Solaire Resort and Casino

Our first staycation for 2016 was totally unplanned and completely unexpected. And the best part was that it was absolutely free! If it was entirely up to my husband Caloy, we will never stay in a hotel with a casino in it — he has always been against gambling of any kind. But then he was provided a room for a night for work so Bea and I decided — no, begged — to tag along since it’s a weekend.

Room 511 - Bay Tower

Room 511 – Bay Tower

Located in what is known as Manila’s Entertainment City, Solaire boasts of a massive resort complex that features two 5-star hotel buildings: the Bay Tower and the Sky Tower.  The former, where we stayed overnight, offers modern yet elegant rooms with panoramic views of the famed Manila Bay; while the latter features more sophisticated accommodations with its luxurious suites.

bathroom

bathroom

I was also not thrilled about the “gaming area” — fact is, I’ve never tried playing in a casino in my whole life. I never learned how and I don’t think I’ll ever be interested to start learning now. Plus, I despise the smell of cigarette smoke, which filled the casino area, so I generally avoided it as much as possible. The main attractions of the complex for me were the dining outlets, of course. For our daughter Bea, it was the resort’s swimming pool.

our idea of fun

the amazing view from the 5th level

our idea of fun

our idea of fun

from a different angle

from a different angle

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loving it!

Bea enjoyed frolicking in the pool so much that she even had breakfast by the pool in the morning before our check-out. She had two eggs sunny side-up, bacon, sausages, baked beans and bread. No, she didn’t get to finish them all but they were all good (we brought home the leftovers, why not?).

Bea's breakfast by the pool

Bea’s breakfast by the pool

My husband and I had buffet breakfast at Fresh and I was quite impressed with the food selection. Normally I just have bread or a pastry for breakfast, but I could not resist eating garlic rice at Fresh. I’d have to say the pork adobo was really good! The day before, we also got to dine at the classy food court for lunch and had a delightful dinner at Red Lantern, the resort’s Chinese restaurant. We couldn’t stop raving about the Red Lantern Fried Rice, the Fried Beef Hofan Noodles and the Scallops with Eggplant in Spicy Plum Sauce. Just look at how huge the scallops were!

scallops with eggplant in spicy plum sauce

scallops with eggplant in spicy plum sauce

Surely, the best things in life are free!

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The Flavors of Singapore

The following are my 5 must-eat local foods when in Singapore:

1) Hainanese Chicken Rice

I believe this one needs no further introduction. Hailed as the Lion City’s national dish, chicken rice is something that should not be missed while in Singapore. Although it originated from the Hainan province of China, hence the name, this dish has already become synonymous with Singapore. It is cooked primarily by steeping a whole chicken in pork and chicken bones stock, while the rice is flavored with pure chicken stock, ginger and pandan leaves. The dish actually has a very subtle flavor, I guess that’s why it comes with 3 kinds of dipping sauces: ginger paste, chili sauce and hoisin sauce.

Hainanese Chicken Rice from PappaMia

Hainanese Chicken Rice from PappaMia in Festive Hotel, Resorts World Sentosa

2) Char Kway Teow

Now this noodle dish is something I really, really like. Char kway teow (spelling variation: char koay teow) refers to this stir-fried flat rice noodles tossed with a variety of flavorful ingredients such as prawns, Chinese sausage, fish cakes, bean sprouts, egg, chili sauce, soy sauce and chives. It is regarded as a very unhealthy dish because of its high saturated fat content. But who cares when it tastes so good? I love it.

Char Kway Teow from Malaysian Food Street at Resorts World Sentosa

Char Kway Teow from Malaysian Food Street at Resorts World Sentosa

3) Or Luak

Another dish of Chinese origin, or luak (or simply, oyster omelet) is also a favorite of mine. Made with small oysters, starch (usually potato or tapioca starch) and eggs, the omelet is a bit sticky and chewy.  The briny flavor of the oysters lends a delightful taste of the sea. Mmmm… love!

