Category Archives: Wine

West Villa Restaurant

I took a wine course at Berry Bros. & Rudd earlier this year. After a long morning of lectures and tastings…

..we go to lunch at West Villa which is just on the other wing of Lee Gardens mall.

So glad we had a private function room. The dining room outside was chaotic because the place was packed!

We had a red and white selection for lunch (an addition to the 11 other wines we were tasting that day).

Our young instructor.

Starting off with Char Siu, or barbecued pork. The server tells us it is Jackie Chan's favorite dish here! So ofcourse everyone savors it down to the last bite.

Fish. I forgot what it was. Good!

Peppered beef. So tender I wanted more!

Noodles with prawns and crab fat.

Forgot what this was as well..

Nice soy chicken.

Ending with the usual fried rice.

Dessert, my least favorite part of a meal. Here, I eat my words. This is an almond cream bun that completely blew me away. Light, crisp exterior encapsulating a warm almond filling with gummy bits to chew on.

They reminded me of Tim Ho Wan's famous Char Siu buns. AMAZING! The meal could not have ended on a higher note.

Well done!

West Villa
28 Yun Ping Road
1/F Lee Gardens Two, Hong Kong
T: +852 2882 2110

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Posted by on March 12, 2012 in Chinese, Hong Kong, Wine


Cova Tapas y Sangria

I don’t enjoy going out on weekends because of my impatience. I don’t enjoy being stuck traffic, waiting for parking and having to wait long for my order. But since I recently started drinking again, I gave in to check out this new spot we were all curious about.

LOVED the sleek interiors.

The color scheme and lighting were very conducive to drinking.

The wavy trellis go all the way outside where they have more cocktail tables. Non-smoking establishments get bonus points in my book. I like going home without smelling like an ashtray.

Nice and sturdy table design! So you don't ram your knee into the legs.

The owner recommended the white sangria.

It had bits of orange, green apple and canned peaches. I found it had too much Cointreau, peach juice or whatever orange liqueur they use. Tamis! So we decided to keep it real and have some plain ol bourbon.

The tapas arrive. First up, Huevos Cabreados. Crisp shoestring potatoes, fried egg, chorizo bits, aioli, parsley sauce and some tomato concasse.

Messy but yummy! This is a plate that will make you want to drink more. It has the elements that make a good bar dish!

Saucy Gambas. Noticing a consistent garnish.

Rabo de Toro Ravioli. Thin dumpling paper sealing in a meaty mix of ox tail meat with some creamy foie gras. It went nicely with the smooth jus. I would've appreciated it even more with a full-bodied red to complement the richness. Hello again garnish.

Classic Paella Negra. Seafood slightly overcooked but the rice was done pretty well and served straight out of the paellera so you could scrape off the tutong yourself. Always my favorite part.

Lastly, Mollejas de Ternera = veal sweetbreads! I was curious mostly because it is never found in menus of our local restaurants. Plus, I wanted to see if they could pull it off. Sweetbreads can be very unforgiving. To my surprise, they were cooked well with a nice outer sear leaving the inside with a consistency close to brains.

Looking forward to coming back when they complete the wine list. It was a good night out with the gang, doing what we love to do.

22 Jupiter St.
Makati City, Philippines
T: +632 478 9700


Posted by on February 4, 2012 in Spanish, Tapas, Wine


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Vineria del Barolo @ Gianni Gagliardo’s

To end our short road trip, we stop to grab dinner before heading home.

Gorgeous sun setting into the vineyards.

Sunset hues striking through the restaurant windows.

Vineria del Barolo is the partner restaurant of the winery Gianni Gagliardo.

Simple dining set-up.

We were choosing between 2 Barbera d'Alba since we wanted to have just a quick dinner and not drive back home too late.

We went with La Matta which was very fulfilling. I remember vanilla and dark berries. It had a body that required some meat.

Nice detail on the bottle.

We start off with a vegetable soup. I honestly don't remember what it was. It didn't leave a mark but I finished it cause I was starving.

We killed the bread platter as the apps were taking a while.

The appetizers land on this tile-ish platter. Stuffed pepper, veal tonnato, frittata, voul au vent and sausage stuffed onion just to name a few.. These may vary according to the season.

