Food Review: No joining fee for the Kanin Club

Kanin Club has four branches so far: Ayala Triangle in Makati, UP-AyalaLand Technohub in Quezon City, Paseo de Sta. Rosa, and Westgate Center in Alabang.

By Anthony O. Alcantara

Just as Filipinos were celebrating Independence Day recently, I celebrated my temporary freedom from a self-imposed semi-caveman diet. I have my cheat day after all. This caveman diet, or what others call the paleolithic diet, allows you to eat anything in sight, except grains, which contain lectins, some hideous proteins that no one has actually seen face-to-face but can cause post-paleolithic age diseases such as hypertension and diabetes.

That means no rice, no bread, no pasta and no oatmeal for me. This diet also prohibits dairy, but I really can’t give up my cheese just yet. I’m no ascetic saint.

Anyway, since it’s my cheat day, I was allowed to eat any grains I want. So my wife and I, together with my 9-month-old daughter, hunted for a restaurant at the Ayala Triangle.

Then we saw Kanin Club. I heard rumors that eating there could reduce your life span by as much as 30 years depending on the dish. It was good enough for me.

When we went in, some folk music was playing, making me feel like dancing tinikling to show people that I haven’t forgotten Independence Day. The Filipino theme inside the restaurant appealed to me too.

When we looked at the menu, I was surprised to see the restaurant’s long list of specialty dishes. How are we going to try all these in one visit? We had to choose.

After a brief deliberation, we settled on three dishes and one dessert:

1. Crispy Liempo (Price: Php142). We thought this would be perfect as appetizer. We were not disappointed. It’s indeed crispy and it tastes like chicharon but better and meatier. The thin, brownish and convoluted slices of pork belly, with the fat part just as wide as the meat part, conjures images of abstract sculptures. In a way, they’re like Mobius strips you can eat.

The crunchiness and chewiness are just right, I believe. It won’t give your jaw muscles much of a workout, and it’s not too oily. You will feel a tinge of the oiliness in the fat part. The best way to eat this dish is to dip it into some vinegar.

You have to eat this while still hot. Otherwise, they turn rubbery and your dentures will be in trouble.

2. Loaded Fried Rice (Price: Php179). This, according to Kanin Club’s menu, is a “heavy hitter”. It’s fried rice with Chinese sausage, crab meat, ham, green peas, pork and topped with minced scrambled eggs, roasted garlic and spring onions.

It’s a complete meal in itself. With this dish, my longing for grains is easily extinguished. The variety of tastes can fill your senses too. Oh, a slice of sausage, yum… oh there’s some crab meat, mmm… wow, there’s ham too. You’ll think, “Why can’t I have this kind of rice every day? Why do I have to endure bland white rice?”

Of course, the answer is that you’ll get bored with the rich flavors in the long run. But if you haven’t had delicious and satisfying fried rice for some time, this is the one to try.

3. Nilagang Tadyang ng Baka (Price Php343). The menu describes this dish as, “tender beef ribs slow-cooked to make a hearty beefy broth. Warms you up.”

I’m attaching my imprimatur on that description. Every word is true. The full flavor of beef evokes feelings of carnivore nirvana, making you live in the present moment to savor this death-defying dish. It will certainly make you feel proud that you are a carnivore.

I felt like going to the kitchen to thank the chef for changing my outlook in life. But then my daughter can’t stop wriggling in her seat so I decided to do that in my next visit.

4. Turon KC (Price Php90). This is halo-halo in a deep-fried rice paper roll. It’s a creative take on the turon. Instead of only the usual bananas, the restaurant included purple yam jam, coconut strips, and monggo beans.

This dessert is filling and would be good for two, unless you have a big appetite. I’m not giving this turon a very high grade, though. Not because it’s not delicious, but because it doesn’t have kaong and nata de coco.

I love kaong and nata de coco. And if somebody from Kanin Club is reading this, I humbly suggest that you include this ASAP.

Since this is my first food review, I’m setting up a rating system. My ratings will be on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. This will be determined by how many years you will reduce your life span if you eat at this restaurant, and some complicated differential equations that compute well-being.

I give Kanin Club a whopping 4 STARS!

This may not mean much to Kanin Club, but hey, my loyal followers (my imaginary friend, my wife and my mom) can easily spread the word.

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2 Responses to “Food Review: No joining fee for the Kanin Club”

  1. hi i’ve a childhood friend from NY visiting me for a month, she’s also practicing paleolithic diet, can you recommend restaurants (dishes they serve that won’t go against her diet) where i can take her. thanks!

    • gohelpyourself Says:

      Hi Rose. I really can’t recommend any restaurants because there are none that specialize in paleo cuisine. What your friend can do is just ask what ingredients are used in the dishes. In any case, I do not follow a strict paleo diet. I just avoid grains in all shapes and forms as much as possible. Anyway, I hope your friend enjoys her stay. 🙂

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