When it comes to comfort food, burger, fries, mac and cheese and pizza are bound to come to mind. Now that it’s March, your idea of comfort could use a little update. There’s nothing more comforting than food you’ve been eating while growing up. To me, it’s Chinese food, which half of the world, if not more, also crave for.
To keep us fueled, last Tuesday, we were treated to a “thanksgiving lunch” by colleagues in one of the most famous Chinese restaurants in the country: David’s Tea House, SM Mall of Asia. Yay! This branch of David’s Tea House in MOA is relatively new, as the restaurant has moved from the front side (near Hypermarket) to the back side facing Seaside Boulevard.
Review of David’s Tea House (SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City)
With tall seats, high ceiling, huge chandeliers and spacious dining area that could fit about 70-80 people, David’s Tea House in MOA displays modern interior design with a cozy vibe. The place was quiet since we were the only customers there, even at the peak of lunch hour. It was like the room was reserved all for ourselves, yet it didn’t feel wrong but just provided us with an advantage: shorter waits. It might be an exact opposite story come dinnertime.
Our orders arrived fast. The waiters refilled water and tea and fulfilled requests quickly, too. They were kind and polite, but what could add another star to this rating would be their smile. They all seemed so tense and serious. A pleasant smile would invoke a charming countenance and make customers feel more welcome. As long as they are doing their job well, that’s okay I guess.
As an appetizer, the Nido with Quail Egg Soup (PHp 245) may be the most basic, almost tasteless soup that will surely cleanse your palette and soothe your stomach for the dishes to come. This soup was not the best version I came across, but still it was okay.
The kitchen of David’s Tea House produces a very fine plate of Yang Chow Fried Rice (PHp 195). Of all items on the menu, I think this is the one that’s most ordered. The perfectly cooked grain rice was mixed with bits of fried eggs, salty ham, small shrimps and green peas for that much needed dose of herbal brightness.
We also had Pineapple Fried Rice (PHp 255), which is similar to how the Yang Chow Fried Rice tastes but with added pineapples. This is another Chinese classic with a twist. I liked how the sweetness of pineapple merged with the fried rice’s flavor. The smell could instantly put everyone in a good mood.
For our vegetarian viand, Buddha’s Delight / Lo Han Chai (PHp 240) was served. Filled with mushrooms, bamboo shoots, carrots and young corn, David’s Tea House’s lo han chai was not enjoyable mainly because it didn’t have many ingredients that are typically present in the oriental dish.
I was silently hoping for glass noodles, wan yu (dried cloud ear fungus) and dried gluten balls. Like always, when dining out with friends, I notice that anything that seemed like a herbivore’s meal would always be the bridesmaid and never the bride. Truth be told, the vegetables were again overshadowed by the meat. Up next: chicken, beef and pork.
The Crispy Fried Chicken (PHp 250, half) was a hit on our table. The chicken skin’s crispiness was so addictive that one might want to put a ring on it! The white meat was lean and even without adding extra sauce or condiments, the taste was satisfactory.
Credits must go to the chef as the natural taste of ampalaya in Beef with Ampalaya (PHp 265) was pronounced without being too bitter. The bittergourd itself would have made the meal, but the soft and tender beef really sealed the deal here. Taking the entire saucy dish to new levels of deliciousness, the thin slices of beef did not give us a hard time to chew.
I had initial reservations about trying the Fried Spareribs with Salt and Pepper (PHp 240) because it’s pork. The last thing I wanted was to be punished by formations of red patches and acne only to discover later that eating it is not worth the investment. Anyhow, I took the knife and cut a piece of spareribs for a small bite. My say? The spareribs punched way way above its weight in flavor. It was savory, so even if I do have an acne now on my forehead, it’s well compensated.
Finally, we had the Fish Fillet with Beancurd (PHp 340), my favorite among all these food. Actually it was ordered just as an “insurance policy” (we had too many food already), which paid off. I loved that the skin of the beancurd and fish fillet was fried and still crispy outside despite that they were swimming in sauce.
In any way it’s cooked, the fish may not have the sex appeal of an oyster, but it’s got romance. And with a sip of David’s Tea House’s light jasmine tea, it’s true love. ♥
Price for Value: ★★★★☆
David’s Tea House is a restaurant that can boost your confidence in spending for authentic Chinese food specializing in the taste of Hong Kong. Portion sizes of food are good for sharing, making food prices here totally reasonable in my sunny corner of the universe. If you’re really on tight budget, simply getting the Yang Chow Fried Rice (their flagship) sans additional viand may be fine as a completely filling meal.
David’s Tea House in MOA accepts reservations for parties of all occasions. Book a party and avail of their free photo booth. Discover how and why their name became famously synonimous with hotpot table top cooking with their shabu shabu packages: PHp 780 for 2-3 people and PHp 1080 for 4-5 people.