I've been part of the Ultimate Food Taste Test 7.0 last November 17, 2011 at Mercato Centrale. There were a lot of people and the food were really great! I was really excited to have this Food Adventure in The Piazza at Venice, McKinley Hill. The event runs from January 7 to March 31, 2012 on weekends only. There were over 12 restaurants to taste at a really really reasonable price. It was really worth it! The participating restaurants were: Blackwood Bistro, The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Empire Deli & restaurant, Figaro, KBOP, Kuse, Old Vine Grille, Pho Hoa, Pinchos Restaurant and Bar, Ramen Bar, The Red Crab, Sol Gelato, and Yo Swirl.
Warning: Long post but really mouthwatering! ♥
EMPIRE DELI & RESTAURANT
Empire Signature Salad - Tossed greens with slices of grilled chicken. Though not really appetizing on the presentation, this is one of the best salads I've ever tasted. The vinaigrette was perfectly estimated to keep the salad really fresh and taste more like a vegetable not a vinegar with salad.
Grilled Tuna - Tuna with light dressing. The tuna was slightly grilled or so-called 'medium rare'. This was a bit tasty than the previous salad, but the taste and amount of dressing (near to teriyaki sauce taste) was matched to the overall taste of the salad.
Vietnamese Spring Rolls - Fried Vietnamese spring rolls. It is like a huge shanghai roll. This was a bit messy to eat, but I don't care. It was delicious! I can't really figure out the sauce, but it tastes like a saturated vinegar and sugar.
Shrimp Curls - Fried shrimp with Mango Dip. I love shrimps especially if it is served as tempura. I was really excited to taste the mango dip, and I really didn't expect that mango can be used as a dip for fried dishes.
Pomelo Salad - Pomelo spring salad with dressing. The presentation was really good. However, I didn't like the taste of the vinaigrette dressing. Also, I think that the sliced cucumber is not really a good idea. This was like more of a cucumber salad rather than a pomelo salad.
Penne Putanesca - Penne pasta in red sauce. The usual pasta. This was a bit dry. I was looking for more texture or sauce.
PINCHOS RESTAURANT AND BAR
Duo of Buffalo Chicken Fillet with Chips and Salsa - Pinchos' appetizer sampler dish. The taste of the chips was really good - your not ordinary kind of chips. The buffalo chicken fillet was also good, a bit spicy. This sampler dish is great for pulutan!
Chapchae - Korean style glass noodles. To tell frankly, the color of the dish is not appetizing for me. Nevertheless, the taste of the glass noodles was good - a bit sweet.
Vegetable & Seafood Pancake - Mixed vegetable and seafood fried pancake. It felt like a takoyaki plus green vegetables. Though I love takoyaki, the pancake was not that great for me. However, I think I need to taste another pancake to taste if this is really good.
OLD VINE GRILLE
Chicken Barbeque - Barbeque chicken with fries and red beans. I didn't like the taste of red beans nor the sauce of the chicken. The fries don't even have a salt or dip.
Grilled Fish Fillet - Grilled fish fillet served with rice & lemon butter sauce. This was really awesome. The taste of the lemon butter sauce was perfectly done and matched on the fish fillet. The rice was fantastic - they used kasugba and some spices that makes me want to eat more.
Spicy Chicken Relleno - Spicy stuffed chicken with rice. The chicken was good though I'm not really into relleno dishes. The rice was also great. E said that it's a bagoong rice, which at first I thought an adobo rice.
Lechong Kawali - Crispy pan-fried roasted pork with rice. The usual lechong kawali. Real crispy! I was looking for another "fried rice", however they matched it with a plain rice.
Karaage & Kakuni Buns - Japanese style fried chicken and pork belly buns. The chicken tastes like the usual karaage that can be bought in Tokyo Tokyo. It was not that tender. The buns is like a 'cuapao'. I don't like that super-seasoned pork belly inside the bun.
THE RED CRAB
Dory Fillet - Dory fillet with honey mustard sauce. I really love dory fillet. The coating was not cripsy, which I don't like. The taste was really good, however I felt "umay" after eating.
Stuffed Beancurd with Crab Relleno - Fried stuffed beancurd with crab relleno served with garlic chilli sauce. Oh, I really love The Red Crab's presentation on their dishes! From its presentation, I can feel that the dish was really good. Using the tofu as the bed of the relleno and adding crab legs was really creative. However, as I've said, I'm not a fan of relleno. But if you are, this is a must try!
Mint Chocolate + Irish Cream and Mascarpone Cheese + Dark Chocolate. This was my second gelato experience in this store. And now, I am really in love with gelatos.
I didn't had a chance to try Yo Swirls and The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf since it was already 9 PM, though I can still get it on a Sunday. The Food Adventure is only from 4PM to 9PM. I was also full at that time! I was really satisfied and happy to have this food adventure. Very very worth it for a price of 600php! The promo is still on so if you want to have this adventure, you can still buy your passport there! ;)