Go Light and Healthy with Poke Bowls at Citron Cafe

I can't remember the first time I heard about poke (poh-key) bowls. Most likely it was a couple of years back when I saw my friend in the US having it for one of his meals. I've always had this impression that it probably originated in Hawaii and it's probably their take on the Japanese chirashidon. Fast forward to two years ago, I had my very first poke bowl at A Poke Theory in Singapore. I've always love having salads, sandwiches or these poke bowls for lunch back when I was still part of the workforce overseas. Somehow, it keeps me alert and energetic to last for the second half of the work day.  I won't lie, there are days when I badly needed a huge plate of Ayam Penyet or a box of Curry Rice but on days when I want to go light but not end up starving, then Poke Bowls it is.

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However, my poke bowls addiction was short-lived as I had to stop having anything raw from the moment I found out I was pregnant. In order to keep my twins safe, I obediently followed my doctor's orders. Finally, the twins are out and it's time to be reunited with these fresh cubes of fish. So, when I got an invite to check out the lunch specials at Citron Cafe of Holiday Inn Makati, I took a quick Mommy break to give it a try. Citron is located at the Lobby Floor of this busy hotel and it's right outside Flavors. It was my first time to dine here as we previously had lunch at Flavors for their burger festival.

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Our lunch began with a bowl of their Classic Caesar Salad (Php. 275). It's a very generous serving of very fresh romaine lettuce with croutons, bacon and aged parmesan cheese. For the salad newbie, you'll never ever go wrong with caesar salad and Citron's version was very refreshing. I love how the greens stayed so crisp and the dressing was creamy yet not too overpowering too.

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We also had their best-selling Pork Rillette (Php. 325) which is a rich and chunky pork pate served in a glass jar and served with baguette slices, baby onions and juicy gerkins. I was told that this is a very popular choice especially at the hotel's Oz Bar. Once again, the serving for this starter is huge and can easily be shared by 4.

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Next came the star of our lunch -- the three types of Poke Bowls (Php. 365 nett) available during lunch hour. We got salmon, tuna and tuna with kimchi. The toppings are pretty much the same across the three bowls, you get a bed of white rice topped with carrots, lettuce, seaweeds, edamame, avocado, mangoes, cucumber and radish. Each bowl is also served with tobiko (yay!!) and Japanese pink radish which my Mom and Paul love so much.

The best way to enjoy this is to thoroughly mix it to scatter the ingredients in the bowl. There are two types of sauces to choose from -- Sriracha Mayo or Sweet Chili. My favorite was the sriracha mayo which I think adds more personality to each poke bowl.

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I tried all three types and while they're all very yummy, my favorite was the Tuna with Kimchi. I love the fresh tuna cubes marinated in kimchi sauce. Aside from this, they've also added in more kimchi as toppings too. This has a spicy zing on it's own so add the sauce carefully as it might get too hot for your taste.

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The salmon bowl was also very good and this was the favorite of my lunch companion. This surely reminds me of a deconstructed salmon maki. This also goes so well with the sriracha mayo as the creamy texture matches that of the fresh salmon.

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Aside from these poke bowls, we also tried the Fillet of Lapu Lapu in a Lemon and Herb Crust (Php. 595). Believe me, the poke bowls are really heavy and satisfying but since they have brought this beautiful creation too, I can't just allow this to go to waste, can I? My mom will love this! It's a nice cut of baked lapu lapu with lemon herb crust and served with parsley pilaf and grilled veggies. This is definitely a perfect choice this Lenten season. Hmm..shall we go back soon?

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Meat lovers will go crazy over the Kebabs (Php. 495) though. Two skewers of thick chunks of beef with vegetables and grilled to tender perfection. It's served with cheesy potato which I think is a very creative take from the usual mashed or baked potato accompaniment.

Our meal didn't end there yet. Of course, we gotta have dessert!

Look what came out from the kitchen. Two KTG designed platters filled with these yummy creations.

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The first one had an assortment of chocolate truffles with a variety of fillings from white chocolate strawberry, floral pistachio to gooey caramel. Each were hand-made by the Chef. So amazing huh?

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The second one are some Ube Cheesecakes which are my friend S' personal favorite. One bite and know why he loves it. It's creamy and dense, the kind that indicates its richness and it sits on a nice crunchy base.

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Lastly, we also had Holiday Inn's signature Chocolate Mousse. It bares again the KTG logo on white chocolate sheets. It was so good I asked if I can go for seconds within a minute of enjoying my first one. Somehow, I felt that this is truly what chocolate dreams are made of.

What a delicious and refreshing lunch at Citron Cafe. As much as I love motherhood and my twins, having random "Mommy days off" is also something I highly recommend for all new moms to do. I went home full, satisfied and extremely rejuvenated.

Check out Citron Cafe's Poke Bowls until the end of the month of March. Citron Cafe is located at the Lobby of Holiday Inn Makati, Palm Drive, Ayala Center, Makati. The hotel is adjacent to Glorietta Mall and it's closest to Glorietta 2.

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