18 Mar2008

Kanin Club

by Marketman

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Consider me a member… I am a huge rice eater. When traveling abroad, I can barely go a week without a rice fix, and risotto barely qualifies. If there was a profession I could have been in a previous life, it would be a truck or household driver, and my lunch plate would be described by my amo or fellow bus stop diners as having “driver rice…” :) And I mean that in the nicest way. So when Mon Eugenio of Myron’s mentioned that there was this restaurant at the Paseo de Santa Rosa in Laguna called the Kanin Club, you just knew I was going to check this one out. Set up by the same folks who own Cafe Breton, it is located just a few steps behind Cafe Breton at the Paseo de Santa Rosa mall. If you are headed to Tagaytay or Batangas using the Santa Rosa Road, you can’t miss this mall that also houses several outlet stores… The week after Mon mentioned the Kanin Club, I happened to be headed out to the beach with several of our family’s Cebu office crew that were in Manila for a summer trip. We decided to stop and have lunch at the Kanin Club, and with 11 people at the table, we ordered nearly as many dishes! I rarely do a post on a restaurant unless I have visited it several times, but I think we tried enough dishes on this one visit to equal 2-3 visits of 2-3 diners… the quick verdict? Very good value for money… but read on for some of the highs and the lows of our meal. With a name like Kanin Club, we had to order at least 4 kinds of rice, and the photo up top is a bowl of “Aligue Rice” – rice sauteed with crab roe/fat. Hmmm, things were looking pretty promising…

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Several orders of beef tadyang sinigang were delivered to the table, and they were very good indeed. Beef ribs are incredibly flavorful and these had been stewed long enough so that the meat was falling off the bone, and the broth was both substantial and appropriately sour. One of our favorite picks of the meal.

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The green mango and red egg salad was not memorable. Possibly the mangoes were just simply too unripe and therefore not just sour, but actually painful to the taste buds. The bagoong wasn’t salty enough to temper the unripe mangoes. Some might like it this way, but the folks at our table unanimously agreed they could have passed on this dish as served.

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The next type of rice was the daing fried rice, a nice mixture of shredded dried fish with lots of crisp garlic bits. Overall the flavored rices were good, though I would have voted for much more flavor… but I suspect that is a price thing and they were trying to keep prices quite reasonable.

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The beefsteak tagalog was tough and not one of the better examples of the dish I have tasted. A couple of huge undercooked slices of onion were in the small dish, probably to fluff up the contents and there is something about biting into a semi-raw onion in bistek tagalog that sets off Marketman alarm bells. This could have been improved significantly. Hopefully, the next time they get their beef from a cow that wasn’t the bovine equivalent of Manny Pacquiao at the tail end of training, i.e., tough, stringy and virtually fat free… :)

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An unqualified hit was a bizarre sounding dish, but I am glad I went out on a limb and ordered it anyway. Dinuguan with a twist. Actually, crisp fried lechon kawali with a blood sauce ladled over it. Very good. Unusual, creative, a bit of an aha! dish. Bravo to the person who dreamed this one up. I am not a big fan of dinuguan with all the innards, but this version prompted me to order a lot of additional plain rice…

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We had a dyed in the wool Bicolano as one of the diners, so her take on the laing was listened to by everyone present. Made from dried gabi leaves, she said, definitely (as opposed to slightly wilted fresh leaves), but it still got a nod as being okay… A finer chop of the leaves might have helped the texture and absorption of coconut milk, I think.

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Another surprise hit was this seafood kare-kare. Very good. Again, a slight twist on pinoy favorites and this one worked, in the same manner that the dinuguang lechon kawali was a hit. This platter was completely wiped out.

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Perhaps the worst dish of the lunch? A watery pinakbet that could have qualified as a soup. It was swimming in a less than tasty liquid and the intense artificial color of the bagoong was unappealing, to say the least. I love pinakbet, and I know it is easy to make, so this dish was a real letdown, if you ask me. But one or two flops out of 11 or 12 dishes isn’t bad.

