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Monday, September 27, 2010

THE WONDER THAT IS COOKBOOK KITCHEN

 I hate when I leave my beanie.

              A workmate of mine told me about this place called "CookBook Kitchen" in Mandaluyong that supposedly has phenomenal food. Naturally, I immediately did a little background check to see if they had anything that would interest me and interestingly enough, there was. Their ENTIRE MENU. It's quite rare that I see a menu of a restaurant online wherein I want to try every single pork and fish dish on it. If you remove the "Garlic Shrimps" from the appetizers, that would make it 3-0, while getting rid of the "Menudo" from the Beef Dishes, would make it 4-0. That's still a pretty good ratio, though.

      Ahh.. but does it taste good? That's another question. As fantastic as their lineup of food was, I knew I'd never know the answer unless i tried it myself. As we were driving home from Schatzi's day out in Eastwood, I saw at the front of the new building the sign of "CookBook Kitchen". I was curious if that was the same one that my workmate was talking about. I used my detective skills (read: Facebook) to find out if it was the same thing, and as it turns out it was, saving me a trip to Mandaluyong. (It's not that far I know, but like I said, Rina and I enjoy going to Eastwood)

     So would their menu that sounds so perfect on paper live up to the standards of The Pickiest Eater In The World? Well, let's put it this way.. *Spoiler Alert* (That was for you, Kim).. I found out that within the walls of Cook Book Kitchen lies a dish that made it to my list of One Of The Best Things Ever..

   


           CookBook Kitchen and I got off to a bad start, Mainly because they didn't have an area for dogs, and they don't accept reservations for Saturday lunch. Despite their being located in Eastwood, (wherein practically every other restaurant has an Al Fresco area for guests with pets), I can deal with the dog issue. But I find it unreasonable not to accept reservations. But fine, company policy mumbo jumbo.. whatever. I grumbled to myself that this place better make a believer out of me. Due to Rina's schedule, we wouldn't be able to make it by 11:30 -ish like we usually do, hence the necessity of the reservation. So instead, we decided to just wait it out a bit and have lunch at 1pm . Which turned out just fine because by that time, It didn't seem to be packed.

         We were actually supposed to go with our friend, Toinked Reporter Glen, but she had some pressing matters to attend to, so she was unable to join us. A decision, I believe, she will eventually live to regret. (Sorry G hehe) 


Doesn't look like a kitchen to me hehe

            I don't know how the original CookBook Kitchen looks like, but the Eastwood branch wasn't exactly what I was expecting. Maybe it's just me but I was expecting a dainty feel to the place in the mold of Mom and Tina's, since the name (to me) suggested an "at home" vibe. Instead, it was more of a modern cosmopolitan restaurant where you could have a business meeting in. It was a nice place, though, And I was happy we were able to get a booth.

Was tempted to yell out "TENN-HUTT!"

           The only thing I didn't like about it was, behind that pillar where the three waiters are standing (pictured above)  are a couple more tables. As long as the waiters are attentive in that area (as you can see in the picture, they are very alert and on standby at all times.. almost militant, in fact hehe) I wouldn't have minded sitting there. But what you don't see (Rina wasn't able to get a picture of it), are a bunch of tables lined up against the wall with dirty/clean dishes and glasses, that kinda turned me off. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't exactly a big mess or anything like that, but I don't believe that sort of thing should be seen by paying customers. The dining area is should be for dining, right?

                And when I went to the bathroom, there was a Chef's jacket hanging by the door, which I found odd. Something you'd find at someone's bathroom at home, not at a restaurant.


APPETIZERS


The Soup and bread looked promising

               Soups are considered Appetizers, right? Then again, anything before the main course I consider Appetizers hehe. I wanted to try the Squash Soup, and Rina wanted to try the Sausage Chowder (not the other way around, believe it or not). 

Trying smelling your screen.

                The Sausage Chowder (P180) came in a cute little pot soup bowl, which even had a lid to it. The moment the lid was lifted, the meaty smell of the chowder was unmistakable. You could instantly tell that they weren't stingy on the ingredients.

Everything but the kitchen sink

            Everytime Rina lifted up her spoon, there was a whole bunch of bits of Sausage, corn, peas, and other stuff that came together to make a deliciously rich soup. Rina's comment was if you gave her the soup with an order of plain rice, that could very well have been her lunch, and she still would have left very satisfied. (of course he wasn't aware yet of the awesomeness that was yet to arrive on our table)


We were near the aircon so it kinda created a little soup shell on top..
Meaning the soup wasn't hot enough?

           The Squash soup (P120), was no where near as good a the Sausage Chowder, although it wasn't terrible either. The first few spoonfuls tasted slightly bland, but the more you eat, the stronger the flavor gets (does that make sense?)
               


Trying the soup out as a dip

                The soups came with Ciabatta bread, which I found to be disappointing. Even dipping it into the soup like I did didn't help the bread or the soup. First off, when they served it to us, It wasn't hot at all (I broke it open right away just to check, and  got a reprimand from Rina because she wasn't able to take the picture yet) and the texture was all wrong. Maybe I was expecting Buenisimo level of bread, and sadly, this was far from it. I was shocked to find out that they serve the Ciabatta with Balsamic Vinegar as a side order for P100 bucks, where as in Buenisimo it's free. (Of course, Cook Book Kitchen's prices are much friendlier over all, but the quality of Buenisimo's bread is far superior.)

