Malls are the urban Filipino’s go-to place for weekend hangouts. Everything and anything from concerts, masses, to trade shows are hosted in malls so that Pinoys need not go far for a day out with the family or friends. With more and more restaurants opening in malls across Metro Manila, people aren’t limited to fast food franchises or popular brands when it comes to treating the family on a Sunday or binging on several dishes with your barkada. SM Aura continues to have a wide array of dine out options for any kind of occasion, whether you are hoping to impress a date, spend Sunday at the mall, or host a much-needed barkada reunion at a restaurant. Here are some places to check out on the next big weekend.
Triple O’s – Barkada Party
When it comes to birthday dinner or lunches with the barkada, it’s important for the celebrant to assure its guests both quantity and quality. Triple O’s, a restaurant spinoff of the White Spot Restaurant in Canada, generously serves thick burgers, stacks of fries, and large chicken pieces. Their Monty Burger and Bacon Cheddar Burgers sandwich a thick beef patty between two soft pieces of bread. The Monty Burger’s sauce melts in your mouth along with the other ingredients, while the Bacon Cheddar’s ingredients are distinct on each bite. If you feel like sharing a large meal with the group, the Fish and Chips will have everyone reaching out for more of the well-battered pieces. The Buttermilk Chicken is crisp on each crunch and the pieces don’t hold back on the meat. You can also pair the chicken with the Three-Cheese Pasta, an item exclusive to the Triple O’s in the Philippines.
Slappy Cakes – Bonding Time with the Family
Weekends are usually for family, but finding a restaurant comfortable enough for the kids can be tricky. Thankfully places like Slappy Cakes caters to any age group: children are free to make and shape their own pancakes, while adults can have a power breakfast of their choice. Their menu serves filling breakfast favorites that both the child and child in you would enjoy. The Toad in a Hole keeps things simple yet tasty with the eggs seamlessly cooked into the sourdough bread and flavored with a hint of cheese. Siblings may end up fighting over a shared order of the Elvis, a sandwich that doesn’t hold back on the peanut butter, bacon, and banana. It’s the perfect partnership between the sweet and savory, and the banana gives a softer bite to the toasted bread. For a more “adult” take on breakfast, the Slappy Benedict gives you a hearty yet healthy meal of sautéed spinach, ham and poached eggs. The Slappy Benedict doesn’t overload the palate; instead, each component fills both the palate and tummy up, as the bread’s toppings complement one another.
Le Family – Try New Things on a Date
Vietnamese food is both familiar and unfamiliar to the Filipino palate. The country is fond of barbecued fare, but Vietnamese seasoning and preparations differ from our own, despite the shared cooking method. Perhaps that’s what makes Le Family the best place for a date: there’s the opportunity for a shared experience, and your own little adventure of new things to try. Le Family’s menu includes various barbecued items, such as Eels with Salt and Chili and Frogs with Salt Chili. Don’t let the “exotic” meats fool you—both dishes are appetizing in both appearance and taste, treating your palate to just enough spice. The eels are thinly sliced, well seasoned, and tender on each bite. The frogs aren’t difficult to eat and the leg portions are actually meaty. For a more familiar dish, there’s the Vietnamese Braised Fish that goes perfectly well with Le Family’s sweet coconut rice. After trying all kinds of flavors, the Plan Cake with Coffee cleanses your palate with a cool flan lying in a pool of Vietnamese coffee. You’ll be scooping through the flan or scooping the coffee as if it were soup.
NBA Café – The Boys’ Game Day Hangout
With UAAP season upon us, the guys are probably itching to cut work or class and catch the game with their buds. The NBA Café is still the perfect place for the boys to cheer on their favorite team, and not just for its obvious theme. Each order doesn’t hold back in serving and taste: for less than PHP 600, you can have a half slab of Baby Back Pork Ribs that come with a generous side of vegetables and sweet Kansas city or spicy Texas BBQ sauce. The ribs are tender and easily fall off the bone, and the half slab can be split among two hungry diners or four. The Lemon Brined Roasted Chicken is just as meaty and can be enjoyed without adding the parsley gravy. But those looking for a sweeter taste can dip the chicken into the gravy. The Apple Pie with Vanilla Custard is just as filling as the meat dishes; the crust is flakey yet holds the sweet and slightly sour apples inside. The vanilla ice cream on top is made extra decadent with the hardened chocolate at the bottom. The guys will definitely be eating in victory or in comfort, whatever the outcome of the game.
Merry Moo Artisan Ice Cream – Treat Yo’ Self After a Long Day
Merry Moo has maintained the same quality and consistency since its yesteryears back in Mercato. Regulars can always look forward to old favorites, but they can also anticipate exciting new experiments on different ingredients. If you happen to be in the Taguig area, you no longer need to wait till the weekend for a cup of Merry Moo. Their stall at the SM Aura food court lets you buy a cup or pint of Avocado, Polvoron, Toasted Almond Pineapple, or Salted Chocolate. Each flavor is the perfect comfort after a stressful day at work or the best treat for your self after finally getting that promotion. The Avocado’s freshness is obvious on each bite—imagine cold avocado, milk, and sugar in the smoothness of ice cream. Each spoon full of the Toasted Almond Pineapple gives a sweet tingle, and the toasted almonds enhance the overall taste. The Polvoron is perfect anyone looking for that creamy and milky texture and flavor; the polvoron chunks in between are a sweet, crunchy surprise. The Salted Chocolate isn’t overwhelming to the palate and is the ultimate indulgence after a difficult day. Whatever you’re craving for that day, you’re sure to get the right quality and enough variety from Merry Moo.