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The sizzling squid was pretty good and the small order was polished off in no time.

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The lechon kawali with a sweet and sour sauce was liked by many, but some found it too much of a clone of say a mediocre sweet and sour pork dish at a Chinese restaurant.

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With several softdrinks, this massive meal came to PHP3,333.33 or roughly PHP300 per person. I clearly recall the exact amount as I have never had a restaurant bill with all of the same digits, ever. Overall, I thought it was very good value for the money and I am glad there is a place to eat reasonably priced Filipino food on the way to Batangas without having to battle it out at the crowded restaurants in Tagaytay. On the way back from the beach, we ate equally heartily at the original LZM Bangus place (another Marketman favorite) and that meal there ran us roughly PHP230 per person in less comfortable surroundings. Everyone agreed that both places were definitely worth returning to in the future… Kanin Club, Paseo de Santa Rosa, Santa Rosa Laguna, just after the Laguna Technopark, along the Santa Rosa road that leads up to Tagaytay.

 

COMMENTS:

  1. Lolcat mama says:

    want…to…lick…computer…monitor…

    Dinuguan with a twist! Nom, nom, nom, nom!!

    Mar 18, 2008 | 6:16 am

     
  2. wysgal says:

    Foreigners will never understand how we can have rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But my rice cooker continues to be one of the most utilized appliances in my tiny apartment kitchen. =)

    Mar 18, 2008 | 6:33 am

     
  3. marco says:

    Just a tip! Kanin club recently opened their new branch in Westgate, Alabang, which also has Cafe Breton (another favorite). Now we don’t have to go all the way to Sta. Rosa to satisfy our cravings!

    Mar 18, 2008 | 7:44 am

     
  4. Roberto Vicencio says:

    My sister works at the James Hardie plant close to Santa Rosa and are regulars at the Kanin Klub. She’s been trying to get a roadtrip to that place. I told her that we have to add LZE to the itinerary.

    Mar 18, 2008 | 8:29 am

     
  5. allen says:

    That seafood Kare-kare looks good! The daing fried rice looks like a version of the chinese Salted fish fried rice :)

    My Mom uses chicharon bulaklak with her dinuguan… The dinugaun itself has no sauce or sabaw, she cooks the blood until it dries up, stirring constantly untiil it is dry and almost powdery. The chicharon bulaklak stays crisp.

    Mar 18, 2008 | 8:43 am

     
  6. rachel says:

    now i’m really hungry.the seafood karekare sounds really good.i’ll give it a try here.and also the pinakbet,i haven’t made that in a long time.i use bagoong balayan with mines though.i think it’s better than with alamang.i think i’ll make tuyo fried rice tomorrow for breakfast.

    Mar 18, 2008 | 9:13 am

     
  7. negrosdude says:

    my gosh, i love rice too! my cousin teddyboy locsin is a rice snob. really meticulous about his rice. he goes to bangkok and comes back with rice in his maleta. we once went to doc boy vasquez’s cafe juanita in kapitolyo and he walked in, carrying in his two hands a rice cooker from his house containing precious steaming upland rice from a private farm in negros – he didn’t care that it was a sunday and the restaurant was crammed full of people for boy vasquez’s sunday buffet. people gawked at the sight of the makati congressman carrying a rice cooker in the restaurant, but so what? he had to make sure the rice was to his liking, haha!

    Mar 18, 2008 | 9:32 am

     
  8. annaman says:

    Wow! These were all mouth watering pictures…. I tried black-ink rice before and it was good as well, at Gerry’s in Pasig. It’s rice sauteed in squid ink and garlic. Different and yet tasty.

    Mar 18, 2008 | 10:02 am

     
  9. jules winnfield says:

    mm, you had me at ‘aligue’ rice.