Or Luak from Malaysian Food Street in Resorts World Sentosa

Or Luak from Malaysian Food Street in Resorts World Sentosa

4) Kaya Toast

Sure, I’ve eaten kaya toast here in Manila a few times before, but during our Singapore trip I went absolutely crazy for this Singaporean breakfast staple. I had it for breakfast 3 days in a row. Kaya refers to the delicious spread made of coconut milk, egg, sugar and pandan. It’s like coconut jam only less sweet. It’s sandwiched between toasted bread, sometimes with slabs of butter, and is traditionally enjoyed during breakfast or snack time. A kaya toast set usually comes with two soft-boiled eggs and a cup of warm teh tarik or pulled tea with milk. I miss this everyday. But no worries, there are a few Ya Kun and Toast Box branches in Metro Manila.

Kaya Toast Set

Kaya Toast Set from Petaling Jaya Toast

5) Ice Kachang

Also known as ais kacang, which literally means “ice beans” this colorful dessert looks familiar to us because of its resemblance to our very own halo-halo. Ingredients include finely shaved ice, red beans, corn kernels, grass jelly, coconut milk and palm sugar syrup. It’s very sweet and very refreshing. A great way to beat the heat in Singapore.

Ice Kachang from Rasapura Foodcourt in Marina Bay Sands

Ice Kachang from Rasapura Foodcourt in Marina Bay Sands

As they say in Singapore, “Shiok!!”

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Hard Rock Hotel Singapore

If you feel like living it up in Singapore’s Sentosa Island, there are so many luxurious hotels that can cater to whatever preference you might have. I wanted to feel like a rock star for a day, so I booked a room at the Hard Rock Hotel Singapore for our fourth and final night in the city. It was a fantastic choice.

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Hard Rock Hotel

Located in Resorts World Sentosa, Hard Rock Hotel is just one of several hotels in the entertainment complex that’s just minutes away from favorite tourist attractions such as Universal Studios and the S.E.A Aquarium. This is my first Hard Rock Hotel experience and I have nothing but positive feedback about the place. Everyone in the staff was so friendly and welcoming.

hotel lobby and The Rock Bar

hotel lobby and The Rock Bar

Every corner of the hotel exudes a rock and roll vibe that I found very exciting. Larger-than-life photos, paintings and memorabilia such as Carlos Santana’s guitar, George Harrison’s hat, and so many others are proudly displayed in different parts of the hotel — enough to make any music fan swoon.

Deluxe Room with Pool View

Deluxe Room with Pool View

I booked a Deluxe Room with a Pool View and got a very nice room with twin beds and Jimi Hendrix portraits hung on the purple wall (“Purple Haze” being one of Hendrix’s greatest hits). Each room in the hotel has a pull-out bed that makes it ideal for a family accommodation. Bea and I got to share our room with my Singapore-based friend, Shirly and her daughter Ashley, who happens to be my god-daughter. The 40-square-meter room has all the modern amenities one would expect from a Hard Rock Hotel. Apart from those, it was also very clean and smelled wonderfully. I found out in the hotel that the standard rate for our room is S$620++ but I scored a great deal through agoda.com for just about S$210++ per night excluding breakfast. That’s only about 7,000.00 pesos!

guitar-shaped bathroom caddy

guitar-shaped bathroom caddy

This is the awesome view from our room’s balcony, and one of the reasons why this hotel is tops —

pool area

pool area

The sprawling swimming pool area features a lush tropical landscape and a man-made white sand “beach” making it an ideal place to lounge around and hang out with the family. It provides a perfect escape from the fast-paced city life. Despite the city being enveloped by haze, my Bea surely had a really enjoyable time in the pool.

my daughter Bea enjoying the pool

my daughter Bea enjoying the pool

We all had a good night’s sleep in our rock star bedroom. The following morning, we decided to have a heavy breakfast in the hotel’s very own Starz Restaurant.The breakfast buffet rates are pegged reasonably at S$20 net/adult and S$10 net/child 12 years old and below.

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Starz Restaurant

The breakfast buffet spread consists of a variety of Asian and international fare. For my first plate, I helped myself with some salad greens, bacon, turkey ham and scrambled eggs. As for my second plate…

I made my own kaya toast.

