Friday, May 31, 2013

Outback Grill: More Than Just a Dining Experience

When a restaurant is brave enough to proclaim itself as to having the "Best BBQ" in Davao, it's hard not to take notice. Davao is home to a lot of BBQ and grilled options so to call yourself the "best" comes with its own perks. Outback Grill is one of those restaurants that are not shy to claim that they are the best. For a long time, I've been meaning to dine here but haven't had the chance to until recently. And given that I've read a lot of positive reviews about them in the blogosphere and via word-of-mouth, it's hard to contain my excitement.

The ambiance at Outback Grill is one of the most notable aspects about your dining experience. There is a Safari theme to the whole restaurant - in fact, the waiters and waitresses are donned in Safari-themed costumes as well! You can also find several emblems of animals commonly found in a wildlife safari and the most notable crashed jetplane with the pilot still hanging off of the plane! I admit, that was one of the things that piqued my curiosity when this restaurant just opened.

The food, however, is the star of this dining experience. Since we were dining as a large group when we went to Outback Grill, we decided to go for one of their Family Set menu. For a set that is worth P1,299, we got the following items: Chuck Wagon Ribs, Chopseuy, Kinilaw, Pork Sinigang, Unlimited Rice, and a pitcher of cola. This set is good for about 6-7 persons! Great deal, right? In fact, we were unable to finish all of it despite the fact that there were about 7 of us! The best part of this set is the Chuck Wagon Ribs. When I had my first bite, I was quickly reminded of Lyndon's ribs. Tender meat that is very well seasoned. In fact, the meat is so tender that you can use the fork to cut through it!

We also got to witness the much talked about fire dancing exhibition during our visit to Outback Grill. I believe the fire dancing is available only on Fridays and weekends; hence, make sure to visit around those days if you want to get live entertainment while enjoying your meal. But that's not all - the waiters and other staffs at the restaurant also treated the customers to a dancing routine. They performed about 2-3 songs that truly helped to liven up the atmosphere! In fact, some of the customers joined in on the dance! It's a lot of fun to experience that, which is truly what sets them apart from other BBQ and grill restaurants in the city!

Outback Grill is located along Bacaca Road, Garcia Heights, Davao City.

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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Chicken Charlie Review

There has been a host of chicken specialty restaurants shooting up in Davao City, each one with its own unique offering. But there are two restaurants in particular that had been constantly pitted against each other - BonChon and Chicken Charlie. Both take pride in their crispy yet juicy fried chicken that I've admittedly fallen victim for. I've tried BonChon Chicken once but had been to Chicken Charlie more than a few times. During my first few visits, I was impressed with the chicken and that explains why I keep coming back. But on my most recent visit, I've encountered a few changes, both good and bad.


One of the first things I've noticed upon entering Chicken Charlie is their bigger and more spacious restaurant. This is a good indicator - it means business is booming as they expand commercial space to accommodate more customers. I also appreciate the combination of neutral and vibrant colors to create a lively dining atmosphere. As always, they have comfy chairs so you can relax while waiting for your food or enjoying your meal. 


Another noticeable change at Chicken Charlie is the several addition to their menu. One of my qualms about this restaurant in the past is the lack of variety in their menu. However, they do have a wide range of new items now, even including salads and pork chops, which is clearly beyond their usual crispy fried chicken offerings!

But remember what they say that sometimes less is more? In an attempt to offer more items on the menu, the quality of food at Chicken Charlie might've suffered a decline. I was all praises about their crispy chicken in the past; however, I was not too excited about it this time. The chicken was very dark brown - a clear sign that it has been cooked in an oil that has been re-used one too many times. Thus, there is a burnt aroma and flavor to the surface. Thankfully, the inside is still juicy! But still, that is no excuse... we came to the restaurant expecting (and paying for!) quality chicken, so I think that is what we should get as well! 

We also ordered the Soy Garlic Tempura, which is one of the new items on the menu. I was quite excited to give it a try but was disappointed to find out that for the price we paid, we only get two tiny pieces of shrimp with the rice! If only we found out that it was going to be a small order, we would've opted for the Chicken Combo meal instead. Thankfully, an order comes with rice and drink so you don't have to pay for those separately. And while we're at it, their red iced tea is a refreshing and truly satisfying drink to accompany your meal! 

By the way, we also ordered a bowl of potato wedges for P55. This was a delicious treat and a great way to whet our appetite while waiting for our meal. But it's too bitin... a larger serving would've been better served! And yes, I think it's a little overpriced for the size of the serving.


The service was the worst aspect of this dining experience. I'm not sure if it's the fact that there were a lot of customers at that time, but that is no excuse. We were promised that our orders will be served within 15-20 minutes. I did not keep track but it was certainly more than that. If my tummy would not have been craving for some food, I think I wouldn't mind the wait but it was an unfortunate timing. The other people on the table next to ours were also impatiently checking on their orders from the waiter, too, so I guess it wasn't just me. 

