Hey Handsome Restaurant

Bebek Penyet, Nam Tok, Kueh Dadar –  these words sound foreign and very unfamiliar to me. But the taste of the food at Hey Handsome were as comforting as eating Filipino or Chinese food.

Hey Handsome seems like a strange name for a restaurant serving Peranakan cuisine. Peranakan or Nonya cuisine is a mixture of Malay, Indonesian and Singaporean food. So how did they come up with the name?  In Singapore staff of the hawker stalls  try to attract customers by calling them “Hey Handsome” or “Handsome come.” Naturally I’ve never heard of this. I will be crushed if someone calls me handsome instead of sexy.

Hey Handsome restaurant-001

Hey Handsome restaurant-002

The kitchen is headed by Chef Nicco Santos of Your Local who had his training in Singapore. 

Hey Handsome restaurant-003

This is just their soft opening menu. They will have many more dishes in a few weeks. That only means more reasons to go back again and again. I actually know four people who have eaten twice in the few days that Hey Handsome has been open. Yes it’s that good but I’m getting ahead of my review. 

Hey Handsome restaurant-005
Hey Handsome’s menu

Malic milk is made with yuzu yogurt, passionfruit. Thai chilies and butter!! I wasn’t able to try it but my friend said it was good. I’m ordering this next time. 

Hey Handsome restaurant- Malic Milk P180
Malic Milk P180

I had a hard time taking pictures of their food because their plating was in 3D. Take for example this Bebek Penyet. It’s a quarter of crispy fried Peking duck that’s so incredibly tasty. Beside it is achar or spicy pickled carrot strings and their homemade sambal (chili sauce) which my two friends raved about. The duck itself wasn’t spicy at all. Let’s call this the star. 

Hey Handsome restaurant- Bebek Penyet P680
Bebek Penyet P680

The star was supported by nasi ulam or herbed rice. 

Hey Handsome restaurant- Bebek Penyet P680-001

If the rice and duck weren’t enough they added scrambled duck eggs topped with sauce. See not only was the plating 3D the flavors and textures were too. There was so much going on yet they all complemented each other. I think that’s the genius of Chef Nicco’s dishes. Not one thing overpowered. It was just bite after bite of goodness. 

Hey Handsome restaurant- Bebek Penyet P680-002

I’m the last person who will be a vegetarian but shockingly I enjoyed the Beetroot Paneer. Again the impressive layers of components in this dish. The star was the paneer (housemade Indian cheese) and mushrooms drenched with a sweet beetroot mixture. Its rice is a quinoa tabbouleh studded with herbs and veggies. Then there’s a yogurt sauce that’s also housemade. See that round thing that looks like a quail egg? It was actually a sphere of yogurt sauce topped with beetroot powder. Hello molecular gastronomy. Put a little of each item into their too small spoon and eat it and I guarantee you will either moan or grunt. Either way it’s a joy to the palate.  

Hey Handsome restaurant- Beetroot Paneer P480
Beetroot Paneer P480

By the time the Nam Tok arrived I was getting antok sa busog (sorry I had to). There’s very little beef short ribs I don’t like. Well those that are hard and chewy are obvious no-nos. But this was so tender, well marinated and just plain delicious. 

Hey Handsome restaurant- Nam Tok P580
Nam Tok P580

Everything so far was good but a taste of the seabass otah cooked in the most luscious coconut gravy with a hint of heat brought me to food heaven. On top of the fish was a perfect half cooked pickled egg. There were also shards of ikan bilis (dried anchovies) brittle on top of the fish. 

Hey Handsome restaurant- Nasi Lemak P645
Nasi Lemak P645

I thought the short ribs or duck would be my favorite but it was the fish that I will go back for. We were four who ate all these and we shared like friends do. But when I go back I’m having this dish all to myself. Fantastic!!