I made my own kaya toast.

In terms of comfort, convenience and features, I was more than happy with the Hard Rock Hotel Singapore. Our stay was very pleasant. Some of the warmest, most helpful and friendliest people are there with a ready smile to their guests. I highly recommend the hotel to those seeking a relaxing, rockin’ getaway.

souvenir

from the souvenir shop

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Singapore in Pictures

My daughter Bea and I spent a few days in Singapore during her short break from school this month. It was actually a last-minute decision but I figured it might be nice to revisit the Lion City ten years after our first trip. Back then, Bea was just a little baby and a lot has changed ever since. It’s also an opportune time because Singapore, also affectionately nicknamed “The Little Red Dot” pertaining to how it appears on world maps, is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its independence this year.

Singapore River

Singapore River

Unfortunately, the small city-state was enveloped in haze coming from the forest fires in Sumatra, Indonesia so it was practically gloomy all throughout our five-day trip. Note the background of our photos. Still, the haze didn’t stop us from going out and exploring different parts of the city.

Bea at the Merlion Park

Bea at the Merlion Park

Our first day was spent mostly in the Marina Bay area: we captured lots of photos at the Merlion Park, from the Helix Bridge, in the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands and at Gardens by the Bay.

some of Singapore's architectural landmarks by night

some of Singapore’s architectural landmarks by night

The Helix Bridge, Marina Bay Sands and the Art Science Museum

The Helix Bridge, Marina Bay Sands and the Art Science Museum

Gardens by the Bay Lights and Sounds Show

Gardens by the Bay Lights and Sounds Show

On our second day, we went to Sentosa Island in the morning for Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. After that, we proceeded to Orchard Road, the major shopping district and entertainment hub of Singapore. If Paris has the Avenue des ChampsElysées, London has Oxford Street, Berlin has Kurfürstendamm and New York has Fifth Avenue, Singapore’s answer is its 2.2-kilometer Orchard Road. My Bea did a little shopping from a store called Smiggle in ION Orchard Mall. After that, we hung out in Clarke Quay, which I found very relaxing despite the huge crowd and the noise.

Happy 50th anniversary, SG!

Happy 50th anniversary, SG!

Bea at Clarke Quay

Bea at Clarke Quay

The next day (our 3rd) was spent almost entirely in Universal Studios Singapore located in Resorts World Sentosa. My batchmate from high school gave us a 50% discount on our admission tickets to the theme park and extended a 15% discount on our purchases at the gift shop. How amazing is that? That’s a lot of savings for me! And we surely had a great time!

USS in RWS

USS in RWS

We love Sesame Street!

We love Sesame Street!

Our 4th and 5th days were spent at the Hard Rock Hotel in Sentosa, which I will feature in my next post. Even though Singapore is not among my favorite cities in the world, I was so happy to have been reunited with some of my friends and a relative who are all based there. I’m also glad that I have created more fun memories with my little daughter and that we didn’t have any horrible experience during our trip. For this, I am thankful. Grateful. Blessed.

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Afternoon Tea in Manila: TWG Tea Salon & Boutique

* Part 14 of a series *

Among all of the restaurants featured in this series, TWG Tea Salon & Boutique is the only one I’ve visited the most number of times.  Since it first opened in Manila almost 3 years ago, I’ve already had afternoon tea at TWG tea salons in Greenbelt and in Resorts World Manila 5 or 6 times. I guess for me, the charm of a tea salon is too hard to resist. It’s safe to say that it’s one of my personal favorite dining places ever.

The Wellness Group — or simply, TWG — is a luxury tea brand founded in Singapore, a major hub for the exchange of teas, spices and other fine products. Through the years, TWG has become synonymous with elegant dining and gastronomy, offering the most exclusive tea blends as well as gourmet specialties. From breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea to dinner and tea-infused desserts, TWG delights serious tea lovers with its unique menu. As a self-confessed tea lover myself, I just adore spending time with my girlfriends at TWG, chatting away over cups of exquisite tea. I’ve tried the Red Chocolate Tea, Holiday in Paris, Sweet France, Geisha Blossom and the Weekend in Venice Tea and I cannot wait to try more blends from over 800 choices!

