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Category Archives: One Archer’s Place

Adobo Connection


First thing to expect? Lines.

Today we check out a new restaurant that’s been making a big buzz recently, and has gathered quite a following on Facebook. The Adobo Connection recently had its soft opening in One Archer’s Place, and we’re here to see if it really lives up to the hype.

Dishes Ordered

  • Classic Pork Adobo – P99
  • Macaroni Soup – P19
  • Adobo Flakes – P49
  • Adobo Fried Siopao – P49

The Restaurant

Two mounds of tasty

Like all eating establishments in One Archer’s, Adobo Connection boasts a spotless and well-designed interior. With seating for a maximum of about 80, they are able to fully maximize their real estate. The furniture consists of mostly wooden chairs and tables, and brick and marble walls, giving the whole restaurant a cozy, suburban feel. It adds a little urban to its design with nice lighting fixtures and a TV running music videos for ambience. All in all, it’s a very nice place to sit and eat for awhile, even with the serpentine lines and massive crowds.

The Food

Two mounds of mainstream

After being impressed by the stunning restaurant design, the next thing I encountered was the food. Being of limited funds, I had to resort to only one full meal, the classic pork adobo, and three small sides.

Classic Pork Adobo is the cornerstone and flagship dish of Adobo Connection, which features two pieces of pork adobo with a cup of white rice. My verdict? Meh. It was a mainstream dish, one that I could find at any other side canteen in the country. Heck, my mom makes a better adobo. It’s not that it was bad, but that it was overly praised by all recounts I had heard.

Bargain dining at its finest

Next in the lineup was the macaroni soup, which consists of a bowl of chicken broth mixed in with macaroni noodles and chopped vegetables. At P19, I wasn’t expecting much. But for an add-on, it’s not bad. Value-wise, it ranks off the charts, and taste-wise, it was exactly what you would expect from a macaroni soup. It tasted a bit like it came from a can, but at least it came from a brand that I probably like, so I was pleasantly surprised.

Golden-Brown Not-so-delicious

Third came the adobo fried siopao. In a phrase, “I wouldn’t recommend it”. The serving size isn’t the problem; each of the three golden orbs of fried dough and adobo are just the right size, which is about three-quarters of the palm of my hand. My issue was with the taste. When I get adobo, I expect something that screams soy and vinegar, which is a nice meaty flavor. Instead, the shell of the siopao is sweet, and the insides taste more like asado, with a sauce reminiscent of the sweet barbecue types. If you’re looking for a fried treat, this fits the bill appearance-wise, but don’t expect to have those expectations met once you bite into it.

Best thing on the menu

The last dish (which arrived after about eight minutes, well above average) that arrived were the adobo flakes. Now if you do ever go to the Adobo Connection for lunch, this is what you should be ordering. Adobo flakes is two cups of adobo fried rice topped with scrambled egg bits and crispy adobo tidbits. It was hands down the best item on my order list, mixing the strong savory taste of the flakes with the subtle sweet-and-sour of the rice. At P49, this is a steal, and should be on your receipts.

The interior is terrific. The food…

If there is something that really stood out in Adobo Connection, it’s the speed of service and price of the food. None of my meals went over P100, but I didn’t feel like there was something missing afterwards. And given how quickly the food gets to you (two to three minutes a dish), you’d still have time to find another place to eat before your break ends!

Adobo Connection has the game down in terms of speed and price. If they can find a way to perfect the taste of everything, then they’d be set for a long run of success.

The Verdict

Restaurant: Even with the crowds, Adobo Connection’s restaurant design allows you to have a comfortable and fun eating experience.  Rating for the restaurant: 9/10.

Food: The food at Adobo Connection is good, but it also tastes like something I could make just as easily at home. However, it is served lightning-quick at an affordable price, which at least gives the pedestrian food a speed boost.  Rating for the food: 7/10.

Staff: Maybe this is a bit unfair, since this is a soft opening, but the staff at Adobo Connection really made it feel like a soft opening. They seemed rushed, confused, and didn’t really give you that “service-with-a-smile”. “Service-with-a-smile” is really important to me. Rating for the staff: 6/10.

Overall: 7/10.

For a restaurant with such a huge fanbase, I think I may have failed to see what all the hype was. I had plenty of ups about this trip, but also plenty of downs to accompany them. Although the restaurant was a very new and welcome experience, the food didn’t match up as much as I would’ve hoped. It was inexpensive and fast, but nothing out of the ordinary, which didn’t do justice to the great interior. Add in a sub-par waitstaff and you get an average score. It’ll be interesting to see how they do when they have their full opening, though, and I’ll make sure I go and see if they can remedy these faults.

 

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Meets expectations. That is all.

