I’ve been hearing “Kanin Club” from cliques in the office for quite a time now, and I thought to myself, I just gotta try the buzz. Since I haven’t got a chance to snitch a good seat within regular lunch hours, I decided to skip the office bother and drop in on Kanin Club at its UP-AyalaLand Technohub branch lunchtime last Saturday. I was at the place by 9:00 AM to meet some friends, had a brief affair with The Coffee Bean Tea Leaf’s blended organic Gen Mai Cha Green Tea, and by 11:00, I was strutting towards Kanin Club, ready to be blown away (see, grapevine and word-of-mouth advertisement does work!).
Picture this: Kanin Club’s quaint joint boasts of falsetto-rendered kundiman songs, wooden parquet flooring, capiz window panels, colourful old Manila-inspired avant-garde paintings, hardwood furniture, ampalaya, super crunchy tilapia fish, crispy pata, sinigang, kare-kare, scrumptious seafood, and heapfuls of steaming aligue rice. Wasn’t that your tropical Filipino culinary fantasy?
- Kanin Club Facade
If you are planning to have a hearty weekend lunch at Kanin Club (the branch located at UP-Ayala TechnoHub), the best time to hit it is around 11:30 AM – anytime after that and you’ll be melting at the gates, since the place should already be swarming with hungry bellies. While waiting, however, you might as well claim your swig of espresso at The Coffee Bean Tea Leaf.
- Kanin Club Filipiniana Paintings
Kanin Club is family-friendly. Lucky me, I happened to find a two-seater corner by the window. That gave me the vantage point of the mess hall with its ornate decors and paintings and before, during and after the place is packed. The landscaped greens wedged between the IBM building and the UP-AyalaLand Technohub food arena where Kanin Club sits also added beauty to my morning (I must say, that mirror added a pretty accent to this place..).
- Kanin Club Interior
The menu is easy on the eye, easy on the pocket, and deng, was it easier on the tastebuds. I am a picky eater, but I was tunnelled on trying something queer that day – I tried the Ampalaya Salad, and boy was it delicious! My sense for adventure was indeed whetted. Some elderly folks from perhaps the neighboring villages chose the table beside the one I was occupying, and I happened to overhear their appreciation for my first towering entrée: choice ampalaya (bitter melon) in its freshest green colour, slivered paper-thin and topped with sliced tomato and onions. I happily offered them some, but they politely declined and became content with their Dinuguan, Crispy Pata, Kare-kare, Liver Steak, Binukadkad na Tilapia, and needless to say, abundant steaming white kanin or rice.
- Half serving of Kanin Club’s Ampalaya Salad..
Interestingly, my tossed, tart ampalaya only hinted of bitter. I was happy to have had more of its crunchiness, and its fusion with the sweet and salty vinaigrette, which I guessed was simply cane vinegar, a dash of sugar, salt and freshly ground black peppercorns. In this picky eater’s humble opinion, the Ampalaya Salad should go well with the Binukadkad na Tilapia, the oh-so-crunchy, oh-so-delicious fish staple. The cat now has fierce competition: only in Kanin Club was I able to munch on fish bones with gusto! Kudos to the Kanin Club chef!
- Binukadkad na Tilapia
That wasn’t all in my menu, I also tried Pad Thai. Kanin Club’s version of this foreign dish doesn’t taste so foreign, which was a good thing for a picky eater. It also sported the works: prawns, peanuts, whipped egg, bean sprouts, parsley, tofu, the ubiquitous vermicelli and a slice of lemon for added zing. I had the Pad Thai “to-go”, but it was still warm after an hour’s trip home.
What I appreciated, too, was the humble take-out packaging – I liked their conscious effort to leave less carbon footprint with the use of the food-grade paper carton and good the ol’ brown paper bag.
All in all, the hubbub for Kanin Club at UP-AyalaLand Technohub proved to be true and worthy of my effort – I woke up earlier than usual for this gastronomic experience! You too should jump in on the bandwagon and earn yourself a good dose of kundimanly melodies and bagoong alamang. Yum!
For first-timers such as me, you might want to sample in on the following fares (I chose the ones I fancy for their names or popularity among the general Filipino public):
- Kanin Club Menu
• Turon KC (fried banana crepe) – 90Php
• Maruya with Ice Cream (banana fritters ala mode) – 127Php
• Kinilaw na Blue Marlin (raw Blue Marlin slivers marinated in vinegar) – 271Php
• Maning Burles with Roasted Garlic (Kanin Club serves naked “roasted highland legumes”) – 97Php
• Tom Yum Goong (hot and sour soup, a Chinese viand) – 366Php
• Hototai (also a Chinese brew) – 224Php
• Thai Green Mango Salad – 172Php
• Dilis Salad (anchovies tossed in veggies) – 149Php
• Ampalaya Salad (bitter melon in vinaigrette) – 149Php
• All-You-Kanin (a play on “all you can”, but this is “rice-till-you-drop” for me) – 60Php
• Loaded Fried Rice (the Kanin Club special) – 179Php
• Tinapa Rice (fried rice with “tinapa” or smoked fish flakes) – 149Php
• Crispy Dinuguan (this stew is a local provision, akin to “balut”) – 261Php
• Liver Steak – 164Php
• Lemon Chicken – 224Php
• Pancit Canton (egg noodles sautéed in veggies and soy sauce) – 246Php
• Lomi (soba/udon noodles in thickened broth) – 239Php
• Pad Thai – 276Php
• Kare-Kare (seafood and veggies in peanut sauce, served with salted shrimp fry or “bagoong”) – 298Php
• Sizzling Squid (gummy squid on a sizzling plate) – 224Php
• Binukadkad na Tilapia (deep-fried super duper crunchy tilapia fish) – 246Php
Kanin Club UP-AyalaLand Technohub branch is located along Commonwealth Avenue, Q.C.
For inquiries, call (63 2) 332-5978.