Sunday, November 09, 2014

Peter Lee's Tea House

We were staying at the Luneta Hotel over the weekend and while the room rates were reasonable, we found the food prices at their Cafe Yano just too expensive!

The menu with a cartoon of the owner

We also didn't want to use the car because we couldn't fit my sister and her family, which would mean they'd have to take the taxi in erratic Manila traffic. Aristocrat and the rest of the Roxas Boulevard restos seemed so far away so we decied to walk around TM Kalaw and prayed we'd find a decent place for lunch and dinner.

Luckily, we saw Peter Lee's Tea House. Truth be told, it looked like it had seen better days but we were hungry so in we went.

My mom wanted the shabu-shabu and it was her birthday weekend, PLUS she was paying so we agreed. It was good but nothing extraordinary. I preferred the pork and tofu.
Robert Jaworski was here! 

For dinner, I wanted to go to San Agustin's Ristorante delle Mitre but it was too far. Maybe next time?
So we found ourselves in Peter Lee's again.
Fish lips soup

Fried chicken

Sweet chili crab


Beef with broccoli

Steamed fish

We ordered a variety of food, all of which was quite tasty. And the service was friendly and efficient. Best of all, very affordable! I think the bill for 6 people was under P3,000

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Overnight at the historic Luneta Hotel

For my mom's birthday, she wanted to try out Luneta Hotel, which was originally built in 1918  and was regarded as one of the most elegant hotels in Manila. It was one of the few buildings that survived World War 2 but fell into disrepair over the years. 
Old photo of the original hotel from the website

Fortunately,  its new owners restored and retrofitted the hotel with the approval of the National Historical Commission and after 7 years, it reopened in June  2014.

The weird thing was, we couldn't find their website or contact number. We tried a number we found on the web, but it turned out to be a different hotel.
 Luckily for us, we were able to find its official website at
I think the staff were still getting their bearings when my mom made a phone reservation because the price quoted for the 3 rooms was different from the one we were to pay when we got there.

The rooms had very modern amenities like LCD TVs, a digital safe, and a refrigerator
It's a good thing they didn't have any other guests at that time so we were able to get 2 executive rooms and 1 deluxe room at their promo prices of P3,850 and P3,050 respectively. That's good for 2 people and 2 kids with breakfast. On their website, the regular price would be P5,500 for the executive room and P4,400 for the deluxe room.

 The only difference I could see between the two rooms was that the executive rooms were slightly larger, had a view of Luneta Park and had a bathtub. The deluxe rooms had windows that faced another building at the back of the hotel.
 Check out the chic toiletries from L'Occitane.
The toilet and bath were very clean and new.
Minibar had wine and  Perrier . Ooh lala! 

No instant coffee here, just TWG tea!

The 2 Summit bottled water were  free, thank goodness!

The new owners decided to keep the rooms as they were so the halls are rather narrow. They removed the spiral staircase but added an elevator.

  BUT the main advantage of the deluxe room is that it didn't face T.M. Kalaw road which was rather noisy at night. The rooms do not block the noise outside so if you're a light sleeper, I suggest you pick the deluxe rooms. I was in the executive room and I hardly slept at all because I could hear a radio or loudspeaker blaring from Luneta Park all through the night!
 The rooftop has been turned into a bar called Filomena's Garden.
Exterior of Filomena's Garden.

The staff who was cleaning the 6th floor when we got there informed us that the tiles on the walls were from the original building and were integrated into the redesign of the walls.

Old steel grilles from a Church in Malabon adorn Cafe Yano on the first floor

 Beside the hotel is the old Luneta Theater, which is now the dormitory where the hotel's staff stay.
 And on the other side of the hotel is a huge skyscraper that dwarfs what was once Manila's tallest building

 For breakfast, one can choose brewed coffee, or hot chocolate. They also gave us some tea biscuits to munch on as we chose our Filipino breakfast
 The meals are huge! I was quite full after eating 4 pieces of longganisa, 2 eggs and a cup of rice.
 Mama had the beef tapa. It's a good thing this was complimentary. Otherwise, expect to pay P585 for all this.
 Fruits in season to end the meal. We decided to have our other meals outside either at  Family Mart or a nearby chnese restaurant because the reviews on the web weren't too favorable and the prices were prohibitive. I think a full course meal was at P800+ per person!
 One of the cool activities you can do here to take advatage of the beautiful facade is to wear vintage-looking clothes and take black and white photos!

 I was sleep-deprived that morning so I wasn't able to art direct these photos like I wanted to.
 Take some from your room's porch, too, and pretend you're in Paris!
All in all, an overnight stay is fine at the discounted rates if you're a history buff.  While the facade and lobby are beautiful, I wish the rooms had more touches of the Old Manila. Maybe some vintage paintings or photos? Also, if they want more people to dine at Cafe Yano, they should really look into smaller, more affordable meals. Maybe just 2 pieces of longganisa, 1 one cup of rice, and coffee for P200? Most importantly, they should sound-proof the windows! 

Tip: Stay in the cheaper but quieter deluxe rooms if you're a light sleeper.
       There's no pool so you might want the executive room with the bathtub.
       Be prepared for heavy traffic if you go via Roxas Boulevard.
      We didn't experience any ghostly apparitions during our stay so don't worry!

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Random adventures in food

 My aunt sent us a big slab of smoked salmon and I thought I'd make a salmon and cream cheese spread just like the one Chef Jessie Sincioco of 100 Revolving Restaurant makes.
 I made the first half of the salmon as instructed in the box, cooked in butter and lemon. It was okay, but I added lots of fried garlic for an added kick!

For the sandwich spread, I bought cream cheese and spring onion.
 I just chopped the salmon up and added the cheese and spring onion. It was good, but not as good as Chef Jessie's.
 One of my favorite restos when I'm sick of the usual fast food is Bacolod Chicken Inasal. The food is always flavorful and the prices quite reasonable. I love their Batchoy (solo with egg, P85)
Lemonade at P59 to slice through the MSG :D 
I've also tried their chicken combo meals and I left feeling very satisfied. In fact, the only thing I didn't like is that their buko pandan dessert has kaong or nata de coco bits. I'm a purist. Just the coconut and gelatin, please!
Another old reliable is French Baker. I always went here back in my college days when I felt like I deserved a reward. They are a tad pricier than most fast food restos, but the food is consistently excellent, just don't ask me if they're really French!
 You can order anything on their menu and I bet you'll be satisfied! Mama ordered the steak sandwich (P110) and she said it was excellent.
 I always order the Burger steak. The beef is so juicy  and the serving is so generous! Really worth it at  P125!
They've also jumped onto the cronut bandwagon but my mom was hesistant to buy a lot for fear of being disappointed. We really shouldn't have doubted French Baker. This was one of the best I've tasted! And at just P68, the best value for money! 


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