TWG Fortune Imperial Tea Set

TWG Fortune Imperial Tea Set

The TWG Tea Time Set Menus are available from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. everyday and come in three choices:

1837 (consists of 2 freshly baked scones or muffins with jelly and cream plus a your choice of TWG Tea served hot or cold) – P325

Chic (selection of 3 finger sandwiches, choice of 2 freshly baked scones or muffins with jelly and cream, and TWG Tea) – P500

Fortune (choice of warm roasted sandwiches, choice of 2 freshly baked scones or muffins with jelly and cream, 3 TWG macarons, and TWG Tea) – P650

Croque Imperial

Croque Imperial

I’ve tried all 3 afternoon tea sets and found them all highly satisfactory. I love how elegant they look and how they offer great value for money. I particularly love the Croque Imperial from the Fortune set — a warm toasted sandwich filled with smoked salmon and topped with Emmental cheese served with a green salad dressed in house vinaigrette. So good.

macarons and scones

macarons and scones

The scones and tea-infused macarons are pretty good, too. They complement the TWG Tea perfectly. A few of my friends didn’t like them so much, but I beg to differ. I like them a lot that’s why I keep going back for more. I’m a certified TWG fan.

“My dear, if you could give me a cup of tea to clear my muddle of a head I should better understand your affairs.” — Charles Dickens

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Afternoon Tea in Manila: Relish at Ponte

* Part 13 of a series *

The list of establishments that offer afternoon tea in Manila keeps growing longer, it’s getting harder for me to keep up. I stumbled upon Relish at Ponte while searching online for must-try afternoon tea offerings in the city. I’ve heard of Relish – Hello, Happiness! located in Quezon City, but I didn’t even know there was a Relish restaurant in Makati and it’s already celebrating its 5th anniversary this month! So anyway, since my friend Steffi treated me to an afternoon tea buffet in the Peninsula Manila some weeks ago, I decided to return the favor and invited her to share the afternoon tea set with me at Relish at Ponte. Turns out, she’s been to the restaurant before because the owner is a very good friend of hers.

Afternoon Tea for Two

Afternoon Tea for Two

According to its website, Relish at Ponte “is a cozy modern bistro restaurant serving delicious cross-continental food inspired by family favorites.” The restaurant is located on the ground floor of the Ponte Salcedo Building at 120 Valero Street, Salcedo Village in Makati. Obviously, its main customer base is made up of the corporate types: business executives, lawyers  and their clients, and office workers who are there for meetings and/or power lunches.  Steffi and I — both stay-at-home mothers — were just there for afternoon tea.

Relish

Relish

The Afternoon Tea for Two (P375++) is served from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. from Mondays through Fridays. It consists of an appetizer sampler (crostini with chicken liver pate topped with jam; crostini with wild mushroom dip), tea sandwiches (a pair of roast beef and a couple of egg salad sandwiches), a dessert sampler (cheesecake, orange loaf cake, grapes) and a pot of Harney & Sons tea of your choice. I liked everything in the set, except the cheesecake just because it’s one of those things that I don’t eat. I think that the whole set was carefully thought-of and because the “meal” is as light as it should be, it fulfills the afternoon tea ideals. Those who are looking for a reasonably-priced, tasty afternoon tea will surely be quite pleased with this set from Relish.

“I am in no way interested in immortality, but only in the taste of tea.” — Lu Tung

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Afternoon Tea in Manila: Discovery Primea

* Part 12 of a series *

There’s a new luxury hotel in Makati and it’s quite hard to miss because of its towering presence along Ayala Avenue. Discovery Primea is the latest addition to The Discovery Leisure Company‘s growing roster of fine hotels and resorts including Discovery Suites in Ortigas, Discovery Country Suites in Tagaytay, Discovery Shores in Boracay and Club Paradise in Coron, Palawan. Having opened only six months ago (last February), Discovery Primea is already creating a buzz not only for its superior brand of hospitality but also for its gustatory delights.

