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Sunday, November 25, 2012

THE STORY OF THE LAMB BURGER & THE CAKE CLUB PART II



          We were having so much fun with the other bloggers, we didn't realize that what was supposed to be a Brunch experience at Cake Club had spilled over to lunch time. We were enjoying the ambiance so much, that time definitely flew by. Given the time, Melanie, who handles the Public Relations of Cake Club and Diamond Hotel, asked if we wanted to sample the lunch menu. 

     All the bloggers stopped and pointed to each other saying, "Umm.. Ikaw.." followed by another saying "Ikaw bahala..". Obviously the WANT was there.. But believe it or not, Shy type din kami mga blogger.. hehe.. 

      So after some SERIOUS arm twisting, we finally relented and said "Why not?". (Actually, it went closer to something like.. "Umm.. No it's ok.. ikaw.. You.. If you want, I'm ok.. it's up to you.. OH GOD YES PLEASE!!!"

THE LUNCH MENU

STARTERS


          Cake Club's Truffle Fries (P180) should come with a government sanctioned warning regarding addiction. I swear, I must have plowed through three or four of these silver chalices, as if it were the elixir of life. They were thin, crispy, admittedly slightly oily, but absolutely delicious. The fragrance of the truffle oil was soaked into the potatoes, making the truffle flavor innate to the fries, and it was sprinkled with just the right amount of sea salt, dampening any attempt of the oil to become too rich. 

    The flavor on the fries was so delicious, I thought it to be sacrilege to let these gloriously crisp potato wedges touch any other foreign matter, such as ketchup or even mayo. 



          One unique item on the menu that they let us try, was the Foie Gras Macarons (P150 per piece). Even though it tastes like biting into pure butter and fat, I'm not a big fan of Foie Gras, mainly because the psychological part of it being an animal's liver gets to me. But I had to admit, I was extremely curious how it would work in the form of a Macaron. 



         First off, the "casing" of the macaron was done splendidly. It didn't crumble to the touch, and break apart after a bite. It held together firmly and was the perfect vessel for what was inside..The Foie Gras. The concept of a savory macaron was very imaginative, and making it work with Foie Gras is even more commendable. The Foie Gras itself was pounded down into a rich cream, that, in my opinion, really didn't taste like liver at all. Maybe it was the color that influenced me, but it had sort of a mocha taste to it. But it was really quite good. Easily one of, if not THE MOST enjoyable Foie Gras dish I've had.  


MAIN COURSES



         I thoroughly enjoyed the Braised Veal Cheek Ravioli (P370). The Ravioli pasta itself was firm, and cooked just right, encasing the meat beautifully. The raviolis were topped off with a thick brown sauce, made from the drippings of the veal, that offered a punch of flavor to the dish.



    Tearing into the Ravioli revealed that it was packed with with meat. Considering how much meat was in it, and that it was supposed to be "Cheek", it gave me the impression that this young cow used to make our dish had chubbier cheeks than I did. 

      All in all, It had a delicious meaty flavor, and a very well executed dish.




          Among all the lunch items we tried that day, the Baked Salmon (P495) was what I liked the least. Which is funny because, I enjoyed all its components but one.. Let me explain. 

         The Saffron Rissotto was absolutely stunning. It had buttery and creamy, and would definitely give Chelsea Market a run for its money. The Fish itself was cooked perfectly. You slice through the fish and you get the gorgeous pink of Salmon, cooked through and through. My problem was the "Mediterranean Crust". I'm not sure what was exactly in it, but I'm guessing, capers, olives, and the like, which I'm not too fond of. The others enjoyed the fish as is, but me, I had to scrape that part off. 

      Admittedly, this speaks more of my personal taste than the quality of the dish.  


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             What I liked the most from the lunch items, was by far, the Slow Roasted Beef Belly (P395).The cuts of beef had a nice lining of fat to it, and was so incredibly tender, I was worried it would break apart when I lifted a piece of it with my fork. The thick brown sauce gave it a distinct, savory creaminess, and the dash of horse radish gave it a nice kick of acid. Definitely something I would order again.
           


