Food trip … again and again
Throughout my travels, I’ve had the good fortune to dine in some amazing food heavens in the United States, Europe and Asia, including New York, London, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore. Each restaurant offers a different experience depending on the cuisine and the ambience.
However, I’m happy to say that right here at home, there are a couple of restaurants that have truly impressed me. I’ve visited both places before, but they merit another mention.
Ramen and more
First on the list is the newly opened Uma Uma at S Maison, a stone’s throw away from the SM Mall of Asia skating rink. Located on the second floor, Uma Uma’s offerings are similar to what their Singapore branch has on their menu: different types of ramen including the dry Mazesoba, chicken karaage with Japanese mayonnaise and pepper powder, char siu and gyoza.
For our meals, Rob had the Uma Uma ramen, I had the Mazesoba, and Nicole had the tonkatsu ramen. We also got the char siu rice and an order of the chicken karaage to start.
We had eaten at Uma Uma’s Singapore branch on Orchard Road a couple of years ago, and I remember everything being delicious. So, our expectations for the Manila branch were very high—and we weren’t disappointed.
In truth, we found the dishes at the Manila Uma Uma to be more flavorful (perhaps the Pinoy palate is more demanding), our tastebuds cheering with every mouthful of food. The chicken karaage in particular was sensational, complemented by the smooth Japanese mayo.
The bowls of ramen were also beyond what we were expecting. The broth was rich and the noodles, as always, were perfect.
My Mazesoba was bursting with goodness, and that it was topped with their delicious char siu made it all the more fantastic.
Further into the restaurant, marked only by a neon yellow outline of a laughing horse is the bar, Horse’s Mouth, also a feature of Uma Uma in Singapore.
Hanging bulbs with visible filaments, dark walls and wall art that features more laughing horses create the ambience, enhanced further by the breathtaking view of the sunset over Manila Bay.
Check out Uma Uma and Horse’s Mouth. We’re very happy it has finally arrived here.
For Father’s Day, my little family decided to revisit Vask, a Spanish restaurant we took in a couple of years ago for our anniversary.
However, instead of the gallery, we headed to the Tapas Room, which offers a great view of Bonifacio Global City, especially during twilight.
The Tapas Room is more casual (although slippers are not allowed). Their à la carte menu had both modern and traditional Spanish offerings, lots of tapas (small plates meant for sharing), as well as full-sized meals.
My daughter ordered the tenderloin, while Rob and I opted for the prix fixe menu. We also decided on ordering the wine pairings.
Thank goodness we did! It afforded us a sampling of just about everything we would’ve wanted to eat. We started with Albondigas de Pescado (fish meatballs) plus a crispy oyster, both of which were the perfect starter.
Next up was the tuna tartare, which was fresh and seasoned well. After that was probably one of my favorite parts of this meal, the sous vide egg with foie gras over mashed potato, Parmesan chips and asparagus. This dish, although small, was packed with flavor and texture, and we couldn’t help but audibly show our appreciation.
This is where Rob and I deviated: the choice between the squid ink risotto (I ordered this one) and the mud crab curry (Rob’s choice). I can’t speak about the curry, which Rob says was great, but the risotto was rich without being too heavy, and full of flavor without being overpowering.
Next up was the beef tenderloin cooked medium rare, served over beet sauce with a hint of ginger, which was a great complement to the steak.
For dessert were a Rosé Watermelon Sangria, which was very light, and a deconstructed carrot cake served with toffee mousse and goat’s milk ice cream—a wonderful way to end this meal.
Rob remarked that this meal gave us more pleasure and satisfaction than what we’ve had in other parts of the world.
Since Vask has already placed on the Best in Asia list, I wouldn’t be surprised if it keeps rising up, based on the meal we had.