Persia Grill

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I have always been comfortable with food from the Middle East. I am not an expert in their palettes of flavors but I have learned to love it because in Oman, where I was born and raised, there was never a day I missed it. Growing up I had the perks of travelling abroad with my family, because my dad works for an airline company, and had the opportunity to tour some countries around the Gulf. Now, after graduating, I wish I could see and know more.  

This week, I got the chance to visit Persia Grill, owned by the Kazemi family. The restaurant is chiefly run by Kian Kazemi, eldest son of the family, who graduated from De La Salle College of St. Benilde with a degree in Hotel Restaurant and Institutional Management. You may recognize his face: former Pinoy Big Brother Housemate (Season 2) and co-host of a show on Abs-cbn/TFC called “Trip na Trip.” He also has a travel series on his YouTube channel entitled, “Kian is NoWhere.” To our pleasant surprise, he graciously hosted our meal when we came to visit.  

Kian talked about his college days, recalling how he would often invite friends to come over to his place and serve them Persian food. Outside of that, he would sometimes sell shawarma sandwiches in school. Being half Persian and half Filipino, his vision was to one day bring Persian cuisine closer to the Filipino market. He stays true to his roots by familiarizing himself with the history, culture and tradition of his Persian heritage.

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Driven by the Kazemi family’s love for food and bringing people together, Persia Grill established its first location in Salcedo Village, Makati City in 2007. With recipes originating from their grandmother’s kitchen in Tehran, Iran, Persia Grill’s dishes are 100% authentic and deliciously healthy

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The menu features wide variety of Persian cuisine, neatly designed and deliciously descriptive. Their price rates are affordable (http://www.persiagrill.com.ph/menu.html). Note also: they serve HALAL food.

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Persia Grill has a casual dining vibe, making it a good place to chill and eat with friends and family. Cozy, ambiant and well-put, the interior is perfect for an Instagram-worthy post.

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I have always been a fan of Hummous P120(a dip composed of mashed chicked peas) coupled with pita breadfor me the best merienda ever! Sir Kian introduced other Persian dips like Salad Oliveyeh P120—a potato dip with with chicken, egg, dill pickles, olive oil and Persian spices; the famous Baba Ganoush P115—eggplant, olive oil and special spices; and Must O’khiar P115cucumber and garlic dip.

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 What I like about Persia Grill is that they serve premium and authetic beef. The picture above is Abgusht P260,made of beef, chick peas, white beans and potato with dried lemons. 

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 Biryani,a dish of flavorful spiced rice and your choice of meat,combines the most exotic of Persian spices into one mouthwatering dish. (Here’s a tip: drench biryani in garlic sauce, or yoghurt dip—sarap!)

Remember: you have dig in to the bottom of the pile—the meat is at the bottom.

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Back in Oman we used to have beach parties, and I remember very fondly: they were not complete without grilled Kebabs. At Persia Grill, they served us their classic Beef kebab along with their lemon and spicy varieties.

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The (a) Fallafel P185, a fried tart made from chicked peas.

(b) The Persian Rice P65 was the blockbuster at our table. As a nurse, I loved the healthy tip they wrote on their menu: “Steam-cooked, long-grain Basmati rice, known for having low glycemic index (good for diabetic patients).”                                                                     

Their best seller, © All-Vegatable Musakka P225, is a tasty dishmade with onion, eggplants and tomato, chick peas, cooked in olive oil served with pita bread and yoghurt.

Something exotic, (d) Sizzling Ox Brain P140.

(e) Persia Grill Chicken Barbeque P175.

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A variety of selection of drinks can also be found in their menu. I highly recommend their (f) Creamy Yoghurt Shake P85 (bestseller) and try also their selections of (g) tea and coffee too.

 This is (h) Must O’Asal P130,a lovely dessert made of yogurt, honey and muesli. In the Middle East, people love their yogurt, that’s why if you notice, Persia Grill has plenty of yoghurt-infused dishes on their menu.

There are also Filipino desserts on the menu as well, such as (i) Leche Flan P65and (j) Pastillas Cheesecake P130.

