We had the pleasant surprise of being able to try out the Black Box menu of Lolo Dad’s for our visit. The MLA Black Box Culinary Challenge is all about

“Teams being given a Black Box filled with mystery ingredients including prime Australian beef, sheepmeat or goatmeat, seafood, spices, fruit and vegetables as well as dairy products and stocks. The teams are given one hour to devise a 4-course menu using all of the ingredients. The meal is prepared the following evening and is judged by a panel of international chefs at a gala dinner. Points are awarded for taste, skill, creativity and artistic merit. ”

The fourth round of the black box challenged has Lolo Dad’s emerging as the overall winner from 9 team. Lolo Dad’s will be representing the Philippines in the Global Black Box Challenge in Dubai this month!!!

Their winning menu :

 Compressed seafood

Compressed seafoods, Fish mousse and Salmon citrus jelly, Micro greens and herb panini

 Seafood broth

Poached lobster and Prawn dumpling, mushrooms and saffron broth

 Roasted Pigeon

Seared duck liver and Roasted pigeon breast with Lavender scented waffle



 Rack of Lamb

Oven-roasted rack of lamb

 Goat\'s cheese

Gratinated goat cheese with honey, Chev’s cheese bar and Tomato marmalade

 White chocolate brulee

Poached white chocolate brulee praline, Macadamia nut meringue tart and Strawberry ice cream

 Chocolate miniatures

Miniature of chocolates


Php 2,800.00 + 10% charge

Lolo Dad’s skill and technique is very much apparent with the Black Box menu. The Compressed Seafood and Fish Mousse were excellent. So much seafood flavors bursting from a small dish. The Seared Duck Liver and Roasted Pigeon Breast was another standout. Each single piece of ingredient on the plate down to the blueberries, mandarin orange and waffle brought together a medley of tastes that just worked. Same goes for the Goat’s Cheese and Chev’s Cheese Bar. Each ingredient complementing each other.  The Rack of Lamb didn’t disappoint, perfectly medium-cooked.

Chef Ariel was not in the kitchen on our night’s visit. He was off in a culinary competition and because of this I think, the kitchen was sadly a bit heavy on the salt on our night’s visit. Our Seafood Broth, Rack of Lamb sauce and Foie Gras appetizer sauce were all a bit salty. Flavors are there, but just with more salt that night which can easily be fixed.

 Lolo Dad\'s

Summary : Lolo Dad’s is not cheap but it is one of those places I would visit again and again. Excellent food that’s not boring. It’s not your traditional steak and potatoes place. The food in Lolo Dad’s explores and plays with ingredients. I also love the ambience, cozy and intimate with just a few tables. And for those who enjoy their wine, corkage is free so bring a good bottle. As said, a good bottle of wine will always enhance the flavors of the food and at Lolo Dad’s you can.

* The Black Box menu is still being offered so try to visit Lolo Dad’s if you can.

Rating : Love it
Food   : A lot… for the mainstays, the rack of lamb.

Lolo Dad’s Cafe
899 Pres. Quirino Ave.
cnr Leonguinto St. Malate
Tel : 522 2941
Closed on Monday lunch and Sunday


Lolo Dad\'s appetizer sampler 

Some things come in small packages, in this case appetizers. We love sampler plates as our greedy little selves could try out a lot of food in one seating. Our visit to Lolo Dad’s was no exception. We ordered their appetizer samplers which were 8 different dishes and served in quadrant dishes.

Seared Duck Foie Gras and Goose liver Terrine – Cranberry compote, Highland greens and Black vinegar reduction

Romaine Caesar salad – Whole anchovies, crispy Pancetta and six minute boiled Egg

Mesclun salad with Salmon Gravlax – Feta cheese, Kalamata olives and warm Garlic-Bacon vinaigrette

Soft shell crab Parmigiana – Mixed salad leaves and horseradish aioli

Lightly seared Ahi Tuna and smoked Prawns – Grilled watermelon and artichoke salad

Double Espresso soup – Individual presentation of creamed tomatoes and mushrooms with fleuron

Seafood Pot-au-feu – Boiling seafood broth flavoured with saffron baby lobster and steamed fish dumpling


Appetizer menu Php 2,440.00 +

 The double espresso soup is still the best. The last time I had eaten in Lolo Dad’s was years back and the espresso soup was the one which stood out in my memory. Right balance of creaminess and flavors from the tomatoes and mushrooms served in small cups to leave you with the taste but wanting more…. for the next visit. The lobster was perfectly seasoned.

We also had to try out their oysters. They were pricey but the oysters with foie gras was worth it. Fresh, plump oysters matched well the rich butter taste of the foie gras.

