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Dracula Killer Go wild at Mad for Garlic

Turning Japanese

The new perspective on Japanese cuisine at Gyu-Kaku

Issue One June 2013

Orient Express

Crystal Jade Dining IN shows how real Chinese food is done


DRACULA KILLER Go wild at Mad for Garlic


Gyu-Kaku’s different take on Japanese BBQ

p.16 MAP


Crystal Jade Dining IN brings the best Chinese food at BGC


Let's eat! “Kumain ka na ba?” Filipinos’ love of food and eating out as a social activity resonates in the first thing we say as we greet each other: “Kumain ka na ba?” Truly, we’d find every excuse to get together at a drop of a hat. Whether over a piece Dunkin Donut (or Krispy Kreme) and coffee, or perhaps a tapsilog at Tapa King, a stick of banana-cue in the office, or lunch at McDonald’s, or a merienda of Razon’s pancit palabok and halo-halo, or maybe a round of beer and sizzling sisig at Gerry’s Grill, and capping the night off with a cup of Starbucks frapuccino or maybe puto bumbong and salabat at Via Mare, or just nibbling on butong pakwan, peanuts and chichacorn at a wake, never before in our history have we such a myriad of food choices so mind boggling as today. The past ten years or so, we’ve been witness to a culinary revolution within the metropolis and is fast spreading out to a lot of major cities around the country. Restaurants and bars of all persuasions abound, catering to a younger crowd basking not only with their excess disposable income, but perhaps more discerning in their taste with fashion and cuisine, as they are well-traveled, whether physically or vicariously through cable TV’s travel and cooking shows, well-connected through social media and food bloggers. The popularity of glossy food magazines could only attest to this near-obsession, almost like a hunting exploration, of finding the best eats whichever corner you may find yourself in the metropolis. Mangantayón. Mangan tana. Kain na tayo. Kumaon na kita. Kaon ta anay. Manga-on na ta. Manga-un kita! Said in any other Filipino language, these are the most inviting words one will encounter anywhere you go in the country. Let’s eat!

Chef Claude Tayag Artist/Philippine Star Columnist

Not another restaurant guide


ET’S EAT is a new booklet-size zine that comes free with the Philippine STAR every last Friday of the month. The zine is your new foodie guide in exploring the best culinary spots. Each issue will feature geographic-centric guides, exploring the newest food places in various cities. Let’s Eat is a complete restaurant walkthrough. We’ve included healthy options for those who are watching what they eat, what kind of ambiance to expect, price ranges, and a few pro-tips. We’ve even throw in a couple of discount coupons! For the first issue, we’re focusing on three new restaurants around the Bonifacio Global City area. So for the coming issues, expect restaurant guides on hip, new areas near you. We hope you enjoy these new dining venues as much as we did.

On the cover: Dancing salsa rice with steak from MAD FOR GARLIC Cover Photo by GABBY CANTERO

Publisher Managing Editor

Fernando miguel belmonte don jaucian

Contributing Editor Contributing Writer Contributing Photographer

claude tayag spanky enriquez gabby cantero

Head of Sales & Marketing Visualizer Editorial Assistant

lucien dy tioco allan palor annalyn delgado

Golden Letter Publishing, 1497 E. Rodriguez Ave., Quezon City For inquiries, call 5277901 local 132 or email