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Tori Box: A new breed of Fried Chicken


Eat here while the crowds are still like this.

Don't blame me, that's Google Maps.

Just adorable. Very Japanese-y

This post is a monumental milestone in the history of Extra Rice: it’s our first soft opening! Today, I was lucky enough to find Tori Box, a Japanese-themed “Cutlet Specialist” establishment, located on the second floor of the One Archer’s Building, right next to Manang’s Chicken. With a slick interior and a promising menu, I was excited to see what my first newborn establishment had in store for me 🙂

Dishes Ordered

  • Chips Trio – P65
  • Karaage and Rice – P95
  • Karaage and Fries – P75
  • Rice – P20

The Restaurant

Tori stands for chicken in Nihongo, I just remembered. Cute.

As one of the newest buildings being raised in Taft Ave., One Archer’s has had the privilege of starting new with all of their eating establishments, who have all risen to the occasion and produced some wonderful restaurant designs. Tori Box is no different. Their quiet and cozy room contains about 8 four-top tables, providing seating for 30 people comfortably. Not surprisingly, the restaurant is spotless, and is given a relaxed ambience with a mix of chalkboard writings and glass or poster text on the walls. It is a metro design that feels like a modern Japanese restaurant. It is given an enlarged feeling with the intelligent use and placement of mirrors, and is just a comfortable place to be.

A sign of good things to come.

Although I loved what I saw from Tori Box in terms of their interior design, it’ll be interesting to see if they are able to maintain their strong start when the inevitable influx of students kicks in.

The Food

Hoping for expansion pack soon!

As it is a soft opening, Tori Box has a small menu that focuses on Chicken Karaage with a combination of side dishes. Among the choices were Mojos, Fries, Chips, and Rice. They also serve five different kinds of flavor powders with it, similar to Potato Corner’s style of flavoring fries. The flavor choices include BBQ, Sour Cream, Chili Pepper, Nori, and Italian Cheese. We went with all the sides and the Sour Cream, Chili Pepper, and Italian Cheese. Although I should say that Nori is a fascinating one, and I should be sure to try that one next time.

Small Rice. Extra Rice. Expensive Rice.

If you have ever had seasoned fries, imagine the deliciously salty satisfying experience that comes from the powder that is shaken and sprinkled on top. Now imagine that on crispy and juicy fried chicken nuggets. That’s about the best I can do to describe Tori Box’s flavored Karaage. It is a fantastically hedonistic experience that tops any Fun Shots or Hot Shots I’ve ever had.

Now that's what I call "MO"Jos! Kekeke.

Nom. Nom. Nom. Potato Three-way

Next to the awesome chicken is the sides, which range from potato to rice. That may not sound like a great start, but trust me, it gets better. The mojos are thick discs of deep fried potato that have a crispy exterior that masks a tender, sink-your-teeth-into potato heaven. The fries range in thickness, from the log-like cuts that seem like lengthwise mojos, to the money fries that are thin, crisp, and packed with flavor. Last of the potato sides are the chips, which are surprisingly well done for the homemade variety. All in all, the potatoes are packed, both with flavor and win. The rice, however, is probably the only downfall of Tori Box at this point. It is a minuscule serving of grains, and costs a whopping P20 to add another minuscule serving of grains. Still, it’s only one misstep in their journey of greatness, so I’ll let it slide.

Nom. Nom. Nom. Potato Three-way

On top of all of the flavor and fun, Tori Box also has a very creative way of presenting their food. They serve their non-rice meals in the most adorable paper bag with a long barbecue skewer, giving you quick food to go without having to get your hands messy. It is an extremely simple, yet ingenious design. How fitting for a Japanese restaurant.

Oh yeah, it comes with Gravy. There it is.

All in all, I have literally nothing so far that I didn’t enjoy putting in my mouth at Tori Box, both in terms of flavor and texture. They are also fairly priced, with none of the meals going over P100 as of yet. I wouldn’t be surprised if I made this my regular hangout over the next few weeks. I also wouldn’t be surprised if I couldn’t hang out there anymore because so many other people have decided to do so as well. My advice: eat here early, and get it while it’s new 🙂

The Verdict

Just the cutest packaging in Taft Ave.

Restaurant: Very good. They have a knack for making 30 people comfortable in a small space, and take their limited size in stride, making it feel relaxed and pleasant rather than packing students in. I am very happy with the furniture, as everything seems to complement something else. Rating for the restaurant: 8.5/10.

Food: I can’t yet make a very informed decision, as the menu that was made available to me for this trip was quite limited. However, the taste that I was fortunate enough to get was a real eye-opener. It may not taste like the karaage that I’m used to in other Japanese restaurants, but the presentation and flavor range that Tori Box provides is outstanding. Rating for the food: 8/10.

