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Friday, April 24, 2015

" Wait... this is a Filipino Restaurant right? Why does everything look foreign? " One step in and it was if I was in the rabbit hole. NEIL'S KITCHEN is one mad hatter.

With just a few months of operation, NEIL's KITCHEN has been making waves in the local food scene. I was fortunate enough to get a taste of awesome Filipino comfort food done in a creative way.
Looking playful, the place notes happy tones for something simple yet sophisticated take on the usual Filipino comfort food.
Not a good idea to bring oldies here as a spiral staircase is the only way to go to up and down.
 NEIL's KITCHEN have been in the catering business for years. With that, I could say that they definitely know how to handle food so calling in ahead is a great idea to avoid the disappointment of not having seats.
 You have been warned.

That day of all days, I was stuck in traffic. Coming from way up north, I arrived fashionably late. More than 2 hours on the road just to get here. Incredible right? Way after lunch, the place was still packed. I knew then that the travel was worth it. One look at the spread made all my driving frustration go away.  

To start off, we had two kinds of  TOKWA'T BABOY. One with chicken another with pork. 
Both tasty and with a lot of meat.
Traditionally served with rice pudding or lugaw, these babies had a ratio of meat to tofu of 1:1. Actually, it seemed as if the meat was more. Not the usual thing you would see but the chef wanted for the meat to stand out. Not just with this dish, but with others too.

If you are looking for steak, this is as close as it can get in NEIL's KITCHEN. The TBONE TAPA
A perfect breakfast meal, that you could have all day, the TAPA flavor is present in this huge chunk of meat. It was tender and flavorful. A joy to eat with that garlic rice on the side. It was so huge though that you could share this with someone else.

The SINIGANG NOODLE SOUP was like ramen made with sinigang. Underneath all the meat, you could slurp the noodles as the sour taste is ever present.

Not your usual Paksiw, this one is the POACHED SALMON in VINEGAR and GARLIC
There is flavored rice underneath. So you need to mix everything up. The fish is perfectly "paksiwed" and the rice makes it great all in one big bite. Just like another Japanese rice bowl that needs to be mixed.

Being innovative, the chef wanted to mix and match things that worked. Rather than putting things on the side, he infused them into the meal itself. 

The BAGOONG PAELLA with KARE-KARE is one of them. The usual play on kare kare would be to have the bagoong on the side. This time around, they placed it in the rice to make things easier and tastier.

Same with the SINIGANG PAELLA with GRILLED PORK BELLY. The rice is just sour! Definitely what a sinigang is. Having some grilled pork belly is like putting icing on the cake. A great combination.

For dessert, I couldn't decide which is better. 

The PUTO BUNGBONG with BUCO JELLY and TOASTED COCONUT is love. Smooth silky puto bungbong with jelly on top and a lot of butter goodness. The toasted coconut with muscovado on top gives the right crunch to this dish.

The FRIED SUMAN, MANGGA and CHOCNUT is not for the weak hearts. The chef reinvented the mangoes by making them into a pureed version. Having chocnut bits everywhere gives a different texture that takes you back to childhood. Making you smile with each bite.
How can I forget the SUMAN or the sticky rice? It absorbs all the creamy sauce and puts everything together. YUMMY.

Chef Neil is making a mark into the local food scene down south. He is changing the way one looks at FILIPINO FOOD. He makes it comforting and enjoyable.

You would think that the place would serve American or maybe Spanish delicacies rather than Filipino Food.
BUT it doesn't. NEIL's KITCHEN delivers honest to goodness Filipino Food with a twist. A different take that would make any tummy hungry. Can't wait to go back.

Metro Manila
Opens at 11am
7108962 / 7711334/ 09285247404 / 09173112916

Disclaimer: wrote this based on my experience. was invited to try out Neil's Kitchen.

 They also have a bookstore. Weird right? But it is the FATHER'S BOOKSTORE.
Different Themes
Written by Lovely

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