arbecuing. There’s no better way to bond over food. I have a theory that the satisfaction of grilling meat over glowing heat takes us back to our caveman days, when this was such an essential part of the survival of early Homo Sapiens. Or maybe, because it’s so easy, anyone can be a great barbecue chef, no matter how young or old, how sober or how tipsy. Either way, there’s always a crowd milling around a grill, fascinated by its sights, sounds, and scents. That’s precisely the reason for Gyu-Kaku’s resounding global success. It’s the world’s number one Yakiniku restaurant, over 600 locations in Asia, Canada, and North America. The chain, which originated in Japan, recently opened its first branch in the Philippines on Bonifacio High Street in Taguig’s booming BGC district. The biggest beef (pun intended) against Yakiniku restaurants is the smoke. Smoke from the grill that sticks to shirts, blouses, jackets, coats, and hair. While not necessarily scandalous, smelling like Bobby Flay inside the office after a Japanese barbecue lunch may not necessarily bolster one’s corporate image. Gyu-Kaku, which means ‘horn of the bull’, has solved that problem by taking the bull by the horns, so to speak. Its dual exhaust systems, installed on the vents above, and lining the walls of each charcoal brazier, vacuum away practically all the smoke from the grill. “No one will know”, whispered the restaurant’s manager when I asked him if I would become “aromatic” after my meal. Consider it Stealth Yakiniku. All the fun and flavor of a great barbecue, but without the tell-tale aromas wafting from one’s wavy locks and designer clothes. The amount of smoke is also minimized by the special kind of natural hardwood charcoal imported from Japan; coal that smolders very hot for a long time. First time diners are often surprised to hear a very loud warning of “CHARCOAL COMING!!”, as the coals, glowing red hot, are carefully delivered from the kitchen to the sunken roasters embedded in each table. Gyu-Kaku proudly serves the most premium Wagyu cuts, with Grade 6 marbling for its USDA Ribeyes, Tenderloin, and Sirloin. Meat of this high quality is best served only slighty seared, medium rare. I cooked mine for only twenty seconds on each side, turning each piece just once. The mingling of the fat and the meat was spectacular, the balance resulting in the most decadent melt-in-your-mouth bites of my meal. Beef so tender, I briefly entertained the notion of just popping a piece of Wagyu, uncooked, into my mouth, just like my prehistoric forebears. It could have been a most savage Steak Tartare experience. But I got distracted by the succession of items that started showing up on my side of the table. It turns out, the Wagyu was only the beginning.

Turning Japanese Gyu-Kaku lets Filipinos in on a rich Japanese tradition By SPANKY HIZON ENRIQUEZ Photos by GABBY CANTERO


I was dazzled by the sheer range of items available for grilling. All the proteins are present and accounted for: pork, lamb, chicken, duck, and more cuts of beef, including Gyu-Kaku’s bestseller, the “Karubi”, short ribs, known as the “King of Yakiniku”. There is abundant seafood for the non-carnivores: king prawns and whole squids to grill. Gindara, Norwgian Salmon, Scallops, even Oysters. There are lots of healthy vegetarian options too. Well, not that I really tried much of them, I confess. But one dish in particular looked compelling enough for me to take bite after bite. I quite enjoyed it too: the “Assorted Mushrooms with Butter”, everything locked in a carefully sealed bag of foil, which I cooked slowly on the grill. The butter melted inside the pouch, and coated the earthiness of the mushrooms with just the right amount of dairy richness. Let’s not forget the essential carbohydrates. I asked for a cup of rice, and was pleasantly surprised to instead receive a molded triangle of cooked rice, each side coated with sesame seeds. It’s called “Yakionigiri”, and yes, it’s also meant to be toasted on the grill, and then dipped into one of the Gyu-Kaku sauces. I loved it. “Something for Everyone. Satisfaction for Everyone. Smiles for Everyone.” That’s 01 Ishinabe Tofu Chige Soup Gyu-Kaku’s corporate philosophy, called 02 Shabu-Shabu Grill ‘Kando Sozo’. Companies in Western 03 Ishiyaki Mentaiko Bibimbap countries often have elaborate mission statements, but I prefer the simplicity and elegance of those from Japan, which mirror the nation’s culture of efficiency. The spirit of “Kando Sozo” was very apparent during my dinner at Gyu-Kaku. I definitely had a memorable experience. Arigato!


Gyu-Kaku is Japanese Barbecue raised to the next level. A restaurant that allows everyone to be a chef, cooking premium meats over hot coals. Surprisingly, the aromatic smoke from the tabletop braziers remains locked into the grilled items, and not on the diners’ clothes!


