*This post was originally written for The Athena, Cheenee's previous blog.
Eating is an experience that must be enticing from the visual standpoint and satiating up to the aftertaste. Creativity and uniqueness in the food industry's marketing and gimmicks have already leveled with the creativity and goodness of the food itself. The "fast steak" restaurant, Pepper Lunch (PL), is among the restaurants that have successfully married creativity with good food. It gives you not plain gimmick but a gastronomic experience worth repeating.
In the Philippines, we have Cecile Zamora (of CHUVANESS.com) and husband Chef Jeroen to thank for bringing PL to the Philippines last 2008. I never knew it has been years since the DIY steak house introduced their patented electromagnetic plate that heats up to 260 degrees Celsius within one minute. Cool, right?
I finally got the excuse to try Pepper Lunch when Deal Grocer had P500 worth of voucher for only P300 and redeemable exclusively at SM Mall of Asia. PL's a bit pricey for an (below) average earner like me. I purchased two vouchers, thinking this would be timely since my sister, Les, was set to fly to Manila mid-October. She was supposed to pay the other P300 but I don't know what happened to that. HAHA!
When Les arrived on the 13th, she, my cousin Lyle, and I went all the way to SM Mall of Asia to redeem the voucher and finally meet the filling meal.
(Double) Beef Pepper Rice
P215 + P40 (add meat)
When dining at a restaurant for the first time, my SOP is to have the bestseller. So, we ordered Pepper Lunch's Beef Pepper Rice not only because blogs say it is the bestseller but also because it is the safest ensemble to order for a picky eater like Lyle. She wasn't open to the idea of eating something peppery but she managed to consume the big serving of Double Beef Pepper Rice (+ P40 for more meat thus the double in Double Beef Pepper Rice) with a little help from me.
Among the three dishes we ordered, PL's Beef Pepper Rice ranked third. But don't get me wrong. The Beef Pepper Rice was good. Believe me it was good enough but I would have appreciated it more if my taste buds were not freshly treated by what I ordered. This one's a good and safe try if dining at PL for the first time.
Les had a Double Hamburger Steak. She thought of this way before her flight to Manila all because Anton of Our Awesome Planet said "6. The killer food in Pepper Lunch is their Hamburger Steak! We all agree that we love the Pepper Lunch Hamburger Steak paired with the sweet onion sauce!" HAHA! FACT: Anton is our ultimate opinion leader of everything yummy.
Since we all wanted to try a bit of everything we ordered, I also got to sample my sister's Double Hamburger Steak. Les gave me a piece and boy the flavor bursted in one bite! Unlike Anton, though, who enjoyed it more with the sweet onion sauce, I liked it plain. Compared to the hamburger steaks of other fast foods, PL's was thick, juicy, and was undoubtedly made of beef. I ranked this second among the food we ordered.
(Double) Curry Beef Pepper Rice
Curries are never shy with flavors. These flavors do not over power each other but perfectly blend to bring out an overwhelming appeal to the taste buds and nose. There are pretentious curry dishes that are just green, but very bland while there are those that pass my taste, though I really don't know how a real curry dish tastes like. The usual ok curry for me changed right after my first spoon of PL's Double Curry Beef Pepper Rice!
My Double Curry Beef Pepper Rice turned out to be the most coveted among the three dishes. Les and Lyle liked it better than their orders! Who would not want it? Kanin pa lang, ulam na! And the beef was soft and tasty.
I liked how my plate housed a harmony of spices that sent me to seventh heaven. Ugh! I could almost taste it just remembering how it felt like chewing every goodness of it! It was really satiating 'til the very last grain. And, the smell of the Curry Beef Rice stayed on my hands until the next morning even after I washed my hands many times. There. My #1 so far. As much as I want to try more of PL's food, I guess it would be heartbreaking not to order the Curry Beef Pepper Rice next time I go there.
"The more you mix them up, the more flavor you get." There's something at the middle of the rice that makes the Pepper Rice very yummy. Don't cook the meat separately. Mix 'em up with the rice so it could absorb the flavor.
Another factor that makes Pepper Lunch inviting is its relaxing ambiance. It is so Japanice, very simple and comfy. There were pillows on the couch and the walls were artsy too.
It's almost half a month since my first PL visit and my tongue could still taste and my nose could still smell their food. This is the gastronomic experience I was talking about earlier! Afterall, eating is not just about masticating, but also appreciating and enjoying every bite of a food.
looking forward to more PL time,