Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Manila’s Home of Contemporary Japanese Cuisine
Unit I-112 Greenbelt 5
Ayala Center, Makati City
(632) 757-5209

How to get there:
Kai Map
From EDSA going south:

1. Turn right to Ayala Avenue;

2. Turn left to Makati Avenue;

3. Turn right to Dela Rosa Street (right after Ramon Cojuangco Bldg.);

4. Turn left to Greenbelt 5 Basement Parking or turn left to Legazpi Street for Greenbelt 5 drop-off point.

First impression:

Kai's Table Setting
The place has the feel of a fine dining establishment (a little classy) but had too many of its wait staff congregating near the bar.   It looked more contemporary with hints of Japanese culture fused into the design.


Kai offers contemporary Japanese Cuisine with some American dishes and Steaks mixed into the menu.

What we had:

Kai's Maguro "Tuna" Sashimi
We were having a late dinner and while waiting for the rest of the crew, we ordered Maguro “Tuna” Sashimi - 5 slices (Php220).  The Tuna was fresh and served in an appetizing manner, in fact it was so appetizing someone ate a slice before we were able to take a picture!  But yes, they do serve 5 slices; someone was just faster than the one taking the picture!

Kai's Lychee Shake with Lime
The wait staff recommended Lychee Shake with Lime (Php80) surprisingly the shake went well with the dishes we had for the evening.  Primarily, sashimi and rolls.

Kai's Hamachi - Aji - Shake Sashimi
When the rest of the group arrived, we ordered Hamachi “Yellowtail” (Php360), Horse Mackarel “Aji” (Php180), and Salmon “Shake” (Php220) Sashimi – 5 Slices of each order.   The sashimi were really good, you can taste the freshness in every slice.  But the slices were a little thick for us.  The entire bunch would have been better served in 6 slices rather than the 5-slice order.  Then again we were only paying for 5 slices, so we really didn’t think of complaining much.

Kai's Dragon Roll
We tried Kai’s Dragon Roll (Php 240) since it sounded cool!  We were not disappointed.  The roll slices were just the right size and the combination of the ingredients mixed well with one another. And again, the group was faster than the one taking the picture!

Kai's Jumbo Prawn Tempura Roll
We saw a Jumbo Prawn Tempura Roll (Php390)  and we just had to order it as well!  We are sure glad we did.  The Tempura roll slices were a little big and almost missed the point of being bite-sized(!), but we have to say the roll tasted great.

Kai's Soft Shell Crab Roll "Spider Roll"
Our last roll for the night is a Soft Shell Crab Roll “Spider Roll” (Php330).  We loved the old presentation better than the current one, we have to say, however, that the current order offers more pieces.  Not to take anything away from the great taste, but the slices of the roll are a little too big for comfort.  We had to take two bites to finish one slice/piece.

Kai's Cha Soba
Kai's Ebi Tempura
And our only non-sashimi/roll order for the night was Kai’s Cha Soba (Php270) with Ebi Tempura - 2 pieces (Php140).  This was truly a delightful experience.   Cha Soba is cold “soba” noodles that you dip in a sauce.  The combination with the Ebi (Shrimp) Tempura added the flavor that the soba lacked.  Where else can you eat soba deliberately served cold right?

Kai's Peanut Butter Chocolate Bar
We started dessert with Kai's Peanut Butter Chocolate Bar (Php110) which was very disappointing.  This dessert was too sweet for us.  You could hardly taste the peanut butter and the chocolate has vanished due to the sweetness of the chocolate bar that made it almost tasteless.

Kai's Banana Nutella Harumaki
The Banana Nutella Harumaki (Php180) is Kai’s version of the banana split with the bananas cut into 4 small slices and rolled in a sesame filo and topped with small “tablespoon” scoops of vanilla, chocolate, caramel and strawberry ice cream.  It is slightly better than then the Chocolate bar, if you like the taste of sesame and ice cream, this one is for you.

Kai's Tofu Cheesecake
We were a little disappointed with the two desserts so we had to order our all-time favorite Tofu Cheesecake (Php180).  We know what you are thinking, how could you mix tofu and cheesecake to make it work?  Trust us, you have to taste it to believe it.  The texture is unlike any of the cheesecake you’ve tasted before.  Truly one of the best cheesecakes we’ve tasted so far.

One of us had to abstain from this one due to personal issues (ahem!) and had to suffer a disappointing dessert the rest of the night, but the rest of us had a blast.

Estimated cost:

A budget of Php400-Php1000 should be adequate to try some of Kai’s offerings.

For more of Kai's menu, you can check it out here.


