4/Level, Robinson's Place - Manila,
M. Adriatico St., Manila
13 November 2010
It has been two years since I last met K, and it was such a great thing that he decided to return to the Philippines and explore more of the country. He decided to stay in the country for two weeks, and upon meeting him at the airport, we went straight to the hotel (we decided to go for Sohotel Malate this time). Dinnertime, we went to the nearest mall - Robinson's Place Manila - to eat. In 2008, we stayed at Las Palmas Hotel, which was basically walking distance to the mall, but Sohotel was actually quite far from the mall, so we had to take the pedicab to get there. Needless to say, the Englishman enjoyed the ride. :)
We walked around the mall, looking for a restaurant to eat at... and because I wasn't able to see Chaikofi, we explored the mall more until our feet took us at the 4th Level. Seeing Max's Restaurant made K remember the time we ate at their Vigan branch (where he had the bangus pate and I had the green mango shake), so he sort of decided for us to eat here.
We all probably know the history behind Max's Restaurant, so I will not tackle about the history that much. I always consider Max's Restaurant as one of the many Pinoy foodie icons. Even if this branch is located at the 4th level, it was still pretty much a full house that night, so K and I had to sit near the entrance, which was basically okay, as the the restaurant's waiting area separates the entrance/exit of the restaurant to the dining area.
I initially wanted to go for their other dishes - those I still haven't really tasted, but K had one big comment: the restaurant didn't have much of those single serve dishes - most were for sharing. I am not sure if it's a culture thing, but ever since I met him personally and spent time with him, we always go for our own food, and even if we were allowed to taste each other's food, we pretty much don't share one plate of food. If he wanted to go for one dish, he will eat it all; same goes for me. Since it's a Filipino thing to have dishes for sharing and since we can't go for that, we checked out their plated meals.
Fiesta Plate. Whenever I (or my family) dine at Max's Restaurant, I always go for the Fiesta Plate because of it's Lumpia. When this was served to me, I felt a little sad at how the lumpia looks like now - it certainly wasn't as pretty as it was before, but yes, it still tasted great. No more questions about the chicken - it has always been good since then. Nothing has changed.
K went for their Spring Chicken Meal, but he started eating it the minute it was served to him, so I was only able to photograph the Cream of Mushroom Soup that was served with it. K liked the chicken and the soup, and he appreciated it that Max's Restaurant serves dinner roll to replace the rice if the customers opts for it.
While eating dinner, one staff approached us and asked my opinion about the ketchup. That time, they were still doing survey about their own brand of banana ketchup for the chicken, and while it tasted similar to the Jufran banana ketchup, I actually liked Jufran more because it has been Max's fried chicken's partner since then. Well, now that their own brand of ketchup is used in their restaurants, part of me is glad that I could still enjoy Jufran banana ketchup at home, at it still is available in most supermarkets. :)
I loved how friendly and efficient the staff were. They were attentive and quick to approach any customers needing them, and one staff even posed for a picture while I took an image of the restaurant's facade. Welcome back to the Philippines, K!