Sunday, November 29, 2009


Okay, so this post is about a restaurant I went to earlier in the week, but it's just one of the most amazing places ever.

Antonio's is found in Tagaytay, about an hour and a half drive out of Makati (without too much traffic that is).

I had been here once and immensely enjoyed myself, so when I found out we were going again, I was counting down the hours until I was going to be leaving the office!

To not even touch on the food yet, one of the most beautiful things about Antonio's is just it's surroundings. When one spends so much time in Manila, which is just a concrete jungle (as my friend's ALWAYS hear me rag on), to go up to Tagaytay and and grass and trees and be able to smell a bit of fresh air, is just a joy. I think the fresh air gets to your head and just enlightens you.

One of the most amusing things about going to Antonio's is the drive into the actual restaurant, off the main road you turn once you see the massive sign (our driver missed it initially because he was too busy overtaking a truck...) but then you continue driving down this tiny little rickety dirt road for a good 10 minutes, following signposts telling you to turn left and right, right and left!

You really wonder if you're being taken to a restaurant or going to be driven off a cliff...

After all that though, you get to a set of beautiful wooden gates which pretty much open into an oasis in the middle of nowhere. A beautifully preened garden awaits you and...what can I say, the place just takes your breath away.

The whole place has a bit of an European feel to it really, lots of wide open space, lots of white, but still very charming and old world.

The above area is for breakfast (which is apparently until 4pm)...I really must come up during the day sometime so I can really enjoy the beauty of the place!

Shortly after being seated and handed the appetizer menu's, Antonio himself came out and suggested some of the appetizers himself! My dad was most disappointed that Antonio wasn't a fat, old, lively, animated Italian man! But he was still very charming and quite lively, or so I thought.

I made sure to very quickly order one drink here which I discovered is absolutely amazing...their frozen mojito. I still remember the first time I got this, I was shocked at how green it was....and then even more shocked at how absolutely minty and delicious it was! It's easily one of the easiest and most refreshign cocktails I've had to drink....and I got the waiter to teach me the recipe, so that I can duplicate it back in Melbourne, just in time for summer! I'll share the recipe if it does come out well!

We ordered 4 appetizers to share, (in picture order), bone marrow (I can't remember the exact details...), angus beef steak tartare, truffled baked oysters and portobello mushrooms (not pictured).

As expected really, everything was delicious. I took extra delight in the bone marrow and oysters personally!

For mains I ordered the seafood sampler, which was a lot smaller than I expected, which let me tell you, is a good thing! As with every main ordered, they serve the house salad and soup of the day as well! So add everything up it gets to be a lot! The house salad had a spot of blue cheese and walnuts in it, which I go absolutely crazy for!

But back to the seafod sampler, it came with prawn thermidor, grilled sea bass on boiled potato and seared scallops with lumpfish caviar.

I hate to sound repetitive, but everything was again delicious. The sauces weren't too creamy, so were light and flavourful and the scallops and sea bass were moist and cooked perfectly.

My uncle ordered the minced duck and pork trotter wrapped in savoy cabbage. I sampled a bit of this as I was considering ordering it, the cabbage gave a lovely crisp texture and was fresh and sweet...which I think distracted me a bit from the proteins inside!

My dad ordered the organic chicken, which apparently comes from their local farm and my dad's friend ordered a steak, neither of which I tried, but the two men both completely cleaned their I assume this is a good sign!

Dessert at Antonio's is a small affair, but it's just the right size to cap off a meal and not leave you rolling out the door!

I had the mint chocolate parfait, which, although I love mint, was a little too minty for me, I would've enjoyed it if the chocolate was a bit stronger and flavourful. It essentially was just like eating mint flavoured ice-cream really!

My uncle had the flourless chocolate cake, which I think I should've gotten, as it was moist and oh so decadent!

My dad had the chocolate terrine with...grand marnier I think, it's essentially a chocolate mousse with some oranges on it, but again, they did this very well. Very light and airy, mmm!

My dad's friend had the pannacotta (which is not pictured) with just a dash of chocolate and caramel sauce on it. Again, I hate to be repetitive, but yummmyy!