For my mom-in-law’s birthday weekend celebration, my husband decided to spend our family staycation in Discovery Primea. We stayed there for two nights and were completely satisfied with our accommodations and dining experiences. If only for an entire weekend, we got to live the “suite life” again: eat, swim, eat, go to the mall, eat, sleep, then repeat. I’ll save the full feature on the hotel for later; for now I’ll just take you through my afternoon tea experience there.

Gilarmi Lounge

Gilarmi Lounge

Afternoon tea is served at the hotel’s swanky Gilarmi Lounge, named after the building that once stood on that very spot: the Gilarmi Apartments. I met up with my friend Aimee, who has gone on a few afternoon tea dates with me before,  and together we indulged in a couple of hours of girltalk (without the kids). Tea service starts at 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. We went there at exactly 3 o’ clock.

lounge

Gilarmi Lounge

There are two choices for the afternoon tea set, the only difference being the selection of tea sandwiches. Aimee and I opted for the Afternoon Tea to Remember (I forget the name of the other option). The set good for two persons costs P750++. From the TWG range of teas, we went for the Silver Moon Tea — a blend of green tea, grand berry and vanilla bouquet. It was light and sweet-scented, perfect for an afternoon of relaxation.

Afternoon Tea to Remember

Afternoon Tea to Remember

The tea was served right away but the food tray did not arrive until about 45 minutes later. Aimee and I had to follow up a couple of times because we could not start sipping our tea without the finger foods. When our food finally came, our server offered to prepare a new pot of tea for us since the first one had already gone cold. So we let him.

scones

scones

I presume that the food preparation time was excruciatingly long because we were the only ones having tea that time. What I mean is, the place is not yet known for its afternoon tea offering unlike its two neighbors: the Makati Shangri-La and the Peninsula Manila. And so everything had to be made from scratch, I think. Maybe they only started baking scones when we ordered the set, I don’t know. As Aimee and I were already famished, we started eating right away. The scones, though not the best I’ve had in this afternoon tea series, were rather tasty, albeit slightly tough and burnt on their bottoms. At least, they came with clotted cream and jam.

tea sandwiches

tea sandwiches

The tea sandwiches were good but nothing really remarkable. What made me happy, as always, were the sweets: fruit tartlets, chocolate eclairs and those very moist lemon sponge cakes. What would afternoon tea be like without them?

sweet pastries

sweet pastries

Perhaps to make up for our long wait for the food, the staff gave us some freshly-baked madeleines at no extra cost. We appreciated the gesture, and to show just that, Aimee and I wolfed all the madeleines down to the last morsel. See, we’re not difficult to please.

madeleines

madeleines

Having tasted several afternoon tea offerings already, I can honestly say that the one from Discovery Primea‘s Gilarmi Lounge is very promising but it still has a lot of room for improvement. I’m positive that in a few more months, everything will be made just right. The hotel’s restaurant Tapenade has some really excellent gastronomic gems, so I have high hopes for the Gilarmi Lounge‘s future in terms of afternoon tea.

“When tea becomes ritual, it takes its place at the heart of our ability to see greatness in small things.” — Muriel Barbery

Categories: Afternoon Tea, Cravings | 2 Comments

Afternoon Tea in Manila: The Manila Hotel

* Part 11 of a series *

For more than a hundred years now, The Manila Hotel has been a landmark of grandeur, luxury and rich tradition right in the very heart of the City of Manila. It has witnessed many historic events and still remains one of the favorite hangouts of the well-heeled members of society. Also known as the Grande Dame, this esteemed hotel upholds the lavish tradition of afternoon tea in its elegant Lobby Lounge — and does it very tastefully.