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I made sure to save space in my tummy for the shawarma. Here is a story: the first shawarma I tasted here in the Philippines was actually at PERSIA GRILL, at their SM MEGA MALL branch. It was my best friend, Aimee’s birthday treat to us. Mostly we just ordered shawarma, just because we love shawarma.

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The Shisha (sometimes called hookah) at Persia Grill comes at an affordable price, with flavors ranging from double apple (best seller), strawberry, mint, four seasons and more, depending on availability. Not bad for P299

 I definitely recommend Persia Grill to my friends from the Middle East, especially those currently based here in the Philippines. It’s a new hangout spot and a place to reminisce those good old days. For those who are interested in tasting authentic Persian cuisine here in the Philippines, Persia Grill definitely worth your time and money.

I would like to thank Sir Kian for his warm hospitality in accommodating us, and the kind staff and crew. Should you find yourself in need of Persian food at your next party or celebration, Persia Grill also offers catering services. Check out for their other branches and contact numbers (more information at www.persiagrill.com.ph).

Don’t forget to like their FB Page (https://www.facebook.com/persiagrill), follow them on Instagram @persiagrill and check out Sir Kian’s account @kiankazemi for updates. 

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Acknowledgements:

Thank you,

Sir Kian Kazemi

Ross Del Rosario, Wazzup Pilipinas

Aimee Garcia 

Ms. Carol P. Layog

Lampara Books Launches Moymoy Lulumboy: Ang Batang Aswang

Lampara books have been a pioneer publishing house known for publishing works of Filipino writers, who create original stories full of values and lessons for children. They specifically incorporate the richness of the Filipino culture and tradition into their stories. After years in the industry, they still know how to captivate their readers, and their readers have stayed loyal all throughout.

In addition, of their roster of original works comes a story of fifty percent mythology, fifty percent adventure, and definitely hundred percent originally Filipino made. It is a coming-of-age story entitled, “Moymoy Lulumboy: Ang Batang Aswang.” Subtly reminiscent of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter chronology, the story comes in a compilation of series that is fit for readers of all ages. People would definitely enjoy this series written by Segundo Matias Jr., simply called, “Kuya Jun.” 

 (Segundo Matias Jr.”Kuya Jun”– Author and Jomike Tejido-Illustrator)

On September 18, 2014 at the Mall of Asia SMX Convention Center was a press launch of Lampara’s latest young adult fiction series, “Moymoy Lulumboy: Ang batang aswang” coincides with 2014 Manila Book Fair. Hosted by Ms. Gay Castro and Sir Toots Tolentino, the event was well-attended by people from the press, media and young fanatics of the series. A breathtaking musical performance by the FEU Theatre Guild entertained the crowd.

(Jolly hosts, Sir Toots Tolentino and Ms. Gay Castro)

(the FEU Theatre Guild’s breathtaking performance)

  I was able to grab a copy of the book on the day of the launch itself. The cover illustration is very distinctively Filipino. The creative genius behind the art, no other than Mr. Jomike Tejido, is an award-winning illustrator with works recognized in Scholastic Publishing and Oxford University Press.

The story focuses on Moymoy Lulumboy’s life, adventures, and discovery of his real identity as he sets foot in the world of Gabun—a world of mythical creatures created by Sir Jun. Moymoy was brought to the human world as a baby by Montar—an elf or duwende—who served as the right hand of his mother, a Tibaro or earth goddess. Moymoy was then placed under the care of a human, Tracy, who raised him. Growing up, Moymoy had the ability to shape shift into various creatures. His adventures start as he enters world of Gabun, where he meets beings of the kingdom. Modeled after Philippine mythology, these creatures were comprised of the aswang, tikbalang, manananggal, kapre, and many more. Moymoy was born with markings on his chest—a map of the land of Panalturan, sacred land of the Tibaro species. The other half of the map, could be found on his twin brother named Alangkaw, who was raised by Buhawan, a corrupt Tibaro. His motive is to reunite the twins and use the map for his own greedy purposes.

       Growing up, Kuya Jun was fascinated by mythical beings. A native of Pampanga, he spent his childhood playing along rivers, streams and fields. Living in the province greatly influenced his works as a writer, especially in the creation of Moymoy Lulumboy (fun fact: the main character’s name was actually taken from Lulumboy, a town in Bulacan).

