Last night, Cathy wanted to have a healthy and delicious dinner, so we decided to head towards Adriatico Circle in Malate, which is known for the quality of its various Asian restaurants. After parking directly alongside the circle, we chose to eat at a restaurant called New Kopiko Cafe & Restaurant, which used to be known as New Korea House. It is located directly beside the Korean Palace Restaurant at the corner of Adriatico St and the Adriatico Circle, and it attracted us because it looked bright, new and clean (in direct contrast to the Korean Palace, which looked dark and dingy; of course, this isn’t any indication at all of the quality of the Korean Palace, because a place doesn’t last as long as the Korean Palace if the food isn’t delicious).
The selection of Korean dishes at the New Kopiko Cafe is extensive, although you should probably be warned that the food is a little on the mid-priced level, with dishes starting around PHP250 and up, good for two persons. Many of their dishes looked absolutely irresistible, especially a Korean chicken and ginseng dish that I would have selected were it not for its hefty Php700 price tag. (This particular dish is the gem of the New Kopiko Cafe: its healthful properties are supposed to boost stamina and increase virility.)
Given these, I selected one of their bestsellers, the kalbi gui, beef ribs barbecued with a special sauce and served with lettuce; Cathy chose their yuk gae jang, a spicy beef soup.
Before our meals were served – in a remarkable ten minutes or less! – the waitresses served up a delicious selection of appetizers, consisting of kim chi (the infamous spicy Korean cabbage that tasted so wonderfully fresh!), pickled cucumbers, dried dilis, vegetable egg pancakes, and garlic Chinese spinach (kangkong). They were all so tasty! I couldn’t make up my mind which of the five I enjoyed the most, and neither could Cathy. I regretted not bringing our camera with us, so all I can show you are these photos, taken with my rinky dink Nokia 5300 XpressMusic, that don’t do justice to the food.
Cathy’s yuk gae jang, on the other hand, was equally delightful, served with fermented tofu paste, spicy sour vinegar, and lettuce, to effortlessly deny whatever carbohydrate cravings you may have. It had the right amount of salty sweetness; the garlic on the side was so lusciously roasted that I just ate them all up.
Our Korean dinner was healthy and fresh; it was pricey, too, at a little over PHP600, but worth it. I kid you not, one of our favorite meals in a long time. We’d go back, and I would recommend you try it out too. They accept credit cards, parking is generally okay, and the window table affords you a nice view of the Adriatico Circle and all its trannies. (I kid, I kid.)