focaccia

I didn’t expect that there are quite a number of good restaurants at A.Venue, because I don’t think a lot of people go there… During a meeting I had, a co-model suggested that we transfer to focaccia. I actually didn’t eat since I was heading to Tsumura after for dinner, but I told myself I was going to come back because the food looked promising. So after spending the day with my son in Makati, I decided to take him there.

The following photos though, were not taken at their branch at A.Venue, but were taken at their branch at The Fort Strip. This was when we availed of their promo at MetroDeal.

First of all, I would like to commend their branch at The Fort Strip for allowing us to use our vouchers there, even if my boyfriend mistakenly selected A. Venue, as to where we will use our vouchers.

For starters,

 

Complimentary Focaccia Bread

We were given a complimentary basket of focaccia bread, with EVOO+balsamic vinegar. It was a good thing that a restaurant named focaccia has good focaccia bread! 😀 It was definitely something to boast about. Their focaccia bread was soft and had a nice crunchy crust, evident of a freshly baked focaccia bread.

 

Prosciutto Tartufo (P460)

Truffled cream sauce with prosciutto & mushroom slices.

I originally wanted to order their Cannelloni al Funghi, but because the waitress said it was not available, we settled for this instead. As soon as our order arrived, we immediately distinguished the lingering scent of truffle. And because of that, I was happy to know that they did not scrimp out on the truffle oil and made the P460 price worth it. The pasta was al dente, the sauce was very rich. In fact, we thought it was too rich because there was too much cream.. I don’t remember if they used fresh button mushrooms, but basing from the photo, I think they didn’t. I wish they could have used more prosciutto too, to cut the richness of the dish. But this was not bad 🙂 There was just too much cream.

Pazza Rollio Maranello (P399)

shrimp, sundried tomato, salami & cheese sauce

What actually piqued my interest to eat here was their Pazzo Rollio–their thinner version of Yellow Cab’s Dear Darla Pizza. It was literally paper thin! And like Yellow Cab’s Dear Darla Pizza, this also came with

Arugula & Alfalfa Sprouts

The pizza was very good 🙂 And though it was paper thin, it was very filling. The stuffing and rolling added that fun factor too 😉

Chicken Pancetta (P280)

Pancetta slices & cheese wrapped in chicken roasted in olive oil served on farfalle noodles.

The breading they used on the chicken was the same breading they use on their Mozzarella Fritta, which I got to try at their A. Venue branch. I prefer crispy breadings, so this didn’t completely satisfy me. However, the boyfriend loved it. Like they say, “Different folks, different strokes.” The portion was generous. The components made the whole dish well-balanced. The farfalle noodles, in itself, were delicious.

I like the ambiance at The Fort Strip better. However, the service at A. Venue was much better.

We had to wait for a looong time at The Fort Strip before our food finally came. I was watching the chefs/ cooks from my seat, and they were moving soooo slow! If Chef Ramsey was there, he probably would’ve whooped their asses 😀 We also didn’t like how the waitress (there were only 2 of them: 1 waiter & 1 waitress) (what to us felt like she) disregarded us when she was chatting loudly with (we assumed to be) her co-workers who were on a day off. Their children were everywhere too! Walking with those squeaky shoes that were ANNOYING AS HELL. That, for me, was what made our experience traumatizing.

Despite the good food, I can’t help but take into consideration the extremely slow service and the inconsiderate staff. And for that, I sadly give focaccia at The Fort Strip a 3 out 5 spoons. However, their branch at A. Venue definitely deserves a 5 out of 5.


Sweet Bella

Prior to a derma appointment with Dr. Aivee Aguilar-Teo at Burgos Circle, I decided to kill time at Sweet Bella. I did not only kill time, but spent A LOT of time there! 😀 Which gave me enough time to try out some of their best-sellers 🙂

Once you enter the cafe, you will immediately spot this cakes display to your left, which boasts of a wide assortment of exquisite cakes.

Sweet Bella proudly serves Nespresso coffee, the brand name of Nestle Nespresso S.A., an operating unit of the Nestle Group based in Lausanne, Switzerland.

(I have yet to make a separate blog for this. But before that, I must learn about & experience this firsthand, since this was not what I ordered.)