Manila Afternoon Tea

Manila Afternoon Tea

Since I haven’t concluded my afternoon tea series yet, I thought it might be wonderful to try the Manila Hotel‘s offering. It’s called the Manila Afternoon Tea (P500++ or P650 net): a mix of classic Filipino and continental favorites.  Tea service starts at 2:00 pm and is good for two persons. In other establishments, they only serve one pot of tea inclusive in the set. But in the Manila Hotel, you get 2 pots of tea of your choice. Perfect! I invited my friend, Arlene to join me so we can share the set together. We started off with the third layer of the tray which contained a pair of kesong puti sandwiches and Norwegian smoked salmon on wheat bread. They were good.

tea sandwiches

tea sandwiches

On to our next plate, which was on the topmost tier — Filipino rice cakes bibingka and puto bumbong. It came with another plate of all the toppings you can possibly want for the rice cakes, namely: grated coconut, muscovado sugar, grated cheese, goat’s cheese (kesong puti) and salted egg slices.

bibingka and puto bumbong

bibingka and puto bumbong

Then lastly, we had the tiny cake slices. Admittedly, the portions were very small but they turned out to be just right. They were a nice and perfectly sweet way to cap the meal.

cake sampler

cake sampler

For me, the Manila Hotel‘s Afternoon Tea is ideal just because it is not too heavy and yet it does not leave you wanting for more. It’s just right for a light afternoon snack while passing the time, listening to soothing piano music and just taking in all the elegant charms of the hotel. And it’s reasonably-priced, too.

“Tea is quiet and our thirst for tea is never far from our craving for beauty.”James Norwood Pratt

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Afternoon Tea in Manila: Bistro Pamana

* Part 10 of a series *

When it comes to the idea of afternoon tea, can the food-crazed Filipinos be far behind? The concept of having a light snack in between lunch and dinner is commonly known to the average Pinoy as merienda. And what could be a more enjoyable merienda fare than our native delicacies?

Filipino-style Afternoon Tea

Filipino-style Afternoon Tea

The other day I went to Bistro Pamana on Perea Street, Makati all by my lonesome to try its Afternoon Tea Set (P380) during lunch time. Why not?  The set is said to be good for 2 to 3 persons and consists of an all-Filipino snack time favorites: four pandesal sandwiches (a pair of adobo flakes sandwiches and a pair of kesong puti with pesto sandwiches), palitaw, puto bumbong, bibingka and turon served with a pot of Lipton Clear Green Tea. Just add 75 pesos if one wishes to substitute the tea for native hot chocolate (tsokolate ah). I just opted for tea because the hot chocolate might be too sinfully rich and too heavy for me.

Bistro Pamana's Afternoon Tea Set

Bistro Pamana’s Afternoon Tea Set

Pandesal is the most popular local bread that’s a staple for breakfast on most Filipino tables. I found the pandesal in Bistro Pamana rather humongous, but it turned out to be very light and very good. The adobo flakes sandwich in particular was really tasty. I loved it.

Adobo Flakes in Pandesal

Adobo Flakes in Pandesal

By the time I finished eating two pandesal sandwiches, I was already quite full but I knew I still had to tackle the bottom layer of the serving tray. I started with the puto bumbong — the purple-colored glutinous rice cake wrapped in banana leaf. It’s sticky and chewy and delicious. I was able to finish eating all of it. Then I had one palitaw — a flat white rice cake rolled in grated coconut, toasted sesame seeds and white sugar. It’s good but very heavy in the tummy. Then I ate the bibingka — another type of rice cake that’s fluffy like a thick hotcake. Bistro Pamana‘s version is topped with a lot of cheese. Yummy! Finally, all that’s left was the turon or banana fritters. I took a bite and found the banana way overripe, it was much too mushy. I didn’t like it at all, which was just as well because my tummy couldn’t  take any more.  I really wished I had company while I binged on this (so I was texting my good friend Aimee while I was eating).

yummy and very filling

yummy and very filling

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local favorites

For all Filipino food lovers, the Bistro Pamana Afternoon Tea Set is a must-try. It’s best enjoyed with a friend or two. I love that our traditional native snacks get that well-deserved spotlight because they’re really close to my heart.

“There is something in the nature of tea that leads us into a world of quiet contemplation of life.”