Staff: I recently took out our staff rating because I felt that it was getting a bit stale to talk about the same experience over and over. Tori Box, however, tell a different story of their manpower. The staff are pleasant, well-mannered, and happy to work. Let’s hope they can keep it up for the foreseeable future. Rating for the staff: 8/10.

Overall: 8.5/10.

I know you want me.

It may look like mold, but at least it's delicious mold.

They may just have opened, but Tori Box certainly knows how to impress right off the bat. I assume this will be one of the hot spots to eat in Taft by the end of this week or the next, and on the lips of all those who want to be the first to brag about trying a great new eatery in La Salle. Even for a soft opening, I was greatly impressed with what Tori Box has shown, and I will certainly be back for another review, once their tonkatsu and other menu items are operating at full force. Also, since it is located right next to Manang’s in One Archer’s, it will be interesting to see how the two stack up.

For those who want deliciously flavored crunchy chicken and fried potatoes any which way, Tori Box is the place to be. When their menu expands, who knows? They may just become a new standard for fried deliciousness in DLSU Taft. They don’t have any website or Facebook exposure as of yet, but when you get there, tell them Extra Rice sent you!

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The new fried chicken in town.

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Manang’s Chicken


Challenge Accepted

One of the foremost restaurants in the category of “Extra Crispy Fried Chicken” is Bon Chon Chicken, which has been popping up like chicken pox around the country, even in the University Mall. However, one of their rising competitors has also found its way to Taft, and is conveniently located (for its residents) on the second floor of the One Archer’s Place Condominium. Manang’s Chicken is the flavor of today, let’s see if it’s a worthy opponent to overthrow the leader and become the Chicken King of DLSU.

Dishes Ordered

  • 2 Piece Fried Chicken Meal – P149
  • 4 Piece Chicken Wings Meal – P129
  • Garlic Pork Liempo – P109
  • Crispy Chicken Sandwich – P49

The Restaurant

The girl getting her order is so excited, she's blurred.

With a panoramic view of the DLSU side of Taft Ave., Manang’s Chicken has the privilege of being a new establishment in one of the newest condominiums along Taft. As a result, they became one of the first occupants of a great opportunity space, and they didn’t waste the chance.

The garlic may be a garnish, but it definitely should be a meal itself

My only issue with the restaurant was if I would actually be able to find a seat. The medium-sized area held about 15-20 tables and would seat 40-50 students comfortably, and it looked like it had reached its maximum population as we had entered. I also noticed something: most of these restaurants seat around 40-50 at a time. Could this be because they want to accomodate an entire class section exactly? Think about it.

Although Manang’s possessed about the same amount of space as some of the restaurants in my previous reviews, they did a much better job of spacing and maintaining the area. When we had found ourselves a booth, we were not lacking for personal space, and the space between tables was also more than satisfactory. In fact, even the bar stools located in the area provided enough space to nom comfortably.

The atmosphere that Manang’s gave off was a pleasant cross between a coffee shop and a diner. The ambience was similar to one you might find at a Starbuck’s, while the seats and moderate music made the restaurant feel like an 50’s style American eatery. A little ironic, since Manang’s Chicken is a Filipino name, and their recipes are Chinese in nature. Despite all that, though, I loved the experience that I got from the area.

The Food

Caution! Images in the lens may be smaller than they appear.

Although the main event of Manang’s is their extra crispy fried chicken, we also decided to experiment with the garlic liempo, one of their popular sides, as well as their crispy chicken sandwich.

Caution! Images in the lens may be larger than they appear.

The liempo was a slightly less than moderate serving of crispy pork, made more substantial with the addition of a double helping of fried minced garlic. When I tasted the liempo, I was instantly reminded of the kind of grilled pork dishes you would find hanging in the windows of most restaurants in your average Chinatown. It was pleasantly crispy on the outside, with just a little chew to it. The black Chinese vinegar sauce that came with it wasn’t bad either, as it rounded the strong pork flavor of the liempo. What truly made the dish, however, was the fried garlic that came with it. While it’s usually expected of garlic chips, the ones you usually find in your mixed nuts, to be bitter and unappetizing, these golden treasures were just the opposite. They possessed an incredibly mild flavor, and were crispy, but still gave a meaty feel in the mouth. One of my companions even went so far as to suggest that they sell the garlic as a side, delicious as it was.

They gave me fours wings from the same chicken.