Baked Oysters with Foie Gras on fresh Angel Hair Pasta Php 145/pc

Garlic and Herb Gratinated Oysters with Parmigiano Regiano Cheese Php 120/pc

Fresh Oysters with Lemon Granite and relish P95/pc


Rating : Love it

Food : Double Espresso Soup, Baked Oysters with Foie Gras on fresh Angel Hair Pasta, Lobster


Hans and Norbert, proprietors of Aubergine had been executive chefs in Shangri-la and Mandarin respectively. They setup Aubergine to be the practicum restaurant of their culinary school, the International School of Culinary Arts and Hotel Management (ISCAHM).

Wine Cellar

The restaurant itself reminded me of a hotel coffee shop. Big and brightly lit with yellow lights. The center had a wall to ceiling glass-encased wine cellar.

Aubergine Kitchen

From the dining area, one can actually see the entire kitchen through a large glass pane window.  Several ISCAHM students were busy preparing ingredients from their stations.

We opted to share the degustation menu to have a wider sample of what Aubergine has to offer.

Degustation Menu

Seabass mousse with ratatouille

Amuse Bouche – Seabass mousse with ratatouille

Oysters Delight

Oyster Delight… Variation of fresh, baked, fried on mango-papaya salsa, pouched in vinaigrette, sauteed with prosciutto on mascarpone-dates cream and Tempura Oysters, accompanied by garden green’s in Raspberry dressing – The oysters are of good quality. Plump and clean taste to the oysters.

Beef Consomme

Mushroom flavored beef consomme with crepes strudel and vegetable julienne – I didn’t like this. It’s basically strong beef broth with some ground meat in it. The strong beef broth got to overpowering midway and I couldn’t finish the whole bowl.

Duck Foie Gras

Pan seared duck foie gras on celeriac-apple Mousseline and balsamic-port wine reduction – Best dish on our menu. Foie gras is of very good quality. The foie gras was firm and smoothly textured. It just melts in your mouth.

Calamansi Sherbet

Calamansi sherbet – Creative way of serving the sherbet. Dry ice has been placed inside the teacup which was giving out smoke.

Grilled Australian lamb loin

Grilled Australian lamb loin, gratinated with porcini mushrooms on red wine-pommery mustard jus, served with rosemary and truffle infused potato gratin and glazed vegetables – Grilled to medium. The meat was done was just right. The sauce was creamy and complemented the meat.


Grand Marnier ice parfait with chocolate-mascarpone fritter and mango jubilee – The Chocolate Mascarpone fritter stood out among this dessert trio. Tasted like tiramisu because of the mascarpone.

Pralines and Macaroons

Coffee or tea

Php 1950+

On the side, we also ordered Watermelon with Brie, Arugula and cherry tomatoes salad.  ( forgot the actual name).  I didn’t think the watermelon complemented with the brie cheese. The flavors clashed between the sweet watery watermelon and the earthy creamy flavors of the brie cheese. The Brie cheese by itself was excellent though. I liked mixing the brie with the arugula salad, cherry tomatoes and candied walnuts.

Watermelon Salad

We also had an order of Shrimp Bisque which is very good. I would recommend this any day over the Beef Consomme.

Shrimp Bisque

Summary : Aubergine is classical fine dining. Perfectly executed dishes, artful plating and very attentive service. It’s just like having a meal in a hotel restaurant.  But as with a  hotel restaurant, the atmosphere is stuffy and formal. I rather have a very well-cooked meal in much much more relaxed surroundings. I had a server pulling my chair for me everytime I stood up!

Rating  : Like It
Food    : Foie Gras

32nd and 5th Building
Fort Bonifacio, Taguig
Tel : 856-9888

La Cabane Chill-Out Area

French countryside ambience in Boracay. Chill-out lounge  for cocktails drinks on Friday nights. That’s what La Cabane came across as. And it’s just along Pasay Road.

La Cabane Wine Nook

We wanted a quick light lunch as it’s a weekday so we couldn’t eat much. We had a soup and an entree to share. Light enough so that we don’t fall asleep going back to the office. There was complimentary bread which I loved. Its brown crusty bread and was good accompaniment for the terrine, soup and stew.


Terrine – I liked how they made terrine. It was chunky and not processed thoroughly.

Onion Soup

Onion Soup – Good onion soup. Balanced flavors.

Lamb Stew and Couscous

Lamb Stew and Couscous- This is a light stew. A bit on the watery side. I was thinking it would be thicker but still they way it was made was quite good. It had that bite of spicyness to balance the stew.

La Cabane is affordable french food without scrimping on the quality. The place is done nicely and had this french beachy theme on it down to how the tables, plates and napkin holders matched. The cutlery are also of the good kind. The owners of the place, French guy and Filipina wife who is also the chef has done a nice job with the place.

La Cabane

1020 A. Arnaiz Ave. (formerly Pasay Road)

Makati City

Tel : 844 0377