Thursday, April 11, 2013

Dong Juan

This was obviously one of those days when I do something on the spur of the moment. I originally planned to eat the healthy lunch I packed the night before but at the last minute decided to grab some lunch at Dong Juan today. That's what you get for checking out just before lunch break!

The weather was perfect. It was sunny and bright outside, lucky enough to get some decent photos.

The clutter lying outside the restaurant was not attractive but the interior was another story.

Inside, beautiful dark wooden chairs and tables plus a few touches of art work set for a pleasant and casual mood. It reminded me of a small museum-cafe. Simple but lovely.

Here's a shot of the menu. 

Deep Fried Onion Rings (PHP 139.00)
A stack of thick-cut onion rings dipped in a batter, rolled in crispy Panko crumbs and fried to golden perfection.

Onion Rings (PHP 139.00)
Lord of the Onion Rings? These things are huge and pack a heavy punch! 

And look at that lovely golden color! How can you possibly say NO to that?  

The rings were nice and super crunchy with a good thick coating that didn't fall off after that first bite. These definitely hit the spot when it comes to crunchy cravings.

Onion Rings
Although they were a little under seasoned, I can taste a hint of the sweet onion flavor and l still thought they were delicious. They weren't noticeably greasy nor soggy at all. That zesty slightly sweet dipping sauce is a must!

Look at that. Hello, beautiful. I'm ready for you. Calories, fat and all.

These calorie-bomb french-fry cousins are one of the best I've ever had. Try this one, you won't be disappointed. They're kind of addictive.

Onion Rings
Mmm.. I wonder how they would taste like coated with grated parmesan cheese and herbs... (making a mental note to add onion rings to my ever growing list of recipes-to-do)

Linguini with Meatballs  (PHP 129.00)
Linguini pasta topped with meatballs in rich marinara sauce and LOTS of parmesan cheese

I love the simplicity of this dish. Meatballs were simmered in a simple marinara sauce that was nice, chunky and flavorful from the herbs. There was no hint of any sweetness which was a good change from the usual Filipino-style tomato sauce. The pasta was cooked al dente and the meatballs were tender and juicy. It was a wholesome, hearty dish with a good pasta to sauce ratio.

I was searching for the meatballs hiding underneath that delicious, chunky tomato sauce.... Now where are they?

Yup, here it is! I found one! (The other one must still be hiding somewhere in there.)
Or maybe I just secretly ate the other meatball while I was taking photos..

Overall, this spur of the moment turned out to be a pretty damn good lunch! The food was solid, the portions just right, the prices reasonable and the service was excellent. I'd definitely go back. I'm already keeping an eye out for those mozzarella sticks on the menu!

I have to give a shout out to the management at Dong Juan. They surprisingly gave me a 10% discount when I asked for my bill which was very kind and generous of them! I didn't expect that at all. Thank you very much.

So I went back there another time to try out other things on their menu. Here's what I think.

Red Chili Burgers {with extra cheese} PHP 179.00

Thick and juicy beef patty on soft whole wheat buns topped with chili sauce and sauteed onions.. The lettuce, chopped green tomatoes and cucumber were fresh and crisp. The spiciness from the chili sauce was spot on.

 I asked for extra cheese which cost me PHP 19.00 since it didn't come with the burger.

Meat juices oozed out of the burger as I cut the patty with my knife. Overall a really good, delicious burger though next time I will do without the chili sauce.

For dessert, a lovely crème brulée

Crème Brulée (PHP 89.00)
A perfect crème brulée is so delicious but also rare to find. I've had the best so far from UNO at Waterfront Hotel Lahug and that was AMAZING. I could have easily finished 10 of those little bowls. That nice familiar crunch as your spoon breaks the caramelized sugar layer on top, giving way to a soft, rich, smooth, creamy and velvety custard is just pure heaven. UNO's crème brulée literally melts in your mouth. It didn't have that very strong "eggy" taste and it wasn't too sweet. It was just perfect.

Crème Brulée
Let's see how this measures up to UNO's version and shatter that beautiful caramelized shell for a taste test. So excited was I to put it in my mouth that my hand shook a bit.

The shell had a nice crunch with a slightly burnt toffee flavor. The custard underneath that delicious caramel was a little too firm, "too set". I would have liked it with a softer consistency. It's perfect when the edges are set but the center still jiggles like Jell-O. This resembled a flan too much. But the deeper I dug my spoon, the softer the custard became. The sweetness was just right, perhaps just a tad bit eggy. It was good but it wasn't particularly special. It could be better.

Location: Unit 202, 2nd floor, 2Mango, Gen. Maxilom Ave., Cebu City 6000
Contact Numbers:
Restaurant Hours: 
Sunday - Thursday  11:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Friday - Saturday   11:00 AM - 12:00 AM