Grilla Filipino Cuisine: The Best of Filipino Foodfare in the NEW Grilla in Manila
When in Manila, do you find yourself longing for the distinct and familiar flavors of home-cooked meals in your home province? Rising up the ranks from the usual bar-and-grill restaurants around the metro is the new and improved Grilla… in Manila! In this restaurant that was first conceptualized as a bar, you will find the best food fare the Philippines has to offer.
What started out as a humble eatery in Antipolo City, circa 1998, is now on its 16th year. In celebration of this significant milestone, Grilla owners Chito and Lizzie Guerrero, with the help of Chef Red Agustin’s culinary prowess, added more Filipino dishes to their menu, amping up the Pinoy flavours of their offerings.
Here’s the press on Grilla’s revamped look in their flagship Antipolo branch: http://www.wheninmanila.com/the-new-look-of-grilla-bar-and-grill-in-antipolo/
Inspired by his travels and his culinary work around the Philippine archipelago, Chef Red incorporates the best dishes from each region and city he has travelled to into the improved menu of Grilla Filipino cuisine. From Luzon, Visayas to Mindanao, Grilla patrons can now enjoy all the provincial flavors our melting hot pot of a country offers.
Grilla invited food bloggers around the metro to make noise about their new offerings. While the dishes were being prepped for serving, we got a taste of homemade liqueur concocted by Grilla’s Chef Mike. Vodka mixed with some herbs and citrus fruits, I couldn’t help but get a shot of each one. Every flavour had its own distinct and unique taste, but one thing bodes true for every one of them: a strong vodka kick.
The vodka flavors are:
Cinnamon and Brown Sugar
Being a sweet-tooth, my favourite, hands down, was the Cinnamon and Brown Sugar liqueur. It had the right amount of sweetness, a little spice from the cinnamon, and a whole lotta lovin’ from the vodka. Another flavor that was sweet but quite herby was the Terragon liqueur.
I like the aromatic taste of the herbs from the Rosemary liqueur. The two citrus offerings were the Calamansi Basil and Dalandan liqueurs. Their juicy flavors were refreshing and different from each other, despite coming from the same citrus family. The Calamansi Basil liqueur tasted like your familiar calamansi juice but packs a punch with alcohol. A shot of these babies costs Php 65. You won’t find these flavors anywhere else so these drinks are well worth their price.
The Grilla Filipino Cuisine Menu
This is a healthier version of everyone’s favourite flavourful sisig, hailing from Pampanga. It wasn’t that spicy as most sisig versions can be but the meaty and tofu bits were oozing with fatty, juicy goodness.
It’s crunch time with Chicharong Cebu, which looks like the Pinoy version of bacon. Chef Red opted to prepare this snack the way they do where it originated from in Carcar, Cebu: by using the back fat of pork. Shy away from this one if want to give your heart a break. *wink, wink*
Crunchy on the outside, moist and flavourful on the inside with salted egg, pork and mozzarella cheese. I enjoyed the salty flavour of this appetizer, perfect for whetting up your appetite for more Grilla food.
You know you’re Filipino if you absolutely love soup with your meals! This soup dish from Angeles, Pampanga is the perfect companion to any meal. It doesn’t rival the asim-kilig characteristic of sinigang, but the almost-tangy flavour complements well with the grilled chicken and vegetables. What warms the tummy also warms the heart.
Ahhh yes, the dish that foreigners and Pinoys alike flock to the Queen City of the South (and my hometown) for: Cebu Lechon! Whatever the Bisaya secret is to this great pork dish was not lost with Grilla’s version of Cebu lechon liempo. If you’ve a brave heart, an eager appetite and a bottomless tummy, dig away!
With flaked beef, caramelized onions and bones, this kamias-based soup was absolutely delightful. This dish certainly gives the people of Bacolod, the City of Smiles, another very good reason to smile about.
I may have been a cat in my past life because I absolutely love fish, so it’s no mystery that this dish is one of my top picks out of all the offerings we tried. The gata sauce brought much flavour and panache to an already scrumptious fishy dish from Morong, Bataan.
Mmmm, squash like I used to have way back then. This traditional Ilocano dish is basically mashed squash and ampalaya served with Bagnet. The salty pork meshed well with the sweet taste of the seasoned squash, with some bitter flavors brought about by the gourd. A whirlwind of different flavors in one dish. Props!
Here’s an offering that gave our arteries a nice surprise: Poqui Poqui, a healthy dish made of mashed eggplant with scrambled eggs, all the way from Ilocos. Seasoned and mashed to perfection, this is one grub you can get your picky-eater kids to eat.
What is Grill-a-Palayok, you may ask? This melting pot of wonderful consists of maya maya, mussels, shrimps, thinly sliced beef, and pork short plate, all cooked over hot stones. If that isn’t enough to whip your appetite into a frenzy, you also get sides of pork-lemongrass broth,sihamak, grilled eggplant and nilasing na mangga. This was probably the star of the night and the main event of our main course.
This is a quirky new style to our home-grown and distinctly Filipino cooler—the halo-halo. Chef Red decided to kick things up a notch and create a new look and amplified flavour to this Filipino favourite. Not bad for a dessert that’s typically served with shaved ice.