|Location:||Westgate Center, Alabang and Paseo de Sta. Rosa|
You know you’re eating great tasting and satisfying food when you start mouthing the most jolog exclamations like winner, panalo, blockbuster! And Kanin Club is super mega panalo na blockbuster pa.
Kanin Club is owned by the same people who gave the public great testing crepes through Café Breton. I had lunch with the owners one time, and they explained how much research and painstaking attention to details it took to develop the concept and the menu for Café Breton, including even a trip to Brittany.
Kanin Club seems to have received the same attention and culinary creativity. This is their answer to those who need their bellies laden with rice, those with the appetites of karpenteros. Hence the name kanin club, aka lamon club.
We started our meal with the Dilis Salad (P149). I guess they added the dilis just before serving to keep them crispilicious. This dish could have done with a bit more tomatoes to even out the salty flavor of the dilis and also because this was the only vegetable dish we ordered. But this salad tasted and looked fabulous. One can have it as a starter or as viand for the rice.
We ordered the KC signatures – the Binukadkad na Tilapia (P246) and the Crispy Dinuguan (P261). Both are deserving of the hype. The tilapia is a deceptively simple dish, but it must take precise deep-frying to achieve its crispy on the outside, tender on the inside goodness. Watch out though, it is not boneless so you have to look before you chew. The dinuguan is five-star, winnie-santos sa sarap. Again, the serving time must be perfect to ensure that the crispy pork bits do not get soggy under the rich blood sauce.
We were eyeing our neighboring table’s stuffed squids, but we knew we would be bringing home doggy bags had we ordered it, so we exercised restraint and made that an excuse to come back to KC.
Everything was good, but the rice was the star of the meal. Sinangag Sinigang! (P224) The name twists your tongue and the flavor surprises it. You know how it is when you pour sinigang broth on your rice? Well, this dish tastes the same way but it’s dry so you don’t have that puddle on your plate that messes up the flavors of the other dishes. It has generous toppings of liempo and tepura-style vegetables. In the words of my husband, kanin pa lang ulam na.
After all that, we were so stuffed that for the whole of five minutes I contemplated the possibility of working out at the gym. But don’t worry, the feeling passed. And we worked out by stretching our stomachs to accommodate dessert. Bad move. The desserts were heavy and should be eaten a couple of hours after for merienda. Of course, we could not allow such good food to go to waste so we forced ourselves to eat. The Turon KC (P90) is a creative take on the traditional turon. Imagine halo-halo stuffed in a rice paper roll. Lovely, lovely invention. You can have this ala mode, but we skipped on the ice cream.
And because this was Kanin Club we had to have kanin for dessert. We ordered the Sticky Rice with Mango (P149). Now, you see, I’m on the hunt for the perfect version of this dish. So far, my hunt in the Philippines has been a total failure. And sad to say, the hunt is still on because KC’s version was just not what I was looking for. Which is not to say that this wasn’t good. The macapuno topping and the chocnut sidings were very delicious innovations to the dish, but the mango was a bit too tart to complement the flavors. It’s good, but it’s not the Thai version I’ve been looking for.
This was an extremely good meal. The only downside was that we had to wait for 55 minutes for a table, but we took it all in good stride. I had a book, we were treated well by the staff, and so the long wait just helped us to build up an appetite for this very satisfying lunch. Winner talaga! And at those reasonable prices and generous servings for sharing, hindi ka Luz Valdez.