Located at the back of Cotton On, Red Onion Café is the brainchild of Mark Endaya and Wen-Szu Lin, the latter of whom has worked alongside celebrity chef Martin Yan, and has managed numerous restaurants in Asia. Even before knowing all these, I already had a feeling that I'm in for a real treat. But I'm not gonna lie, Wen-Szu's impressive credentials gave me further assurance that my palate and tummy's in good hands.
Donning wooden furniture and fixtures, Red Onion Café specializes in Taiwanese cuisine, and also offers carefully selected Chinese dishes in a modern outdoor café-styled setting. And while I usually don't have high expectations when it comes to food from cafes, I surely brought higher standards at Red Onion Café. Their recipes were developed in Taipei and Beijing in conjunction with master chefs. So why not?
|✓ "Spiced and Iced" Coffee Latte (P128)|
To officially start our lunch, we had the Taiwanese Crispy Dumplings which are similar to the Japanese gyoza, except that this is longer and had batter crisped up. Oh, and it's served up-side down too! Even as a fan of gyoza, I'd say I prefer this a lot more! Aside from getting my fill of meat and vegetables enveloped in a soft and silky dumpling wrap, I also got to enjoy a thin crispy and creamy layer of batter. This is definitely a must-try!
|✓ Taiwanese Crispy Dumplings (P198)|
We were then served with the Double-Fried Sweet and Sour Pork, a very different take far from the usual red-orange sweet and sour pork I was used to. The pork pieces were double-fried to an enjoyable crunch, and the sauce is a sweet, salty, savory and slightly sour blend. Topped with some sesame seeds, the beau and I can't help but feel like this is the pork version of Korean fried chicken. Haha! And yes, it's a good thing! We loved it!
|✓ Double-Fried Sweet and Sour Pork (P228)|
Actual serving is bigger; this is just half order.
My most favorite dish that day is this Sichuan Mala Chicken -- chicken thigh fillets swimming in spicy Sichuan pepper oil. I know, the oil in this dish can be somewhat intimidating. However, I assure you that the slight increase in cholesterol level is definitely worth it! The chicken pieces were so tender and so succulent, and the Mala sauce is hot but addicting. Every bite just oozes with spicy, savory goodness. Another must-try!
|✓ Sichuan Mala Chicken (Single P198; Family P378)|
Of course, with such tasty viands, we wouldn't be caught dead without some carbs. So to fill in that sweet spot, we had the Red Onion House Fried Rice -- signature fried rice with egg, scallions, and what else but fried red onion bits. Although this serving is a wee bit oily, I can't deny that I enjoyed pairing this flavorful and aromatic fried rice with the main dishes. Especially with the Sichuan Mala Chicken... A match made in heaven!
|Red Onion House Fried Rice (P188)|
While the cafe churns out mean Chinese dishes, Red Onion Café also specializes in Taiwanese-style noodles. The beau and I got to try their 39 Spices Beef Noodle, and boy was it hearty! Unlike Chinese-style noodles that are mellow on the palate, this bowl definitely packs a whole lot of flavor. It was super savory and super flavorful, perfect if you've got the bed weather. As for the noodles, you can choose whether to have the thin (not-so-thin) noodles, or go for Red Onion Café's hand-shaved noodles.
|39 Spices Beef Noodle (All Meat P228; Beef & Tendon P258)|
Available with thin noodles or hand-shaved noodles.
|All-You-Can-Eat Hand-Shaved Noodles for only P228!|
And while the thin noodles were cooked perfectly, soft yet firm and chewy, I have to say that I fell more in love with the hand-shaved ones. Even the beau loved the hand-shaved noodles. We really dig how every piece has thinner edges and a thicker mid-portion which adds to a more enjoyable noodle slurping and chewing session.
Here's a peek through the open kitchen. The noodle dough is painstakingly kneaded to form that bread-like shape, before it gets shaved by the hand-shaved noodle specialist.
|✓ Hand-Shaved Noodles|
After our visit to Red Onion Café, I can proudly say that it's now included on my list of favorite cafes. I went in not knowing how I'd like the food, but I came out impressed and craving for more. Everything we had that day was nothing short of great. Prices are very competitive too since almost every dish is good for sharing. And don't get me started on their noodles! In most noodle places, I'd leave a little disappointed that I didn't get enough slurping action. But not at Red Onion Café! Would you believe, just finishing a bowl posed as a challenge? They don't scrimp on the noodles, I tell ya! As a cafe, I really like that it's located at the back portion of UP Town Center, away from the busy Katipunan and C.P. Garcia Avenues. So would I come back again soon? Definitely!
Taste - 4/5
Ambiance - 4/5
Service - 4.5/5
Price - 4/5
Overall Value - 4/5
Ambiance - 4/5
Service - 4.5/5
Price - 4/5
Overall Value - 4/5
Red Onion Café, UP Town Center
G/F (beside Ginza Bairin) UP Town Center,
Katipunan Ave., Loyola Heights, Quezon City
Metro Manila, Philippines
I actually didn't plan for a giveaway, but Wen-Szu of Red Onion Café was very generous to sponsor this giveaway for my dear readers. So if you want to try this really neat cafe serving noodles, dumplings and other great-tasting Chinese dishes at UP Town Center, then better join this giveaway! And if you win, make sure to try my favorites, okay? I promise you, you won't be disappointed! *wink*
Prize: (1) winner of P1,000-worth of food and drinks at Red Onion Café
Guidelines to enter the giveaway raffle:
- Be a Metro Manila resident or someone (even not within Metro Manila) who can actually use the prize, or have a person you'll give the prize to in case you can't use them. (Don't join please, if you know you can't use the GCs.)
- Follow the Rafflecopter mechanics below to join.
- Make sure you do all the first seven mandatory steps to be eligible.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
The giveaway raffle will run from today until March 7, 2014. The winner will be drawn, announced and contacted a few days after. So join now and get a taste of the amazing hand-shaved noodles and other Taiwanese and Chinese dishes from Red Onion Café!
Disclaimer: The prize was sponsored by the good folks from Red Onion Café.
Posted in: blog anniversary giveaway 2, chinese, giveaway, katipunan, noodles, quezon city, taiwanese, up town center