When asked if he sees himself as Moymoy, Sir Jun answered, “Partly, yes.” I had to ask him who he’d pick to play the lead role, should there be a film adaptation of the series; however there is no one just yet. Mr. Matias has published almost 1500 books for children and young adults, following known series titles, and winning prestigious awards for his works as a writer. He has also written screenplays for Viva Films, Seiko Films and Regal Films. 

Selfie with Sir Enrico Santos, ABS-CBN Writer & Producer

I am not an avid reader of books in Filipino, but as I read Moymoy Lulumboy, the illustrations captivated me and brought the story to life. I could visualize every chapter in my mind because the images are vibrant and the words are easy to understand. The book is a great read for anyone into Filipino mythology, folklore, or creative fiction. A rumored sequel is in the works, though not much has been said about it yet.

 I had a glimpse of the workshops and events at the Manila Book Fair, where Lampara, Precious Hearts Romances, Black Ink, Life Is Beautiful Creatives (publishers of Wattpad and Booklat stories), and other Precious Pages subsidiaries participated. I saw that Filipino writers have been given much recognition for their works, both locally and abroad, which makes me proud of our Filipino literature and rich cultural background. With the recurring trend of novel-to-film adaptations, supported by passionate fans, this series by Kuya Jun is sure to make waves among the young Filipino readers. This makes me proud of traditional and modern Filipino literature and excited to see what’s in store for its revival. It was an awesome experience, I can’t wait to attend next year’s Manila Book Fair.

 Booklat members get together party


Children’s story writing workshop

2014 Precious Hearts Romances Cocktail party

Acknowledgements:

Thank you to the following:

Sir Toots Tolentino 

Ms. Agnes R. Serafin, Editor-in-chief of Precious Hearts Romances

Aimee Garcia @adelostra

Representing, Wazzup Pilipinas (Sir Ross Del Rosario) same article can be found at

http://www.wazzuppilipinas.com/2014/09/lampara-books-launches-moymoy-lulumboy.html

Shawarma Snack Center

Schoolmates of mine from ,“PSSO” (formerly known as PSM- Philippine School Muscat) kinda mentioned this place a number of times, well recently I kinda had this idea, of trying out places here in metro manila that served “Arabian food” since I was born and raised in Muscat, Oman and sometimes I get “homesick” ,so its nice reminisce the good old days.  

My good friend, Franz, is here in Manila and he misses Oman, badly. Then it gave me an idea, since I’ve already blogged a place that serves “shawarma”, why won’t I bring him to “Shawarma snack center” since I haven’t tried the place yet, (some of my friends have been bragging it) and  the opportunity to blog it also, and start this journey of like, searching “the best shawarma” that I could say is closest to the flavors back home.

Muriel, another friend of mine have been to the place already and she insists that we should try it, she says the place resembles the vibe back home and the food is good. 

The place is located at 484 R Salas Street, Ermita, Manila. Lately my readers suggested, that I should give instructions on how to commute to the places that I’ve blogged.Well that entirely depends on where you are coming from first, but I’ll mention some landmarks instead and try to give simple directions. If you are familiar getting to “Robinsons Manila” you’re on the right track, as you exit the grocery (which is inside the mall), you’ll pass by burger king, as you get out, cross over then over the left side, look for “SALAS STREET”, then walk straight ahead until you see the signage. (I swear on that particular street, there are a lot of Arabian designed establishments-mostly agencies, its like you’re walking on a middle east setting, you get to see Arabs walking too btw and other foreigners)

Okay, to honest, the vibe is sooo like back home, first its “spacey”, makes it distinct like the restos back home, then the interior resembles an arabian or turkish restaurant, we were “Aawwed”. It feels like home.

The place is sometimes a full house, depending on the time, with mostly Arabs dining in but we’ve spotted some “kababayans” also.The employees are mostly composed of Filipino staff, they were really accommodating and friendly. Another thing, YES, they have WIFI ! ,( I kinda miss seeing Arab servers and hearing their exotic accent. )

(SPOT THE OMANI 1 RIAL hahaha! )

The menu had a lot of varieties, covers different arab cuisines from different regions and ofcourse the common arabian food we order. The price rates are ranging from affordable to pricey (just some), If you’re a student, its nice to share paying the bill with some friends.