Hey Handsome restaurant- Nasi Lemak P645-001

Charles, one of the owners, treated us to all their desserts. Hands down my favorite was their housemade thick yogurt which had a texture akin to panna cotta with a hint of sweetness and tanginess. The yogurt had a sheet of chewy crunchy black sesame brittle and a sprinkling of beetroot powder. I was happy eating most of the yogurt until I hit the bottom where I found pool of black sesame paste. Naturally I scraped it all up. Now that I know the surprise at the bottom it presents a future dilemma. Should I stir it into the yogurt next time or eat it in its natural progression? 

Hey Handsome restaurant- Yogurt P200
Yogurt P200

I don’t eat durian not because of the smell but because of the funky taste of garlic. Yes that’s what I tasted when I tried durian once and when I made a mistake of trying a small piece of this deceptively good looking cream puff. But my two durian eating friends absolutely adored these cream puffs. All I can say is I hate durian burp.  

Hey Handsome restaurant- Durian Cream Puff P190
Durian Cream Puff P190

These crepes filled with gula malaka and shredded coconut meat on a bed of galangal cream was more to my liking. As my friend said, “Bukayo?”

Hey Handsome restaurant- Kueh Dadar P180
Kueh Dadar P180

Hey Handsome restaurant-018

We were already so stuffed when RJ came out of the kitchen and gave us another dessert they were developing called onde onde.  Think mochi meets pichi pichi filled with sweet gula melaka (palm sugar). This was the favorite of Miss Bukayo. Thanks Charles and RJ! 

Hey Handsome restaurant- Onde Onde
Onde Onde

After our meal I understood why some people have already gone back twice in less than a week. The seemingly complicated food tasted very familiar and even more comforting. Each dish was very well thought of. I can’t wait for the new dishes in the coming weeks. Now the big question is when do I go back?

From August 22-26 Hey Handsome will be serving dinner only from 6:00 to 10:00 pm. Please check their Instagram accountfor changes in operating hours.

Hey Handsome
Net Park, 5th Avenue Bonifacio Global City Taguig, Metro Manila
telephone: +632-946-3815

Xiu Fine Cantonese Dining Restaurant

Remember the original Lugang along Connecticut street in Greenhills? I remember it was the hottest and hardest table to get for the first few yeas. Now that Lugang has branches in the malls the owners reinvented the space to a fine dining Cantonese restaurant.

Continue reading “Xiu Fine Cantonese Dining Restaurant”

Mateo’s Restaurant Café

If you’re like me I learn about new restaurants through social media, whether through a post on Instagram or an article on the web. I’ve never heard of Mateo’s before even though I’ve most likely passed by it. My partner chose the place for our meeting because he passes by it all the time.

Continue reading “Mateo’s Restaurant Café”

Hong Kong: Matcha Heaven at Nakamura Tokichi

If you know me or are a regular reader of this blog then you’ll know I’m a matchaholic. The best places to get the widest choices of matcha products are Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong. When I’m in Hong Kong I track down the new places just to try them out. Some make it to my list of favorites while others become a one time experience only. 

Continue reading “Hong Kong: Matcha Heaven at Nakamura Tokichi”

South Africa: Lion Sands Safari Day 4

On our last day at Lion Sands I was surprised we got a last game drive before we checked out. We had already seen the Big Five in the previous days but we still haven’t seen the elusive zebra. Lo and behold the first animal we saw that chilly morning were young zebras.

Continue reading “South Africa: Lion Sands Safari Day 4”

#SayNoToNgilo with Sensodyne

It’s the height of summer in the Philippines and everyone can feel the heat. For me relief comes in the form of iced coffee. As long as it’s hot my choice of caffeine is a tall glass of iced coffee. From Manila to Hong Kong to Tokyo to San Francisco I always order iced coffee.