This is what you will see on the ground floor. Aside from quality specialty cakes, they also have French macarons, pastries & a selection of pralines.

French Macarons (P60 each)

Sweet Bella also specializes in French macarons. And after having been able to try most of the flavors in this photo, I must say, they have easily replaced The Cookie Jar & have conquered the title having The Best Macaron de Paris! The macarons were baked to perfection & have a nice, delicate texture to it. The fillings were also AMAZING!

The Salted Caramel was a dream. The Strawberry was magnifique! You could taste the achenes & it makes you understand why the macarons were priced a bit higher–is because they don’t use artifical fillings. The Chocolate, like their other variants, was the best I’ve had in Manila, while their White Chocolate with Coconut can suitably be described as a Filipino take on a French macaron. Lastly, the Passion variant had a somewhat mabango taste to it that’s not at all unpleasant! 🙂

Overall, I enjoyed EVERY variant I’ve had the pleasure of eating! 😀 Special thanks to the hubby-to-be 😉

Croque-Madame (P350)

Grilled ham & gruyere cheese with poached egg on a warm brioche.

I’m not really fond of eating ham. I only eat it with an Eggs Benedict & in this case, a Croque-Madame. Though Paris Delice‘ tasted better, this was also good. However, this wins first place with regard to size. It came in a hefty portion that I was only able to finish half, half of which I took home. The following day, when I ate half of what I had left over, lo & behold, it tasted even better!

Philly Cheese Steak (P350)

Thin slices of USDA Beef, caramelized onion, melted American cheese on steak bun.

Sweet Bella, being owned & headed by Pastry Chef, Chef Cristina Santiago Rivera, daughter of Melo’s Steakhouse‘, Melo Santiago, you cannot help but expect an entree involving steak to be at par with that of Melo’s. Some people feel iffy ordering something like this at a dessert cafe, thinking it might just be mediocre. But surprisingly, Sweet Bella was able to successfully deliver! I would usually pick this if I see this on a sandwich menu. And I’m happy to say that Sweet Bella‘s Philly Cheese Steak was a homerun 🙂

Mini Chocolata (P ) TWG Paris-Singapore Tea (P100 )

Because their Chocolata Cake was voted “Best Dessert for 2007” by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, and was listed among the “Top 10 Best Cakes” at the dessert critic blog, Dessertcomesfirst.com, by Lori Baltazar, I just had to try this 😛 First of all, I absolutely adore the presentation, especially the butterfly made of chocolate! The cake was fudgy, thick & dense. It wasn’t sweet at all! Which is probably why it bagged the best dessert award. It seems as if slightly sweet has become the new preference for chocolate cakes among the young, especially the young-at-heart.

Mini Pearl (P295)

Another dessert I had was another best-seller from Sweet Bella–their Pearl cake, which was a pink guava mousse filled with flambéed mango on chiffon cake. I was hesitant to try this at first, but when I finally gave in to the pink temptation (I was easily drawn to the pink color, it being my favorite color :P), I then understood why that was one of their best-sellers. Unlike their Chocolata cake, which you will eventually get suya halfway through, this will make you keep your fork on your hand. The amazing combination from the slight sourness of the pink guava to the sweetness of the flambeed mangoes created a wonderful melange of flavors that is light, refreshing & utterly amazing. It has now become one of my favorite desserts & apparently, so as the Philippine Daily Inquirer! 🙂

Singapore-based tea company, TWG (The Wellness Group)’s Paris-Singapore tea is described as a distinguished green tea enhanced with fragrant cherry blossoms & red fruits. A sensual & sweet tea of reminiscence. This went very well with the cakes I had, thanks to one of the waiters’ (Rey) recommendation.

I love the soft, plush sofas at Sweet Bella. Not to mention the abstract art pieces hanging on the wall. I also especially love the tile walls in the bathroom! 😛 It’s a wonderful place to hang out at, especially with the girls 😉 It’s also a plus that the cafe has free WiFi.

I had a pleasant experience overall. Though the prices are a bit high, the quality is outstanding. Overall, I give Sweet Bella a 5 out of 5 spoons.

Sweet Bella Dessert Cafe

Forbeswood Heights, Burgos Circle

1221, Fort Bonifacio

844-0680/ 392-7571