Upon being handed the menu, "Bo Luc Lac" Aquaknox Shaken Beef (P440, pictured above) immediately caught my eye as it was marked as the house specialty. For a balanced meal, aside from the beef, we decided to go with "Cha Ca" Hanoi Grilled Cod Fish (P340), Sugar Snap Peas with Shitake Mushrooms (P170), and Vietnamese Fried Rice (P80 per single-serve bowl).
Without a doubt, Aquaknox Shaken Beef lived up to its reputation as the house specialty. I mistook it for a salad because the thick, tender, and juicy beef cubes were served on a bed of greens, tomatoes, and onions. The beef is flavorful and cooked with just the right doneness that it puts most steak places to shame. I wasn't impressed with the Hanoi Grilled Cod Fish (pictured above, left). It had this um, fishy (malansa) aftertaste and aftersmell that didn't really sit well with me. Garnished with sausages, green onions, eggs, and garlic, the Vietnamese Fried Rice (pictured above, right) doesn't really work with equally tasty viands for me because there's an overload of flavors. It was very popular with my dining companions though.
I'm normally not very fond of peas but the savory Sugar Snap Peas with Shitake Mushrooms (pictured above, left) was surprisingly crisp and delicious. After our sumptuous meal, the waiter offered us a new dessert that wasn't on the menu yet -- Caramel Mousse. Like most of what we had for dinner, it was excellent. Rich and creamy but not too sweet, I couldn't quite place if it was mousse-like or cheesecake-like -- not that it really matters. Everyone agreed that the dessert was divine.
Surprisingly, our dinner for four set us back only P1,600+, which really isn't pricey at all given that we also had some drinks to go with our meal. Not bad at all for the ambiance, service, and overall quality of the food.
800 Arnaiz Ave., Makati City
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