Loved the voul au vent con crema di raschera! It was basically a fondue of this semi hard and flavorful cheese in a small cup made of puff pastry.

This was called - battuta al coltello di fassone piemontese. In english - steak tartare. Yum!

The second platter I was less a fan of. Though the octopus wrap on the left was pretty good!

I appreciated the inventive way of serving.

What I had been waiting for... my favorite plin!! These are typical of the Piedmontese area. Plin are home-made mini agnolotti (a type of ravioli) stuffed with ricotta and spinach. These were tossed in butter and sage, then topped with Parmesan. In my book, these simple flavor combinations are what dreams are made of.

My dad's pork shank.

My brother's lamb chops.

He gave me one to try. Tender and well rested.

Someone enjoyed the pork..

The Pinoy in me requested to have the leftover Plin wrapped because I wanted my granny to try em. They did not have take out bags, so they gave me a plate as souvenier.. HAHAHA!

On the way home from Gianni Gagliardo, we spot a Lambo Gallardo! Sweet.

Vineria del Barolo
Serra dei Turchi 88,
12064 La Morra
T: +39 0173 500663

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Posted by on November 13, 2011 in Italian, Wine


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Craving for a Real Bellini

As I was slicing my morning fruit I got a heavy nostalgia for one of the cocktails that come out well only when made with good quality ingredients.

Fragrant and velvety skin that feels like the peach fuzz on children's faces.

Pristine white meat.

The fruit's juices which can't help but drip down my hand have very low acidity, therefore increasing its sweetness. A perfect element to add to a cocktail (or dessert, ofcourse). The ideal way to make a proper Bellini is to grate the peach, garner as much juice as you can and pass it through a sieve. This essence embraces summer flavors and exudes the gorgeous pink blush which you will never attain from yellow peaches.

Top it with a good quality and well chilled Prosecco. Because I like my bubbly bone-dry, this is my current favorite which I import to Manila myself.

Plus, this Montelvini Prosecco Superiore DOCG won a Silver medal at London's Decanter Wine Awards. So I am not the only one who approves of it.

Serve in a non pretentious highball glass, just like where it was invented - Harry's Bar Venezia.

Can’t wait to end my diet and down one.

Or three.

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Posted by on October 9, 2011 in Cocktails, Italian, Prosecco, Wine


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During my trip to Hong Kong, I meet up with my brother and some friends for a steady Italian dinner in the Lan Kwai Fong area.

I was impressed with the extensive wine list and menu. With a nice selection of sparklings and the nice relaxing interiors, I knew it was gonna be good.

It's best to book, especially on weekends!

As we were waiting for everyone to arrive, my new friend Roslyn swings by to say hello.

Still waiting.. we try the somellier's Rose suggestion.

Chef Fabrizio stops by to say hi and take our orders.

I was relieved we got simple comfort food instead of fancy entrees. This was the Quattro Stagioni.

Beef Carpaccio.

My first time to try a Sea Bass Carpaccio. The thin slices were almost transparent and not as fishy as I expected.

My favorite, Margherita, was perfect.

Our third and best bubbly of the night. Clean and crisp Prosecco with a sexy perlage.

Perfect with our pizzas 🙂

Some complimentary desserts from the Chef. I don't remember what they were, I think one was a cheese parfait. Loved the fresh berries!

We head to Dragon I for more drinks. It was practically across the restaurant.

They say it's the most high profile bar in town, and I believe them. The place was PACKED with model-types and the line to get in was hella long. We were lucky to have Ros take us in.

Thank you to our wonderful hosts Ros and Jeni for an awesome evening!!

Shop 2, 73 Wyndham Street
Central, Hong Kong
T: +852 2167 8181

Dragon i Bar
UG/F The Centrium, 60 Wyndham Street
Central, Hong Kong
T: +852 3110 1222

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Posted by on March 13, 2011 in Hong Kong, Italian, Pizza, Travel, Wine


Opus Dinner

Chef Carlo left Sala for Opus, which opened a couple of months back. We head over to try his menu for my brother’s birthday celebration.

Greeted with moody lighting.

As always, we bring our own booze. Kicking the night off with a special Prosecco.

A toast for lil bro!

They use exquisite Dutch flatware.

In their simple yet tasteful set-up.