I think Antonio's is one of those places that I really enjoy, not just because of the food and atmosphere, but the serving staff are absolutely immpeccable as well. Any question you have on the menu, they answer swiftly and succintly, unlike in many places in Manila where the waiters have you repeat your question several times and enquire with several of their colleagues or take a few minutes to answer you. They are also very hospitable and incredibly friendly. Take note Manila waiters, SMILING DOES WONDERS. REALLY.

During the course of the evening, my uncle had a glass of water spilt on the back of his chair, getting his shirt a bit wet, which didn't bother him, but we got multiple apologies from multiple people and at the end of the night were even gifted with complimentary grappa!

I honestly don't know what other restaurant I've been to in Manila, where I smile as much as I do when I'm at Antonio's.

Is and always will be highly reccomended from my end. Still have to come here during the day one day...

Antonio's Restaurant, Tagaytay
Bgy. Neogan
Tagaytay City, Cavite
(0918) 899-2866

Little Penang Cafe - The Curve

Hello darlings! Welcome to my first blog about food!

I have a tendency to eat out...a lot. So I was looking through some past facebook comments and someone was suggesting I should make a food blog of all the places I've eaten at!

Why not?!

I may not be the best critique, but I just enjoy showing where I've been and what I've eaten.

So usually I would be doing reviews about places in Melbourne, Ausralia, but I am currently in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, so might as well start from here no?

Last night I went to The Little Penang Cafe with a gaggle of relatives, funnily enough The Little Penang Cafe is owned by my Dad's cousin or something along those lines...I can't quite remember exactly!

Although there are a few chains (I tend to frequent the one in KLCC the most when I am in KL), we ended up at the joint in The Curve last night.

The place itself is quite nice, I enjoy the high ceilings and the casual, light decor makes me always feel like I'm having lunch even when it's dark out. It's quite a strange phenomenon actually.

As most places should be in KL on a Saturday night, the place was absolutely bustling, halfway through my meal I realised a queue was forming outside the restaurant!

Even though I've been coming to this place for years, the menu hasn't changed, which I suppose in same ways is nice, since I know I can always get my favourite dishes here!

So my uncle ordered a couple of dishes to share across the table, a few serves of lobak, pie tee and rojak (at my request).

The pie tee, which I only managed to grab one of was light and very tasty, especially topped with the chilli sauce. And crunchy of course!

I apologize for some of the photo qualities, as in true coffee shop style, the place was bustling and people and food were running around as fast as anything! The rojak is always delightful, I like it when the sauce isn't too sweet or overwhelming, which neither of this was.

I myself ordered the Chicken Nasi Lemak, which I enjoyed very much, the chicken curry was so flavorful, and not overly spicy. I am also an absolute sucker for the ikan bilies and peanuts...they have such a nice crunch and texture to them, although I think the dish came with steamed rice, and I think coconut rice would've been much nicer. Or if it was served with coconut rice, it definetly wasn't fragrant enough!

But all the same. MMmmm!

I also sampled my Grandma's Assam Laksa (the dish on the far right above) and although she told me it was very sour, I found myself very much enjoying the flavour! It was so delightfully tangy and refreshing after my curry!

I forgot to take a picture of it, but to drink I had hot barley of my absolute favourite things to drink when I'm in Malaysia as I haven't come across anywhere outside of Malaysia that does it otherwise (although I suppose it woldn't be that hard to do at home myself, but that's beside the point!) I also love it cold on a hot day!

And of course to finish off, one must have dessert! And I, jumped straight at the chance to have some cendol! Cendol consists of coconut milk, green coloured noodles (made green and fragrant from pandan leaf I believe) and palm sugar. The variation at Little Penang Cafe has red beans and shaved ice as well, making it a nice and cool finisher. I would've personally loved to have had more red beans in it and maybe a little more coconut milk (I found it a bit weak) but otherwise, it was still absolutely tasty, especially when I haven't had it in months!

To sum up, even though the service in Little Penang Cafe is a bit abrubpt and not always particularily hospitible (they got a few of our drink orders wrong), it's really not what you come for or notice too much. In true coffee shop style, you just want to sit, order quick, get your food quick and enjoy simply tasty food.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

About Me

I'm Ashley.