A lovely view of the SM Aura Premier from the Sky Park.Alvie and I met up with my family at Market! Market! to catch Jeric's mall show with the rest of the X Factor Philippines Top 6 finalists. What better time to check out SM Aura Premier on the first day it is open? Any other time. We had to wade through oceans and oceans of people, all keen on checking out SM's latest innovative project. After what felt like an hour of squeezing through the crowd by the fashion show at the main entrance, we got to the less-populated section of the mall.
We ascended the mall looking for a place to grab dinner, hoping there were at least a few empty restaurant seats in the thoroughly crowded mall. It was far from complete as there were still many closed establishments and areas. We were meaning to watch Star Trek: Into Darkness that night and were glad to see that the screenings were far from full. I guess people weren't here to sit and watch today.
Crowded!Right next to the cinema is their food court named Food on Four. The options available right now are Latin cuisine from Brasas, Sbarro, Pepper Lunch, and the strangely named Eat Pinoy. I would've wanted to try Brasas or resort to my favorite Baked Ziti at Sbarro, but Pepper Lunch seemed to be quickest due to the shorter queue. Seemed.
Pepper Lunch Express wasn't very "express" that day.The line was short, but it took about 45 minutes for our meals to be ready to be picked up. We grabbed a snack nearby to tide us over.
Eat Pinoy's Garlic Peanuts, P150.00The peanuts were flavorful, crunchy, and addictive, but is quite steep at 150 pesos. An eternity later, our meal buzzer buzzed.
Beef Pepper Rice, P145.00The pepper rice they have in this express branch has sadder meat portions, but is still as delicious. This is tolerable for the noticeable price change. This meal usually goes for 215 pesos, so I totally wouldn't mind paying 70 pesos less for a meal that is still filling anyway.
Beef & Salmon Pepper Rice, P187.00I opted to pay a bit more for some Salmon with my meal. I had to rush this plate from the stall to the table and quickly ask Alvie to take its picture "before the meat gets overdone and ruined!". Every time I eat at Pepper Lunch, I get the meat up on the rice as soon as I can because I like it rare. It tastes much better and doesn't have the life burned out of it! I can't speak for how safe eating this rare is, though. :)
While we were waiting for those meals to be prepared, Alvie and I excused ourselves from waiting duties to survey the place above. We were pleasantly surprised with what we found. We didn't know there was a park up here! Sky Park gives an awesome view from the top of SM Aura. Not grand in size, but it was a refreshing, unique place. It's similar to Trinoma's garden but I like this better. It reminded me of Hong Kong's Victoria Peak in design. I look forward to hanging out here, sipping on some Happy Lemon from nearby, if it won't be too populated.
I love the fountains of light!Finally, time for the movie to cap off our first SM Aura experience. We grabbed some drinks from the almost unrecognizable Snack Time that is customary for SM theaters. Corn dogs? Bacon Cheeseburgers? This isn't the Snack Time I know!
I can't watch movies without sipping on soda!The theater was quite small and they have their fair share of kinks to work out. Frustratingly, they had the opposite of widescreen. A significant portion of the left and right edges weren't being displayed by the projector, ruining even the occasional caption in the movie. There is a huge difference between "Star Trek" and "tar Trek". The film also stopped twice during screening for up to a full 10 minutes. Projector overheating? At the least, it eventually started working and we didn't have to get a refund.
Pepper Lunch Verdict:
Beef Pepper Rice: Good
Beef & Salmon Pepper Rice: Good
My impression was that this mall is a great addition to Bonifacio Global City. The Fort is my favorite commercial place (at least until it will inevitably get too crowded) and it just got better. A few of the things I look forward to enjoying here are:
Restaurants: Sbarro, Pepper Lunch Express (this is more of Alvie's), Yabu, and I hope the future holds more great ones. (Taco Bell!!!)
Movies: IMAX. The prospect of watching movies in BGC and not being limited to Market! Market! alone, is great, but they have IMAX too! Gone are the days we'd have to go to one of the opposite ends of EDSA to catch some great 3D cinema!
Shopping: Forever 21, Uniqlo are places I like because they have good clothes that aren't horrendously expensive. I never shop for fun so I'm glad to have these nearby for whenever I need to.
Milk Tea: Chatime, Gong Cha, Happy Lemon. Talk about competition! Do you feel left out, Serenitea?
This was definitely a memorable first experience at SM Aura Premier. I've always preferred Ayala malls and I used to be a Glorietta kid through and through so I never would have expected that right here in BGC, SM blew the nearby Ayala mall out of the water! I look forward to my next visit, hopefully when the hype dies down. :)
PEPPER LUNCH EXPRESS
4th floor, Food on Four
SM Aura Premier, McKinley Parkway
McKinley Hill, Taguig City
Facebook: Pepper Lunch Philippines
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