            Spanky highly recommended that we order the Lamb Burger, and as I've mentioned in the past, when it comes to food, Spanky knows his-..you know.. umm.. "Stuff", and this was no exception. The gaminess of the ground lamb was evident, and was bolstered by the medley of Morrocan herbs and spices that the meat was infused with. The Feta and Parmesan Cheese, coupled with the Harissa Yogurt gave the burger a light touch of creaminess, that bounced off the savoriness of the meat. The only thing I couldn't make out, and I forgot to ask.. was the bun. It was a bit orange, and the texture was a little bit different, making me think it was some sort of Potato Bun or something. Delicious nonetheless!   

        Whenever I hear "Lamb Burger", a funny story comes into mind. During my college days, I made the long, traffic ridden drive from Taft to Antipolo. This was just before C-5 was opened, so you can imagine how arduous my route to get home was. Long story short, it was a practically a three hour drive just to get home.. EVERY DAY. 

       When I got home at around 9pm, I found myself absolutely famished. Being a picky eater made things a bit tricky, because when I got home, it was some sort of vegetable dish that I didn't care for very much. We had just hired a helper from Cebu, and she was the one that was attending to me, so I asked if there was any else she could make for me really quick.. Something like Bacon, Spam, Corned Beef, etc. The helper then says, "Sir, Baka gusto ho ninyo ng Lamb Burger. Meron po, bago bili ni Ma'am" (Sir, you might want a Lamb Burger. Your mom just bought). I wasn't going to say no to that even if I was already full, so what more when I hadn't eaten in Eight hours? 

      She asked if I wanted it with rice or bread, so I decided to make a full on sandwich of it, telling her to add Mayo, Cheese and Caramelized Onions. I washed up as she prepared my Lamb Burger, and I was elated to see it waiting for me when I went back to the table, around ten minutes later. 

      Without any hesitation or bothering to look at it (or taking pictures.. this was pre-blogger days and way before I met Rina.. I was in College so.. Umm.. she was in.. umm.. elementary? Aaaaaaanyway..) and took a bite so big, I swear, I nearly tore through half of it. 

       But there was a problem. I didn't get any meat. I got the quickmelt cheese I told her to put. The onions were there, as was the mayo. But I didn't get the meat. So I lifted the bun up, and found the tiniest meat patty I had ever seen, resting in the center of the bun base. Despite my valiant attempt to demolish the burger in one bite, I missed the meat completely. Of course, I got it on my second bite and.. well.. It tasted awful. 

      Ok, to be fair, it didn't taste THAT awful. It was a fairly decent (The onions helped a lot), especially considering it was homemade. But I was expecting an awesome Lamb Burger, and instead I got the burger that time forgot. I took a whiff of the patty, and it smelled like beef. There was no way it was lamb. I asked our helper who told her that the burger patty was a "Lamb Burger", and she said that it said so on the label. Annoyed, thinking that my mom got duped into buying a crappy product under false pretenses, I demanded she get me that burger and the original container it came in.

     Seconds later, everything made sense.. Because she brought me this:  


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          As it turned out, my "Lamb Burger" was actually an "uLAM Burger". 

      Despite my constant questioning, the helper gave no explanation why the "U" in her "Ulam" was silent. "Kala ko ganyan talaga ang pagka-bigkas" (I thought that's how you pronounce it) was all she could say. By then, I was too hungry to even care. With lower expectations, I ended up annihilating the burger in minutes. 

DESSERT

ICE CREAM
(P150 for 2 scoops)


          I think it's a mortal sin to go to a restaurant called "Cake Club" and NOT order any form of dessert. The started us off with their Ice Creams, beginning with the Ispahan (Not "Ispadahan" as I initially and erroneously called it, much to the amusement of Rina), which was an amalgamation of Rose Essence, Raspberry, and Lychee, which gave it a tart flavor. 

     Next was the  Super Moist Chocolate Cake, which Rina really loved.It had bits of chocolate cake in it, but the ice cream itself was a bit too dark for me, which is precisely why Rina went crazy over it. 

