"What's the name of the Chinese restaurant at Bonifacio High Street?" my cousin asked. I tried looking it up on the internet and found out it was called Kirin. "Alright, we'll try it there." exclaims my tita, after I've called up Abe and unfortunately finding out they're fully packed and won't be able to accept any more dinner reservations.
They had no more available function rooms so we settled for three tables in the dining area. The place was well lit though the table spacing was a bit on the tight side. On one side of the restaurant, with a view of the window shoppers and other passersby, was a glass spanning the whole wall. Water was gently trickling down its surface, reminiscent of a midnight rain seen through a window.
The Cold Cuts Combination (P400 small; P800 medium; P1,200 large) comprises of jellyfish, slices of pickled cucumbers dotted with chili peppers, chicken strips glazed with soya sauce and garnished with chopped chives, thin slices of pork asado, and tofu topped with wood ear mushrooms and julienned carrots. My favorites would have to be the jellyfish and wood ear mushrooms, locally known as tenga ng daga. Both have a sort of rubbery texture, a little resilient to the bite -chewy in a good way- and very flavorful.
Their Hot and Sour Soup (P330 regular; P780 large) was nice, just like how it should be. Lacking only is a distinguishing factor if you're looking for something that would give this version an edge. Long strips of mushroom and slices of vegetables gently swirl in unison as the server mixed the soup with the ladle. The warmth lines the throat deliciously and the tinge of spiciness was enough to stir the appetite.
"Next time don't order Szechuan anything." my tita said. "It's too spicy for any of us." Admittedly, even I didn't dare try their Spicy Hot Chili Chicken Szechuan Style (P280). I had the supervisor separate the dried chili to tame the dish, but my cousin said it was still too hot. I honestly had no idea that no one in our clan had a predilection for super spicy food. Oh well, lesson learned.
Yang Chow Fried Rice (P198) is pretty common in Chinese restaurants, so much so that you usually can't tell any big difference between each rendition. This was pretty much like the others' -- diced meat, scraps of omelette and shreds of greens scatter and weave through grains of pale yellow rice. Pretty straightforward and generous in ingredients, it's as satisfying as they come.
"I have a request!" my cousin exclaimed. "An extra order of Century Egg and Jellyfish (P230 regular; P880 large) please!" Of course I agreed as I too relish gorging on large portions of this special appetizer. Even looking at the plate with a pile of jellyfish (I used to know them as seaweeds and believed it to be as such) strands stained with tiny bits of chili for spiciness, and slices of those hundred-year eggs with greenish grey yolks and brown, translucent jelly-like whites lining its base, is enough to make me salivate. Just avoid drinking soft drinks after a bite of century egg though. I'm not sure why, but it makes drinking sodas an unpalatable experience.
When the waiter laid down a foil-covered dish on a sizzling platter, I asked what it was and he replied that it was a Deep Fried Lapu-lapu Shanghai Style (P130/100g). It wasn't visually appealing with its massacred body submerged in a sea of brown sauce. Taking a bite though, it was pretty good -- a little on the sweet side and the fish meat was cooked just right. I can still smell the sapid aroma preserved by the foil that enwraps the lapu-lapu.
I loved the Braised Beef in Honey Sauce with Steamed Buns (P300) -- I actually loved the mantao bread even more. The beef's exterior looked tough but really is tender and easily breaks at the slightest tug of the teeth. The honey sauce had a right balance of sweet and savory, and is paired with a supple (and addicting) piece of steamed bun that wipes the flavor slate clean.
The Baked Prawns in Orange Sauce (P110/pc) was everyone's favorite dish of the night. Some of my cousins who arrived late was welcomed by a clean platter whose sporadic dots of orange sauce are the only proof that there was something there before. But this was just too good not to let them have a taste and so we ordered four more of these prawns (that's P440 right there!). I'd say it was worth it, the prawns were way bigger than those on the platter; their meat plump, tender and juicy. Each one was drenched in a bath of orange sauce that was sweet as it was saporous.
I'm not much of a crab eater especially if you expect me to be the one to crack its shell and scrape some stingy crab meat off each claw. But if you would do the dirty job and just hand over the crab meat and fat, then I would graciously accept them. I only got to taste the Stir Fried Crab with Spicy Chili Garlic (P120/100g) by prodding my dad to give me some of his mounded white treasure accumulated from a quarter of an hour's worth of shell cracking and crab meat hunting. Surprisingly, the meat was more flavorful than usual, with shadows of garlic and a hint of chili. But before I could ask for another round, he finished his off in a couple of big bites.
I like the Mango Cream with Pomelo (P128) though one of my cousins said, she had tasted something better. Well, with no previous similar consumed dish to compare it with, I'll stick with my first statement of liking it. The mango bits was a mix of sweet and sour ones, the pomelo was a bit sweet but had a slightly bitter epilogue. Still, it was good when combined with the cream's treacly trait.
The Egg Custard Buchi (P88/3 pcs) was the star dessert. Since we were all used to lotus or sweet red bean paste imprisoned in most usual buchis, it was a treat to bite into a different filling this time. Ensconced in the hollow of a glutinous orb of sticky rice dough encrusted with sesame seeds, is a light spread of egg custard that wasn't cloying in taste. It was quite addicting actually and if it weren't so heavy in the stomach, I would probably have eaten a few more.
Kirin Chinese Dining
Spot: Bldg. 7 Bonifacio High Streeet, Bonifacio Global City
Contact No.: 799.9338