Horenso Salad

Wagyu Karubi (Oyster Blade)

Assorted Mushrooms

Assorted Vegetables



Appetizers are from P75 (Assorted Kim-chee) to P275 (Crispy pork belly) Gyu-Kaku Wagyu Beef are from P365 (small Wagyu tongue) to P2,350 (Wagyu tenderloin, 200g) Selected beef are from P425 (Karubi) to P925 (Tenderloin, 200g) Pork and chicken are from P175 to 165 Lamb is P695, Duck is P395-575 (breast meat), Beef intestine/Tripe is P110 Seafood is from P145 (3pcs scallop foil grill) to P1950 (Ocean seafood platter) Rice and noodles are from P60 (steamed rice) to P395 (Ume Buta Reimen) Desserts are from P95 (Gyu-Kaku Ice Cream) to P245 (Ice Cream Platter)


They have a great selection of shochu, sake, and wine. Ask your servers about it. For those who can’t eat without rice, the yakiongiri goes well with the wagyu, shabu-shabu, and almost everything you’ll grill. Gyu-Kaku is located at W Global Center, 30th Street corner 9th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, Taguig. Opening hours 11am to 11pm. For more information call (02) 553 8962.






Feast on non-vampire friendly treats at Mad for Garlic By SPANKY HIZON ENRIQUEZ Photos by GABBY CANTERO



he imported fastfood era began in 1981, when McDonald’s opened its very first branch in the country along Morayta in Manila. I clearly recall how excited I was, having enjoyed McDo during childhood vacations in California. My dad took me there on the very day it opened for business, and its original signage even had the phrase “Hamburger Restaurant”, to explain to Filipino consumers exactly what kind of food this new American brand offered. More franchises followed, most of them offering burgers and/or fried chicken: Wendy’s, Carl’s Jr., Arby’s, Popeye’s, and Burger King opened in quick succession: some prospered, some died, and some, like Taco Bell, were actually resurrected. By the mid-1990s, the trend shifted to “concept restaurants”. No more queuing at counters and looking up at menu boards. TGIFriday’s and Italianni’s led the way to higher-end, yet still leisurely dining experiences, complete with expansive dining halls, extensive colorful menus, enthusiastic servers, and extremely large serving portions, perfect for sharing. Most importantly? They served liquor, cocktails, and beer. Filipinos were hooked,

and over the next twenty years, these kinds of restaurants have become the default setting for big, noisy, happy celebrations and reunions of family and friends. More and more of these kinds of destination restaurants have been launched successfully, and in the past couple of years alone, at least a dozen more have opened, and the list just keeps on growing. The cuisines they represent, concepts from all over the world — ­ Bavarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and from all points of the compass — just keep getting more interesting and appetizing. Mad for Garlic marries two of the Filipinos’ most loved world cuisines, Italian and Korean. It’s an upscale Italian restaurant from Korea that’s now in the Philippines. I know what you’re thinking. Italian and Korean? At first, the concept sounds like a mismatch made in heaven, but it works delightfully. Garlic is the ingredient that unifies both cuisines; it’s integral to Sam Gyeup Sal as it is to Carbonara, and for Caroline Nam, it was that realization that convinced her to open the first Mad for Garlic in her native Korea

thirteen years ago. It now has twenty branches there, two in Singapore, one in Jakarta, and now, its first in the Philippines in Bonifacio Global City, with a second opening later this year at the new East Wing of the Shangri La Plaza in Mandaluyong. The local partners of Mad for Garlic are the same culinary visionaries who have brought over California Pizza Kitchen, P.F. Chang’s, Gyu Kaku, and the smash hit IHOP. Archie Rodriguez, President and CEO of Global Restaurants Concepts Inc., is very bullish about the how Pinoys will embrace his newest concept. The garlic is the attraction, of course, but the real draw is how the ingredient is integrated into the menu. Mad for Garlic uses the spice in practically all of the dishes, from salads all the way to desserts. The restaurant utilizes garlic in marinades, dressings, sauces, and the healthy bulb is sprinkled liberally on pizzas and pastas, and liberally included in the main courses. Now this would normally be anathema, for