We’ve ordered our favorites, Shawarma, biryani or beryani and hommus with pita breads

Our favorite was the biryani/beryani, the flavors were playing in our mouths and I like mixing mine with some garlic sauce, it was so good and you can taste the spices, it wasn’t that spicy, which I loved most due to some medical reasons for me. But I guess you can request for it to be spicier, for others. Worth what you’ve paid for, the servings is good for 3-4 persons.Costs around P300+. I give it a 5/5 score.

(They have yogurt also, for P80)

The hommus was good, whip it on a pita bread, you’re good to go. Hommus was worth around P135 and the pita bread varies if Arabian (P12) or Wheat (P16). 5/5 score. 

Okay my Shawarma verdict, presentation wise it looks like a Shawarma, the contents, there were pickles mixed in it with other veggies and actual chicken cuts inside. Overall it was “masarap”, I appreciate it more with garlic sauce, flavors played well but their shawarma is more of the Mediterranean touch, Its not Istanboly-ish, If that is what you’re expecting. The servings is alright, We ordered the “3 shawarmas”, you can have either beef or chicken for P2504/5 score.

Coming from Quezon city going to Malate and dine at Shawarma snack center was worth going for, we are definitely coming back. If you are from the middle east or someone like me who grew on loving the arabian culture and feel a bit home sick, come to Shawarma snack center and if you are a foodie also like me, come to “SSC” and have that “Arab experience”

Chef Laudico- GUEVARRA’S

Guevarra’s by Chef Laudico, is a 1920’s inspired, 200 people capacity restaurant  co-owned by the rockstar chef couple Roland and Jackie Laudico, I’ve seen them appear and  guest on a number of shows on TFC, Sharing their unique recipes and featuring their chains of restaurants.

To share, its my first, food blogger gig and very lucky to be invited, I have to thank Charlene Ajose for that, for years I have been her forever plus one and she convinced me to start my own blog, so I did, right after graduation. 

(Group selfie with Chef Jackie and my fellow bloggers ) 

Having the opportunity to talk to Chef Jackie, she is so sweet, motherly and cool to hang with. She sat with us while we dine and had the chance to talk with her and make “chika”. I’ve had to ask her about her outfit, because it looks stylish and different, whenever I see her and her husband on TV, she said her friend Hindy Tantoco designed it. Because a lady chef like her needs to look flattering. I totally agree 🙂

 Guevarra’s price rates are affordable, for the buffet just P399 during weekdays from 10am-2pm. Not bad right? On the weekends, P599. I better suggest you guys call for reservation/(s) since a lot of people really come to the place just for the Guevarra’s experience.T hey can still accommodate walk-in guests, depending on the availability of tables. You can contact them at 705 1811 / 705 1874 / 502 5006 0917 311 2222.


(You could check their FB page for more details https://www.facebook.com/ChefLaudicoGuevarras)

Here’s the question, where is it? How to get there? Its located at 387 P. Guevarra St. cor. Argonne St., Addition Hills San Juan, Manila, Philippines. I highly suggest that you bring your own wheels or vehicle because its way inside a compound, and If you don’t have wheels, its either you hire a taxi service, like we did or download a “grab a taxi” app to lessen the hassle. 

(Here is the parking area)

As you get inside Guevarra’s, you’ll love the cozy, homey decor and breathtaking paintings, very FILIPINO vibe. Good to dine with family, friends, co-workers and reserve for parties. Before it became a blockbuster place to feast, The place was actually an old house and have been renovated ,according to Chef Jackie. in one of our conversations, it used to be a spa before. Just a little trivia to share.

(Signed plates by famous Filipino personalities)

(I just have to take a picture of ANNE CURTIS’ signed plate, such a fan!)

Here are some food shots I got, from the buffet area and I’ll be giving some of my input on the captions, as much as I can and which ones are my fave, To be honest everything taste so mouth watering. 

