Panda Peeks – Kooky & Luscious
How many times have you found yourself outside yet wishfully thinking that you were home instead? It’s almost impossible to turn off work mode once you’re already on Ayala Avenue with all the other busy bodies eager to clock in for another day at the office. Every now and then, however, you just can’t help but pine for a break from all the city hustle. Luckily for us, amidst the rows and rows of Makati offices is a second home we’re all welcome to.
Kooky & Luscious was designed to be a home away from home – complete with a family that would take you in as their own and serve you homemade dishes. They happily told us about the many stories of their loyal patrons; particularly a young couple who many years later blossomed into husband and wife, and eventually as a father and mother, as witnessed by their entire crew in the making. But more than the sense of family that it brings, it is the homemade goodness of Kooky & Luscious that keeps the regulars of Makati tirelessly coming back for more.
I was pleased to have my personal favorites kick off the meal (huge fan of appetizers here). There is something very calming about a hot bowl of Clam Chowder, and this one satisfied the taste I was looking forward to. What made it extra tasty for me was how the seafood chunks stood out in spite of the already flavorful soup. As a salad loyalist, on the other hand, it was interesting for me to try homemade dressing quite possibly for the first time. I’ve gotten so used to pre-made dressings that come in bottles, that the taste of their Mango and BBQ Chicken Salad almost felt totally new to me – regardless of all the previous times I’ve had Caesar. In fact, it even inspired me to try and make it myself at home. I highly doubt I’d get it this perfectly, though!
I had a Scallop Seafood Tomato Pasta to keep the streak going. It was oil-based and dotted with mussels and shrimps. As someone who prefers oil-based pasta over the creamier ones, I was particularly pleased with how it had just the right balance; the perfect amount of oil enough to keep it from being dry and pasty. The noodles were firm, not flimsy or too soft. The roasted tomatoes also did the trick for me, as it was surprising to taste the huge difference it made to the dish. Who knew what magic roasting could apparently bring?
The Hungarian Sausage, as basic as it might look, also had a unique taste to it. It was grilled to perfection and its generous amount of dressing made it even better; the sausage managed to still stand out in spite of that. The dish reminded me of the hotdog sandwiches my brother and I used to have when we were kids, except this was a lot more distinct in taste. It made perfect sense how it reminded me so much of home, given that it was – quite literally – homemade.
Arroz ala Cubana is commonly known as a Spanish dish of ground beef, plantains, sunny side up eggs and Cuban-style rice. As expected, Kooky & Luscious had its way of making it feel like a locally grown dish altogether. It was reminiscent of tapsilog with an extra kick of spice.
Pochero was next in line to complete the equation of home. It was nice how much of a story was told by eating a familiar dish made with someone else’s homemade recipe. For a moment it felt like I was suddenly a part of this family’s layers of generations before me, and what a privilege it surely was to taste their well-loved specialty.
My homemade meal ended the same way it began – with my favorites! It sure was a challenge to pick from their wide selection of sweets and pastries. I’ve never found myself more fickle-minded until then! The Red Velvet Cake was a moist fudge coated with a cream cheese frosting, while the Mocha Oreo was a coffee and chocolate buttercream sponge cake loaded with crumbs of Oreo. I was a huge fan of both, so I’m afraid I couldn’t pick which one was better. They both made me want to run out of the restaurant and scream CAKES ARE THE BEST to every potential passerby. What I am certain of is that I’d have both of them again – not even in slices alone but as whole cakes altogether.
I was at Kooky & Luscious but the entire time it also felt like I was back home. The next time you find yourself homesick, pause from all that paperwork and head on over to this intimate restaurant. Even better: the next time do find yourself at home and craving Kooky & Luscious, all you gotta do is order via foodpanda.
Christa is a visual artist who spends most of her time illustrating stories in her head alongside looking up pictures of sloths online. She relies on crunchy tacos and/or egg-wrapped Pad Thai to fuel her creativity without limits.