01 02 03 04

Garlic Snowing Pizza Dracula Killer Saute de Cozze Dancing Salsa Rice with Steak

03 02

LET’S EAT JUNE 2013 11

04 example, to a couple out on a date, where a goodnight kiss might be in the cards. But based on my own personal experience, the pungent garlic doesn’t stay on one’s breath even after a full five-course meal with garlic in every bite. The chefs of Mad for Garlic have found a way, a secret method to disperse garlic’s strong aroma, without sacrificing any of its intense flavor. I tried two of Mad for Garlic’s salads when I dined there recently. First, a salad with a deceptively simple name, Fresh Spinach Salad. Gorgeous dark green leaves, piled high on a plate, sprinkled with a dressing of sweet balsamic vinegar, then showered with thinly sliced garlic slivers; almost feathery, yet absolutely crisp. And hiding, like Easter eggs through the greens, are generous slices of smoked bacon! The textures alone made it a winner. Next, I had the Tutto Mushroom Salad, a colorful composition of a bright red grilled pepper, arugula leaves, asparagus spears, and three kinds of mushrooms: enoki, king oyster, and shiitake, cooked in a vibrant teriyaki sauce. “Dracula Killer” is the most intriguing item on the menu, and it is, well, to die for. Cloves of garlic, cooked in olive oil and anchovies, until they’re melt-in-your-mouth tender. I smeared the garlic on soft garlic bread, and for good measure, dipped it all on the pools of olive oil. Oh yeah. This is a killer appetizer. Garlic Snowing Pizza is a thin, Neapolitanstyle pizza, charred just right on the crust, with toppings of fried sliced garlic, shrimps, and pineapple tidbits. Spicy, savory, and sweet all 12 LET’S EAT JUNE 2013

at once, it’s the classic Hawaiian Pizza taken to the next level, then snowed under freshly grated cheese. I had the pasta course next, “Triple Garlic”, a frutti di mare of imported mussels from Chile, shrimps, cuttle fish, and garlic sprouts. To complement this dish and offset its spiciness — it was the hottest I had that day. I would definitely recommend a light, refreshing white from the restaurant’s extensive wine list. Mad for Garlic has eight kinds of rice and risotto specialties, which can only make it more beloved to carb-loving Pinoys. I thoroughly enjoyed the “Dancing Salsa Rice with Steak”, so named after the rhythmic, hypnotic dance of the servers who prepare it tableside. It’s a melange of wine-marinated beef, rice, bean sprouts, and a fried egg. The perfect post-Soju session recovery meal. And for dessert? What else but the “Garlic Sprinkle Gelato”, garlic ice cream topped off with a garlic chip cookie. One of the most unique desserts I’ve had in a long time, the barest teasing hints of garlic, infused in familiar sweets. A most interesting meal ender. Garlic has been touted as an aphrodisiac for hundreds of years. Prepared properly, as they do it in Mad for Garlic, I now believe it really is. Playful recipes abound in this restaurant, and I was amazed by the fact that no matter how much garlic I consumed, I could still kiss with confidence. Now that’s really sexy!

Mad for Garlic is an upscale Italian restaurant and wine bar from Korea that’s now in the Philippines. I know what you’re thinking. Italian and Korean? At first, the concept may seem odd, but surprisingly, it works. Garlic is the ingredient that unifies both cuisines.


Caesar Salad

Tutto Mushroom

Zuppa Di Mare Pasta

Caprese Salad

Garlic and Sweet Potato Pizza


Starters range from P75 (garlic pane) to P655 (Zuppa di Pesce) Pastas are from P245 (garlic peno pasta) to P750 (gorgonzola cream pasta) Steaks are from P925 (garlic Foryou steak) to P1,350 (garlic steak) Salads are from P295 (fresh spinach salad) to P695 (caprese salad) Pizzas are from P425 (mixed cheese pasta) to P625 (spicy meat dipping pizza) Rice and Risotto range from P295 (Dancing salsa rice with steak) to P995 (Japaleno garlic rice with steak) Desserts are P225 (cheesecake) and P175 (garlic sprinkle gelato – Recommended!)


Dishes have a corresponding spiciness level as indicated by the number of red peppers beside the name. The garlic beside the name indicates recommended dishes The garlic sprinkle gelato is best eaten with the garlic cookie that comes with it. You can ask the service crew for wine pairing options.