(Here comes, a little reminder)

Angus beef lechon, is actually new addition to their menu and we are lucky to be the first ones to taste it, It has been roasted in the pugon for like 7 hours. Well those hours are worth the wait. Definite 5/5 stars and dip it in the sauce, amazeballs! 

(Better start with the appetizers ofcourse, so yummy and so hard to choose especially if you are watching your food intake- SO SINFUL but heavenly to chew)

(The crust taste good too and the chicken is soft to cut, love it!)

(Certified blockbuster)

(What’s dinuguan without puto?)

(I always love KARE-KARE)

(Fan of the palabok!)

Time for some sweets! 🙂 YUM. I really saved some space in my tummy for dessert time. 

(You can swirl your own ice cream!- Model: Charlene Ajose!) 

(My favorites were the Green pichi pichi and carrot cake)

More Photos: 

(Yipee, my own signed plate )

I’ll be coming back soon 🙂 

BAMBOO GRANDE

Way before I’ve heard  this place down at Tomas Morato, called Bamboo Grande, Friends from my upper batch, recommended this place If you plan to chill and drink with friends. Actually it is a Resto Bar, they served actual meals not the usual pica pica they serve in bars. Then my friends told me that the menu is affordable and “masarap”.

I was looking for a place to celebrate my late birthday since I was in Oman and Dubai during that time, and making it a double celebration of passing my Nursing board exam. Then I want to celebrate with my good old friends in high school. 

Mostly their menu contains Filipino dishes, I’ve heard their sisig is the best, Both tilapia and pork are their best sellers. And I so love sisig, it was so “masarap” seriously. The price range was around P100 + 

The Adobo rice was so far “ubos” just P140 and massive servings good for 4-5 people, I ordered 2 platters actually.

Then I remembered ordering buttered and lemon chicken, it was around P150+ I think. Yeah, my friends love chicken.and it was certified blockbuster for my friends,The difference between the two is the sauce. 

The beef with young corn and lechon kawali was alright. 

They have a promo, If you order 5 meals you get, 2 bowls of free rice. and 3 meals with 1 free bowl of rice. 

We ordered drinks also to celebrate the night with, SAN MIG LIGHT, TANDUAY ICE AND a bucket of RED HORSE, 

My friend tried the pistachio ice cream, and she said it was really good. Yes, they have dessert 🙂

The place can be easily spotted, coming from E.Rodriguez, turn left as you seen Persian Kebab and go straight a bit and you’ll see, it is across Petron, its still going to the main Tomas Morato district.

The music, was good and the band sounded great, If you’re into the reggae music scene. You could also request a song for them to sing in a cool reggae version, If they can. The bands usually starts performing around 8-9 pm and reservations for table starts at 6pm. 

I was really satisfied, the food was great, the ambiance was just relaxing, my friends had a good time and especially I was satisfied with the bill. 

(If you plan to take a foodselfie, you better have a flashlight, my friends used their phones to help me achieve this photo )

(Awesome ceilings)

(Celebratory cake, from Home made by Cherry- Gilmore branch)

MAGNUM BAR- SM AURA

All I can say not bad for P100, you get to choose 3 toppings from a variety of choices they have(STEP 1), then choose your basic CHOCOLATE OR VANILLA FLAVOR (STEP 2),  then Coat it with white chocolate, chocolate and dark chocolate(STEP 3), Then there goes in the toppings you’ve chosen. Then drizzle with sauce from the 3 coating flavors (STEP 4), there you go sweetness overload, that’s for the take out lane. If you want to dine in and seat in literally with a fancy table and breathtaking decor, they have a wide range of menu not just sweets but also meals:) -MAGNUM BAR at 5th floor SM AURA

STEP 1

STEP 2

STEP 3

STEP 4

FINAL TOUCHES:

BOY SHAWARMA

I am forever a fan of the “Shawarma”, one thing is that I grew up in the middle east and Shawarma is what I crave for usually when I visit back home in Oman, ever since before when I was a kid, I would always ask my parents to pass by Rowasco (Oman) to buy a shawarma at this place called ‘ISTANBOLY TURKISH”, it is the best! If you have the chance to visit Oman, you should go there 🙂

Well living here in the Philippines for the past 4 years, there were some food places that sell Shawarma that don’t really look like a shawarma. (Trust me, I know how a legit authentic shawarma looks like).

