Sunday, January 15, 2012

Lolo Dad's: A Fine-Dining Winner

Among the fine-dining places in the metro, I am most curious to try Lolo Dad’s. Why? Chef Ariel Manuel, the man at the helm of the restaurant, has been winning competitions world-wide year in and year out; second, the place has really good reviews since opening its doors in 2000.

We intended to dine at a different restaurant but for 2 straight years we were turned down due to booked events. So two days before our weekend dinner, I phoned Lolo Dad’s and our party of 2 successfully reserved a table. There’s a lot of 2 going on in this paragraph. This is the best Plan B ever: the ambiance is nice, the food is excellent and to summarize, it’s the best fine dining experience we had… yet.

The restaurant is located in the busy and crowded Malate district. Not to worry, the short walkway and mini-garden in front of the restaurant transport diners to a quaint and romantic interior and separate them from the busy traffic in Quirino Avenue.

It is a fine dining place so expect to shell out load$ to fatten your selves up and be able to enjoy the food without thinking how many hours of toiling you saved up for a small slice of foie gras.

You have two options, you can order ala carte or go for a tasting menu of 2 appetizers, 3 main courses, a palate cleanser and 2 desserts for PhP 2600. These are generous portions so if you have a bottomless pit in the stomach and can appreciate good food, I recommend the tasting menu. If you opt for ala carte, you can order a regular portion or modest portion. My suggestion, if you go for more than 1 course, choose modest portion, if you want one dish only, go for regular. To cover more mileage, Person A and I strategized: I order ala carte while he goes for the tasting menu then we’ll just feed each other with morsels from our plate. Yeah we’re sweet and scheming, like that.

Off we start the meal with complimentary soft, hot bread served with herbed butter.

Bread tastes subtle yet creamy, perfect for the strong-flavored butter. Yummy!


Gourmet Salad of Lobsters and Prawns (Modest portion, PhP 325)

Mushrooms, feta cheese, kalamata olives and sundried tomato vinaigrette tossed in leaves. Cheese, leaves and mushrooms taste fresh. Lobsters and prawns rightly grilled and what makes it unique is the grilled-flavored dressing. This is a winner, love it.

Garlic Pimenton Prawn with Spanish Caviar and Grilled Chorizo on Vacuum cooked Cantaloup (from the Tasting Menu)

Really soft prawns complemented with the taste of the caviar. Person A and I will order it again. It’s his favorite.

The strong-flavored chorizo is tempered by the fresh flavor of the cantaloupe. Nice twist. This is good if you have like strong-flavored appetizers. I prefer something lighter to start my meal.

Main Course

For the 3-main course tasting menu, each dish is served a dish at a time. Since the lady ordered one main course compared to the 3 of the gentleman, the restaurant is gracious enough to give me a small plate so that I can share what my date is having while waiting for my dish to be served with his third dish. That’s one thoughtful move.

Duck Breast and Duck Liver (from the Tasting Menu)

Honey and macadamia nut oil glazed duck breast, pan fried duck liver, with cranberry marmalade, young lettuce and popcorn salad.

Duck breast with cranberry marmalade to the right, salad at the center and pan fried liver to the left. Duck breast is soft in the mouth and goes well with the cranberries. The liver is also awesome, lotsa flavor and melts in the mouth. Worth the order, is soft in the mouth and goes well with the cranberries. The liver is also awesome, full-flavored and melts in the mouth.

Scallops and Potato (from the Tasting Menu)

Truffle powder dusted diver scallops with three pea and sweet potatoes. The best! Every component on this plate tastes so subtle and good that if Person A gets to order only one dish from Lolo Dad’s, this will be it. The scallop is so soft and has that light flavor couple it with the very creamy mashed potato. Oh, don’t forget the truffle flavor, you don’t see it but you can definitely taste it.

The kalamansi sherbet palate cleanser is served on this cute pot cooled by dry ice. It’s so cool, literally and figuratively. Na-ignoy kami. And like true-blue curious (pakialamero) engineers that we are, we deconstructed the entire thing after finishing the tiny scoop. I was served with the sherbet, too. I find that generous considering that I did not order the tasting menu and by this time, they haven’t served my main course yet.

Wagyu Steak (from the Tasting Menu)

Roast Tajima Wagyu eye of rib eye and melt in the mouth oven-braised ox-tongue, goat’s brie cheese fried pie, shallots and mushrooms. Person A had it medium-well. The steak is relatively softer but I think the texture will be better if he had it done medium. It was still good though especially with the heavenly ox-tongue and the generously stuffed pie.

Herb de Provence crusted Rack of Lamb (Modest Portion, PhP 915)

Three cheese risotto (Roquefort, gruyere and parmesan), forty melted garlic and tomato confit. I went with the Chef’s recommendation to do the lamb medium. It was heavenly, the lamb was really soft, melts in your mouth kind and tastes awesome. (walang anghit! As in walang anghit!) . The perennial eyebags, child-like smile and small, crooked fingers express all the excitement.

The risotto is excellent with the old-cheese taste dominating. I find it too flavorful with my lamb. The modest portion is enough for one-person who ordered an appetizer. I had a hard time consuming it considering the 6 dishes I already tasted. However, since it tastes so good, I stuffed my little tummy para hindi sayang.

At this point, the restaurant had done everything excellently that we considered the hole in our pockets worth it. And we ate leisurely that we already clocked in 2 hours sitting down and spoiling our taste buds.


Yep, we’re not yet done. There’s always room for dessert. Coming from the cholesterol-high, I came up with this picture.


In a fine dining restaurant. Hindi na ako nahiya.

Chocolate cake, buttercake and ice cream (from the Tasting Menu)

Dark valrhona chocolate cannoli with fresh strawberries, the flavors are so subtle but the texture is silky to the tongue. The rosemary buttercake tastes like herb-flavored cake (lasang dahon-dahon, kakaiba) while the vanilla almond ice cream is a fine-dining version of Chef Ariel’s Selecta concoction years back.

Vanilla Cream and Mango Beignets (Modest Portion, PhP 180)

The plate comes with spice mango marmalade, rose syrup and parmesan ice cream. The vanilla cream and mango is mango float with very subtle flavor yet sexy silky feel in the mouth. The parmesan ice cream is a gourmet rendition of the classic cheese sorbetes from Mamang Sorbetero. The flavor is fresh and extra creamy with a nice texture.

Iced Tea (PhP  170)

Brewed iced tea with pineapple orange. The juice dominates the taste so we’re not too ecstatic about it. We also shared a can of Coke Zero with the wagyu and lamb. Gourmet cheating never felt this good.

In Summary

1. You don’t get to be the most coveted fine-dining place for 11 years if you don’t serve excellent food. I am now a Lolo Dad’s fan given that they haven’t done anything wrong from the appetizers to the dessert. This is the place to be, when you want extremely good food. Four thumbs up! A word of caution, if you are like most Filipinos who love strong-flavored dessert, you might not get enamored with the barely-there flavor of the restaurant’s fares.

2. The ambiance is standard for a fine-dining place, nothing spectacular. It is perfect to impress your date and if you have lotsa moola to spare (read: high roller na high roller) you can binge with your friends and family. Btw, Lolo Dad’s can improve by offering bag stools for its lady guests. I am a perfectionist so I nit-pick.  I was given a chair when Person A requested a stool for my bag.

899 Quirino Ave cor Leon Guinto St

P.S. I am in no way claiming to be a food reviewer. I simply love good food and share my restaurant experience. I hope you understand the amateur article. –(“,)-*wink* 

1 comment:

  1. I like the presentation of foods. The atmosphere is very inviting.

    best restaurant in Boston



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