What Paolo Eats

TamGu Grill

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My side of the city isn’t exactly where you’d find the “most happening places”. Because of the lack of places to go to, when something new opens, the most intense feeling of excitement immediately runs through my body. With that said, you can only imagine how excited I was when the other day, my grandmother told me that there was a new Filipino restaurant in Paseo Arcenas – so excited that I managed to convince her that we would try it out that same day.

The new place is called TamGu Grill, which is located right across La Marea. I initially believed the term TamGu to be a mix of the owners’ names or something like that, but when I asked the waitress what it really meant, she said “Tambal Gutom, sir”. How… clever. Haha. Anyway, its tag line is “The Only Native Restaurant Southside of Cebu” (I don’t know how true this is), has free WiFi, and gives you your first order of plain rice for free!

We had the Tinolang Isda to start, which I had 2 bowls of. I don’t normally drink soup that has fish in it, but I liked this one. I think the tomatoes and onions, which there were a lot of, helped.

I knew I wanted Gambas even before we stepped into the restaurant, and was happy that their menu had it. I wasn’t so happy with how it tasted, though, as it was too sweet for my liking. I was expecting something spicy.

The Beef Steak Tagalog was also served on a hot plate, which surprised me. I can’t emphasize enough the fact that I’m not a food critic, but I found the beef to be quite bland. It also would have been better if there was more sauce.

I had Maja Mais for dessert, which is made from coconut milk, cornstarch, and sugar. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted bad Maja, and I hope I never will. As one of my favorite Filipino desserts, I will forever hate anyone who makes bad Maja, and to put it simply, I don’t hate TamGu’s maja maker. Haha.

What Paolo Thinks:

TamGu Grill is located at Paseo Arcenas, Banawa.
They are open from 10am to 2pm, and accept large orders & event reservations.
For inquiries, call them at 268-9488.


Written by paoloberdin

November 21, 2010 at 8:31 am

Balamban Liempo

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One night last week, the official Facebook account of Balamban Liempo added me after it voted for What Paolo Eats in some contest I’m part of (which I will discuss later as I’m surprisingly currently not shameless enough for self-promotion). I would browse through their pictures every single night thereafter, and regret it greatly afterward because I would get the worst pangs of hunger. Mental note: never look at pictures of food late at night.

Last night, I was looking at Balamban Liempo’s pictures again, and was salivating at the perfectly cooked pork belly literally smothered with great amounts of herbs and spices, when I realized that I couldn’t take this foolishness anymore (HAHA). I had to touch the liempo with my bare hands and taste it it my mouth… I would end the days of just looking at it on the creen of my laptop! So I asked our driver Manong Tata to buy liempo (there are so many branches already, there’s bound to be one where you live – the nearest to my house is the one in Capitol), and waited quite impatiently for him to get back.

I hurriedly ran down to the kitchen when I learned that Manong Tata had come back with my lunch and was greeted by grandmother, who was angry at me for buying food even though we already had lunch. I had to reason out that I had been craving for Balamban Liempo for days already, until she calmed down (the liempo was PHP 175, but I was expecting it to be PHP 160 – maybe because it was for take-out or they’ve simply increased their prices).

And there it was, in all its liempo-tic glory. I would’ve secretly shed tears of joy if there weren’t any people around me. Paired with an ice cold glass of Coke, I had an undeniably terrific lunch… which I shall now send to burn in calorie hell by going to the gym.

What Paolo Thinks:

NOW AVAILABLE 1/2 Balamban Liempo for just 90php @ Balamban Liempo at Larsian Fuente ALSO AVAILABLE! The Balamban Liempo Solo Meal! 1/2 Liempo, 4 Puso, 1 8oz Softdrink for 115PhP Only! Sulit Meal for Two 1/2 Liempo, 8 Puso, 2 8oz Softdrinks for 145PhP ONLY!Available @ Larsian Fuente Branch ONLY! For Orders and Deliveries Kindly Contact 09334055045 or 09238305196 Thanks!

*Our Group Meals!

Good for 3 to 4 Persons

1 Balamban Liempo
15 Puso
1 1.5 Liters Softdrinks

270PhP ONLY (Dine-In Price)

Average Cost Per Meal Per Person (If you are four) = 67.50PhP/pax

Delivery Price => 300PhP ONLY

Average Cost Per Meal Per Person (If you are four) = 75PhP/pax

Good for 5 to 8 Persons

2 Balamban Liempo
30 Puso
2 1.5 Liters Softdrinks

540PhP ONLY (Dine-In Price)

Average Cost Per Meal Per Person (If you are eight) = 67.50PhP/pax

Delivery Price => 570PhP ONLY!

