Even when we were still students, my parents would take us to Alex III along Wilson street to celebrate small achievements and milestones in our lives. I remember dining here after every quarterly exams. Papa would always get their Boneless Chicken Barbecue and the three of us would have our own plates of two-piece Chicken Barbecue. Mommy would always request that her Java Rice be changed to Plain Rice. These things have never changed since then.
Now, our family is growing with Paul being the newest member of our small yet very tight-knit family. Last Sunday, Mommy decided that instead of having our regular Sunday dinners at home, we will eat out. I was excited! We rarely get to eat out as a family save for the birthday celebrations and once in a while dinner outs with either side. We decided to have dinner at Alex III where my dad, who lately has been a very picky eater, will definitely approve of.
We arrived at exactly seven and the restaurant was half-filled. Through the years, Alex III would try to tweak their menu -- removing some items such as my favorite Bird's Nest soup and adding some creations such as the rib-eye steak. I'm glad though that this time, the Bird's Nest Soup with Quail Egg is back and so is Paul's favorite Chicken Oriental Salad. Of course, I had to order the Bird's Nest soup since I miss it so much! One slurp and Paul and I looked at each other. The soup doesn't taste the same. For one thing, we could hardly see or taste the bird's nest. It actually tasted like Egg Soup with Quail Egg. Ohh..hello cholesterol!
Trying our best to choose the healthier alternative, we skipped ordering Ponchi, which is very similar to a California Maki only it's covered with Japanese mayo on top, that evening. My sister instead ordered the California Maki (Php. 199). For the price, I was expecting at least 8 big slices of this hand-rolled sushi but what came were 6 tinier-than-a-bite-size-sushi! My mom asked me again how much an order is and when I told her how much it was worth, I knew from the look of her face that this sushi plate was definitely not worth its price. Normally I love the tobiko but this one was a bit too salty for me.
For our main dish, Paul and I got the 3 piece Chicken Barbecue to share. I'm glad Alex III has maintained good quality for their barbecue dishes. I still love the tender chicken meat most especially when dipped into their signature Java sauce. Yum!!
What I love the most though was the Java Rice. No trip to Alex III would be complete without having their Java Rice. I love the oily, fragrant orange rice with bits of pork in it. It goes with practically anything but of course best with their barbecue choices.
Another thing that my sister would always order is the Laing. She loves this dish and I think she is currently searching for the best laing out there. So how did Alex III's laing fared? In the past, it was pretty good. However, that evening we were surprised that their laing was filled with meat and fish fillet. It resembles that of a Tinomok which was why we had to ask our server if that really was laing. Laing, is a Bicolano dish made with gabi leaves and coconut milk. Whereas Tinomok has meat filling. Well, this is how I would differentiate the two. It was quite a confusing dish but it wasn't so bad. I'm actually thinking that this would pass as a Lenten no-meat dish if only they take the ground meat filling out.
Lastly, to complement our meal, I ordered the Sago't Gulaman. I'm not really fond of ordering juices or sweet drinks during meals but I figured out that since Aristocrat, a sister restaurant of Alex III is known of their Sago't Gulaman, then I hope Alex III's version would be pretty impressive to. I made Paul take the first sip as he loves this drink. He quickly made a face which signaled that the drink was not... good. Still I kept an open mind thinking my husband must have extremely high standards for a simple Sago't Gulaman and took a sip myself. Well, I'm glad that it wasn't too sweet but I could hardly identify in each sip whether what I'm chewing on was the sago or the gulaman. The drink topping just felt like a mashed up brick of jelly with no specific shape or size. It tasted quite odd. We didn't bother finishing the drink instead I just requested for cold filtered water.
I guess one should definitely go to Alex III simply for their barbecue dishes. Everyone on the table was happy with our Chicken Barbecue meals but we all felt that the other dishes that we ordered were either not worth the price or was simply a disappointment. I wish Alex III would last for more decades as I'd love to bring my future kids there after their own quarterly exams. I'd love to introduce them to my favorite java rice and chicken meal. As one restaurant grows through time, I hope they continue to improve on their quality and service to match the progressing needs of its patrons.
Alex III is located along Wilson street corner J. Abad Santos in San Juan City.