The month of love has come once more. It’s that time of year again when Dangwa becomes a bustling spot in the city, when malls set up kiosks to sell sweet chocolates, and when restaurants are flocked by couples wanting to have a romantic dinner date. Being single though, I have no one to spend V-day with. Fortunately, my college squad decided to keep this tradition of ours to go out somewhere, and enjoy Valentine’s in the spirit of good ol’ friendship. This time around, I was tasked to prepare for this once-in-a-year dine-out.
With the help of my friend Zomato, I found this collection of restaurants called “Valentine’s day specials.” Of all its listings, Encima Roofdeck Restaurant caught most of my interest.
3 over 5 stars.
Encima, true to its name, is a restaurant situated on the roof deck of City Garden Hotel along Makati Avenue (Encima is a Spanish word translating to “above”). It offers a fusion of Tex-Mex and Asian food, and promises a breathtaking vista of the city’s business district.
The place itself was kind of small, and a bit crowded. It also felt hot in our table; the restaurant is in open-air, yet no cool breeze swept around us. Perhaps it was because we were too near the kitchen (which was also open, by the way). Installing some fans would probably not hurt.
Encima’s Chicken Quesadilla is just perfect. Its soft and thick tortilla is generously filled with melt-in-the-mouth cheese which is pure yummy. Despite its small serving, this Encima especial meets its price with its delectable taste. Muy delicioso!
Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza
This selection actually comes from the menu of The Bistro, a separate restaurant within City Garden Hotel. Luckily, Encima cross-serves food from The Bistro, hence we were able to enjoy this pizza. This soft-and-thick-crust Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza is made with bits of ground beef, bacon, tomato and cheese, and topped with copious amount of lettuce and mayonnaise. The taste is excellent, leaning towards sweet (which may be a bit overwhelming for some). Adding some Tabasco sauce balances the flavor well.
Carne Asada Fries
This empezar is a plate of fries with a Mexican twist. The potato slices are mixed with marinated beef, and drenched in cheese, guacamole, sour cream and pico de gallo. The fries were a little bland to the taste, and were made soggy by the salsa. Nevertheless, Encima’s Carne Asada Fries was saved by its flavorsome grilled beef slices, albeit being somehow too chewy.
Unfortunately, I did not like the Chorizo Carbonara very much. This pasta is just your regular carbonara, with crispy bits of chorizo added to give it a Tex-Mex feel. Sadly, this idea did not work out for me. There were very few chorizo bits, and the sauce was too fluid. It was not what I expected it to be.
2 over 5 stars.
Our squad did not like the restaurant’s service as well. The place was not really big, and Encima had an adequate waiting staff; yet we found it hard to call any waiter’s attention. Once someone was able to spot our hands (which were raised in the air for minutes already), he would tell us, “For a moment” and would approach somebody else first.
Serving time is ten to twenty minutes. Upon arrival at the restaurant, four of us decided to order Carne Asada Fries first as appetizers whilst waiting for our other friends to come. However, we waited too long for the order to arrive that our stomachs began to grumble already. Hence, we opted to order the group meals even if the appetizer has not yet been served.
When the time came for us to pay, we had to ask three members of the staff for the bill. We already consumed all of our food, and were hyped to go somewhere next. Hence, the long wait did its best to consume our patience.
Also, there was a little issue with my reservation at Encima. I was the first in my squad to arrive at the restaurant, and when I told my reservation to the waiting staff, it was as if they had no idea about my booking! They sent me a text message earlier though to confirm my reservation, and I responded. Moreover, my name was listed in their logbook. Despite these, the staff seemed to have been rattled a bit with regard to my booking. It was a good thing that there were still unoccupied tables, thus they were able to set up our seats in a hurry.
Encima is indeed a place where couples could chill while dining above ground. Somehow, our big group found ourselves out-of-place though in this roof deck restaurant because of all those availing the restaurant’s Valentine’s Day promo. Its selection of Tex-Mex-slash-Asian food ranges from meh to mouthwatering. Thus, one must brace himself whether good food or not will be served on his plate. The service is a bit poor, and the place was somehow crowded and warm. Encima garnered a score of 4.3 from Zomato, with ravishing reviews, yet I am not very sure I understand why. Maybe, we went there on a wrong time?
Anyway, if you ask me if I would come back, I probably would if they decide to install some fans and improve their service. Until then, I’ll see myself dining-out at some other place.