by Issan Iraola
While the community quarantine has undoubtedly brought out our inner Michelin-star chef, there’s no denying that some days we just miss restaurant dining. As much as it is about the food, much that we crave for is all about the experience — the warm welcome of the restaurant staff, the ambiance, the flurry of aromas wafting through the air, the sound of shuffling cutlery and porcelain, and the culinary showcase itself — a whole sensory experience that can’t easily be replicated at home.
Dining out has become quite the novel thing these days, and rightfully so with health and safety in mind, but for those days when you want to treat yourself or a few family and friends let us be your respite for the holidays with these restaurants:
THE TEST KITCHEN
During the different phases of lockdown, we’ve seen a whole range of menu items from The Test Kitchen – from breads to pastas to take out kits – they’ve done it with the demands of the time at heart. Of course, nothing compares to watching your dishes come to life from their open kitchen, or see cured meats carved right before your eyes so you’ll be pleased to know they’re accepting dine in and they even have a mezzanine area for your small private gatherings of up to 10 people.
NEW on the menu: Pig trotter and zucchini salad, fresh mint and pecorino Romano. Photo from The Test Kitchen’s Facebook Page.
The Test Kitchen’s private dining mezzanine can seat up to 10 people. Photo from The Test Kitchen’s Facebook Page.
Trips to Japan may have to wait for a little longer but to keep those cravings at bay, allow us to take your tastebuds to Osaka with Teppan Okochi. With some of their fresh ingredients being flown directly from Japan, you’ll be in for an authentic Japanese treat!
The food prep is a show itself so seat yourself by their teppanyaki counter to witness the chefs skillfully create each flavorful dish. Get the best out of your visit by trying Chef Okochi’s Course menu, or go for the Chef’s Recommendation menu which offers whatever’s in season in Japan. They also boast a nice selection of sake, wines, premium spirits and Japanese whisky to cap your meal.
Photo from Teppan Okochi’s facebook page
You’ve probably had a steak or two while cooped up at home but there’s something about Mamou’s signature Dry-Aged steaks and the crowd-favorite Lorenzo’s Truffle Cream Pasta that aches coming back to. Just the thought of that well-seared, perfectly-crusted steak would make your heart race. After all it’s been consistently on Manila’s best steak list for a reason.
Photo from Mamou’s Facebook page
And if you’re still a little bit hesitant about indoor dining, the best part is that you can enjoy them streetside, under the Rockwell lights at the Lopez drive!
HEALTHY SHABU SHABU and CHAMPION HOTPOT
There’s nothing more comforting than a steaming hot bowl of soup especially since it’s a little bit more chilly this time of the year. So a shabu-shabu affair with the family is truly a heartwarming way to celebrate the holidays.
Photo from Healthy Shabu Shabu’s Facebook page
If you want something familiar and simple, Healthy Shabu-Shabu is now open for dine-in at Power Plant Mall. Choose from their different set menus which covers both meat, seafood and vegetable sets.
Photo from Santolan Town Plaza’s Facebook page
Or perhaps you want something with a twist. Try Champion Hotpot at Santolan Town Plaza in San Juan and their selection of hotpot soup bases which includes laksa, chicken coconut, and the quintessentially Filipino sinigang. Did we mention that this is buffet-style so you can eat to your heart’s content? Fret not as their buffet is assisted; someone from their team will be going with you to get the items from the counters so you don’t have to worry about others touching the items.
Whatever you fancy, we’ve made sure that our stringent health and safety protocols are followed so that you can leisurely enjoy your time out with friends and family. Happy dining!