Monday, December 10, 2007

Recipes (not a recipe)

A current favourite of my Dear is Recipes. No, she hasn't suddenly discovered cooking as a hobby; Recipes is the name of a restaurant chain here in Manila, serving dishes from various Asian cuisines (Filipino, Thai, Korean, Chinese). We've eaten at Recipes before, but we rediscovered it last Saturday.

First time I ate at Recipes was in Alabang Town Center back in 2004, courtesy of a friend's girlfriend (now ex) who threw him a surprise party. As with most parties where you try not to look like the resident glutton, I didn't get to eat much so I wasn't particularly impressed. Also, the concept of a resto offering dishes from various cuisines isn't very inviting to me-- those types tend to be jacks of all cuisines but masters of none.

Recipes, however, is not bad at all. I wouldn't go there if I wanted authentic Thai or Chinese food, but their signature dishes are superb. Our favourite dish, bar none, is called General's Chicken (P200)-- crunchy fried chicken cubes (with skin) and eggplants in a thick sweet and spicy sauce. This dish is best described as just right-- not too sweet, not to spicy; the crispy chicken complements the soft eggplant. This dish is always ordered when my Dear and I visit. Goes very well with rice (P35/cup), which itself is quite good and has a very good texture-- I would guess they serve dinorado rice cooked with pandan.

Another good pick, this time clearly Chinese-inspired, is the Spicy Squid (P165). Their squid has the customary light breading, fried with garlic and chilies, but is sliced relatively thin (comapred to other restos), almost like straightened squid rings. But unlike squid rings, their squid is completely cooked yet soft-- not an easy feat when cooking squid.

Not so high on my list is the Lechon Kawali with Kangkong (P200). You'd expect the pork to be hot and crispy in this dish, but when we ordered it last night the pork came out rubbery and cold, as if it's been lying around for some time. The kangkong, though, was freshly-cooked and similar to the kangkong dish in Thai restaurants. I've had this dish before and I remember the pork being freshly cooked and perfectly crispy, which is to be expected. I'm thinking the pork last night was a fluke, a temporary lapse of quality, but it's still a disappointment.

Another signature Recipes dish is the Crispy Tilapia, but we haven't tried it yet because my Dear is still recovering from successive days of eating tilapia at home. At one time we tried the Laing-- the quintessential Bicolano dish of gabi leaves, chilies, shrimp paste, and coconut milk-- I remember it as being ok but not spectacular (serving size was huge, though).

Ambience-wise, Recipes has a modern minimalist look-- practically no decor and no visual clues as to what to expect. You'll really have to look at the menu to see what they have to offer. Service is friendly and efficient. Expect to pay around P300 per person in this restaurant.

Recipes is not exactly authentic gourmet food; don't go here if you're looking for haute cuisine. Its forte is in preparing simple comfort food, something your aunt might cook on a Sunday lunch when she's trying to impress the family.


22loy said...

May we invite you to a menu launch of a fastfood resto? You seem to do casual and fine dining.

E. Cross Saltire said...

sure, 22loy, but i guess my RSVP is a bit late, huh? ;)