Another clan celebration prompted us to try a great Chinese restaurant in Roxas Boulevard -- the Legend Hong Kong Seafood Restaurant.
The place was huge and spacious, clean and well-maintained. There are numerous waiters and staff all ready and eager to attend to your needs. Different-sized round tables fill up the dining hall, while three function rooms line up the right side of the restaurant. On the left is a large elevated area for a semi-secluded dining experience, suitable enough for dinner parties if the function rooms are already occupied. The waiters usually place a divider between tables to separate each party.
While waiting for the food, we gnawed on some peanuts with sesame seeds. Nothing really fancy but I liked the sweet, sticky undertone.
I appreciated their Legend Combination Cold Cuts (P400 regular; P800 large) better than Kirin's simply because it was packed with more meat. Several slices of lechon kawali rest on a bed of jellyfish outlined by an edible fence. Slices of pork asado, its sweetness evident in its red hue lay down in a puddle of its own oleaginous fat. White chicken form the outer wall opposite the century eggs, while thin slices of roasted white pata or pork legs complete the perimeter wall. One should rein in himself when feasting on these appetizers lest they leave you with no room for the entrées.
There are usually subtle nuances between different Chinese restaurants' versions of spinach soup, but the Legend Seafood Soup (P300 regular; P600 large) spells out a relatively large disparity in terms of taste. Somehow, the ingredients are more pronounced, more abundant, and each tiny sup brings with it a myriad of flavors that separates it from the rest.
As always, there's not a world of difference among the various takes on Fried Rice Yang Chow Style (P250 regular; P390 medium; P500 large), so I really can't say much about this one. It abounds with ingredients such as shrimps, chopped leeks, shreds of omelette, little dices of meat, some greens and other sundry items. Then again, so do the others.
A crunchy outer crust hides the tender meat inside the Fried Pampano with Sweet and Sour Sauce (P1,000/kilo). Side note: Basing on the shape alone, I think the fish used here is Lapu-Lapu instead of Pampano, which they say they use as replacement when the latter is not available. Sliced in half, its insides covered in a blanket of sliced onions, julienned carrots and bell peppers, dabbled with a bit of sauce, the fish was rather inviting, there laid down in a crimson pool of sweet and sour. Confessedly, I prefer the pork variant, though this wasn't bad at all.
I didn't care much for the Fried Crispy Chicken (P520). By the looks of it, the skin wasn't all that crispy and for fear of being full before I had the chance to taste the remaining dishes (of which I'm more curious at exploring the flavors), I decided to skip this course.
As the waiter placed the large bowl of Broccoli Flower Top with Dry Scallop and Golden Mushroom (P320 regular; P640 large) on the table, it was a sea of enoki mushrooms in an overlapping and intertwined mess. A little prodding and poking of the fork revealed several broccoli flowers underneath, a thin wisp of smoke from the heat escaping with it.
Everybody thought the Pata Tim with Lo Han Chay (P580) was great. The huge pork leg was drenched in a light brown sauce that was both sweet and savory. Its meat succumbs to a fork's impalement and its massive size is partially covered by a melange of vegetables braised in soy sauce -- sweet corn, cabbages, slices of button mushrooms, wood ear mushrooms -- also called Lo Han Chay or vegetarian chop suey.
I was enamored with the Spareribs with Salad Sauce (P300 regular; P450 medium; P600 large) with its tender meat that yields to the bite and white salad sauce drizzled all over. 2 orchid blossoms grace the plate perched atop a clump of shredded vegetables and parsely (?). A shadow of sweetness envelopes each chunk of meat, while the white sauce provides a minute suggestion of acerbity.
I loved the colorful look of the Fried Crabs with Salt and Garlic (P1,200/kilo boy; P1,400/kilo girl); a platter of crab meat and shell vested in holiday garments of green and red bell peppers sprinkled with chopped onions here and there. This was supposed to be seasoned with salt and pepper, but since my kin lacks a propensity for spicy food, I had it replaced with salt and garlic instead. Much tamer in hotness yet still full of flavor, the crabs had my dad eating away contentedly in his own crustacean dream land.
The Almond Jelly with Lychee (P100) I found to be a little bland. It was missing the sugary sweetness that can make this dessert more appealing. The lone lychee devoid of its pit floating amid crushed ice and almond jelly was a bit frozen and lacked the taste of freshness.
Hands down, I liked Kirin's better than Legend's Butchi (P80/4 pcs). This was made with yellow mung bean paste, pretty similar to the lotus paste or the red bean paste traditionally used inside these glutinous sticky rice balls. There was nothing unusual, but I'll take it just the same; after all, I'm not one to say no to buchi.
Legend Hong Kong Seafood Restaurant
Spot: Boom na Boom Compound, CCP Complex, Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City
Contact Nos.: 0917.8202266 or 833.3388 or 833.1188