Monday, February 11, 2008

Angel's Kitchen

After getting all psyched up by the positive blog posts about the restaurant, my Dear and I finally tried Angel's Kitchen over at Connecticut Avenue in Greenhills, San Juan. The place was exactly what the posts said it would be-- very cozy and homey, with lots of warm yellow to enliven the place. The restaurant has ample parking (well, good for at least eight cars), and a very clean rest room-- very important yet often overlooked aspects. The service was also very friendly and efficient. And now the food:

Toast with liver pate (free)-- Well, the name says it all. This is the standard house appetiser, and it isn't bad, with plus points for uniqueness (at least this side of Asia). I found the liver pate quite good-- good texture with a mild flavour-- but I'm not much into liver (or any other innards for that matter) so I didn't get much of it.

Garlicky Caesar Salad (P258)-- Honestly, not worth the price. There is usualy a tradeoff between size and ingredient quality that would justify any price; neither aspect in this salad justified its price. The serving size was small and the ingredients not exactly gourmet. The dressing was pretty good, but it was closer to a garlicky ranch than garlicky Caesar. For just P40 more, I could get a much bigger and much better solo Roka Salata at Cyma, and with recognisable parmesan cheese at that.

Sardine Pomodoro Pasta (P268)-- This was what my Dear ordered for her main course. It was pretty good, just the right amount of spice from the Spanish sardines and sour from the tomatoes. The serving size was also decent and well worth the price. However, it doesn't come with bread, which surprised me. And since it's pasta, I'm pretty confident I can make it at home if I buy some of those gourmet sardines they sell in the restaurant.

Honey Garlic Spare Ribs (P308)-- This is what I got, upon the advice of the server who said it was a popular dish. I like fried spare ribs, I like garlic, I like honey, but this dish just didn't work for me. It totally did not work for me. Now, I've had quite a few honey-something savoury dishes, like honey-mustard bangus or honey-apple chicken barbecue, and and in all those cases you'll barely see the honey and just have a hint of its sweetness when you taste the dish, the honey enhancing the flavours rather than overwhelming them. For this dish, think of the garlic fried spare ribs that you might find in Chinese restaurants. Now smother it with loads of sweet raw honey. Really, that's what it was. No kidding.

Banana Cream Pie (P118)-- This was the reason we went to this restaurant, the raison d'etre for this restaurant, we were told by the blogosphere. It was good. Very good, actually. But not spectacular. Maybe we just got all hyped up by the write-ups that we set a pretty high bar, but I can't say it's the best banana cream pie I ever had. And I'm just talking about banana cream pies in this country.

Lemon Tart (P98)-- Now this was the spectacular dish of the evening. So far the best lemon tart I've tasted, and I'm very much into lemony/citrusy desserts (the balance of sweet and tart is just perfect). The flavour of the tart is very balanced and the crust is rightly bland so it doesn't interfere with the flavours, plus there's a very thin layer of crunchy caramelised sugar* on top to enhance the texture. If anything, I'll come back to this restaurant for this and this alone (as soon as I forget what I got for my main course).

Caffee Lungo (P88)-- Full-bodied brewed coffee. No more, no less.

Usually I have a bottomline to summarise my review, but I guess I'll stop here.


* "Caramelised sugar" is a redundancy because, technically, only sugars can get caramelised. Caramelisation involves the oxidation-- i.e., browning-- of sugars, be it sucrose from table sugar or fructose from fruits and vegetables. Meats, on the other hand, cannot be caramelised since its browning is not due to the oxidation of sugars but due to the reaction of amino acids and sugars (i.e., the Maillard reaction). However, caramel-- that sometimes rock-solid sometimes gooey sweet stuff-- can be made either by caramelisation or by a Maillard reaction depending on the ingredients. O.o

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