UCC’s Iced Sumiyaki Coffee and Coffee Frappe
Iced Coffee at Cafe Corridor in Hong Kong
Blue Bottle’s Kyoto Iced Coffee in San Francisco

As I write this i’m drinking two shots of espresso poured straight in to a large glass of ice. Nothing can be more refreshing on a hot, hot afternoon. But did you know not everyone can enjoy this? Some people can’t stand the feel of coffee, hot or cold, on their sensitive teeth. I’m lucky that I don’t have very sensitive teeth and can enjoy coffee. But I can’t bite ice cubes so that means I do have a little sensitivity too. It’s a good thing there’s a simple solution to this – Sensodyne®.

Do you want to know if you have sensitive teeth? Try the Chill Test. Take an ice cube of coffee in your mouth. If you can stand the chill, then you’re ok. If not then you’ve got sensitive teeth. Some may have a stronger reaction than others. 

There is hope for people suffering from this. Sensodyne® wants everyone to, as they call it, #SayNoToNgilo. To help, they have a whole range of products that both relieve the symptoms of sensitive teeth, through twice daily brushing, AND repair the damage that makes them sensitive in the first place. So, no matter how bad your discomfort is, there is hope. 

So why not give the Chill Test a try? Your teeth will thank you later. To take the test: You’ll be given a coffee ice cube to put inside your mouth. If you don’t experience discomfort, then good for you. If you can’t handle it, then you have sensitive teeth.


They’ll be around a lot of popular areas in the city, so go ahead and find the closest location through the Sensodyne® Philippines  Facebook page (@SensodynePH). The Ice Chill Test will happen until September 18, 2016 in malls and barangays around Metro Manila.

“SENSODYNE and the rings device are trade marks owned by or licensed to the GSK group of companies.”

This is a sponsored post. 

Conrad Manila

Conrad Manila, the newest 5 star luxury hotel to open in Manila will be accepting guests this June 15, 2016. I got the chance to see the hotel before it formally opened. The hotel has 347 guest rooms, two restaurants, a bar, and a cafe/chocolatier at the lobby. The hotel is located on top of S Maison, a high end retail complex. 

The first thing you see when you enter Conrad Manila is this beautiful hanging sculpture by Filipino artist, Leeroy New. 
Conrad Manila - Artwork by Leeroy New

The lobby and check-in counter are on the third floor. 


Conrad Manila-001

On the same level is C Lounge where you can have afternoon tea or coffee during the day and cocktails at night. 


Conrad Manila- C Lounge-009//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

You will see a lot of beautiful stone used all over the hotel. 

Conrad Manila- C Lounge-010//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Conrad Manila- C Lounge-002

The laser cut metal detail on the wall and ceiling was my favorite part of the lounge. The beautiful furniture was designed by our very own Kenneth Cobonpue


Conrad Manila- C Lounge-003

During the day you get a view of the Manila Bay. At night you will see the MOA Eye, the tallest ferris wheel in the Philippines at SM MOA By The Bay Amusement Park.


Conrad Manila- C Lounge

I loved this wood stool which they use to hold womens’ bags. 


Conrad Manila- C Lounge-005

Taro chips, nuts and olives for snacks with our cocktails. 


Conrad Manila- C Lounge-006

This was their temporary menu. They had a lot of unique cocktails and some with popsicles as ice. 


Conrad Manila- C Lounge-004//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Conrad Manila- C Lounge-007//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Conrad Manila- C Lounge-001//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Conrad Manila- C Lounge-008

After drinks we went to their Chinese restaurant called China Blue by Jereme Leung. Mr. Leung is Singaporean and is known for modern Chinese cuisine. The interiors were gorgeous! At the entrance there was a wall of sculptures by Indy Paredes. 


Conrad Manila's China Blue by Jereme Leung//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Conrad Manila's China Blue by Jereme Leung-001

They had several private rooms. The one on the right can be expanded to fit two tables. 


Conrad Manila's China Blue by Jereme Leung- Private Rooms

This was the largest room with a huge table for 18 pax. The lazy susan was motorized to ease the burden of spinning such a large surface. The charger plate was specially designed hand-painted bone China made for the restaurant. 


