i went to powerplant mall in rockwell center because i am in love with a bookstore in there, but i don't really know what else is in there except a rock climbing wall in the carpark, a room for drivers to watch dvds whilst waiting for their drivees (such an awesome idea, btw), and um, that's about it. however, i probably spend at least three hours in the bookshop each time i go in, and by the time i'm done, i'm famished.
we went to longrain, which is in the "food court" section of the mall, but since powerplant is a bit more upscale, the idea that this is fast food is not what you'd expect; the restaurants all have their dedicated spaces, but their respective seating spills out onto a common court. the food is mostly asian, and usually a cut above your mickey d's.
longrain doesn't specialize in any one cuisine, but dabbles in various southeast asian regions, including malaysia, indonesia, the philippines, and india. the decor is funky and relaxed, and the menu is just long enough to keep you interested enough to want to try several things, but not long enough to completely perplex you. to tell you the truth, i really like this place, as do several of my female cousins, but i don't think anyone else does. however, i could be wrong, as it has been here for quite awhile now. but then again, it's one of the only restaurants around that hasn't opened up a second branch in the many malls mushrooming throughout manila. hm. whatever. i'll let you know what i ate.
we started the meal with vegetable samosas (pictured at the beginning of the post), a fried vegetable-filled pastry. and it was both heat hot and spicy hot. the fried shell had just a thin layer of crispness, which gave way to a nicely tender pastry, and the garam masala-spiced potatoes, onions and peas packed in a lot of flavour, and weren't mushy or watery. we also ordered a paratha, a grilled flatbread served with a mild curry sauce.
i thought i would have the laksa, a curry-based noodle dish. the idea of yellow egg noodles with coconut milk, prawns, shallots, galangal, lemongrass, sambal belacan and other spices made my mouth water so much and my brain go into overdrive that when the server asked me what wanted, i blurted out "chicken makhani". wtf??? butter chicken?! i guess i short-circuited and ordered the "delhi dinner" on the menu, which consisted of chicken cooked in clarified butter, tomatoes and spices, saffron rice, yellow lentil dhal, cucumber raita and a poppadum. everything was very good--again, nicely cooked, no stinting of spices--but it was no laksa.
luckily (for me anyway), my cousin ordered mee goreng, yellow egg noodles fried with potatoes, tomatoes, tofu, and prawns in a tasty tomatoey garlicky chili sauce. talk about being pounded over the head with flavour, this dish practically leapt into my mouth, it was so good. spicy, but not so much that it overpowered the dish, perfectly al dente noodles, barely cooked through prawns, tomatoes that tasted like tomatoes, not at all oily.
so why don't people like this place? i've only ever ordered indian, indonesian, and malaysian food from here, but from what i've seen of the filipino dishes, i think i could find them lacking. the servers aren't particularly friendly nor helpful, but they are polite, efficient, and the food tends to arrive when it should. i have limited experience with malaysian and indonesian cuisine, but i do like that the kitchen doesn't hold back on spicing dishes, but obviously doesn't rely on salt (or msg, according to the sign), nor have any of the dishes seemed greasy or oily. one cousin had the complaint that perhaps the food had too much flavour and he had a little trouble with so much going on in his meal. huh. well, more for me then.
basement, powerplant mall
rockwell center, makati