I don’t do reviews because people ask me to.  I only review if I find the venue and the dining a convivial experience.  Yes, Waya Araos is my friend, but I did check the reviews of other Facebook friends before taking my parents to her restaurant Kiss The Cook Cafe for a Sunday lunch.

kissthecook-01Here’s my dad, itching to pour the Passionfruit Cooler (carafe contents are good for 3 persons) but waiting patiently for me to take my photo.  There’s a slice of lemon and a sprig of mint in there, and that touch adds a smile to my face (added a dimension to the flavor, too).  Very refreshing!

The chicken in this Thai Chicken Salad with Mango is grilled, skinless, but flavorful!  There is something spicy at the end of one’s mouthful that I can’t identify.  Two different colored lettuces and tiny gherkin cucumbers make it look pretty.  Those long sprouts look like alfalfa.  Quite good, can be a meal for one, or great to share.

kissthecook-03This is the Moroccan Fish Fillet, a dish of pan-fried dory.  A balanced meal on the plate.  Fried crisp on the outside, tender on the inside, salting was just right.  I don’t know exactly what makes it Moroccan, but it tasted good.  Maybe it’s the olives and the citrus bits scattered on top. In hotels people usually get the thickish slab of fish fillets, but here you have the pretty slab stacked on the little fried bits towards the tail, and lemme tell you, the crunchy bits are yummy!  The rice had green sprinkles that looked like powdered nori on top (for umami of the natural, non-crystalline kind).

This probably looks like the average panini with a side salad. However, the ciabatta bread in this panini is a lovely crusty BIG square cut into triangles.  Most panini are served in smaller, narrower shapes.  The filling is button mushrooms sauteed with chopped white onions and made tastily aromatic with truffle oil, and thin slices of cheese (unspecified, looks like ordinary but real cheddar).  Truffle oil is the ingredient that sets this apart from your usual mushroom and cheese sandwich.  Truffle oil makes this a fine dining mushroom melt!

And to finish, we had not one, but TWO panna cottas:  Mango with Honey, and Espresso.  Both are well-flavored, and sweet, but not too sweet.  You get the acid of the mango tamed by the honey, and you taste the full flavor of the espresso.

There were three of us sharing this meal, and it was so good that the waiter was pleased to see our empty plates.  My dad was shocked to see that the bill for 3 persons was only Php750!  PhP250 per head is good for when you want to want to go out on a date or when you want the girlfriends over for a chat.  The place is relatively quiet, with discreet jazz or instrumentals playing in the background.  You can actually talk with your companions.  The restroom is outside the airconditioned area, where there is a little patio/terrace shaded by a fruiting langka tree, for those who smoke or want to have drinks and laughter.

Would I return?  Definitely, because I still have to taste the Five-Spice Spare Ribs.  And the pasta with the mushrooms and the truffle oil (yes, I now have a thing for truffle oil).

Recommended attire for meals is smart casual.  Prices include 12% VAT but there is no service charge.  Am not sure if they accept credit cards yet as they just opened some weeks ago, but they do give senior citizen discounts.  There are usually two servers at any given time, and while relatively inexperienced, they serve you correctly and quietly.  We gave ours a good tip, for we had dined well, and were feeling happily indestructible after our lunch.

Kiss The Cook Cafe is located at 59 Maginhawa St., UP Village, QC, in front of Holy Family School.  For inquiries, please call tel. 434-3700 or 0926-7003979.