Average Cost Per Meal Per Person (If you are eight) = 71PhP/pax

Good for 10-15 Persons

4 Liempo
50 Puso
3 1.5 Liters Softdrinks

For 995PhP ONLY! (Dine-In and Delivery Price)

Average Cost Per Meal Per Person (if you are 15) = 66PhP/pax

We Deliver 4 Liempo for FREE!
We Deliver 3 Liempo but we will charge you 30PhP
We Deliver 2 Liempo but we will charge you 40PhP
We also Deliver just 1 Liempo but we will charge you 50PhP

*You can add Liempo, Puso or Softdrinks if you like.
*Available @ our Larsian Fuente Branch ONLY.

We also deliver in IT PARK if you want Balamban Liempo to be part of your Midnight Lunches because our Larsian Fuente Branch Grilling Time is at 10:00AM-12:00MN. We also Deliver “Puso” and 1.5 Liters Softdrinks right in your Building or Office.

We also cater to all BPO Companies and Non-BPO Companies outside of I.T. Park.

FOR DELIVERIES! Just contact us @ 09226205921 or 09334055045

Written by paoloberdin

November 18, 2010 at 5:00 am

Posted in A La Carte, Filipino Food

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The Hotel Elizabeth Grand Opening

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If you’ve read my Hotel Elizabeth post on What Paolo Writes, than you’ll know that we had dinner there after the fashion show. I was expecting hoping that the food would be plated becuase I hate having buffets at big events. There are just so many people, and it sort of gets messy and too crowded (*flashback: Garland 2010, where people left Waterfront and  went to I.T. Park to eat). When Tita Nikki told us to go get food already before a stampede would ensue, I took no second chances and went to the buffet room right away.

There were different kinds of salads as appetizers. Not being a fan of vegetables, I had the shrimp salad, which was delicious (or maybe I’m just biased as I love anything shrimp), and which I did not get to take a photo of.

Yang Chow Fried Rice, which I will always choose over plain steamed rice

Vegetable Gratin – I hate carrots, so I only got broccoli and beans, which are two of the few vegetables I can stand.

Linguni Al Vongole – regretting not getting this – I hardly had any space left on my plate!

Duck A’Orange – which is really just like orange chicken, only with a different kind of bird and a fancier name. Not my type.

Roast Lamb Chops With Mint Jelly – lamb isn’t exactly a common food here in the Philippines, is it? I just had to have this, and it was tender and delicious!

U.S. Ribe-Eye With Peppercorn – I love steak and I loved this! It was cooked medium well, just the way I like it, and the gravy was fantastic!

My plate – I am such a meat eater, no? There’s even some lechon there, which you probably cannot point out haha. My stomach didn’t have much room left for dessert, but seeing that there was strawberry panna cotta (two of my favorite things), I had some and was immediately brought to sugar heaven.

Thank you to Ronald, Tita Bom Bom and Tita Nikki for inviting us!

What Paolo Thinks:

The Elizabeth Hotel is located along Archbishop Reyes Avenue (beside the Isuzu showroom and across One Acacia Place). It has a walking distance of only 2-3 minutes from Ayala Center Cebu. For inquiries and reservations, call (032) 253 4966 or visit http://www.ilink.ph/elizabeth-hotel-cebu


Written by paoloberdin

November 17, 2010 at 4:27 am

Posted in Buffet

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La Veranda’s New Menu – I

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City Sports’ La Veranda has a new menu! Forgive me for being all excited over the news, but I just found out a while ago. I dropped by the place because my brother was practicing basketball there, and my mother & sister were going there, as well. While waiting for my family to arrive, I sent them text messages – happy ones saying “City Sports has a new menu! There are so many new dishes on it!”. My sister’s reply? “I know”. Apparently, I was the last one to know. But whatever, it was still good news for me as I was getting tired of their old menu.

See, the new menu now has pictures! Very appetizing ones, at that. It took me a while to decide what I wanted to have. I was getting pressured since I don’t like making waiters wait for me, even though waiting IS part of their job description (they’re not called waiters for nothing, no? The waiter told me to take my time, mind you). There were so many new and delicious-sounding names to choose from, but I wasn’t feeling so adventurous, so I ordered pork sisig. It’s picture, which had a whole lot of onions, helped my decision-making.