    Mar 18, 2008 | 10:02 am

     
  10. bon igot says:

    We always have lunch at the Kanin Club on our way to Tagaytay. Our all time favorite are the crispy dinuguan and the crspiy tenga. The sinigang na salmon belly is also a hit as well as the ginataang sigarillas. We didn’t like the crispy binagoongan and sizzling squid though. The turon ala mode is also a must-try. Aside from the usual saba and langka, it has halo-halo ingredients like makapuno, ube and monggo as well wrapped inside.

    Mar 18, 2008 | 10:06 am

     
  11. choy says:

    i seem to recall an ilocano friend serving bagnet with dinuguan and my having that aha! moment as well. could this be the idea behind the lechon kawali con dinuguan? whatever, i’ve passed the kanin club several times on my way to tagaytay. now i have a reason to stop by aside from satisfying a curiosity.

    Mar 18, 2008 | 10:10 am

     
  12. kasseopeia says:

    Great! I have a new place to check out whenever I’m assigned to the Technopark plant. Tama na ang fast food!

    The aligue rice looks absolutely delicious… *drool*

    Mar 18, 2008 | 10:10 am

     
  13. ging says:

    tsk tsk tsk :-)
    watch the waistline MM :-)

    Mar 18, 2008 | 11:54 am

     
  14. cc says:

    the mango salad is my favorite, w/o the devil/red eggs. i was at this location a year ago and the mango was at its best, go wonder … together with the traditional beef tapa, and garlic drenched fried rice, the combination hit the spot. once earlier in one of your blogs i mentioned what a great find it was to come across this local eatery. didn’t know it had a sibling; thanks for sharing.

    Mar 18, 2008 | 12:11 pm

     
  15. Trish says:

    Hi MM. Have you tried the Pinakbet with Lechon Kawali of Angel’s Kitchen? Its pinakbet mixed into the rice and topped with lechon kawali chunks. Really, really good!

    Mar 18, 2008 | 8:59 pm

     
  16. HungryDude says:

    Ahhhh My Stomach just went decibel mode Crazy!! Outstanding pix MM.. WOW good value for that many Dishes Yumm..

    Mar 19, 2008 | 12:55 am

     
  17. Mandy says:

    hayyy… i just had dinner here this evening. so yummy and so cheap! i had dinner there last sunday too. :D there is a branch in westgate alabang, besides the orig one in sta rosa. MM, next time order the crispy pork binagoongan–it’s much better than the sweet and sour one. i also love the salmon sinigang and turon (order it with macapuno ice cream so it won’t be too cloyingly sweet). but my most favorite in kanin club is not on their menu–you have to ask for it, it’s their pork sinigang rice, priced at around only Php135!! oh and this evening we were 9 in the group and our bill came out to only Php2900.

    Mar 19, 2008 | 2:22 am

     
  18. Apicio says:

    Minor quibble: Aligui is actually the crustacean’s coral. Crab roe which is the same color but globular and has a distinc crunch (just like caviar and btw is truly marvelous with fried rice too) is found on the belly-side of crabs, under its tapis. The tapis of course has to be rounded (instead of pointed) to denote it’s a female and therefore capable of bearing roe.

    Mar 19, 2008 | 7:07 am

     
  19. dhayL says:

    How weird is that eh, paying a bill of the same digits? It could be a sign MM so why not play that number int the lotto? ehehe

    Anyway, their food looks so delicious! I agree that from the photo above their pinakbet looks watery, I prefer my pinakbet with just a little bit of “sabaw”, I actually add very little water when making this dish coz the squash gives out too much water! Someday I’d like to try making seafood kare-kare, or maybe you’d want to volunteer? hint..hint :)

    Thanks for this post, although, i had to make sure that I eat my dinner first before I read on, otherwise I’d be daydreaming and wishing that those were my ulam! :)

    Mar 19, 2008 | 7:14 am

     
  20. Eileen says:

    MM, next time, try Kanin Club’s turon for dessert! It’s not the “usual turon” because aside from banana, it also contains other ingredients like monggo, macapuno, etc. :)

    Mar 19, 2008 | 10:44 am

     
  21. Rey says:

    There are more reviews of Kanin Club at the “Kumain ka na ba sa Kanin Club” Facebook page:

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=9975817129

    And I added your review there, MM. Thanks!

