Luckily, Joan was able to secure a long table for all of us thus we were immediately seated as we entered the tiny eatery. When your hungry and people around you were happily eating, it makes it extra harder to choose what to order simply because everything just looks so good! Irene suggested that we all order family style and share the dishes among the 7 of us. Great idea!
Our first order was one whole HK Fried Pigeon (Php. 320) as Abet got me excited about it when he was describing what was good in Charlie's Tea House. The pigeon was quite small that you get only 4 slices (one quarter each) however complete with the must-have salt and pepper dip. It was delicious and not too oily. I'm definitely going back to Charlie's for this.
Up next was a plate of Pork Asado which Paul and my companions enjoyed very much. I'm not a big fan of asado but after taking a few pieces, I admit it was pretty good. The meat was tender and it had a sweet-salty taste that will make you want more. This would be a perfect choice to go with their rice topping.
We also had one order of Fried Squid with Salt and Pepper (Php. 250) which was my favorite next to the Fried Pigeon. The squid was soft, not overly chewy and the coating was thin and well seasoned with chili, salt and pepper. I just didn't dip it into the vinegar anymore as it just intensifies the spicy level of the squid.
One thing why people stays loyal to Charlie's Tea House is because of their Roasted Duck. Crispy skin on the outside and juicy meat inside, how can you not want to go back for more? Half duck order was good for the 7 of us and believe me, we all had a generous serving of duck meat each. It was delicious that I actually thought of bringing home another order for my family to enjoy for dinner.
Our last order was the Hot Prawn Salad (Php. 360). I must admit, I love hot prawn salad but this version you can totally just skip and order something else. The salad had a few prawns included but otherwise it was overly coated with mayonnaise. Not really something Charlie's is known for, maybe we'll just stick to their roasted meats next time.
It was a great meal shared with the members of The Food Club. Paul and I are truly blessed to have found great friends who share our love for food...delicious food at that.
Now I know where to eat should I find myself back in Ongpin, Manila again. As mentioned earlier, the restaurant is quite small and it easily gets filled up during lunch hour. Be sure to arrive early to call for reservation.
Charlie's Tea House -- I shall return. ;)
Charlie's Tea House is located at 937 Ongpin street, Sta. Cruz in Manila. Call them at 781-77-58.