In the race to provide more options for the Filipino consumer, Megaworld Corporation has opened several new dining establishments at Uptown Parade and Uptown in Bonifacio.
The mix is varied and caters to Filipino families and barkada, as well as office workers. Whether it’s American diner fare or authentic Korean grilled items, hearty bistro food or perfectly roasted char siu, Uptown has them.
This Korean restaurant at Uptown Parade is an original concept by the makers of Maple Tree House in Seoul, Korea, known as “one of the most popular restaurant brands for quality meat lovers.”
Unlike other Korean barbecue joints where guests are left to grill their meat orders on their own, Namoo is a full-service restaurant. Staff are trained to do the grilling, whether it’s the Aged USDA Prime Rib Eye or the Woo Samgyup (marinated short plate brisket slices). Each order comes with the requisite banchan (Korean appetizers) like crispy dilis, cold omelet, kimchi and sautéed spinach.
Namoo is sleek and modern, thanks to a mirrored wall lined with rows of gleaming green soju bottles. Near the entrance is a partially enclosed area with a row of slender birch tree trunks that lend the place a rustic touch.
Namoo House, tel. 9463733, 0917-5273898
Char Casual Dining serves Cantonese roasts by way of Singapore. The original branch in downtown Singapore has an industrial vibe with purposely unfinished concrete walls and sturdy metal chairs. Pops of color come from the chairs and the quirky artwork perched on wall-mounted ledges.
The franchise branch on the second floor of Uptown Parade retains this look, again with a mix of concrete walls paired with red bricks. Warmth comes from the thick slabs of wood that serve as tabletops. More wood, but as heavy chopping boards, are displayed like artwork on one wall.
Paintings by a Singaporean artist decorate the back (look for the one depicting the stand-off between a pig and a knife-wielding girl).
“We’ve been open only a few months but our bestseller is the same as Singapore’s,” said marketing officer Nikki Tuason. “It’s the char siu that comes in two sizes, 300 grams (P450) and 100 grams (P150).”
The pork is cooked in a special roaster. The result is a sticky, sweet meat glazed with a “special sauce that blends saltiness and sweetness.”
Also in the menu are Butter Prawns, Triple Roast and Minced Pork with Aubergine.
Char Casual Dining, tel. 8091452, 0917-5281284
Harry’s Café de Wheels
The delightful smell of freshly baked pies and warm meals wafts in from the open kitchen at Harry’s. This self-service Australian franchise offers a good range of specialty hot dogs, meat pies, soups, rice meals, pasta and desserts.
Popular among the hotdogs is the Hotdog de Wheels, an eight-inch Viennese smoked, sheep-cased frankfurter on freshly baked bread topped with caramelized onions and pepper, mashed potatoes, mushy peas, cheese and chili con carne.
Add a few pesos and you get a bag of French fries and iced tea—the latter brewed fresh every day and not too sweet.
The Classic Beef Pie offers meaty, tender beef chunks with fresh button mushroom and brown sauce encased in a crusty pastry.
The Tiger Pie, Harry’s signature pie dish, is topped with a thick layer of mashed potato, mushy peas and a special brown sauce.
Harry’s is the first franchise in Asia (outside Australia) of Sydney’s popular beef pie and hotdog place. It’s run by siblings Star, Emman and Jay Uy. They all trained extensively in Sydney to run the kitchen and bake breads and pies.
Star said: “What’s special about pies is that they are very handy and filling. You can have it to-go and enjoy it with friends. For the hotdogs, there’s a different kind of feel when you’re eating a good one. There’s a feeling of nostalgia. You remember your childhood.”
Harry’s can sit 40 to 50 people, including the alfresco area. At 8 p.m., all pies on display are sold at 50 percent off.
Harry’s, tel. 9061859
Good thing this American diner is open 24 hours; night owls have a new place to enjoy breakfast fare any time of the day.
Denny’s is also a perfect go-to hub for call center employees around the area and party-goers from nearby bars.
The All-Day Breakfast fare starts with LumberJack Slam, a heavy combo of two buttermilk pancakes, a slice of grilled ham, two bacon strips, two sausages, two eggs and a toast. It’s served with hash browns.
For those who want it light and easy, the Asian Chicken Salad offers refreshing greens topped with grilled chicken breast strips, cucumber, carrots and grape tomatoes, and tossed with sesame lime dressing and peanut sauce.
The Bistro Group’s newest franchise, Denny’s also serves Filipino breakfast such as Tenderloin Bistek Tagalog, Beef Tapa, Crispy Bangus Belly or Corned Beef and Eggs.
The after-party crowd coming from clubs and looking for something warm for their tummy might prefer a hot bowl of Arroz Caldo topped with chunks of chicken, garlic bits and boiled egg.
Only five months since its opening, Denny’s is now packed with diners daily, especially on weekends. Children enjoy their milkshakes, either Salted Caramel or Mango Graham shakes.
Denny’s can accommodate 200 people, including the alfresco area.
Denny’s, tel. 7723371.
This restaurant has been around since June last year. Like most of Chateau’s restaurants, Flatiron’s food has been consistently good and worth coming back to.
The Flatiron Brisket 6, for instance, has a comforting mouth-feel to it; the beef brisket is slowly cooked for six hours in aromatics, then nicely seared on the griddle.
Meaty and savory without being overwhelming, it’s served with buttered brown red rice and fresh cucumber-carrot slaw.
Another must-try is the fork-tender Corned Beef Skillet. Instead of the usual slab of meat, the corned beef is served cut in tender and juicy portions, sautéed with onions and tomatoes, and served with two sunny side eggs and potato rolls.
Flatiron is sleek, elegant and yet surprisingly laid-back, with a relaxing water fountain view right outside the restaurant’s big glass window.
The high ceiling, cozy tables and cushioned chairs make for a bright and inviting place.
“Flatiron is a casual restaurant inspired by New York’s melting pot vibe,” said chef Vicky Pacheco, whose menu consists of urban comfort foods from different culinary influences—Spanish, Italian, American etc.
Dishes include pasta, pizza, pates, burgers and steaks, to name some.
What makes the food special at Flatiron is the way the food is prepared and cooked. The steaks and burgers are cooked on the griddle (flat iron).
“The difference? The meat gets a good sear,” said Pacheco.