This just goes to show how time flies, while we frequent the Greenhills Shopping Center almost twice in a month, we would just have enough time to run our errands of paying the bills, buying some groceries or having our clothes altered. It has been a while since we had the privilege to leisurely stroll around and try the new restaurants in this area. I'm glad that 2011 seems to be a more laid-back year for us. Giving us sufficient relaxing weekends and weeknights where we can unwind either as a twosome or with our group of friends.
We were introduced to the owners of Coco Asian Kitchen, a local concept with dishes taken from various Asian cuisines. With the countries listed under its main signage, I initially thought it's a local franchise from an international restaurant brand. I'm glad that Andrew Tan, cleared that up with us.
As soon as the group was complete, our dinner began with plates of Ube Ubod (Php. 120). I peered closely at the purple pouch-like lumpia in front of me. We were told that the wrapper is made with ube thus the dark purple color. Inside is like your regular lumpia ubod that Paul and I love.
Ubod, is also called the Heart of Palm that comes from a Coconut Tree. Paul and I both love the native lumpia ubod with a generous sprinkling of peanuts and the sweet sticky sauce. However, I was delighted with Coco Asian Kitchen's version where they served it with peanut sauce.
Another appetizer that we enjoyed that evening was the Cha Gio (Php 90) a Chinese-sounding dish, we later found out that it's Coco Asian Kitchen's (CAK) version of the popular Vietnamese spring roll. It was very filling and best eaten with vinegar. While I love my spring rolls fresh, this one was worth trying too.
To warm up our tummies, we had the Tom Yum Soup (Php. 90). One order will give you a big bowl good for 2-3 pax to share. I love the mushroom and seafood added into the soup. While it's known to be a very spicy Thai soup, I'm glad that CAK has adjusted the spicy level making it bearable for my taste buds. I actually had two servings of the soup, yup! it was THAT good :)
Next was my ultimate favorite -- the Dory ala Coco (Php. 290). A delicious serving of dory fillet breaded and deep-fried but CAK has maintained the tenderness of the fish inside. I love the sweet coconut sauce that I couldn't stop pouring over my rice. It's served with a handful of fried rice noodles as garnish too. I recommend for you to crush this and mix some of the sauce into the noodles. I will definitely go back to Coco Asian Kitchen for more of this!
The Thai Lengua (Php. 260) was also worth trying. I love lengua and I was really happy that CAK's lengua was tender that you can just tear it apart with your spoon and fork. While the sauce was rich and flavorful, I still prefer to pour the coconut sauce of the dory over my rice.
Coco Asian Kitchen's answer to the Bicolanos' Bicol Express is the Coco Express (Php. 190). Cooked with sweet coconut milk, we also enjoyed the rich and creamy texture combined with bits of veggies and meat. No trace of spiciness here which is also safe for the kids to eat.
We also had the Tinomok (Php. 260) which is also a must-try. If you love Laing, then you'll enjoy the Tinomok which has gabi leaves stuffed with meat and cooked once again with gata (coconut milk). One order is pretty good for groups of two to three already.
Lastly, to fully enjoy all of the dishes served to us that evening, we had the Seafood Rice which is a new item that's yet to be included in the menu. Thanks to the owners of Coco Asian Kitchen for allowing us to have a taste of their delicious fried rice. It went perfectly well with everything! The fish, lengua, tinomok, you name it! I love the light, fluffy yellow rice mixed with shrimps and spring onions. Yum!
There are still a lot more dishes that we have yet to try on our next return such as the Green Curry Chicken, Hainanese Rice and more. However I will definitely be trooping back to Coco Asian Kitchen for another round of the Seafood Rice matched with the delicious Dory ala Coco! Now, there's a great option on where to grab a bite when you find yourselves in Greenhills Shopping Center this weekend. ;)
*photos by Paul Ang
Coco Asian Kitchen is located at the Ground Floor of the Greenhills Promenade, Greenhills Shopping Center in San Juan City.