Before you proceed, please check out my 10 Most Memorable Meals of 2013. Aside from the dishes that make up that said list, which I love and crave, there are ten more memorable dishes from other restaurants that have grabbed my attention. These victuals have stood out, constantly making my palate crave for them at one point or another, and therefore worthy to be included in another top list.
So here are more must-try dishes, in no particular order...
Surf and Turf (P895)
A platter of fork-tender roast beef drenched with red wine sauce and baked shrimps thermidor casserole make up the Surf and Turf. Think super soft meat that almost melts in your mouth, followed by such a robust, savory flavor of casserole, its rich cream just clinging to your palate, and you don't want to ever let go. Alternating between the two, it's hard to decide which I like better. Both are just so good! And did I mention that this platter comes with 2 sidings of your choice? I usually go for the cheesy potatoes and mushroom risotto.
Spot:P1 Power Plant Mall, Rockwell Center, Makati City
Contact Nos.:898.1738 or 898.1864
Soft Shell Crab Set
While I do love soft shell crabs to begin with, this was unusually bigger than most, making you savor it with more gusto. That crunch, together with the underlying crab meat that's peppered with the occasional soft shell, was just music to the ears and the palate. How can you say no to eating crabs without the hassle? The answer is, you just can't. Unfortunately, they don't serve this Soft Shell Crab Katsu set anymore. And while they still offer it ala carte, it has diminished significantly in terms of size.
Spot:G/L SM Southmall, Alabang-Zapote Rd., Almanza Uno, Las Piñas
Toowoomba Topped Filet (P1,049)
Sauteed shrimps and button mushrooms are smothered with a very delectable tomato cream sauce, you'd find yourself wiping it with a forkful of mashed potatoes. Paired gorgeously with a succulent---not to mention seasoned and nicely seared---thick-cut filet, it's a dynamic duo that will leave you wanting more.
Spot: Alabang Town Center Lot 6 Commercial Ave., Alabang, Muntinlupa
Contact No.: 772.1845
Sinigang na Beef Short Rib and Watermelon (P215 S; P390 M; P720 L)
Watermelon is an unusal ingredient to be found in sinigang, and yet it lent a delectable sweetness that tempered the usual sinigang's savory acidity. Two of my favorite kinds of sinigang are pork country style ribs and beef short ribs, and with the latter being used here and paired with this insanely beautiful broth, I just couldn't stop eating it. You have to try it. Don't even think about leaving Namnam without ordering this dish! We call it Watermelon Sinigang though, since its official name can be quite a mouthful. I think I can have this every day without getting tired of it.
Spot:G/F Greenbelt 2, Ayala Center, Makati City
Contact Nos.:0917-539-9661 or 625-0515
Mixed Mushrooms with Poached Egg (P280)
How can one resist savory mushrooms bathed in the golden beauty of poached egg? A mantle of creamy yolk settles perfectly on diced mushrooms screaming of earthy flavors. Order their Porchetta if you can, slow roasted for six hours that has a deceivingly tough exterior when you look at it, but go ahead and take a bite of the herb-tainted pork to learn just how tender and succulent it really is. I'd rather not share its super crisp and crunchy skin, albeit it would be very unhealthy for me, plus I can't escape the dagger looks my dad was already giving me.
Spot: 2nd/F Fort Pointe Bldg. 1, The Fort Strip, BGC, Taguig
Contact No.: 0928.821.2625
Unagi Katsu Set (P795)
The Unagi Katsu Set, as well as their other set dishes, comes with unlimited rice, shredded cabbage, miso soup, sliced fruits and Japanese pickles. Begin with the grinding of the black and white sesame seeds, and the pouring of their special Tonkatsu sauce, which is quite more tangy than that of Yabu's. Do drench the shredded cabbage with their sesame soy dressing for an addicting side salad.
Giddy with excitement, I bit into a piece, first tasting it without the sauce just to explore the flavor. The crust is covered with the same Panko crumbs, and crunches audibly underneath each bite; light brown crumbs bounce off the plate as they drop from the corners of my mouth; ensconced inside is a strip of soft unagi that melts in my mouth and leaves a savory sapidity in its wake. Bliss! I then take another bite, this time with the Tonkatsu sauce, and I can't decide which I like better so I consume the rest, alternately dipping it and having it as is.
Spot:G/F New Glorietta 2 (along Palm Drive), Ayala Center, Makati City
The Real Original Swiss Cheese Fondue (P1,560)
I was initially puzzled to learn that the Swiss Cheese Fondue was good for two when by the sheer size of it, it looked as if it could feed a party of five. The sharp fragrance of cheese immediately intoxicates, and you'll instantaneously be compelled to poke a piece of bread and drown it into that glorious melted Swiss cheese. A trace of liqueur is noted due to the Kirsch (cherry brandy) imbued within. For the second time that day, I found myself unable to stop getting more than my fair share, manners and courtesies temporarily forgotten, pleasantries temporarily halted. Now I understand why it's stated as just "good for two".
Spot:Unit A Bellagio 2 Forbes Town Center, Burgos Circle, BGC, Taguig
Truffle Mac and Cheese (P275)
The scent of truffle oil is apparent the moment this dish is laid before you. No subtle cheese flavor here. Every bite has a delicious sharpness from the cheddar which makes you hanker for the next. On top are strips of crispy pork belly bacon that lends a nice salinity. This dish may look small, but it's actually heavy on the stomach. I love to pair it with their Hearty Mushroom Soup, which has a copious amount of minced shiitake, porcini and button mushrooms laid in an earthy broth riddled with thyme, parsley and truffle oil.
Designer Blooms Cafe
Spot:Molito Commercial Complex, Madrigal Ave. cor. Commerce St., Alabang, Muntinlupa
Buttermilk Fried Chicken (P519)
This is seriously good Buttermilk Fried Chicken!! You can dip it into some cajun honey or country gravy, albeit already scrumptious on its own. And quite big too, I might add. Photos simply do not do this dish justice. Perfectly crisp, these couple of boneless chickens eliminate the hassle while letting you slip into a gastronomic state of comfort. This is something that's well worth the raves.
Spot: 5th/F East Wing Shangri-La Mall, Mandaluyong
Contact No.: 654.7077
Spiral's Cheese Room
Okay, technically the Cheese Room is not a dish, but imagine putting a portion of everything into your plate (which is possible, limited only by how much you can consume), and that would amount to one heck of a memorable dish. Various kinds of cheese---Manchego, Parmesan Parmegiano, Brie, Camembert, just to name a few---each with its own endearing level of sharpness; undulated heaps of porcine meat---Parma, Bayone, Serrano, etc.---enough to make your mouth water in anticipation; and an array of dried fruits, nuts, and jams to contradict every sweetness and saltiness your palate encounters with each mouthful. This room is heaven!
Spot: Sofitel Plaza Manila, CCP Complex, Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City
Contact No.: 551.5555
Now, why don't you share with me your favorite dishes that you've discovered last year? I want to know and read about them, too. You can even share a photo if you have one.