Rediscovering Iberian food at an old favorite

3:36 am | Thursday, November 27th, 2014

This diner often revisits restaurants, basically to check if the quality of food and service has improved or deteriorated. And, always anxious for new eating places, we are forever on the lookout for discoveries offering exciting dining experiences.

Buona Vita—Molito Lifestyle Mall, Unit 19, Cluster 3, Molito Lifestyle Bldg., Madrigal Ave., Alabang, Muntinlupa City; tel. 5193868, 2614481.

We saw the beginning of this restaurant which serves Italian and Spanish dishes, but we are more a fan of their Iberian specialties. This was originally located on Daang Hari in Molino, Bacoor, Cavite. After they moved to the more active Molito, we thought we’d give it a look-see and check if the quality of food and service has changed at all.

Dining area—Very European. Above the bar counter are glasses for the drinks as well as bunches of grapes. There is a mezzanine for private parties complete with sound system.

Service—Considering paella takes a while to cook, service was fast. Bread and butter are readily offered. Appetizers do not take long to serve.

Staff—Buona Vita now employs a maître d’ in the person of a gentleman called Philip. Neat in his gray shirt and trousers, he attends to dinner solicitously without being overbearing, making sure orders are followed up, glasses are filled when empty, and the rest of the staff are doing their jobs well.

Suggested orders— While they have Italian dishes in the menu, this diner always makes Spanish food the first preference. Start with gambas aljillo; this is super as the shrimps are fresh, and immersed in a flavorful duet of garlic and olive oil. Order the perfect combination of very tender lengua (ox tongue) done with delectable brown sauce with green olives. And of course, choose Traditional Paella, cooked in saffron with chorizo, chicken pieces and shrimps. Truly satisfying. You’d leave the place with your palate still savoring the lingering taste of a well-done Spanish specialty. This diner is pleased that the quality of food and service has been maintained, thus deserving repeat visits.

Service charge and government taxes are added to your bill. Senior cards are honored.


– 3 Spoons

Kitchen 1B—117 Gamboa, Salcedo Village, Makati City; tel. 8432392

This huge kitchen, literally looking more like an expanded cooking cum dining hall, labels its offerings as “Wholesome Alternatives.” It has several slogans, printed on the katsa (raw cotton) aprons of the staff, such as “You have to eat right.”

Dining area—As described above, this is huge, and minimalist in decor. It reminded this diner of the massive Industrial Kitchen store in Sydney, Australia, giving the impression that they are the professional guide to good dining experiences.

Service—This is where Kitchen 1B disappoints. We seated ourselves on an apparently available table. Staff members were seen talking to each other but not one of them approached us to take our orders. It took a while for any of them to give us the menu card. Then another disappearing act, until we waved to signal we were ready.

Staff—Considering the slow response from the staff, we recommend some improvements in training them.

Suggested orders—Healthy eating this one session would be. Get a salad of greens, including red beet with slabs of goat cheese. Carry on with Eggplant Lasagna served with an ample portion of vegetables. Try the grilled lamb chops. You can’t go wrong with this one. The chops are thick, perfectly pink inside. Again this one has veggies, broccoli, on the side. If you require more meat, go for Lamb Curry topped with cubed carrots and beans plus slices of fried plantains. Sad, but the curry flavor was not prominent on the dish. The bottle of mint jelly was nearly empty—another point which they can improve.

Service and government taxes are added to the bill. Senior cards are honored.

Rating—no spoon rating is appropriate. This diner would rather tag this restaurant as “needing some improvement.” Note that our review covers not only the food, but all aspects including staff efficiency, etc.

Tags: Food , Lifestyle , News

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