Missing Home : Wooden Spoon at the Powerplant Mall

"I'm craving for Pinoy garlic rice, tocino, egg and atchara..ugh!"

This is what I suddenly messaged my Pinoy lunch group at work yesterday. It's the type of craving that you can clearly imagine the food in your mind and you're starting to smell it too. Clearly, I'm missing home and I'm really bummed that my supposed flight home tonight won't be pushing through. Anyway, happy thoughts again..happy thoughts.

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I got to admit that I didn't grow up eating Filipino food on a daily basis as we got a very Chinese-style kitchen back home. In fact, not so long ago, I wouldn't even consider Filipino cuisine as one of my favorites. Well as they say, "absence makes the heart grow fonder" and that's how I am towards Filipino food for the past 3 years plus. This is also why we make it a point to visit a Filipino restaurant whenever we fly home. So, on our most recent trip home, we brought the entire family out for lunch at Wooden Spoon at the Powerplant Mall. This restaurant, which is owned by Chef Sandy Daza, has been part of my restaurant list for years and I was just so glad to be able to finally try it once and for all.

The place was so packed but we're so lucky to be able to quickly get a table after a 5 minute wait. Too bad Chef Sandy wasn't there that day as I'd love to meet him! Did you know that I used to watch his Del Monte Kitchenomics show with his sister Nina back when I was a kid? I loved it so much that I would bug my mom to buy Del Monte products whenever we would go grocery shopping. How's that to effective product marketing?

Anyway, we started our meal with their best-selling dish -- Crab Pancit (Php. 195). I love how the menu has a bit of story/narration from Chef Sandy himself and we found out that this dish dates back to the time they had a Filipino restaurant in Paris, France and this was created by his mom, the famous Nora Daza together with a Michelin-starred Chef if I'm not mistaken. Thi was so delicious and I love the whole concept of mixing the noodles to coat it with the creamy crab sauce and taking in small spoonfuls each time. So good!

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Normally, I wouldn't order fried lumpia (spring rolls) in restaurants but my sister specifically requested for the Lumpiang Sotanghon (Php. 125) to which I'd gladly oblige. After all, who can say no to a pregnant woman right? I have to say, it was pretty good. The wrapper wasn't too oily and I really like how it was packed stuffed with rice vermicelli noodles. Best paired with sweet chili sauce but you can follow Paul who enjoyed it with lots of vinegar and chili.

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Moving to our main dishes, we had the Seafood Kare Kare  (Php. 375) which had mostly shrimps and squid as we requested that they remove the clams and mussels out. It was pretty good but somehow I felt that the sauce wasn't as rich and creamy as how Kare Kare should be. It was a bit bland and watered down, rather soup-y consistency than a thick gravy. The shrimps were peeled already and we all had mixed feelings about this. It seems like it wasn't very substantial as how we were expecting it to be. I wouldn't recommend this and maybe the Beef Kare Kare would be much better.

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We also tried the Lechon Kawali (Php. 265) as they sadly didn't had Crispy Pata which is our family's favorite dish most especially that of Papa and Paul's. The lechon kawali was pretty good albeit a bit on the salty side. Have this with rice to mute out the saltiness but take this in moderation as we all know that salt is not very good for our heart.

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Of course, we gotta have veggies since Mommy's with us and we got two kinds too! First was the Stuffed Pechay (Php. 195) which resembles Pan's favorite Laing. It was really yummy and I love the perfect combination of the smoked milkfish, minced meat, coconut sauce and all wrapped inside a huge cabbage leaf. Really really good! This was my second favorite dish next to the Crab Pancit.

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Our second veggie dish was the Sigarilyas at Daing (Php. 190). When Mommy requested for this, I couldn't help but sing Bahay Kubo. You know.. "sigarilyas at mani..sitaw, bataw, pataniii."  I actually had to check what sigarilyas is in English and now I know! It's called winged bean which is very popular in Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka and of course, the Philippines. I do remember seeing that here in some grocery stores here in Singapore too. It's funny because you would expect this dish to be slightly on the salty side since they got daing (smoked fish) in it but I got to hand it to the chef for creating a good balance of flavors and keeping the saltiness at bay. If only he did the same to the Lechon Kawali too.

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I have to admit that the serving size was pretty small and since there were 6 of us, I opted to order another dish to make sure that we're all full. Our last dish was the Wansoy Shrimp Nuggets (Php. 235) which is very Thai. It's a simple, straight-forward dish but it was pretty good too. I love the generous amount of wansoy thus giving you a strong herb flavor in every bite. So yummy!

Over-all, we enjoyed our meal at the Wooden Spoon. Service was also very good as our food quickly came out without having to wait too long and since we sat by the cashier area, we pretty much got most of the servers attention should we need anything. I would gladly go back for more of the Crab Pancit and the Stuffed Pechay too.

Now, if you'll excuse me. I shall start my search for a pack of tocino here in the Lion City to create my own Pinoy-style breakfast meal at home. I miss you Manila, see you soon!

Wooden Spoon is located at the Lower Ground Floor, Powerplant Mall, Rockwell Center, Makati City. Call them at 403-3585 / 0917-8827594. 

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