Great Eats

A visit to My Kitchen by Chef Chris

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I’ll be honest, I probably wouldn’t really think about eating here without a coupon or a Gourmet Society Card. The place is EXPENSIVE. Let’s get that out of the way before anything else. Located at the Oasis Hotel in Paco– which is definitely not a hotspot in terms of places to eat– I admit that this place entered and slipped my mind really quickly when it was recommended to me. We simply very seldom find ourselves in this part of Manila.

But as luck would have it, my brother found a Metro Deal coupon online that would allow us to get half off their famous panizza, so it seemed like fate was trying to point us in this direction. (How dramatic.) And despite how expensive this spot is, the restaurant filled up rather easily a few minutes after we arrived for an early dinner. In fact, I would suggest a reservation.

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The restaurant doesn’t have any particularly special ambiance. It’s your typical dimly-lit casual-dining restaurant, and I’m just happy my camera phone managed to hold up in this low lighting. 😛 The fact that the restaurant was on the ground floor of hotel drew a lot of foreign visitors to the restaurant, and this probably also “justifies” its fine-dining prices. I wonder if the foreigners find the pricing of the food okay or expensive.

In fairness to My Kitchen, I think they did a heck of a job trying to prove to you that you’re getting your money’s worth with every single dish. The servings were generous, coming to your table in large pristine plates and fantastic presentation. Across all dishes, it was clear they did not scrimp on ingredients, and that these ingredients were fresh and of high quality. Also, I was very excited for the panizza.

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As you try to pick from the numerous dishes on the menu, you are served with an appetizer of sliced wheat bread and pesto dip. I wish they warmed the bread up before serving it to us, but the pesto was nice enough to make up for that a little.

After we placed our orders, it didn’t take long for the first dish to arrive at our table. My dad almost always orders a salad dish to make sure we eat some veggies in every meal, and this one is the Oasis Salad (Php 540).

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Now this is a salad! It’s got all the things that make me swoon in a salad, including artichoke hearts, caramelized onions, roasted peppers, sundried tomatoes, and fresh super juicy tomatoes, all laying on a bed of perfectly dressed arugula and Romaine lettuce. (Every leaf is smothered in dressing, I tell ya!) The capers and Kalamata olives here and there add a salty punch to the salad, making this one of the tastiest salads I have ever eaten for sure!

The next dish was the one I was most excited about– the panizza. Chef Chris is widely credited as being the one who invented this thin rectangular masterpiece of fine thin dough topped with a blend of 5 cheeses and herbs, and none of the copycats I’ve eaten can compare. In fact this was my favourite part of the meal! I hope you’ll forgive the quality of my pictures below.

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The flavour we ordered is the The Original Tinlou (Php 790), with bacon, ham, caramelized onions (a must for pizzas!), sundried tomatoes, and mushrooms. Now I know it doesn’t look like your typical loaded pizza at first sight, but surprisingly this pizza was loaded with flavour! You can taste all the toppings and the glorious cheese, and the crust is an absolute revelation! It’s so thin it’s almost like you’re eating crisps. I think it might even be thinner than a tortilla wrapper! It really makes me wonder how this was made. If the crust were any thicker it would be in danger of getting soggy and too rubbery to the bite when rolled. This was absolutely perfect.

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When you roll it with the arugula and alfalfa (and a load of chilli!), it then has just enough body to give that perfect crunchy bite. If you have to order just ONE dish from the menu, any flavour of the panizza should be it! (So much exclamation points talking about this dish…)

Up next we have the Risotto Ox-Tongue (Php 820), with dices of imported ox tongue that have been braised until tender. To load up the dish are mushrooms, asparagus, and Italian broccoli, mixed into pomodoro and Marsala-enhanced risotto. The addition of butter and parmesan into the dish gives it that extra rich and extra creamy effect, so much so that you really cannot eat this whole dish just by yourself!

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This is one of those dishes you will appreciate more in moderation. Since we did order each dish to share among 6 people, I thought it was just enough for each of us to get a good taste without getting overwhelmed.

The Spaghetti Fruti di Mare (Php 729) is a tomato-based pasta dish with a blend of seafood. Fresh salmon, dorado, snapper, prawns, and imported mussels star in this dish, and they’re all sauteed in olive oil, tomatoes, and capers. Mmmmmm.

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Personally, I am partial to this dish since I am not a fan of white-sauced pastas. I find they are just too rich for my tastebuds. What a relief that the family went for this option to help balance out the previous dish. I also want to mention the seafood was abundant, unlike when you order dishes like these in other restos.

The Spice and Garlic Rubbed Lamb Ribs with Tomato Onion Jam (Php 1,100) was the only meat dish we ordered, and what a great choice it was! The juicy lamb is nestled on a bed of delicious garlic roasted potatoes, and because the potatoes catch the drippings from the lamb they are a joy to gobble up!

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I attacked that Tomato Onion Jam like there was no tomorrow. If you put it on top of your lamb (or the okra for that matter) after dipping it in the tahini sour cream sauce it’s a party in the mouth!

We were so full at this point we didn’t have room for dessert. So now that everything is in the tummy, how do I really feel about My Kitchen by Chef Chris? The food was definitely topnotch and the servings aplenty, but as for the price, I can’t deny it’s on the pricey side of things. If you’re on a budget, the. this is definitely a good place for the occasional splurge if you’re celebrating a special event. The food certainly won’t let you down! Oh, and another thing: DO NOT MISS THE PANIZZA.

My Kitchen by Chef Chris

The Oasis Paco Park Hotel, 1032-34 Belen Street, Paco, Manila
Tel: +632 521-2371 to 75
Hours: 7 AM to 11 PM

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Full disclosure: This post was not sponsored in any way. All opinions stated above are my own.

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