5.5: We have to say the desserts, apart form the Tofu Cheesecake, were disappointing.  The wait staff congregating at the bar was an eyesore and one of the wait staff was overly eager in cleaning up our table that she took the tempura sauce away just as one of us was about to dip in it!  But overall, the wait staff were courteous, though a little lost and distracted at times.  The overall experience was good.  The food is a little pricey, but they have some great dishes.  The roll slices should be reduced and the desserts improved, but the Tofu Cheesecake is a must try.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

House of Wagyu Stone Grill

House of Wagyu
Stone Grill

5th Floor The Podium
Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City
(632) 635-3056

105 Mckinley Arcade
Ortigas Avenue Cor. Club Filipino Avenue
Greenhills, San Juan City
(63 2) 725-2811
(63 2) 725-7450

Why two branches in one review?

First off, we want to explain why we make a single review for two branches of the same restaurant.  For one, they are the same restaurant.  Second, we went and tried these branches less than a week apart and we thought it maybe be better to make it into just one review.  We think that two reviews of the same restaurant in one week maybe a little overboard. We hope you agree.

How to get there:

Greenhills Branch from EDSA going north:
House of Wagyu Stone Grill - Greenhills Map
1. Take the Flyover to Ortigas Avenue, San Juan just before Robinsons Galleria;

2. On Ortigas Avenue stay in the middle lane until the first traffic lights (Connecticut); and

3. After the first traffic lights, veer to the right and enter the parking lot after the second traffic lights House of Wagyu should be visible on your left side about 10 meters after the parking areas guardhouse.

The Podium Branch from EDSA going north:

House of Wagyu - The Podium Map
1. Turn right to Guadix Drive just after the SM Megamall and Asian Development Bank; and

2. Turn right to ADB Avenue; The Podium should be on your right side before reaching Doña Julia Vargas Avenue and just after the Asian Development Bank.

First impression:

The place looked expensive and classy. During our visits we usually have 2-4 tables dining with us.  So if you want privacy for an important date or meeting this place would really impress.


This restaurant offers Australian Cuisine and of course Steaks!

But before we go any further we would like to tell something about Wagyu Beef.  Wagyu beef is commonly known as “Kobe” beef because it was believed that the Wagyu Beef from Kobe were the best and consequently the most expensive.

The Wagyu Beef served in House of Wagyu Stone Grill come from Australia.  The Beef served are graded from 1-12.  The higher the grade the more fat the unsaturated fat and the more scattered the fat is on the meat.  Apparently these fats are healthy and are similar to olive oil.  For more about Wagyu Beef, you can check out this wikipedia link.

What we had:
New Zealand Baked Mussels
To start we tried the House of Wagyu's New Zealand Baked Mussels (Php295).  These Mussels really looked like they came from New Zealand... they were huge!  The presentation was great and it had that distinct taste of fresh mussels.  We thoroughly enjoyed this appetizer.

Escargot Au Reisling
We also tried the House of Wagyu's Escargot Au Reisling (Php375).   We’ve tried the ginataang kuhol in Filipino Restaurants and wanted to try how they are done in other cuisines.  Fortunately for us, the snails were served out of the shells, which made them easier to eat.  Amazingly, the butter, garlic and white wine mixed into the dish subdued the strong taste of the snails almost better than the gata usually does. 

Gambas Al Ajillo
Our “last” appetizer was Gambas Al Ajillo (Php275).  It looked really delicious, a little greasy, but the garlic bits scattered all over the dish made it look really appetizing.  The huge green pepper added the necessary color to complement the hue of the shrimps.  Even though it looked a little greasy at first, but because of the extra virgin olive oil and the garlic you’d barely think it was sautéed at all!

Fresh Four Season's Juice
We tried their Fresh Four Season’s Juice and Fresh Orange Juice.  The juices were made just after we ordered them, we could actually see the Bartender squeezing the Orange Juice and blending the fruits for the Four Seasons.  As a result, the juices tasted really good.  We don't know if the contents are the same but the glasses in House of Wagyu: Stone Grill, The Podium branch were a bit smaller compared to the glasses in the Greenhills branch.

Rancher's Cut 700 Grams [Rib-Eye with Bone] Grade 8 Wagyu Beef
Now for the main courses!  We ordered the House of Wagyu's Rancher’s Cut 700 Grams [Rib-Eye with Bone] (Php3,600).  This is actually a 400-600 grams of grade 8 Rib-Eye stuck to a 100-300 gram bone.  It also comes with 2 single Caesar’s Salad, 2 Soup(s) of the Day (Mushroom Soup) and 2 Desserts (Vanilla Ice Cream).

Rib Eye 350 grams [for two] Grade 6 Wagyu Beef
We also ordered Rib Eye 350 grams [for two] Grade 6 (Php2,295). This comes with 2 Soup(s) of the Day (Mushroom Soup).