Mad for Garlic is located at W Global Center 30th Street corner 9th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. Opens 11am-11pm (Mon-Thu, Sun), and 11am-12mn (Fri-Sat). Telephone: 808-9517, 808-9503 MadforGarlicPhilippines


ORIENT EXPRESS Crystal Jade Dining IN shows how real Chinese food is done By SPANKY HIZON ENRIQUEZ Photos by GABBY CANTERO



he undisputed choice for commemorating major life events, from baptisms to graduations to weddings, used to be in Chinese restaurants. Growing up, I remember how I would happily allow myself to be led by my mom and dad to large party after large party in Chinatown, in restaurants that served up all my first favorites: sweet and sour pork, peas with shrimps and cashew nuts, corn soup with the white and yellow tendrils of a fresh egg floating, allowed to cook in the steaming hot broth. Pata tim and asado, camaron rebosado, and the rice. Bowl after bowl of Yang Chow fried rice! My culinary preferences became broader as I got older, and as if in direct proportion, the number of restaurants that served many other kinds of specialties got larger and larger. My parents started taking my siblings and me to Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Swiss, and Korean restaurants. I loved them all, but I always retained a soft spot for Chinese — the hubbub of families chatting, the occasional shouts in Cantonese or Hookien from servers to the cooks, the ceaseless clatter of utensils, and most of all, the exotic aromas and glorious flavors of all the bright, colorful food. To this day, Chinese restaurants still are, for me, the happiest places for celebrations. Which is why I looked forward to my first meal in the newest destination for Chinese food in the city, Crystal Jade Dining IN, a fine dining establishment on Bonifacio High Street Central. As emphasized in the restaurant’s name, it’s “IN”, as in contemporary. Crystal Jade offers new takes on Cantonese classics, the dishes most Filipinos grew up with. It’s the first Philippine branch of one of the most awarded restaurants in the region; for five straight years, from 2009 to 2013, it’s been recognized as one of Asia’s 500 Best by no less than the Miele Guide. Although this Crystal Jade iteration is brand new here, the brand itself isn’t unfamiliar to Pinoy foodies. The chain has over a hundred outlets in eighteen Asian cities, including Bangkok, Beijing, Singapore, Seoul, and Tokyo. When Crystal Jade opened its “La Mian Xiao Long Bao” in Greenhills a few years ago, lines stretched around the block for its fabled “soupy siomai”. Dining IN raises the bar for Crystal Jade. It’s definitely more posh than its Xiao Long Bao counterpart. Its plush interiors, limned in gold, are reflective of the kind of luxurious cuisine offered within. From the bamboo baskets filled with the most decadent Dim Sum to the 14 LET’S EAT JUNE 2013



Crystal Jade offers new takes on Cantonese classics, the dishes most Filipinos grew up with. It’s the first Philippine branch of one of the most awarded restaurants in the region; for five straight years, from 2009 to 2013, it’s been recognized as one of Asia’s 500 Best by no less than the Miele Guide platters rich with the rarest of Bird’s Nest and Shark’s Fin specialties, Dining IN instantly joins the ranks of the best Chinese restaurants in the metropolis, five star dining in a five star setting. The restaurant’s menu is overflowing with dishes with names as lengthy as the Great Wall. The longer the name, the more delicious the item, it seems. For example, “Steamed Cream Custard Bun with Salted Egg Yolk”. It’s a warm orange bun filled with an oozing paste of a yolk, sumptuous and creamy beyond belief. The “Baked Bo Lo Barbecue Pork Bun”, a buttery brioche-like pastry stuffed with a sweet-spicy

pork asado-like mixture. And that’s just the Dim Sum to start off dinner. Or for afternoon tea perhaps. Highly recommended too, for ladies who lunch lightly. The elegance of the Crystal Jade Dining IN menu is raised to even higher levels with the main courses. “Double Boiled Crab Claw Soup with Superior Mushroom in Fresh Coconut”. Try ordering that from your server in one breath! A witty presentation: a coconut filled with a milky, double boiled broth, and each spoonful unearthing a surprise: a succulent crab claw first, a fresh flavorful mushroom next. “Sautéed Scallop and Prawn with Chicken and Assorted Mushrooms Served in Pumpkin” is another verbose

Crystal Jade Dining IN is a sophisticated Chinese restaurant, its elegance apparent in the beautiful plating of its specialties. But each dish is also surprisingly familiar, infused with the comfortable food flavors of Cantonese cuisine.