Anyways my friend Vincent, told me a Shawarma place near their place that just got re-opened. So I decided to come along and It was lunch time so I was hungry. It was called “BOY SHAWARMA”, too bad I was unable to actually know the history and who owns it, maybe I was really hungry.

It actually easy to find the place,  its along  Estrada St. Malate, Manila. If you live near Taft that wouldn’t be a problem.

On the menu, they have the classic Shawarma, you could choose chicken (best seller) or beef. Then the best seller meal is the “BIG DADDY MEAL”, They have Kebab, Shawarma rice, roasted chicken, On the Grill: Afnan and Kabsa. Don’t worry the price rates are affordable. Students can afford it, mostly I’ve seen kids from La Salle and from CSB who came in to dine since its close to them.

I ordered the classic “Chicken Shawarma” which I usually order back home. Then honestly,so far its the closest to what I usually eat back at Oman, not bad. The garlic sauce was good, the fries were not as chunkier back home, but I am more of flavor, it tastes very good. My friend ordered the Shawarma rice, and he said it was good. My friend said it was cool, that they have expanded their menu,

(FOODSELFIE! Follow me on IG: @krishgeekness)

More photos:

(The anatomy of the SHAWARMA)

I would say go and try BOY SHAWARMA, So far I could recommend it, If you really want to get legit and authentic shawarma, so far its the closest to Istanboly, Among the shawarma places have tasted. You can check out their facebook page, Search for BOY SHAWARMA. They have Instagram, @officialboyshawarma and hashtag #BOYSHAWARMA

If there are other places that offer good Shawarma or arabian cuisine, let me know and e-mail me at krizialouren_catapang@yahoo.com, So I could recommend also to my friends who also grew up in Oman especially or any place in the middle east.

Pi (π) Breakfast and Pies

My friend, Jom (Short for Jomarie Anne) and I are always in search of something new to eat, since review days at SHIELD. This is the first time we hang out as newly registered Nurses. YIPEE!

We were searching for places to eat along Katipunan, Then Jom show me a link of like top 10 placeS to eat along Malingap or around Maginhawa, so she suggested π Breakfast and Pies. 

Its easy to find the place, its along Malingap beside PINO kitchen studio 

The ambiance of the place is cozy and I had no problem with the lighting while taking a “foodselfie” (maybe we sat in a nice table, and good lighting)

(LOVE THE CEILING)

(Mirror selfie with JOM)

You’ll love the layout of the menu and not only that, the prices are affordable! (Hands up in the air) then ofcourse the menu is “delishly” (I made word up) described, YUMMERS!

 

So here are our food shots: 

I ordered the SALMON AND WAFFLES. I LOVE THE “Salmonied flowers” and Banana cream pie, savory and sweets for me. 

For Jom, CHICKEN AND WAFFLES, Their bestseller the SMACK pie ( it taste somehow like macapuno-ish, Im not really familiar with Filipino sweets actually, forgive me! I LOVE MACAPUNO, by the way and its really good! and the classic cheese ensaymada.

(Meet the SMACK π– BESTSELLER)

(The SMACK and BANANA CREAM PIE) 

(There is like a selection of pastries and breads for you to check out) 

(For take out, BROWNIES- Peanut Butter, Triple Chocolate and Red velvet- YUM!)

More Photos:

(Regram from IG: @itsannalvrz )

So Jom and I were satisfied, and we enjoyed the food, Seriously. So another foodadventure soon.Any food craving invites contact me at krizialouren_catapang@yahoo.com, this would really help my starting blog. THANK YOU BREAKFAST AND PIES! Love the warm welcome and the crew were nice and accommodating, service is AWESOME. 

Follow them on Instagram at @breakfastnpies 

Address: 39 Malingap Street, Teachers Village, Quezon City

Contact number: 02 4411773, 02 2121212 · 02 121212 (Delivery)

INFOs from http://www.zomato.com/manila/pi-breakfast-pies-teachers-village-quezon-city

Photos by: Krizia Louren Catapang

Follow me on INSTAGRAM :@krishgeekness