The crispy chicken sandwich, priced at P49, was anything but crispy, and slightly mispriced. It was a chicken breast sandwich served with a small amount of coleslaw and Manang’s sauce inside. Though I can’t complain about the flavor, in which it certainly was not lacking, I would have liked to raise a complaint regarding the size and slightly false advertising of the food. It was a small burger, as it seemed to be served inside of a pan de sal on steroids, rather than an actual bun. And crispy, it was not, tasting like a tender grilled chicken breast. However, it did manage to salvage itself in flavor. I guess P39 would make me more than happy to take back any negatives I brought up. I’m easily bribed.

Another side to my chicken was Manang’s potato chips, a generous helping of freshly cut potatoes, deep fried and served with salt. The chips were a little unbalanced in terms of seasoning; the first chip I tasted was bland and seems more like kamote. When I got to the very end, though, the chips were too salty to eat alone. However, everything in between was crispy and tender at the same time, and just what you expect in a good chip.

They Deliver. Oh No *loosens waistbelt*

After we had seen the results of the opening bouts, it was time to move on to the main event, the flagship of the Manang’s establishment: the signature soy glazed, double deep fried, sesame seed encrusted, extra crispy, fully flavored chicken. We ordered two types: a two-piece meal that included the drumstick and the thigh, and a four-piece set of wings. Although the two-piece was a sizeable serving for almost anybody, the wings were a bit of a downer. Apparently, in the world of chicken math, when you cut a wing into two parts, it becomes two wings. The four-piece meal was actually two full chicken wings that were cut at one end to separate them into “two wings”, allowing them to claim that they gave you 4 pieces while you cry silently looking at your companion with his larger servings. If you want the chicken, I highly recommend the 2 over the 4. The logic might seem wrong, but so does their chicken math.

That's not even fair. *loosens waistbelt again*

The first thing that you notice when you pick up a piece of Manang’s Chicken is how hard it is. With a layer of skin as crispy and firm as theirs, I felt like I could actually use the chicken drumsticks as real drimsticks (ba-dum-tsss). As you bite into it, though, it’s like eating butter. In a good way. The skin breaks away to reveal a soft, meaty inside, with almost as much flavor as the outside. The entire chicken tastes of their signature soy glaze, a dark, teriyaki-like sauce that may taste a bit cloying, but goes down perfectly with a helping of rice. The sesame seeds stick to lips, leaving flavorful saucy morsels to lick away after swallowing. At the end of the last wing, I couldn’t even remember that I had eaten the previous three. One of the crispiest, deepest fried chicken experiences I’ve ever had. Because their fried chicken is not just a meal; its an experience.

To top off my satisfying foodgasm, the meals arrived within a span of 3-5 minutes only, giving me a top option of where to eat when I need a quick fix of double deep-fried goodness.

The Staff

Manang’s staff was heavily armed when I visited, and rightly so. Each member of their workforce was continually bustling about, making sure that tables were cleaned, orders were taken, customers were served, and nobody complained. They performed very efficiently, without a wasted movement, only stopping occasionally to give me a slightly perturbed look as I took pictures of everything I saw.

My only complaint could be the contrived pleasantries of the staff. When they had given me my order, they accidentally served rice instead of chips. I asked for it to be changed, and it was then that I could see that their manners were quite forced. Though they did manage to put on a happy face in front of the customers, they stumbled a bit when faced with adversity. However, service with a smile, albeit a fake smile, should be good enough for me. I mean, I am complaining over good food, right?

The Verdict

Restaurant: By combining the atmosphere of both a coffee shop and a diner, Manang’s Chicken takes a great location and turns it into a very comfortable dining experience. It is by far the most spacious restaurant I have reviewed as of yet, in terms of both personal space and movement around the area. Although the floor is probably the only part of the establishment that’s a bit messy, that’s only from the multitude of footprints left by the masses who go there to eat. Rating for the restaurant: 9/10.

Food: Although I had mixed results with some of the dishes, which may have affected the overall score more than I would have liked, I never had a problem with a dish overall. Each dish had its small shortcoming, but it didn’t tarnish the experience entirely. I was just a little depressed that I had to have a bad moment with my wings and Manang’s poor chicken logic. Otherwise, their chicken would have been almost godly. Nothing can truly be perfect, but Manang’s Chicken makes a pretty good run. Rating for the food: 8.5/10.

Staff: The staff was a well-oiled machine for such a new establishment, as each memeber knew his or her role, and performed it diligently. I had a few qualms about mixing up my order and getting a bit of sass about their mistake, but aside from that, I have nothing to complain about at all. Rating for the staff: 8/10.

Overall: 8.5/10.

Manang’s Chicken is the kind of restaurant that makes you wish you had a unit in One Archer’s. If I could eat there everyday, I would certainly try. It may not have the best value when compared to nearby restaurants in Castro, but the ambience, speed, and comfort more than make up for it. And remember: double deep fried.

There is no dictionary word to explain this. The best I found was "AdLWAJIROAHWFHLA"