04 item that tastes exactly as good as it sounds rolling of one’s tongue as it’s read off the menu. While the restaurant has a wide range of healthy choices, I have to admit that my top two favorites are not necessarily the most low calorie items on the menu. First, the “Crispy Duck Sandwich”: the best part of a Peking Duck, the skin, alternating with layers of dark meat on a crunchy bean curd shell. It’s a gorgeous, addicting, savory sans rival treat. And second, the pièce de résistance, the “Braised and Marinated Pork Belly”. It’s a genuine work of culinary art, a translucent, golden brown layer of glorious belly fat, balanced, trembling almost, above a most tender slab of melt-inyour-mouth lean meat. The whole, infused with those mysterious, unmistakeable Chinese spices. It’s simplicity itself. But then again, true gourmet masterpieces never are over complicated. Finally, Taguig has a Chinese restaurant that meets my expectations, and yes, exceeds them. Crystal Jade Dining IN’s food made me so exuberant, I felt like my six-year-old self again, tagging along with my folks to dinners in Binondo, discovering fine Chinese dining, for the very first time.

HEALTHY OPTIONS They have a ‘Healthy Selection’ menu which has dishes such as pumpkin thick soup with seafood and Chinese yam, steamed sea bass fillet with Cordycep flower and fungus, and Sauteed scallop with chicken and assorted mushroom served in pumpkin


05 01 Fried assorted grain rice in hot stone bowl 02 Double boiled Crab Claw Soup with Superior Mushroom Coconut 03 Braised and Marinated Pork Belly 04 The plush interiors inside the restaurant 05 Baked Bo Lo Barbecue Pork Bun

Appetizers range from P240 to 680 Sharks fin range from P980 (Braised Shark’s Fin with Crab Roe) to P12,280 (Superior Shark’s Fin with Wanton served in casserole) Soups are from P280-680 Bird’s Nest, Abalone are P680, 1200, and 3800 Seafood range from 120 to 600+ per 100gm Sichuan, Shanghai style starts P380 (Sauteed soy bean with beancurd and preserved vegetable) to P2,400 (Braised Sea Cucumber with Shrimp Roe in Shanghainese Style) Rice and noodles are from P380 (Sautéed E-fu Noodle with Shrimp Roe) to P680 (Braised Mee Pok Noodle with Black Pepper Sauce)



Their wine list is also a handy reference for food and wine pairing Dishes have a red pepper indicator for spiciness level Crystal Jade Dining IN is located at Unit SEUG201, Bonifacio High Street Central, 30th Street Corner 7th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City. Open from 11am to 11pm. For more information call 519-8191

LET’S EAT JUNE 2013 15


Free Large Assorted Kimchi or Choregi Salad for a minimum purchase of P1,500.

LET’S EAT TREATS Get a free dessert (Garlic Sprinkle Gelato or Cheesecake) for a minimum purchase of P1,500


Get a free Glutinous rice dumpling with taro per table for a minimum purchase of P3,000.

x Promo is valid from June 28, 2013 to July 26, 2013.Coupon is for one-time use only and non-transferable to cash. For dine-in transactions only. Valid only at the Bonifacio Global City branch. Not replaceable when lost.

x Promo is valid from June 28, 2013 to July 26, 2013.Coupon is for one-time use only and non-transferable to cash. For dine-in transactions only. Valid only at the Bonifacio Global City branch. Not replaceable when lost.

x Promo is valid from June 28, 2013 to July 26, 2013.Coupon is for one-time use only and non-transferable to cash. For dine-in transactions only. Valid only at the Bonifacio Global City branch. Not replaceable when lost.

Let's Eat  
Let's Eat  

Let's Eat is a new booklet-size zine that comes out every last Friday of the month. Each issue features geographic-centric guides, exploring...