To conclude, Chicken Charlie still has one of the best chicken in Davao. A lot of Davaoenos clearly love it because every time I go to their The Peak branch, they are almost always full. Hopefully, they remain consistent with the quality of their food so that these patrons will have more reasons to visit them again. Or else, they will find themselves drowned by competition.

Chicken Charlie is located at Ground Floor of Gaisano Mall The Peak, beside Ineng's and Hollywood Burgers

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Baklava from Zabadani Cafe

When I go on a food trip, I always look forward to the end of each meal because of the dessert. It's a bit appropriate that desserts are served last because it's like ending your meal on a sweet note. Before, though, I tend to associate desserts with chocolate. I know - I have an incurable obsession for chocolates! But over the years, as I've come to explore a wide range of cuisines and restaurants, I've finally opened myself up to trying other desserts, meaning non-chocolate desserts.

One of the desserts that I've recently tried is also something that I've been meaning to for a long time. I don't think we already have an authentic Greek restaurant in Davao so I thought I might have to wait until then to try Baklava. This is one of the most famous dishes to come out of the Greek cuisine and I've been hearing and reading a lot about it.

Thankfully, when I went to Zabadani Cafe one time, I found out that they do have Baklava in their desserts menu. To my delight, I went ahead and ordered it. This dessert is made of several layers of pastry sheets (think lasagna, only that this one is sweet). Every layer consists of a mixture of chopped pistachio nuts that are sweetened with either honey or syrup. The end result? A sinfully delicious treat for your taste buds that combines lots of texture, sweetness, and aroma (indeed, I can definitely smell the pistachio nuts in it!).

I forgot to take note of the price per slice at Zabadani Cafe but it is less than P100. Definitely worth it given how rich and sweet this dessert is! If you're keen on trying out new desserts, be sure to head on over to Zabadani Cafe and ask for Baklava.

To learn more details about Zabadani Cafe, you can check their Facebook page or official website here.


Zabadani Cafe
The Peak 4th Level Gaisano Mall of DavaoDavao City
(beside Kublai Khan Mongolian Restaurant)
Contact no.: (082) 301-6065

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Sunday, May 19, 2013

S&R Opens May 28 in Davao City

Are you looking for a new shopping experience in Davao? Within the past two years, several new malls have sprung up in the city offering more dining, shopping, and lifestyle options for the local residents. Most of these malls take pride in bringing in international brands to the city so that we, Davaoenos, will get the opportunity to shop for these popular brands without traveling to Manila or other neighboring cities in Southeast Asia.

A new shopping destination that is scheduled to open its doors to Davao soon is also making the same promise. S&R Membership Shopping promises to offer world class shopping experience right at the heart of the city. They guarantee a bigger and better shopping experience that reflects the roots of its American brand. Hence, shoppers at S&R will get access to imported brands that will not be available anywhere else in the city.

In order to give Davaoenos a preview on what to expect with its grand opening, which is scheduled on May 28, they have prepared a wide range of treats to those who will be there during the opening event. Members can avail of huge discounts on health and beauty products, freshly baked goods, and house wares, to name a few. On top of that, the first 50 members who will buy appliance during the opening day will be rewarded with a Phillips Audio Dock for FREE!

S&R places top premium on customer satisfaction. Hence, they are hoping to treat Davaoenos to huge savings, on top of having access to products that only they can offer.

If you're a member, make sure to be there on May 28, 2013 for the grand opening.

To learn more about S&R Membership Shopping, you can visit their official website here. S&R is located at MacArthur Highway cor. J. Rodriguez Sr. Avenue, Talomo, Brgy. Ma-a, Davao City.

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Disclaimer: This is NOT a sponsored post.

Friday, May 10, 2013

BBQ Bob Promo: Take-out Adventure

A few weeks ago, I featured BBQ Bob on my blog after I had an amazing dining experience there. I was hyping them up because it is not too often that I come across a restaurant or dining spot that offer reasonable prices that satisfy my cravings for good food. When I found out about their new Take Out Adventure promo, I knew it's something that I had to share to my readers.

BBQ Bob is giving their customers (a group of 4) the opportunity to win an Outdoor Package courtesy of PSD Adventures to any of the top summer destinations in the city. All you have to do is take out an order from any of their branches in Davao and take a picture of you and your friends enjoying your take-out.

For full details of the promo, you can check out their Facebook page. You can also follow the promo mechanics below:

Are you ready to enjoy BBQ Bob and get a chance to win a summer adventure package? Join now and experience your adventure right before summer ends! Promo ends on May 18, 2013.

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Banana Leaf: Bringing Fine Asian Cuisine to Davao

Banana Leaf is an international restaurant that has introduced the best of Southeast Asian dining to the local palate. Their offerings include a wide range of cuisines including Thai, Singaporean, Vietnamese, Malaysian, and Indian to ensure that Asian cuisine lovers will get their fill of authentic and satisfying dishes without the need to travel to any of the aforementioned countries. The authenticity of their dishes, which they proudly dub as their signature creations, stem from the fact that they source their ingredients from countries with which the dish originated from. Yet, they've managed to incorporate their own touch to these dishes to make them unique from other Asian fusion restaurants in the country.

