for dipping. Of course, trying out Vietnamese food would not be complete without the rice paper rolls/ gỏi cuốn stuffed with Chilled Shrimps. It has vermicelli, wood ear mushrooms, carrots, daikon, peanut, and fresh herbs. I liked the food that we had here! We had Calamansi Juice as our thirst-quencher.
Crip on 28this located in Alveo Land Corporate Center in 28th Street, owned by Erwan, Carmela, and Julien. They just opened three weeks ago so we found ourselves lucky to be one of the few people to try out their food first. The Salmon Sliders which is rich in omega-3 surprised all of the guests, while the Crab Cakes that spoke in volume were crunchy. Meanwhile, the rice meals kept popping on our table. We first tried Trio Longganisa that was not too sweet and not too salty – the perfect kind of longganisa for me. We savored the sinful Adobo Flakes and Crispy Corned Beef. We all felt that it was how breakfasts in Manila should always be.
The time for sweets arrived, and though we were bloated, our eyes twinkled with delight. I especially like the Banana Cream Cheese, the Chocolate Nutella Cookies, and the Brownie Fudge. The desserts were made by Carmela. They are having a courtyard soon for jazz nights, outdoor barbecue, and for the diners who wanted to dine al fresco. They would also be offering protein bars and protein shakes to cater to the needs of the people in BGC.
As the tour nears its end, we were told about the most important health tip – to eat in moderation. I find this ironic since we were fed with too much food at that time. Not that I’m complaining, but still. Anyways, I qould like to extend my regards to Arts at BGC for this educational and fun tour. God, now I want to live near BGC!