The amuse bouche was composed of dressed roasted vegetables and goat cheese on crostini. Simple, not bad.

Our first red was a Barbera d'Asti. A relatively medium weight Barbera. Not really my style as I enjoy Alba more, but a good warm up nonetheless.

Spice-crusted Tuna Carpaccio, Grilled Squid and Chorizo with a Romesco Dressing for the Salad. Strong and overpowering flavors that masked the freshness of the seafood.

Grilled Japanese Eel and Seared Foie Gras with Cucumber Jelly and pickled Radish Salad. Take out the cucumber jelly = PARTY. IN. MY. MOUTH.

These pearls burst with what I believe was fruity radish juice. I enjoyed popping them one by one between my front teeth.

A 6 year old Barolo from Renato Ratti was the star of the night. It was tough to go back to the Barbera after this.

We poured out the Barolo to let it breathe more in the glass.

Mum's Pan-Roasted Chilean Sea Bass with Lemon Scented Lemon Foam and Spiced Eggplant Relish.

I had the Roast Lamb Shortloin with Green Pea Puree, Roast Pumpkin and Mint Jus. All the flavors came together well but the meat was cooked completely wrong, it was a struggle to swallow. Sayang.

The birthday boy's Sous Vide Aged US Beef Short Ribs with Horseradish Puree, Roast Shallots and Marsala Jus. Tenderness.

My dad had the winning dish. A Rib Eye portioned for Godzilla with a side of heavenly Mac n' Cheese and Onion Rings. Cooked to perfection! I kept picking off his dish after I'd set mine aside.

The desserts were inventively named after renowned artists, perhaps used as inspiration for each. Chef Carlo Miguel sent over some on top of what we ordered as compliments for the celebrant.

Gauguin - White Chocolate-Amaretto Cheesecake with Macerated Raspberries. Nice and creamy! A bit too rich for me.

My brother loved the Matisse - Dark Chocolate Fondant with Salty Caramel Ice Cream and Malt Foam.

I instead ordered a Warhol - Coconut and Mango Terrine with a Mango-Passion Fruit Salad. Smooth, not too sweet and just tart enough - FANTASTIC.

A shot of the art mural and the brother going into food comatose. Happy birthday!!!

2/F Newport Mall, Resorts World Manila
Pasay, Philippines
T: +632 856 0128
+632 856 0914


Tagaytay: Fire Lake Grill + Amoroma

Another city escape from Manila’s bustling Saturday scene.

Driving up the gloomy slope.

We stop by Abby's farm where he has a rose patch filled with long stemmed red and white blooms.

Drying chilies.

Coffee cherries on the plant.


Busy honey making beeez!

Hanging pumpkin.

The sky finally clears up and gives us rockin sunset hues.

Back to town for dinner. We pop a Demi-Sec Durello from Tonon as aperitif.

Nice persistent perlage. Slightly sweet for my taste.

A peek of the illuminated interiors. We sat outside to enjoy the fresh breeze.

Scratch prone.

The Barbecue Porkloin was overdone but the relish was brightly flavored with tomato, mango, jalapeno and cilantro.

The Grilled Salmon wasn't bad.

My Mushroom, Truffle and Smoked Garlic Sausage Pasta. Search for the truffle scent/bits: unsuccessful.

Good thing I enjoyed the foggy chill from this point.

We move up the road to Amoroma, which was formerly in Alabang. This is the back where they stock the firewood.

We start with a good prosciutto and melon. How can you go wrong!

While chilling the Prosecco.

Standing by the wood fired oven for some warmth.

Watching the dough being rolled out.

Amoroma. Mushrooms and black truffle on a gorgeously fragrant crust.

Extra sliced truffles.

Finally satisfied 🙂

Cruised up to Highlands for some whisky.

And to feed the ducks who hung by the clubhouse because of the strong winds.

After a long day, it was time to retreat.

Fire Lake Grill
Unit 3 Cliffhouse Tagaytay
General Emilio Aguinaldo Highway
Tagaytay City, Cavite
T: +63 46 483 2069

Amoroma Ristorante Italiano
Bgy Tolentino West
National Highway, Tagaytay City
T: +63 46 6963582
+63 929 269 0370

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Posted by on February 6, 2011 in Continental, Italian, Pizza, Tagaytay, Wine