Davaoenos are lucky to get the opportunity to sample their dishes as they open a new branch in SM Lanang Premier. I got the opportunity to try them for the first time when I went to SM last weekend. And it was surely one heck of a meal, if I must say.

The distinctive ambiance also helps to set the tone for the dining experience. They use a lot of the Asian colors and design elements ranging from white, to green, to beige. It is also clear that they took out a few design inspirations from a wide range of Southeast Asian sources and incorporated that into the restaurant's interior. If I had one qualm about their new branch in SM Lanang, though, it would have to be the small restaurant area. It can get a bit too crowded during peak hours (usually dinner time) with the tables being much smaller than I would've preferred, which can be a big deal if you're dining with family.

I got to sample a few items off of their menu, but I can assure you that there are quite a hefty amount of options in there. From delectable appetizers, to seafoods, to vegetables - there is something for everyone here.

First off is their Vietnamese Prawn Ball with Cheese (P 168) for appetizer. This one is a different kind of prawn ball from what I tried at Zabadani Cafe. It comes with more crunch on the outside and a soft (and warm) interior with the mozarella cheese oozing as you bite into the middle of each ball. If you're not big on salty foods, though, I warn you that the cheese filling can add a bit more saltiness to this dish. But they serve it with a dip that can help to cut a bit of that saltiness.

Another dish that I've tried at Banana Leaf in SM Lanang and one that I would highly recommend is the Stir Fried Oat Prawns Singaporean Style (P 338). The prawns here are cooked to perfection. There is crunch on the outside from the oats sprinkled all around the prawns while the prawn meat is juicy on the inside. It's also a good indicator that the meat is fresh! There is also a hint of spicyness to this dish, although it's very subtle that someone like me who doesn't eat anything spicy would still be able to enjoy this dish. In fact, I might order this again on my next visit.

Since both of the above dishes are not served with its own rice, I also ordered their Penang Fried Rice (P 168). This serving is good for 2-3 persons. To quench after the meal, Banana Leaf's Iced Milk Tea Hongkong Style is the perfect drink to sip. It is light and refreshing. Undeniably, one of the best milk teas I've had. You can get an order for P68 only.

With a slew of new restaurants in SM Lanang and in Davao, Banana Leaf deserves a spot among those that you need to visit. Our dining experience there was rather spontaneous. But I did not regret a thing. I will be back for sure.

Banana Leaf is located at the Ground Floor, fronting the Fountain area, of SM Lanang Premier.

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Friday, May 3, 2013

Java Jive

Davao is clearly saturated with coffee shops and resto cafes offering basically the same array of food items on their menu. Hence, entrepreneurs are always keen on looking for ways to offer something unique to their customers for a wider market reach and to establish a customer base. Thus, Java Jive opened with a new offering to the local palate that would soothe not only your craving for good food, but also relaxing music throughout your dining experience. 

I always pass by Java Jive on my way to the gym after work and it's piqued my curiosity - I have to admit. However, I haven't had the chance to go in and try them out until just recently. The main appeal of Java Jive is not only their ability to offer good food, if that is indeed the case, but also to be serenaded by Davao's local talents while enjoying your food.

One thing I noticed right away is the ambiance at Java Jive. Indeed, it is as laidback as you can get with dim lighting and comfy chairs (they have sofas, too!). The mellow music performed live by the artists set the mood of the place. In addition, they also have quite an extensive menu. And as a hardcore foodie, I scoured the menu to see what I can treat my palate to while listening to the live music.

My first order was the Tasty Tuna Pesto Pasta (P145). I had to note that this wasn't my original order, though. I really wanted to get the Pesto Farfalle but I was told that they didn't have the farfalle pasta, so what's the point. Thankfully, this dish was good. Not great, but good. Slightly overpriced given that they only used canned tuna. But since pesto is a weakness of mine, I can't complain anymore.

Also on the order was their Crispy Chicken Wings with rice. For something that is priced more than P150 (forgot to take note of the actual price), I expected better. Instead, we got 3 pieces of small chicken wings. The batter wasn't anything special. Plus, we also weren't served with gravy along with this meal even though the menu clearly indicated that an order comes with its own gravy. This was only the tip of the iceberg, so to speak, because when we ordered this on the counter, the attendant apparently forgot to take note of this particular order. After 30 minutes of waiting, we complained about our missing order only to realize that they did not get it. What a shame, right?

My only favorite thing about this dining experience at Java Jive was the Cookies N Cream Jazz Blended Drink. This one is milk-based and comes with a rich whip creme on top, along with sprinkles of oreo cookies. For someone who is a big fan of cookies n' cream, this gets my approval.

I am not keen on returning to Java Jive soon. Maybe if they'll improve their service and food quality, I will re-consider. I am counting on them to make these improvements especially since this business has great potential.

Java Jive is located at 1.18 Centron Bldg., Quirino Avenue corner Gen Luna St., Davao City.

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