    Mar 19, 2008 | 11:17 am

     
  22. suzette says:

    oh we just ate there yesterday! supposedly just to have merienda, we decided to have eraly dinner and ordered bagoong rice, tokwa’t baboy, sticky rice with mango and green iced tea for our party of three. all for under P500. as my friend said, not too shabby! we even had leftovers which i ate for brunch today :)

    Mar 19, 2008 | 1:21 pm

     
  23. Em Dy says:

    I had a late lunch yesterday at 4 pm and yet I couldn’t stop myself from ordering rice. When I was training in the US, kind kababayans would always make sure I have take home rice when I visit their houses for parties.

    Mar 19, 2008 | 4:49 pm

     
  24. chinachix says:

    looks yum! now i have a craving for aligue rice…

    Mar 19, 2008 | 7:16 pm

     
  25. u8mypinkcookies says:

    definitely gonna try their westgate branch. i heard they serve brown rice too.. yummy (healthy!) ;D

    Mar 19, 2008 | 9:14 pm

     
  26. Susan says:

    Seafood Kare kare is soooo easy to make–either with instant or made from scratch soup base. Add all fave veggies & seafood. As quickly as 30 minutes, you have kare kare and not as rich or heavy.

    Mar 20, 2008 | 5:39 am

     
  27. Marketman says:

    Apicio, you are absolutely correct, crab coral it is. Eileen, yes, I saw the turon coming out of the kitchen after we had paid our bill, and boy did we regret not ordering that!

    Mar 20, 2008 | 9:41 am

     
  28. Lenore says:

    One of the owners was a former officemate. Didn’t pass up the chance when she treated us there to celebrate her nth birthday. Kahit na sa Sta. Rosa pa siya at sa Cainta pa ako uuwi :) Hi Emely! Miss na your food. And eating at your place after meeting with Honda. :)

    Mar 20, 2008 | 10:33 am

     
  29. Katrina says:

    We finally got to try Kanin Club last Tuesday — coincidentally, the day you posted about it! We’d been meaning to for months, so we decided that on the way to Tagaytay for Holy Week, we would make sure to take the Sta. Rosa route (even though it’s a bit longer) precisely for Kanin Club. Felipe even skipped work in the afternoon so that we could make it in time for lunch!

    We were not disapointed. Like you, not everything we tried was great, but we enjoyed the meal enough to want to return to try more dishes. The daing rice was our favorite, and the Halo-Halo Turon with macapuno ice cream was also an “Aha!” moment. I’m not fond of halo-halo, but presented in crunchy, caramelized turon wrapper, I wiped out the whole plate on my own. :-)

    Mar 23, 2008 | 4:06 pm

     
  30. u8mypinkcookies says:

    loved the seafood salpicao and sinigang na tadyang!

    Mar 23, 2008 | 10:31 pm

     
  31. acid says:

    Except for their stinginess on the kare-kare sauce, I wholeheartedly endorse this place.

    Mar 24, 2008 | 3:31 pm

     
  32. pastrygirl says:

    Love the resto. Except that food are mostly meat, i still indulged myself into it. the dessert – turon – was fantastic. can’t get over it.

    May 6, 2008 | 11:18 am

     
  33. quiapo says:

    “Aligue Rice”! Brings back memories of the Marquina Cafe near Escolta when their “Crab Rice” was just the best rice you could ever have, with chunks of crab meat and glistening orange crab roe in copious quantities through the fried rice. I wonder if the restaurant, and the dish still exist.

    May 12, 2008 | 7:58 pm

     
  34. Joby says:

    Crispy Dinuguan and turon were the best! =)

    Jun 11, 2008 | 10:27 am

     
  35. Karla says:

    The pinakbet looked more like dinengdeng. Actually, it probably is the love child of pinakbet and dinengdeng.

    Jan 19, 2010 | 11:20 am

     
 

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