     The Baked Cheesecake was more to my liking.. It was milky, but peppered with the lightly sharp tickle of cheese.   

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             I'm a big fan of Apple Pie, so I couldn't resist the call of Cake Club's Apple Pie Ice cream. It was actually quite good, as it had the tartness of the pie, with caramelized apple chunks mixed into the Ice Cream. I think I would have liked this with a bit of whipped cream to help temper the acid on the apples though. Still delicious, nonetheless. 


            Though I have to admit, it was actually quite good, I couldn't make out the flavor of black sesame. No joke..I'm stumped right now on how to describe it. Even though it looked like I was eating liquid cement, I found myself scooping the stuff into my mouth at an increasingly  rapid pace. 

PASTRY SELECTION


              If the Incredible Hulk went to Cake Club and asked for a Macaron, they would give him the Vanessa (P250). It's a large Pistachio Macaron, filled with fresh strawberries and cream. Among the types of Macarons, Pistachio is my favorite, so I took a liking to this immediately.  


         The Guia uses a cheese cake base, but infused with the natural sweetness of Maple and walnuts. This could easily have gone overboard with the sweetness, but the balance turned out to be just right, making it an excellence way to end our epic meal. 


          As you saw in the cover photo, I was given a box of Diamond Hotel's Legendary Diamond Ensaymada (P120 per piece). This is the same ensaymada that Carlos Celdran said was like "Eating a Mercedes Benz with Butter". I totally agree with what Mr. Celdran said.. It's nothing short of Phenomenal. 

      It isn't so much that it stands tall as a Mercedes Benz among other ensaymadas.. It's just that it's so good, it makes the other Ensaymadas look like a Sarao.



            The topping has an phenomenal mix of creamy whipped butter and grated Quezo De Bola(?) Cheese, while the ensaymada dough maintained certain level of moistness. But it was the stunning ube filling that really change the game for me. I'm not an ube guy. I would have preferred this to be filled with Custard or something.. But ever since I took that first bite into the Diamond Ensaymada, I can't think of anything better to have inside an esaymada except for ube.

       This is what all Ensaymadas wanna be when they grow up. 

       This was an eye-opener for me, because The Cake Club proved to be more than just a pastry shop, as was my first impression. Their savory dishes are extremely creative, and more importantly, absolutely delicious. 

       It's a bit on the pricey side... For two people expect to pay around P1,500 or so. 

      Totally worth it though ;)  


PIX




See what I mean about the addiction warning? 
The amount of consumption of Truffle Fries began affecting my behavior.
But you gotta admit, that made a really pretty bouquet, didn't it?


With my seat mate, the lovely Guia, 
the amazing lady behind the awesome blog, Food Reviews Manila


    With my buddy Eugene, aka The Hefty Foodie

The Cake Club Menu

10 comments:

  1. The truffle fries "Bouquet" and the "uLAMB burger" story = WINNER! I really love your blog :))

    ReplyDelete
  2. epic "uLAM" burger story :))

    Not much a fan of fries but diamond hotel's version is an exception :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Aha! I get to have another photo spot in your blog, yehey! :) Thanks for the kind words, Mr. Picky Eater. It was fun reading your post and reminiscing that great meal. I am so craving for that ensaymada right now, I want to cry.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. haha inggit daw si Rina sa hair mo hehe

      That Ensaymada was really something else!

      Delete
  4. I miss eating the Guia! :) I love the Baked Cheesecake too, it almost made me cry.hahaha! I brought Diamond Ensaymada as my office baon one time. I ended up eating the 1st half in the morning and the last half in the afternoon. Grabe.haha.


    http://www.dekaphobe.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You have better self control than I, because mine never lasts more than 5 minutes in its entirety hehe

      Delete
  5. Why do I read your blog? WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!?!?! Now I want to go to Diamond Hotel to get ensaymada T_T

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Because of the unadulterated violence and the full frontal nudity? :) hehe

      Delete

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