Look at that, the sisig in all its sizzling and bubbling glory. It was fantastic, especially with the mayonnaise and a jillion drops of hot sauce, but it was too oily. I swear I must have scooped about two spoonfuls of oil. This is definitely not for the weight and health-conscious. I feel like my arteries have been clogged! I will kill myself if I don’t work out at the gym tomorrow.

I am the self-proclaimed biggest iced tea fan in the world, so seeing that La Veranda already had bottomless iced tea was great news for me. I should seriously stop drinking copious amounts of this, though. With the amount of time I spend in the gym, I think I’d probably be quite skinny now if it wasn’t for my great affinity for iced tea… and food, in general. Haha.

My sister always has this every single time. Grilled pork belly may seem like a boring dish for some of you, but trust me, La Veranda’s is one of the best I’ve ever tasted. The dipping sauce is incredible, too!

I wanted to have the Vanilla Landslide for dessert since it sounded very, say, dangerously sinful, but they ran out of vanilla ice cream. I chose strawberry, instead. Anyway, the waiter didn’t know what a Vanilla – or in this case, a Strawberry Landslide was since he said no one else had ordered it before (yey for me!), so thinking that I was in for a surprise, I got it.

I was disappointed when it arrived as it was only ice cream with crushed Oreos. I was expecting something more… un-ordinary. But ice cream is ice cream, and ice cream with crushed Oreos is even better, so I enjoyed it, nonetheless.

I cannot wait for the next time I get to eat at La Veranda. I’ll definitely be more willing to try out something I’ve never had before.

What Paolo Thinks:

Written by paoloberdin

November 15, 2010 at 3:18 pm

Maki Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar, Iloilo

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If you’re in Iloilo, you should definitely eat at Maki Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar. On DAY 3, we had their lunch buffet, which not only had Japanese cuisine, but also Filipino dishes. With two of my favorite kinds of food, how could I say no (mind you still full from breakfast, which was also a buffet)?

This is the table of Japanese food. There’s sashimi and different kinds of maki and tempura and Japanese dumplings and a bunch of other dishes I didn’t know what were, but were all good, nonetheless. I know quite a number of people who don’t eat sashimi since it’s raw fish, but those people are completely missing out. I love sashimi (dipped in wasabi-loaded soy sauce – yummmm) , and I put loads and loads of it on my plates (take note: plates – plural form).

There was incredibly tender chicken teriyaki also, which I made sure to get second servings of.

This was what I ate the most: grilled squid! Why it’s yellow, I don’t know and care. All I know is that I almost cried tears of joy upon tasting the squid, with tons of onions and tomatoes stuffed inside them.

Pork tonkatsu

This was a pleasant surprise: they gave us oysters, which weren’t on the buffet table

For dessert, they had a halo-halo station with homemade ice cream. I don’t eat halo-halo, so I settled with two bowls of ice cream instead – vanilla ice cream (not homemade) which I topped with real ube jam, and ube (homemade), which tasted great. It had just the right amount of sweetness (haha these pseudo-food critic comments are making me laugh hahahahaha). Seen in the picture is Benj, who consumed his vanilla ice cream right down to the last melted drop.

What Paolo Thinks:

Maki Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar is located at the Smallville Complex, Diversion Road. For inquiries and reservations, call (033) 321-3885.

Written by paoloberdin

November 8, 2010 at 4:53 pm

Breakthrough Restaurant, Iloilo

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On our second night in Iloilo (which I blogged about HERE), we had dinner at Breakthrough Restaurant. Many people had recommended it to us, and the parents, feeling celebratory after Ateneo de Cebu’s victories, decided to be all festive and triumphant at Breakthrough.

Breakthrough is located right by the sea, which must probably be lovely during good weather, but it was raining hard when we were there, so it was terribly chilly and slightly wet. We had a long, LONG table good for 50 people who could not stop talking about the games we had just watched.

Their specialty, as you may already have figured out yourself, is seafood. One kind of seafood that Iloilo is famous for is Diwal, which we didn’t get to try, unfortunately. Diwal is also quite pricey at 500 pesos for a dozen (the shells are small, mind you). I did, however, manage to take a photo of these mollusks (yes, totally makes up for not being able to taste them =/ ), which are said to be only found in the Capiz region.

