We had lunch last weekend at California Pizza Kitchen in Shangri-la Mall, Mandaluyong and were warmly introduced to a new menu of epic proportions. CPK Philippines has its new menu replete with pizzas, pastas, salads, and for the first time in the Philippines, rice entrees! Imbued with that same California inventiveness and culinary ingenuity, their flavorful carb-bomb dishes will send you home a happy customer. We ordered the best recommended selections that matched our appetite. Here’s the food rundown.
Review of California Pizza Kitchen (Shangri-la Mall, Mandaluyong)
CPK Philippines in Shagnri-la Mall looks modern and neat. Decors and light fixtures are nothing fancy (loved the wall printed with trees), but the overall laid-back and friendly atmosphere is what makes this place an easy choice for a casual brunch, lunch, or dinner. Our only qualm? The sun shone so brilliantly in mid-afternoon that it was almost too bright to look outside, especially since we were seated by the window. Installing blinds or curtains could have been more suitable as a pleasing backdrop and functionally, to control the light and glare.
California Pizza Kitchen has certainly added fuel to the fire around who makes one of the best pizzas over the last few years. Although “pizza” happens to be its middle name, CPK is not solely a pizza joint. What makes it unique is that it also serves a variety of dishes for the whole family to love.
We got our meal started on the right foot. Freshness ruled with the Grilled Shrimp, Strawberry and Goat Cheese (PhP 550). The combination of strawberries, peas, mixed greens, almond flakes and goat cheese tossed in homemade honey Dijon vinaigrette is a home run in creativity, taste (briny + sweet), and execution.
Dips Sampler (PhP 375) had a stellar presentation with bacon crack, zesty corn, and tzatziki cucumber and pita, flatbread and white tortilla chips in one large plate. My fave? It’s hands down, the tzatziki cucumber. The rich flavor and creaminess were mostly present. There’s something oddly addicting about tangy-thick yogurt, crunchy grated cucumber, olive oil, garlic and aromatic fresh mint put together.
Among their new pizza creations, we tried the Grilled Chicken Chipotle and Avocado (PhP 475). We’ve never been a believer in avocado slices on pizza until this one. It was really good! Toppings consisted of grilled chicken, Monterey Jack, Queso Quesadilla with housemade roasted corn, black bean chipotle salsa, avocado, jalapeno, cilantro and lime crema. The salsa and jalapenos round out a true nod to nachos in festive pizza form. This is the kind of fusion we could get used to.
If you’re craving Mexican, you’ll also be enthused to get the Cali-mex Chicken Salsa. Served with grilled chicken and topped with housemade chipotle salsa and jalapeno, this rice entrée was supposed to come with rice. But instead of getting regular rice, we chose to upgrade to quinoa (additional charge: PhP 45), riding on the bandwagon of health consciousness in today’s culture. Ahem. 😛 Every texture, spice and flavor simply worked. Blue corn tortilla cheese and lime crema made the dish even more fantastic.
The sautéed shrimps in Sweet Flame Shrimp (PhP 385) were succulent, the mango-cucumber salsa packed sweet and spicy flavors cohesively, and the fresh cilantro gave the dish an oomph. Yummy!
We knew we just couldn’t go wrong with Chicken and Sausage Fajita Pasta (PhP 495). For those who like it hot, this pasta made with smoked sausage, grilled chicken, tri-color peppers and jalapeno with spinach, fettucine and roasted garlic cream sauce is sure to please.
For beverages, there’s a large selection of shakes, milkshakes, and smoothies. For those looking for tasty booze, CPK also offers alcoholic drinks. Wines are available by the glass and by the bottle. Sangrias, margarita, spirited cocktails, mojitos, and shots can seal the deal. We tried the Avocado-Banana Smoothie (PhP 225) and Cheesecake with Oreo Cookies Milkshake and liked them both. Count the calories later.
Butter cakes to me seem like a blank canvas begging to be painted and drizzled with fruits and a dollop of cream. With lemon zest, CPK’s Lemon Butter Cake (PhP 325) came out good and moist enough. Unlike some other cakes, this one didn’t go to mush. It was served warm with vanilla ice cream and homemade whipped cream. Again, count the calories later! 😉
Topped with blueberry compote, the Blueberry-Oreo Cheesecake (PhP 275) consisted of cheesecake in a crust made with real Oreo cookies. Each bite was a burst of sweetness that can’t be beat. It’s delightful, a must-order for those who have a sweet tooth.
Price for Value:
Featuring exceptional new favorites and retaining some classic items on the menu, California Pizza Kitchen is a heaven for pizza and pasta lovers alike. Prices are not relatively expensive compared to its value, and most agree you get a lot for your money. Really, the portions are for sharing. I just hoped the waitstaff would turn the tables more efficiently. In any case, CPK in Shangri-la Mall is a great go-to restaurant for a quality meal. 🙂