My relatives are big into Chinese food. That probably is the common denominator they all have going for them. From the infamous Hong Ning (now defunct), to the elegant Jade Garden, I daresay they've tried them all, and they know how to judge good Chinese cooking when they taste it.
While Chinese restaurants are aplenty in the Metropolis, there are few that measure up to our family's palate, so imagine our surprise when we found a little gem right here in our very own backyard!
PVL is a decent, ample-sized Chinese restaurant that is practically concealed by lines of houses located just a few streets from Boni Highway in Mandaluyong City. It is situated within a residential area that is only several yards away from the well known Policarpio Street.
The exterior of PVL isn't really much to look at. Not saying ofcourse that it's horrid, but it's too plain and simple to be construed as a restaurant. It looks more like a nice looking house from outside. Once you're inside though, it's a different story altogether. The interior is classy enough, and very cozy too. You can tell that their design was inspired by such restaurants as Jade Garden. There are even pictures of celebrities who've eaten in the restaurant hanging on one end of their wall. The food ofcourse is excellent as well. PVL is one of the very few Chinese restaurants I'd say that has genuinely delicious Chinese cooking.
Since it's only about 5-10 minutes drive from our house, whenever we feel like eating out or treating visitors to dinner but do not wish to go too far out of our way, then we just head on over to PVL for a good munch.
Well, it was my grandfather's birthday a couple of days ago, and he had an old friend from the US over for dinner. Since my grandfather already celebrated his birthday with a party a week in advance, he decided to treat us all to dinner at PVL that night.
Sometimes, we ordered our food 'by package'. Chinese restaurants normally offer a full-course meal being sold at a 'package price'. Fortunately, it was one of those days wherein we decided to order whichever dish would appeal to us.
We started off by ordering Hototay as our soup. We deviated a bit from our 'normal' Bird's Nest soup order because my parents thought it would be nice to try something different for a change. Hototay is a mixed vegetable and meat soup. The one we ordered contained brocolli, cauliflower, carrots, spinach and celery, as well as siomai, liver, and lean pork meat. I still prefer the Bird's Nest ofcourse, but ordering a different soup was rather refreshing, I do admit.
Ampalaya Con Carne is a staple dish that we keep in our list of orders whenever we are at a Chinese restaurant. As the name of the dish suggests, it's beef with ampalaya cooked in a savory thick brown sauce. This is a favorite among the older people in my clan, and one of the most common dishes being served in Chinese restaurants.
While the Ampalaya Con Carne is the favorite among the older people, the fish fillet and the tempura on the other hand are the favorite dishes among the younger crowd.
The fish fillet is comprised of fried or baked (I really am not sure how they cooked it) breaded fish fillets bathed in translucent soup which tastes similar to Bird's Nest soup, only thicker. We actually got to try the fish fillet thanks to one of the 'package meals' PVL serves that we decided to order one day.
My personal favorite however, and the dish I look forward to having the most whenever we go to PVL, is the crispy crabs with garlic. The crabs are usually extra large ones, but on that day, they only had small crabs, but since we wanted to eat the dish so much, decided we'd settle even for the small ones. We weren't disappointed, for even small, they were very meaty anyway.
We also ordered some Yang Chow rice and Chop Suey which I no longer bothered to photograph.
Aside from the dishes listed above, we also usuall order other delectable dishes such as pancit canton, lumpiang shanghai, steamed lapu-lapu, various dimsum, and another one of my favorites---shrimps with cashews and green peas.
We also order desserts such as buchi, lychee and almond jelly, and my sister's favorite dessert, buko pandan.
As for the drinks, I normally order four seasons, green/ripe mango shake or iced tea. But one of the more interesting drinks they serve that I've only been able to try recently and promptly liked, was their Watermelon Shake.
All in all, PVL is a great Chinese restaurant that while obscure, I would still highly recommend for people to try.