For several reasons, my wife and I weren’t able to plan any huge trips for the months of January and February. Financial constraints and our hectic schedule (work, home, repeat on the weekdays and church on Sundays) made planning really complicated and gave me an excuse from it. Let’s include the just finished 2-week church-wide fast last January and the ongoing battle inside my head. In lieu of this, we mostly relied on few spontaneous trips and several restaurant dates because of course, it’s still something necessary (LOL!).
Out of nowhere, I thought of adding food/restaurant reviews to the roster of my usual blog entries that varies from travelling, photography, life (marriage, adulting, dealing with child loss), etc because of two words: “why not?” When going to certain places such as other countries, trying out their native dishes plays a huge part of it. Inadvertently, I made my very first food review last year about all the food we tried during our trip in Taiwan.
Another thing, I believe that there’s also a sense of adventure in going to quests in search of great food even on our own backyard. A great principle that I forgot applying for a long time after a huge event that struck my wife and I. But reiterating what I said before, we didn’t gave up our love for food and at the same time, we don’t want to compromise and just be careless about it. In other words, everyone (including my wife and I) should still learn to be mindful on what they consume inside their bodies. I’m also not blaming food okay?
Anyway, let me narrate.
We’re strolling around the newly-opened Ayala Malls Cloverleaf last year when we saw a stall located at the food court area at 3rd floor. It’s called SHOU LA MIEN (thus, the title). Not being able to taste hand-pulled noodles somehow for a long time, we decided to try out of curiosity.
Both of us ordered Beef Brisket Noodles, being one of its bestsellers. Instantly, we fell in love with it. I’m definitely not as expert as some food bloggers out there but let me explain the reasons why:
- The taste reminded us so much of Taiwan. My wife missed Taiwan so much that she kept on telling me to book a plane ticket going there. She repeats it at least twice or thrice a week. Oh! I just hope that we have that huge amount of money to travel every now and then; or I’ll get paid for travelling (LOL!). Kidding aside, I can’t blame her. In fact, I really love Taiwan too. I’m hoping that I can be able to plan a trip there within this year (or next year… hahaha!). PS: Hand-pulled noodles weren’t originated in Taiwan though.
- Taste is well-balanced. Setting the flowery words aside, the soup is not-too-salty nor too-spicy. The meat and the vegetables are well cooked and are on right amount of softness.
- Noodles are pulled just right. I fully understand that hand-pulling or molding of noodles is a tedious work especially seeing different people do it for numerous times already. But I can attest that the noodles we’re in the right thickness that the soup taste was able to hold on to it.
- Affordable. For its taste and the not-too-small serving, the price is quite acceptable. As far as I can remember, the Cloverleaf Mall, being an Ayala Mall, the price is much higher compared to others even though it’s just at the food court. Let’s say the price of the Beef Brisket Noodles ranges from Php. 145.00 to Php. 195.00
By that, we included this into the long list of our comfort foods. Oh and I just found out that it’s owned by none other than the Fruitas Group. Yes. The company that sells fruit shakes and juices. Those BJs that I got myself addicted to (buko juice… haha!). Addicted that my wife even joked that I’m making their company rich (LOL!). During that time, we’re too busy with the food that I wasn’t able to take a picture of it. Also being located at the food court with people crowding the place, we somehow went shy in doing it (LOL!).
Given that the Ayala Cloverleaf Mall being too far away from our home, I decided to search for other branches that they have and found their branch at 150 Maginhawa Food Park in the famous Maginhawa Street. The said park is also owned by Fruitas Holdings.
Aside from the noodles which are not as great as that on the Cloverleaf branch, everything was commendable. The noodles were not that consistent as there are some that were either too thick or too thin. But at the end of the day, cravings are still satisfied. In fact, we went to both branches more than twice already.
I suddenly had the chills (in rough Filipino translation: “kilig…” LOL!) when I found out that a new food park along Tomas Morato in Quezon City was just opened last month. Of course, for the two following reasons: (1) Tomas Morato is our home for almost every weekend as our church being located here and, (2) our favorite hand-pulled noodles will also be here. It’s been a while but my wife and I finally decided to try it out.
We decided to spontaneously drive to the Cascades Lifestyle Park last 15th of February after watching The Greatest Showman as part of our post-valentine date. That time, we just reconciled from an argument so I had to make sure that our date should be memorable. Another thing was that, we’re really hungry after a very long day spent.