Conrad Manila's China Blue by Jereme Leung- Private Rooms-001

We sat in the best table in the restaurant with a view of the kitchen. 


Conrad Manila's China Blue by Jereme Leung1//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Conrad Manila's China Blue by Jereme Leung-0011//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Conrad Manila's China Blue by Jereme Leung-002

This was their temporary menu. 


Conrad Manila's China Blue by Jereme Leung menu

Conrad Manila's China Blue by Jereme Leung menu-001


Conrad Manila's China Blue by Jereme Leung menu-002

I found the gumamela iced tea too sweet so the server suggested I try the iced chrysanthemum tea which was unsweetened. I loved it! 


Conrad Manila's China Blue by Jereme Leung- Gumamela Iced Tea and Iced Chrysanthemum Tea
Gumamela Iced Tea and Iced Chrysanthemum Tea


Conrad Manila's China Blue by Jereme Leung- Cherry Tomatoes in Plum Vinegar
Cherry Tomatoes in Plum Vinegar

I’m not a fan of siomai but this was excellent. I’ve tried a lot of har kau in Manila and for me this was the best. The skin was thin and fine and the large pieces of shrimp were tender crisp. 


Conrad Manila's China Blue by Jereme Leung- Har Kau with Ivy Moss Plant P210 Sieu Mai P220
Har Kau with Ivy Moss Plant P210 Sieu Mai P220

They take as much effort with the presentation as with the preparation of their food. Be sure to order these two outstanding buns that taste as good as they look. 


Conrad Manila's China Blue by Jereme Leung- Steamed Truffle Mushroom Buns P260
Steamed Truffle Mushroom Buns P260


Don’t be put off by the black buns. They’re filled with exquisite custard with salted egg. Take a bite and be prepared to swoon. 

Conrad Manila's China Blue by Jereme Leung- Black Gold Egg Custard Buns P240
Black Gold Egg Custard Buns P240

I’m not sure about the serving size of the next two dishes. They could have been split for our big table. The fried mushrooms were something new to me and very addicting. 


Conrad Manila's China Blue by Jereme Leung- Stir Fried Shiitake Mushrooms with Sweet Vinaigrette P360
Stir Fried Shiitake Mushrooms with Sweet Vinaigrette P360 Crispy Seafood Spring Rolls P210

The soya braised fish was another favorite of everyone in the table. It’s a staple in Shanghai cuisine and can be eaten cold. 


Conrad Manila's China Blue by Jereme Leung- Shanghai Style Soya Braised Fish P390
Shanghai Style Soya Braised Fish P390

The radish cake needed tweaking but the taste of their signature X.O. sauce was spot on. 


Conrad Manila's China Blue by Jereme Leung- Stir Fried Radish Cake with X.O. Sauce P220
Stir Fried Radish Cake with X.O. Sauce P220

I highly recommend you splurge on this bowl of soup. It looks creamy but it was actually very light just like clear soup with a little squash puree if I’m not mistaken. The flavors were fantastic!! You can really taste the depth of flavors which you can only get from slow cooking. 


Conrad Manila's China Blue by Jereme Leung- Assorted Seafood 8 Hour Golden Broth P590 per person
Assorted Seafood 8 Hour Golden Broth P590 per person

I noticed that the food at China Blue was less oily and salty but not short on taste. Take for example the chef’s interpretation of hot shrimp salad which is usually swimming in mayonnaise. Giant prawns were fried to perfect timing and drizzled with some wasabi dressing and tossed with mango salsa. You get the same concept but with a much cleaner taste. 


Conrad Manila's China Blue by Jereme Leung- Crispy Fried Shrimp with Wasabi & Mango Salsa P890
Crispy Fried Shrimp with Wasabi & Mango Salsa P890

Tender Angus beef tenderloin without any baking soda which some Chinese restaurants use to tenderize cheaper cuts of beef. Quite peppery! 


