Uncle Cheffy (200 to 500 PHP / 4.5 to 11.5 USD)
Branch: Venice Piazza, Mckinley Hill, Taguig, Philippines
Nostalgic over my favorite restaurant in Mckinley Hill, Old Vine, I suggested to my friend that we have dinner at Uncle Cheffy (as I recently learned that they’re both owned by the notable Chef’s Quarter Group).
UC took over OV’s former spot and replaced its signs. The space is also now linked to the neighboring Filipino resto, Kuse.
As UC’s dining area was somewhat humid, we opted for a table in Kuse. Upon settling down, I shared with the waiter my craving for OV’s dishes, especially a particular salad. He gleefully told me that they still serve the Tessie Tomas Salad (I wasn’t able to get the price) even though it’s not on the menu. I got excited…
And then it came…
It came with a mild foul smell my friend and I caught. Presuming it was the parmesan cheese, we dismissed it and dug in anyway. I was also surprised to find alfalfa sprouts in the mix and thought that it wouldn’t taste the same as it used to. I was right. The salad was better without it.
The rest of the ingredients were green and red lettuce, 2 strips of seared salmon, smaller prawns (they added more as they ran out of the larger ones), and grilled shiitake mushrooms, all in a balsamic dressing that wasn’t as creamy nor as much as before with respect to the proportion. The medium serving was good for two. Overall, it was just okay, not as spectacular as it was back then. (Rating: 6/10)
We got the Beef Ribs regular serving of 5 bones that could be shared by two (350 PHP). Slightly glazed in barbeque sauce, the meat needed some more tenderness and juiciness (the sides were a bit tough). Sidings included plain-tasting small boiled potatoes and a couple of undressed salad leaves.
Three sauces were provided: barbeque, salsa, and sour mint with herbs (either pesto or basil) that would better suit lamb meat. Out of all, only the first tasted like the appropriate choice to complement the ribs.
When my friend didn’t feel satiated with what he had had, he thought to try a panizza as it was a specialty of theirs. Soon after ordering one with seafood toppings (salmon, mussels, clams, squid, onion, herbs, and cheese). what was delivered was a semi-thin-crust Seafood Lovers pizza (425 PHP) that could not be rolled-up even with his several rolling attempts. It could either be due to the way they were cut or the dough was not slim enough. If it’s supposed to be a panizza then there were no arugula leaves nor alfafa sprouts that usually came with it. There was just a siding of salad leaves and salsa.
I took a slice. With my first bite, I detected a pungent scent. It came from the mussels (which should have been clams) that had an overpowering taste like they had been out for a while. The pizza as a whole tasted slightly old and not at all crispy. My friend and I were displeased so I didn’t reach for another piece nor did he want to finish it. (Rating: 3.5/10)
The only menu item that I relished was the refreshingly fresh Dalandan Juice (80 PHP).
Venice Piazza restaurants are hardly filled up (even for peak times such as lunch and dinner) because prices may be quite hefty for the habitual dining of corporate folks in the area. Given the circumstances, I infer that food inventory turnaround may be slow which may in turn lead to a loss of freshness in the dishes offered.
As for the staff, they were friendly and accommodating so that’s always a plus.
Overall Rating: 5/10 😦
Despite the non-raving remarks, I will give the other Uncle Cheffy branches a shot and hope for a more gratifying dining experience.
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