By J & C (the tell-it-as-it-is food critics)
Ed’s Note: Food Finds is a review segment by our contributors — Metro Manila-based entrepreneurs, J & C.
Voucher Used: None
Number of Diners: 4 Adults
Our first attempt to dine here was futile. We had to go home because we couldn’t find a nearby parking spot and the waiting list to get a table in the restaurant was so long. On our second attempt though, we were lucky to find a parking space and to only have 2 groups ahead of us on the list, so we dared wait.
The two dining areas at the restaurant were both very small and rather cramped. The wooden chairs were quite uncomfortable and the tables were very small. However, they made up with the cleanliness and the brightness of the place. The colorful jeepney-themed décor gave the restaurant a unique, fun, and very Pinoy feel.
What We Ordered:
Cubao Boodle Fight @ PhP730
This set meal for four persons included four cups of rice (choice of white, bagoong, or garlic), one-quarter of barbequed chicken, four sticks of pork barbeque, one whole piece of grilled bangus, four wedges of salted egg with ensaladang talong, a small serving of ginamos (Visayan fish bagoong) and four glasses of iced tea. Of all the food we ordered, sadly enough, this boodle fight dish was the most disappointing. Nothing was bad, but nothing also stood out. The chicken and the pork barbeques were very “generic”; the bangus was tasty, but nothing that a home cook couldn’t replicate; and the salads were alright. On a more positive note, the servings of rice were big and the ginamos, which reminded C of her childhood, was quite tasty.
TIP: A squeeze or two of calamansi will add a hint of acid and cut the saltiness of the ginamos. This “poor man’s dish” is best enjoyed with white rice and kinamot-style (eating with your hands). By the way, throughout their menu, ginamos was wrongly referred to as K.B.L., which is short for the Ilonggo dish “kadios, baboy, langka”. K.B.L. is usually cooked or served with ginamos, thus perhaps the confusion.
Gising-Gising topped with Crispy Dilis @ PhP95
This dish blew our minds away. Who would have thought that sautéing kangkong stalks in ginger, onion, and coconut milk could be so tasty and satisfying. Topping it with crispy fried dilis really clinched it for us. Two thumbs up.
Adobong Kangkong @ PhP85
This was also another winning dish. Unlike most adobong kangkong which are cooked too sour for taste, this version had just the right amount of tanginess. With a hint of sweetness and an overall savory taste, you would forget that you are eating probably the cheapest greens in the Philippines.
Ensaladang Mangga with Bagoong @ PhP80
This was a great side dish to our meal. It was a wonderful pampagana to all the grilled proteins. The kind of bagoong used in this dish was a little sweet, which was why it was perfect with the manggang hilaw. We wished the mangga were cubed a little smaller though.
Total Damage @ PhP1,070 (no service charge)
If We Were To Order Again (which we did a week after), we would forego the boodle fight and order these or some other a la carte dishes instead:
Sizzling Pork Sisig @ PhP190
This version of sisig, although not as good as the ones you’ll find in Pampanga, was fairly enjoyable and satisfying. A word of caution to those who are not a fan of artificial seasoning – this dish definitely has one.
Binagoongang Lechon Kawali with Pritong Talong @ PhP210
This dish was a revelation! We would never have imagined that lechon kawali would go very well with fried talong and bagoong. The pork meat was tender, the skin was wonderfully crisp, and the eggplant was suitably infused with bagoong goodness. Just thinking about the flavor and textural combination of it all makes us salivate. Order extra rice and you’ll be humming in joyful ecstasy.
Pinakbet @ PhP130
Stay away from this dish. You wouldn’t want to be served with undercooked and tasteless veggies. It’s a good thing we forgot to take a picture, because the sight of it would only make us feel very sad.
Overall, this place was a winner. Eating here was like eating a special Sunday meal at your lola’s house in the province. If only the restaurant’s space was a bit bigger so that not only can it accommodate the droves of people coming to eat, but also give them more legroom to enjoy the food, we would have given it 5 stars.
The servers were surprisingly quick to attend to the hungry diners’ requests, even if they seemed to be running around a lot.
Value for Money:
Go for the ala-carte dishes and you’ll be surprised at how affordable your meals will cost you. With all the tasty fares, you can never go wrong with this place (unless you don’t have enough patience to wait for a table).
Will We Go Back?
We’re definitely going back to this place again… and again… and again… and…
Location: 154 Maginhawa St., Sikatuna Village, Quezon City
Contact No.: +63-2-4356824
Hours: Tue-Thu @ 11am-10pm
Fri-Sat @ 11am-12mn
Sun @ 11am-10pm
Let our palates and our pockets be your guide,
J & C