Premium Rib Eye 220 grams Grade 8 Wagyu Beef
 Our third Entrée is a Premium Rib Eye 220 grams Grade 8 (Php2,395).  This comes with a Soup of the Day (Mushroom Soup).

The soups and salads were served inbetween the appetizers and the Entrée.  All steaks come with Mixed vegetables and a choice of Mashed Potato, Plain Rice and Garlic Rice.  We all chose Mashed Potato.

How the Wagyu beef were served:

 A very hot stone grill was placed on our table before the Beef was placed on it.  The wait staff informed us that she will turn over the beef once, and after that we can proceed with the dining experience.  The wait staff were educated about Wagyu Beef and did not wait for a manager to answer our queries about the beef.
House of Wagyu: Stone Grill
We were advised to slice the meet as we eat and not to cut the beef in small slices immediately as it may result in over cooking, unless of course you want your meat very well done. 

House of Wagyu: Stone Grill Small Slices
You may request for a replacement stone grill if the stone grill has cooled down.  You may also request for a resting plate if you believe the stone grill is too hot and will over cook the meat according to your taste.   Of course, if you wish, you may ask that the steak be cooked/grilled by the restaurant's chef.  But cooking it yourself allows you to play chef! 

Mashed Potato and Vegetables
We have to say that these were some of the best steaks we’ve had!  No gravy needed.  The meat was very tender and juicy.  Even the steak knives cut through the meat like heated metal on butter, well it's a little exaggerated but you get the gist!  It lets you experience that melt in your mouth sensation.  It truly is an amazing dining experience.  

Flourless Chocolate Cake ala Mode: Cold Stone Grill
 We were quite full after the meal, but we had to try one of their desserts, so we had the House of Wagyu’s Flourless Chocolate Cake (Php225).  The Flourless Chocolate Cake was served with Vanilla Ice cream on a COLD STONE GRILL (freezing cold!).  The presentation was superb, the cold stone grill kept the Vanilla Ice Cream from melting.  But we have to say that texture and the taste of the Flourless Chocolate Cake was a disappointment.  Then, again, we were here for the steaks not the dessert right?

Estimated cost:

A budget of Php700-Php1500 should be enough to sample some of the food.  If you want to sample the Wagyu Beef however, a budget of Php1,500 (or higher) should be prepared.  You could also share the Wagyu Beef to sample a variety like we did and save some, but a word of warning, this might cause some rift or argument as to which had more beef! #LOL

Note: Prices are exclusive of VAT and Service Charge.

You can also buy uncooked Wagyu beef  from their selection.


7: You guessed it!  Despite the steep prices for the Steaks, the service and the entire experience is something you would like to try again and again, over and over… you get the picture right?  Once you try the steaks here, it’ll surely be the first thing that comes to mind when you talk to people about food for some time.  We were disappointed with desserts; then again maybe we were just too full by the time they were served.

For more about Wagyu Beef, you may want to check these out at

Kobe Wagyu Beef Rib-Eye Steaks - 2 x 14 oz. Steaks (Only $9.95 2nd Day Shipping!)
Greg Norman Wagyu (Kobe-Style) Steak Dinner

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Murray's New Orleans

Murray’s New Orleans
Bourbon Street Steaks and Oysters
Building 6, Space 1F14
Bonifacio High Streets
Bonifacio Global City (BGC)
Taguig City
(632) 856-4326
(632) 856-4785

Map for Murray's New Orleans
How to get there:

From C5 going south:  Turn right to 32nd St., then make a left turn to 11th Ave., turn right after 30th St.

From EDSA going north: Turn right to Kalayaan Ave. (keep right), enter Global City through 32nd St., turn right to 11th Ave., and turn right after 30th St.

Murray's New Orleans
First impression:

The place looked relaxed but a little dark.  It caters more to people looking for a place to hangout and grab a couple of beers.

Murray's New Orleans Table

This restaurant offers American Cuisine and as the name implies, specializes on  Steaks and Oysters.

What we had:
Murray's New Orleans Breadbasket
Like any casual diner, of course we tried the free bread and butter that were offered after our orders were taken.  The whole loaf bread was served warm on a wooden board with butter and a bread knife.  The presentation was good, but the bread tasted a little bland even with the salted butter spread on it.

Murray's New Orleans Oyster Formaggio
For appetizers, we had Oyster Formaggio (Php345).  The Oysters here are really fresh.  The Cheese blends well with the taste of fresh Oysters.  This is a must try.

Murray's New Orleans Famous (Baby) Back Ribs
For the main course, we tried their New Orlean’s Famous (Baby) Back Ribs –Half Slab (Php398) which was served with coleslaw and dirty rice.  The ribs were good and even the half slab proved to be more than an adequate potion.  The coleslaw was served fresh and the dirty rice added an interesting taste to this ensemble. 