My wife and I, excitedly ordered the same Beef Brisket Hand-Pulled Noodles upon seeing the Shou La Mien sign in the park. When the server asked if we’re “willing to wait” for 15 to 20 minutes, we reluctantly agreed although I’m partially disappointed from it knowing that he only asked me about it when I’m already paid. Still, my wife and I still brushed it off and decided to not ruin the remaining hours of our day. They also gave us a claiming number to be given to them when the order is ready.
While waiting, we decided to indulge ourselves with some refreshment. I bought a bottle of buko juice (coconut juice) for myself and a lemonade for my wife at one of the stalls at the park. Along with it, I observed the whole food park area. The color and the ambiance is cozy and relaxing. Blame the white and purple color, the Santorini-like feature (not that much though), and the fountain at the center for it.
Plus, it’s also instagram-worthy that my wife and I decided to go for a mini-photo ops and some selfies for the gram and for the blog as usual (LOL!) despite of only using my phone as our camera. So basically, what’s not to love about this place anyway?
Then our plot twist came…
When we noticed that we’ve been waiting for perhaps half an hour already (contrary to the committed 15 to 20 minutes) so I decided to follow-up our “a little long overdue” order. The server at the stall said that his co-worker is already carrying our order so we just need to sit back and wait for it in which we did despite of our patience running out already. We saw the co-worker returned to the stall already, not holding anything, so I assume that he already served the food to the other customer. When he’s holding another set of order and found out that it’s not for us, I called him out and followed up our order. When he asked if can we wait for more, that’s when my wife and I finally snapped and asked for a refund.
I still can’t believe that we’re the first set of customers to order at their stall that time but not the first one to get accommodated. I can attest that we’re the first set of customers to order at the said time given that there’s only few people at the place. That we waited for too long only to be asked to wait more. Worse, the server at the stall whom is preparing the food showed a rude behavior upon us snapping out of frustration by stamping their kitchen wares. We did it silently given that we’re not the type of person that make scenes knowing how scandalous people easily get viral on social media.
But despite of that, I still want to commend his co-worker by apologizing to us and giving us our refund.
This post wasn’t intended for me to actually rant about it. In fact, I would want things that I review to be given positive feedbacks. But if anyone shall be asking me why still write about this despite of the negativity we experienced that day, my answer is plain and simple: to help them improve. Well, I’m no expert but if other people (some which are much louder than us) were treated the same way as we were, they would experience worse.
THE VERDICT AND OTHER DETAILS
If I’m going to rate our overall experience (both the food and the place) on the scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, here are my personal rating and some details of each branches that we visited:
- Ayala Malls Cloverleaf
- Hours: 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM (Mon-Thu), 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM (Fri-Sun)
- Location: Food Court Area (3F), Ayala Malls Cloverleaf, A. Bonifacio st., Quezon City
- Rating: 10/10
- This is where we fell in love with the food. But of course, it’s a food court so I’m not expecting much of the place.
- 150 Maginhawa Food Park
- Hours: 4:00 PM to 12:00 MN (Sun-Thu), 4:00 PM to 2:00 AM (Fri-Sat)
- Location: 150 Maginhawa st., Diliman, Quezon City
- Rating: 7/10
- I would’ve gave a perfect 10 if not of the inconsistently-pulled noodles.
- Cascades Lifestyle Park:
- Hours: 4:00 PM to 2:00 AM
- Location: Tomas Morato, Quezon City (across Rembrandt Hotel)
- Rating: 3/10
- Well, I would’ve gave 0 especially that there’s no actual food that we tasted but still, we loved the ambiance of the place; no doubt about it.
Shall we come back? Are we recommending the place?
We still loved the hand-pulled noodles of Shou. But personally speaking, my wife and I doesn’t know if it’s worth coming back at this newly-built food park despite the fact that it’s just on our own backyard. I think people can agree that bad experiences are hard to forget. Although I don’t want to conclude as early as now. I’m honestly not recommending this place yet I’m also not discouraging everyone to visit. Besides, there’s still reasons to come. You’re free to decide whichever.
This post wasn’t in any way, sponsored by or affiliated to CASCADES LIFESTYLE PARK / SHOU LA MIEN / FRUITAS GROUP. Also, this post wasn’t intended in any way to offend or spread hate to the said company. However, all thoughts and words are my own and were based on our actual experiences.
Dex Bautista on ZOMATO: