Man Eats: IMC Kavino

There are only a handful of people I trust when it comes to recommending good eats. So when Karina (not her real name…her real name is Carina) tweeted that I had to try out IMC Kavino, I did.

IMC Kavino, which is short for International Master Chef Kavino, is a new “Chinese Fusion” restaurant located in the malas spot of Jupiter Place, along Jupiter Street, Makati (beside Mey Lin). This particular location is to successful restaurants as what Kris Aquino is to successful relationships. I hope Kavino does better than them, including Krissy.

Some Free Appetizer

I don’t know what this dish is called but it was a nice, clean way to start the meal. It’s like kimchi, but using lettuce instead of cabbage.

Fried Onion Cake

This was the highlight of the meal. A fried mantou-like mini-bun topped with a bit of mayo, mahu (pork floss) and spring onions served on a bed of fried crispy noodles.

Vietnamese Spring Roll
Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Served at the same time as the glorious Fried Onion Cake, the Vietnamese Spring Rolls paled in comparison. While the wrapper was crispy and flaky, the filling wasn’t as exciting. Damn you, FOC, for getting my hopes up so early on in the meal.

Fried Squid Balls
Super Crispy Wasabi Squid Ball

Eh. Super ok lang talaga.

Golden Sand "Bite-sized" Bean Curd
Golden Sand “Bite-size” Bean Curd

Fried Tofu is always a winner. Always.

Pero pewde bang mag submit ulit ng name studies?

Pork a la Peking
Pork a la Peking

While I would have preferred regular Peking Duck, the Pork a la Peking was really interesting. The International Master Chef used his mystical fusion powers and substituted the duck with fried, battered liempo. Also, this was huge compared to the regular peking duck wrap. That’s a plus, by the way.

On another note…

Peeking Duck
A Peeking Duck

Given I was the family, I didn’t have time to take pictures of all the dishes before they were wiped out (or too messy). Here are the ones I didn’t get to take pictures of:

Hot Sour Soup — Too watery for my taste but tasted good.
Japanese Style Salad Taro Puff — Avoid like the plague.
Golden Garlic Yang Chow Fried Rice — Slightly browned and burnt. One of the best I’ve ever had.
Mango Sago with Sea Coconut and Pomelo — Very nice and interesting.

Overall, IMC Kavino is pretty good. Some hits and misses but given their extensive menu, I’m pretty sure there are more yummy dishes to discover.

P.S. I was going to complain that the stuff we ordered was kinda oily since most of them were fried but given the amount of alcohol I had in my body from the previous night, oily was good.

Man Eats: 2nd’s

2nd’s is a (fairly) new restaurant in Bonifacio High Street and is now taking up the space that Mag:net used to occupy — a massive upgrade, if you ask me.

While this place boasts of a wide selection of single malt whiskies, tonight is for eating (a lot) and not for drinking. Ok fine, I had a bottle of Hoegaarden when I got there but that’s it.

Since the group wanted to try a lot of things on the menu, it was share-share so we could lamon-lamon a lot-lot.

Bacon Chicharon with Muscovado Mustard Dip and Spiced Vinegar

Buffalo Bacon Chicharon with Bleu Cheese Dip

Personally, I liked the Bacon Chicharon better than the Buffalo Bacon Chicharon. I don’t know about you but I like my pork tasting like pork, not reminiscent of chicken. The Bacon Chicharon was tastier and crispier than the Buffalo variant since the latter’s glaze made the chicharon a bit soggy. Don’t get me wrong though — both were good, bordering brilliant even, but the simpler the better, I guess.

“But it’s just basically bacon,” you say? Well, basically, bacon is basically the best food in the world, basically. Be it honey-cured, canadian, or chicharon-ed, bacon brings home the, well, itself.

Note to self: Even if this dish oddly reminded you of the Swift Sizzler/Sizzlean of the 80’s, don’t bother mentioning it since many won’t get the reference.

Chicken Adobo Croquettes

This one, I didn’t like so much. I mean, I love adobo and I love croquettes and the idea of combining the two might seem like a great tapas dish in principle, but the execution didn’t really work for me. Maybe because I like my adobo with rice. Maybe because I like my adobo browned and garlicky. Maybe because I don’t really like my adobo mushy. In any case, next!

Grilled Jamon N’ Cheese

I’m torn. On the one hand, I loved the melted cheese and how buttery the toast was (by the way, I love butter as much as I love bacon…oh, and my heart hates me). On the other hand, I was kinda disappointed because I couldn’t taste the jamon serrano, which was kinda the whole point of this sandwich.

Good Morning Spaghetti

I thought that they called this carbonara dish the Good Morning Spaghetti because it has bacon and eggs. But here’s Luis’ explanation: “You know when you come home drunk early in the morning and you try to whip up some pasta? This is what you end up with.”

Either way, this was awesome! You know what made it awesome-er? The crumbled Bacon Chicharon I put on top.

Fuck yeah, bacon!

Truffled Mac N’ Three Cheese

Superman has kryptonite. Achilles had his heel. I have Mac N’ Cheese.

2nd’s Truffled Mac N’ Three Cheese, however, was blue kryptonite. While it may make other bizarro humans weak, it really didn’t have that much effect on me.

While I liked the addition of truffle oil to the emmental, bleu, and sharp cheddar cheese threesome, I found the dish too dry and the bleu cheese was too overpowering for my taste.

Three Little Pigs Kawali

I loved the touch of rosemary (one of my favorite herbs) and foie gras bits. This is probably as good as lechon kawali gets. Unfortunately, it was just that…lechon kawali. Not sure why it was on the menu along with more interesting and more thought-out dishes. If I were management, I’d just leave the lechon kawali business to Gerry’s and Dencio’s.

Banana Rum French Toast

Even if this dessert would have been better in a breakfast menu, I really liked it.

This + Bacon Chicharon = Breakfast of Champions! I wonder if they’re open at 7:00 am.

Lavazza Brewed Coffee

Any establishment that serves Lavazza coffee deserves plus points in my book.

Overall, the 2nd’s experience was very good and I’m actually pretty excited to come back to try the other dishes like the Roast Beef Raclette, The Jerk Burger, and the Crisp Duck Confit.

Based on this visit to 2nd’s, I’d definitely come back for…

…the Good Morning Spaghetti and Bacon Chicharon!

Akala mo “…back for 2nd’s” no?!?

That’s so played out.