Murray's New Orleans Shrimp Ettouffe Pasta
We also had their Shrimp Ettouffe Pasta (Php385) which was recommended by the wait staff.  We must say that we were pleased with this dish.  The pasta was served just right.  It was not dry but not too creamy either.  If you love pasta, we recommend you try this dish.

Estimated cost:

If you wish to dine in Murray’s New Orleans a budget of Php500-Php1,000 is recommended per person.


6: Despite the disappointing breadbasket to start the meal, we have to say the Oysters in this place is a must try.  The Ribs are good as well.  If asked about Oyster’s this place would be one of the first that come to mind.  Even if Murray’s is a steak house, the pasta was surprisingly good as well.  The service was fast and the wait staff were courteous. 

If you want see more or learn more about Bourbon Street New Orleans, you might want to check these from

Bourbon Street New Orleans Art Print Poster - 24x36New Orleans - Let the Good Times Roll! (Great City Guides Travel Series)
Bourbon Street New Orleans Novelty Street Sign

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Spa Indulgencia

The Spa Indulgencia
Lower 2nd Floor
St. Francis Square Mall
Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong

Note:  Despite the Similarities in the logo of The Spa and The Spa Indulgencia, do not be deceived, they are not related.

How to get there:

From EDSA north bound, a few meters right after SM Megamall, turn right between Asian Development Bank and St. Pedro Poveda College.  Turn right to ADB Avenue.  Turn Right to Doña Julia Vargas St. St. Francis Square Mall will be on your right.

First Impression:

The place looked homey and appeared like a real spa despite being at the second floor of a "greenhills" like mall.

Photo Reference
The lounge chairs are for the Indulgencia Classic Nail Treatment.

Photo Reference
These are the massage beds, it turns out these are 2 of the 3 (or maybe 4?) massage beds in The Spa Indulgencia, from what we've seen.  And these two beds are in one room and separated only by a curtain.

Note:  We were informed that The Spa Indugencia does not have its own restroom and no shower room.  We were already wondering whether buying the Php500 coupon from Ensogo for the Php1,000 service worth it at this point...

Services offered and estimated costs:

The Spa Indulgencia offers basic spa and massage services. 

What we had:

As noted above we are redeeming our Ensogo Coupon for 1 and 1/2 half Hour Massage and Body Scrub.  But since they offered basic nail services, we also tried their Manicure & Pedicure Combo.

The Spa Indulgencia Ensogo Coupon
Manicure & Pedicure Combo (Php230) We knew we had a problem when the "manicuristas" were borrowing each others nippers.  Apparently they were missing some equipment.  We had to say that our initial impression was immediately crushed by this incident.  They could have informed us about the situation and we could have simply cancelled our requested service.

We were quite surprised when we were charged Php245 for this service, it turns out we charge 1 Manicure (Php100) and 1 Pedicure (Php145) each and not the combo price of the service we requested, which was weird specially when we specifically requested for the Combo service.

1 and 1/2 Hour Massage and Body Scrub (Php1,000) - The massage was good.  We do not really know why we were caught between disappointment and pleasure at this point until we remembered that were not having basic massages but we had body scrubs coming up.  It was also quite disturbing that the attendants who had no clients to attend to were very noisy.  And despite the god massage, we were not relaxed at all.

The Body Scrub was weird.  We were scrubbed in the same bed we had our massage.  Remember we said earlier that they had no shower room and restroom?  This is where it all matters now.  After the srcub, we were the therapist washed away the "scrubs" by pouring water from a pail beside the massage beds...  We knew then that this was an experience we will never forget and wouldn't want to have again.

If you still want to try their services after what we said, you can get discounts by availing of group purchases from sites such as Ensogo and Groupon if they are still available.


2We recommend you try other spas and salons for the same services offered.  The massage was good and that is the only reason why we did not make this into a 1 experience.  We had a terrible body scrub experience and didn't feel that all the dirt from the scrubbing was washed away.   The "manicuristas" sharing the nipper while working on their clients was a big downer.  On top of that, we felt like it could have been done better.  But if you're getting a basic massage, the masseuse in The Spa Indulgencia could be worth your while and it could be a leaning to a 5 if you are able to avail of their promo prices, otherwise it would be a leaning to a 3  for the regular prices.  We still think that Php275 for a 30-minute massage given the facilities is a little steep.

If you have comments or recommendations, please don't hesitate to drop us a line on the comments page.

If you are looking for a Healing Spa Basket for yourself or for purposes of a gift you might want to check this product from

Healing Spa Gift BasketSpa-in-a-basketSecrets of the Spas: Pamper and Vitalize Yourself at Home (Life's Little Luxuries)