I am in a frantic search for the best value-for-money, hole-in-the-wall, best-kept-secret-style Chinese restos but since I couldn't go to Chinatown more often, I ended up prowling in my vicinity.
I always see these competing restaurants in Timog, one Causeway Seafood Restaurant and the other, the Shaolin Tea House right before I pass Victoria Towers where Gold's Gym is at.
In as much as I wouldn't compare restaurants, I couldn't help but do for these since
1) they have the same culinary portfolio
2) they have the same promo, Php45 on all dimsum from 1pm to 6pm, daily
3) they belong to the same area of operation, one is just barely the opposite side of the other in the street, a lot like Tekken characters ready for duel
Let me start off with the following critera:
Both of them are a bit old with unkempt, unmaintained furnitures and facilities. Although they strive to make their dining area clean, the old painted walls and decors are still apparent of its banality and daily rigors of wear and tear.
But for this aspect, I would like to commend the Causeway to be better since they have a better design elements, they have more spacious interiors compared to Shaolin.
Shaolin's tables are a bit cramped, one i just barely 2feet apart from each other. The Causeway had larger tables too for group diners. They even had circular ones for those traditional Chinese family who had an unexplained ardor over rounded things, one that they perhaps attribute to having a good fortune.
The winner in this category? Causeway.
They serve almost similar entrees and menu offerings. Their culinary portfolio includes that one that I am having a seasonal fancy over with: Pork Siomai, Shark's Fin, Hacao, Kuchai, Chicken Feet, Beancurd Rollls, Siopao, Xiao Long Bao, Hickey & Mushroom wrapped in vegetables.
Two days I spent to judge what they offer: first day I spent at Causeway, and Shaolin on the second day.
For the Beef Brisket Noodles, although the Shaolin serves more beef quantity than the Causeway, the Causeway's still taste better.
For the dumplings, this time the Shaolin cut short of the quantity as theirs are a bit smaller than Causeway. And not only do they fail in the serving size department, they also fail in the taste test. Causeway taste better.
The winner: Causeway.
This time I could have easily declared a tie in this bout, but for the presentation, Causeway wins. Look at Shaolin's change slip, it is simply a calculator-printed figure. The Causeway won by giving out the same price but with the more detailed POS-printed receipt.
The winner by technicality: Causeway.
Causeway is generally better in terms of the aforementioned criteria. Although it garnered my heart's delight and gastronomic judgement, I couldn't discount the fact that both of them requires imminent renovation and make over.