Breakthrough has tanks and tanks of fish, shells, crabs, and etc., so you can be assured that whatever you’re eating is fresh.

Oysters which I’ve had occasional cravings for ever since Sam taught me how to love them in Manila. Haha.

I will be eternally grateful that I’m not allergic to shrimp…

…and squid! I love eating grilled squid with the onions and tomatoes stuffed in them.

If you read What Paolo Writes, you probably know that I am a huge fan of kinilaw. I don’t like the kind that has skin, though, and to my slight unhappiness, some pieces of Breakthrough’s kinilaw still had the skin on them. I picked the ones that were skinless, and it was gooooooooood.

I initially did not find the idea of tuna sisig appealing, but after I tasted it, I completely changed my mind!

Breakthrough Restaurant is located at Villa Beach, Arevalo, Iloilo.

Phone number: (63 33) 337 3027


What Paolo Thinks:


Written by paoloberdin

November 7, 2010 at 4:21 pm


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*This entry is a re-post from my main blog. Read the original post HERE.

My friend Neil of Nfblogs invited me & another friend, Jaye, to a taste test lunch at Zao Resto earlier this week. Food is one thing that I will never, ever turn down (aside from, say.. well, I can’t really think of anything else), so of course I said YES (emphasis on the capitalization).

Before this, I had only been to Zao once in my life, which I think is pretty unbelievable as the place is only a two minute car ride from where I live. I didn’t even get to taste any food the first time I was there – it was a Halloween party – so I was definitely in for a surprise. I was told that Zao had a new menu, and we were there to try it out.

Neil was already there when I arrived and was talking with Paolo Ong (thank you again, Pao!), Zao’s resident chef & whose parents own the restaurant. It also turned out that Paolo and I have quite a number of mutual friends – but that happens a lot here. Cebu is such a tiny place that if it was a social network, everybody would have mutual friends with each other! Anyway, from the quite confusing exchange of words with Neil and Paolo (confusing because every time Neil would say “Pao”, Paolo and I both thought we were the ones being addressed), I learned that Paolo graduated from the California Culinary Academy and was heavily influenced by the food in San Francisco.

I’ve never been to San Francisco (or to the States, for that matter. Thank you nursing profession for getting my Visa application denied… TWICE), but the food there must be good since all the dishes we feasted on, to put it quite bluntly, blew us all away. Cebu seems to have a shortage of places that serve huge portions of good food at affordable prices (you know, places where all the hip young urban professionals *note hint of sarcasm*- and I, the young urban bum – would love to go to?). The go-to place for almost everybody is I.T. Park, but the next time someone asks you where you guys should eat, you should say, “ZAO!”. Take my word for it.

Thanks to Jaye, who is one of the prettiest girls I know, for keeping us entertained with her stories and to Neil for inviting us!

This was that I ordered, the El Guapito - grilled Mexican chicken with chipotle mushroom sauce, topped with caramelized onions and green bell pepper, served with garlic rice. That's a number of my favorite things in one plate. I had a difficult time finishing it, by the way, since it was HUGE.

Neil's Suck and Blow. Pretty shocking name, huh, until you realize that it's actually pastel de lengua (ox tongue) with mushroom and garlic rice serve on a sizzling plate. Most of Zao's dishes actually have pretty catchy names, such as Vampire Weekend and Highschool Days (both I cannot wait to try next). You'll have to visit Zao for yourself to find out what those are!

Jaye's Gambas - I'm a big fan of shrimp and an even bigger fan of gambas. My verdict? BEST. GAMBAS. EVER. HANDS DOWN! The sauce is incredible but it tastes even better with hot sauce!

I enjoyed Zao’s food so much that I’ve already told my mother that we HAVE to eat there this weekend.

What Paolo Thinks:

Zao Resto also has a grilled buffet of delectable chicken, beef, pork and seafood grilled to perfection, with bottomless drinks such as iced tea and pineapple juice..

Zao Resto is located at Andres Abellana cor. Julio Diaz St., Cebu City.

They are open from Monday to Sunday, with business hours of 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM for lunch and 5:00 PM – 11:00 PM for dinner.

For inquiries and reservations, call them at 254-3811.

Don’t forget to add Zao on Facebook by clicking HERE.

Written by paoloberdin

November 3, 2010 at 2:03 pm

Posted in A La Carte, Buffet

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