Conrad Manila's China Blue by Jereme Leung- Wok Fried Beef Tenderloin Cubes with Hunan Pepper P950
Wok Fried Beef Tenderloin Cubes with Hunan Pepper P950

The Sweet and Sour Pork wasn’t on the menu but they wanted me to try it. They had a different way of preparing this. Instead of the thinner crunchy pork that I like a thicker pork tenderloin was used so it was quite meaty although very tender. It did lack the crispness I look for and they promised to work on it. 


Conrad Manila's China Blue by Jereme Leung- Sweet and Sour Pork
Sweet and Sour Pork

I was too full to appreciate the fried rice. Look at how non-oily it was. 


Conrad Manila's China Blue by Jereme Leung- Fried Rice with Signature X.O. Sauce P590
Fried Rice with Signature X.O. Sauce P590

I may be full but I’m never too full for dessert. There’s another compartment in my tummy saved for dessert. It was a pretty unique dessert for a Chinese restaurant. Instead of the usual mango pudding or mango sago we were served tart lime jelly with a refreshing mojito sorbet. The lace decoration was made with a charcoal powder. It didn’t have any taste so I didn’t bother with it. What really impressed me was the mochi ball stuffed with a banana and rolled in Oreo crumbs. It was so much fun to eat that I suggested they offer it separately too. 


Conrad Manila's China Blue by Jereme Leung- Lime Jelly with Mojito Sorbet and Oreo Banana Mochi
Lime Jelly with Mojito Sorbet and Oreo Banana Mochi

After dinner we continued to tour the hotel. The two giant wood pods behind us were actually modern bathrooms for the use of the ballroom nearby. The main ballroom can accommodate 1,500 guests. 


Conrad Manila-026//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Conrad Manila- restroom

The ballroom is on the left. Notice the flooring and sci-fi looking doors. 


Conrad Manila-027//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Conrad Manila-028

The executive lounge was still undergoing finishing touches. 


Conrad Manila- Executive Lounge

Hot and cold meals were located in this enclosed area. 


Conrad Manila- Executive Lounge-001

From the lounge you can see the pool and S Maison, the retail complex with a Director’s Club Cinema with La-Z-Boy Power Recliner XR+ seats and new restaurants like Uma Uma Ramen from Fukuoka, Japan and Chibo Okonomiyaki from Osaka. I’m most excited about the opening of Paris Miki, the biggest optical shop chain in Japan. I need new eyeglasses! 

Conrad Manila-029

Finally we went to see a couple of rooms. 


Conrad Manila-030

Room 4096 was a Bay View Diplomat Suite that measured 95 sqm. The room had a Nespresso machine as well as a bluetooth speaker. 


Conrad Manila- Bay View Diplomat Suite
Bay View Diplomat Suite

The bathroom had a separate shower and bathtub as well an in-mirror TV.


Conrad Manila- Bay View Diplomat Suite-001

The next room we saw was a 60 sqm King Premier Room. I covet that Herman Miller chair!!

Conrad Manila- King Deluxe Room

Conrad Manila- King Deluxe Room1

Take a look at the detail in the lighted closet. It had narrow shelves where you can store your things. What a beautiful hotel! Everywhere I look I saw the finest materials used. It’s truly a world class hotel that will be part of the Hilton group. 


Conrad Manila- King Deluxe Room-001

When I was growing up eons ago the only new hotels were Shangri-La Edsa and Makati. Now there are new hotels popping up left and right. That’s great for tourists as well as the locals. Now if we can only have a better airport with more than one runway. 

Conrad Manila
Seaside Boulevard corner Coral Way
Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City, 1300, Philippines
telephone: +63-2-8339999
Instagram: conradmanila
Twitter: ConradManila

South Africa: Lion Sands Safari Days 1 & 2

Our accommodation at Lion Sands Private Game Reserve included all meals as well as two game drives a day each lasting three hours. On our first day we arrived late and had lunch, rested a bit then went on our first game drive at 4:00 pm.

Continue reading “South Africa: Lion Sands Safari Days 1 & 2”