ENTREES

                I may not have a degree in restaurant management, but Cook Book Kitchen did something that I found a little off. Within seconds of serving the soup dishes, the waiter immediately followed with the entrees. Kudos to the kitchen staff for getting out the order in such a timely manner, but I think the servers should have waited a few more minutes so we could enjoy our soup before bringing out the main courses. Leave it on a the hot plate, Gordon Ramsey style. Since I was analyzing every bite and taking down notes, I refused to rush myself, meaning by the time I got to my pork dish, it was lukewarm.

 
Honey + Mustard + Pork Steak = Pork Steak with Honey Mustard Sauce
If only math were really that simple, I never would have had to go to summer school


             But CookBook Kitchen is very lucky that their Pork Steak with Honey Mustard Sauce (P280) was pretty darn good, nonetheless. It seemed more mayo-ey than mustard-y (I'm making up words now, I know), But it had a hint of sweetness that melded well with the meat. Though it was Pork Steak, It wasn't all that oily, although it could have used a little bit more fat, but for a normal person (meaning I like to eat an abnormal amount of fat) I think it would be fine. Perhaps my only comment would be the plating was bland, and maybe they should consider jazzing the rice up a bit.. like making an option for garlic rice or butter pilaf? Cuz right now, it's technically plain rice (that wasn't hot anymore by the time I dug into it) with some parsley garnish on top (that doesn't exactly do anything for the taste). The price isn't bad, especially when you consider that it's two good sized pieces of pork steak, that could be shared between two people.



              My main draw to CookBook Kitchen was the Parmesan Crusted White Fish (P290, P180 "Petite") - and it did not disappoint. In fact, It did alot more than that. It blew my mind away completely. One bite and I was a goner. It was almost like I didn't want to brush my teeth ever again, unless my toothbrush was made with that fish.

         The fish (which i'm guessing was Cream Dory, another one of my faves),  was topped off with generous helping of Parmesan cheese. Once you dip your spoon into it, a rush of butter bursts out, and bathes the fish in it. The fish was baked perfectly, and it was much softer than I imagined it to be (Yes, I imagine fish). What really brings the dish over the top is the sprinkling of.. what I'm guesing is oregano, that gives the dish a wonderful herb-y kick to it - that makes taking one bite impossible. (I know I say that about alot of dishes, but this time i REALLY mean it) I kinda regretted getting the Petite size, but in the end, the size portioning was perfect for two people, leaving us filled but with enough room for dessert (there should ALWAYS be room for dessert).

 Almost gone!

               So I would like to officially welcome the newest member of the "Best Thing Ever" club.

                All hail, CookBook Kitchen's "Parmesan Crusted White Fish"!


DESSERT

Whoever this Kittin chick is, I wanna meet her.
   
         Rina took one look at the chiller, and immediately took a liking to Kittin's Scarlet Cake (P160/P100 "Petite"). And just like how I reacted to the fish, was how she reacted to the cake (The only difference was, her reaction turned me on, and my reaction might have turned her off). The cake was moist on the inside with the right amount of sweetness.
        
     The icing they used, i'm assuming is cream cheese based, mixed with sugar and spice, and everything nice. They sprinkled some chocolate powder on it, just to make it all nice and pretty. Rina is a chocolate lover, and though this wasn't chocolate at all (except for the powder), it was officially become one of, if not, her favorite cake.


She's "Puss and Boots-ing" me to get her another slice of cake

          I managed to get a few scoops in, but as you can see she commandeered my fork. What was I thinking, Ordering the "Petite" size. 


           There are so many other dishes that I wanted to try, but I know for a fact that every time I go to CookBook Kitchen, I WILL order the Parmesan Crusted Fish, and Rina will get the Scarlett Cake.


           Despite what my wife may say, I listen to advice, and thank you to Eric Sia for confirming something that I had been contemplating on doing for quite some time.. from here on end I'm going to be adding the menus of the places I go to just for your reference.. In case your taste isn't as picky as mine.. (which i doubt it would be) hehe

Check out there menu here:

                   

                           Page 1                    Page 2                 Page 3                               


If we painted him blue, we could be looking at the first first Filipino cast member of the 
"Avatar" Sequel.



         Lastly, I'm adding this picture not just so you guys could see Cook Book Kitchen from the outside but.. I don't mean to sound mean (well maybe I kinda do) but.. Just How long is that guy's neck??



11 comments:

  1. hi. ganda po ng blog niyo. baka po gusto niyong magsulat para sa site ko www.TipidTV.Net - email niyo po ako kung interesado po kayo TipidTV@yahoo.com

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  2. Thanks Tipid! I'm glad you enjoyed my site! I'll check out your website and get in touch! Thanks for dropping by!

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  3. you're a really cute couple <3

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    1. Thank you Anonymous! she's the cute one.. I'm the funny one hehe

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  4. had some pretty good laughs with your story. hearing your comment on the parmesan crusted white fish makes me wanna come back to cookbook kitchen! btw, you should try their walnut crusted fish w/ mango-ginger sauce. it also tastes good!

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    1. Thanks Kim!! I'll definitely give that a try!

      Too bad I didn't get to meet ya at Foodgasm! Oh well, perhaps at another event?

      :)

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    2. oh, same here. i arrived late so didn't get the time to interact. yes,see you at another event then! :)

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  5. you never fail to make me laugh richie! also rina is so cute with the empty scarlet cake plate! haha did you give in and got her another slice? you should have!!

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    1. Haha a week later I surprised her by bringing her some home :)

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  6. LOL this post is so funny :D The Parmesan Crusted Fish looks really tasty, can't wait to try it :)

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    Replies
    1. It's definitely something you MUST try!

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