— Lin Yutang

Categories: Afternoon Tea, Cravings | 1 Comment

Afternoon Tea in Manila: The Royal Piccadilly Restaurant & Cakery

* Part 9 of a series *

I know it’s only been about 7 months since I went there, but I already miss London terribly. Once you fall in love with a city, you’ll constantly ache for it. You’ll always yearn to go back. That’s how I feel about Berlin and London. Only those afflicted with wanderlust can completely understand. The next best thing to revisiting the cities that I love is to eat food that will remind me of them. And that’s what The Royal Piccadilly is all about.

the restaurant & cakery

the restaurant & cakery

Piccadilly is an almost mile-long road within the City of Westminster in Central London, stretching from Hyde Park Corner all the way to Piccadilly Circus (the busy intersection between Piccadilly and Regent Street). It’s interesting to know that the land once belonged to a tailor named Robert Baker, who became successful by making and selling fashionable collars known in those days as piccadills. Today, Piccadilly is home to many of London’s famous shops, most notably Fortnum & Mason, a high-end department store established in 1707 and is also well-known for its tea room.

afternoon tea set

afternoon tea set

So, anyway…. I was so happy when I learned that this restaurant and cakery called The Royal Piccadilly opened in the Katipunan area in Quezon City sometime in 2013. I have been wanting to go there since then, but because it’s a bit of a trip from our place, I never really got around to visiting it — until last Sunday, on Mother’s Day, when my daughter Bea and I accompanied my husband to UP Diliman. The perfect opportunity presented itself, and I didn’t let it pass.

Russell Square Set

Russell Square Set

Let me just state that The Royal Piccadilly offers the most affordable choices in afternoon tea: there’s the most basic Cream Tea (two sultana scones with English cream and jam plus a pot of tea for only P140), Knightsbridge Set (two sultana scones, one Puffin, one caramel bar or mini-cupcake and a pot of tea for P199), Covent Garden Set (two sultana scones, four tea sandwiches and a pot of tea for P220), Russell Square Set (two sultana scones, four tea sandwiches, one Puffin, one caramel bar or mini-cupcake and a pot of tea for P280) and, finally, the Piccadilly Circus Set (two sultana scones, four tea sandwiches, two Puffins, two caramel bars or mini-cupcakes and a pot of tea for P335). Not only are the sets very affordable, but they’re also available any time of the day. Naturally, I wanted to feast on the Piccadilly Circus Set but was told that it was not available that time, so I just went for the Russell Square Set. They didn’t have the Puffins and since they had just run out of scones, I was asked if I was willing to wait for half-an-hour for the new batch of scones. I said yes, and the freshly-baked scones were worth the wait — totally awesome!

caramel bar, cupcake and scones

caramel bar, cupcake and scones

The tea sandwich selection includes crabstick and cucumber, tuna salad, ham and cheese, and coronation chicken — but you only get to choose one. I wanted the coronation chicken sandwich because it’s very British (Bea and I were able to taste it at Costa Coffee on our last day in London). Unfortunately, only the ham and cheese sandwich was available last Sunday. I guess to make up for it and because it was Mother’s Day, they let me have the regular size cupcake instead of a mini. From a handful of choices, I opted for the Earl Grey Tea Cupcake. It’s perfectly moist with a just-right sweetness and a well-balanced fruity flavor of the tea. So deliciously good. I loved it.

The Royal Piccadilly serves tea from Twinings, a London-based tea company which started more than 300 years ago in 1706. It’s still one of the leading tea brands in the world to this day and is one of my favorite teas to drink at home.

Russell Square Set

Russell Square Set

My afternoon tea experience in The Royal Piccadilly is one of the best in my book. The restaurant truly gets the concept of afternoon tea and this is evident in the food selection. Best of all, it’s so unbelievably inexpensive! It’s so worth the trip to Katipunan and worth every single centavo. I highly recommend this place to all the Anglophiles in Manila.

“Every nation in creation has its favorite drink / France is famous for its wine, it’s beer in Germany / Turkey has its coffee and they serve it blacker than ink / Russians go for vodka and England loves its tea… It’s a very good English custom / And a stimulant for the brain / When you feel a little weary, a cup’ll make you cheery / And it’s cheaper than champagne….” — from the song Everything Stops for Tea (1935) by Jack Buchanan

Categories: Afternoon Tea, Cravings | 5 Comments