Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Neil's Kitchen

It was a sunny albeit sweltering mid morning trip from Magallanes to Alabang. It was going to be my first Foodie Meet Up in the South and I was quite excited.

I have been hearing and reading a lot of good things about this restaurant and I am happy that I will be finally able to  experience their food  first hand.

From the outside, the restaurant's facade already piqued my curiosity. Stark white in all its glory under the blazing 11 am sun, you can not miss it.

A small yellow and black door was ajar and we were grateful to enter ,seeking shelter from the unforgiving heat outside. The small foyer welcomed visitors with its black and white chevron tiles, yellow and black razor(?) vintage(y) scooter,  huge mirror,  a larger than life quote and arrows pointing us to the restaurant

Yep I was definitely excited for this gastronomic adventure to begin.

But first I just have to describe my first impresions about
Neil's Kitchen. I love the semi-circular stairs and whimsical wall adornments. I can hear my brain ticking off those items that will look good in my house hahaha.

The dining area itself is quite charming with its huge beams, mason jar "chandeliers" , funny and witty quotes on the wall and a family book store at the end of hall. The vibe is elegant,whimsical and homey. I can stay there all day just chilling. 

When I go to a restaurant, I check out the restrooms. It is important that they be well lit, immaculate and pristine. Neil's Kitchen's restroom was all of the above and more. It was adorable too starting with its sign outside.Check out Wonder Woman's powder room below. Sorry no pics of batman's :) 

The Family Bookstore at the opposite end of the dining hall is a great venue for private functions . Plus you can also purchase books there, if I understood the servers correctly.  The sight of all those books neatly shelved added to the feeling of coziness.  You feel like you were just invited to a friend's house for lunch.  

The restaurant was starting to fill up and was fully booked quite fast when we were there. You will be glad to know that despite all the patrons of the restaurant the temperature remained comfortably cool.

Ok now for the Food ....

It was Pinoy with a lot of creative license. My head was spinning trying to guess the ingredients in every plate presented. All I can hear were oohs and ahhs as we took pictures of each plate served.

OFF Menu Items :

Beef Papaitan Pie
Baked dish composed of beef entrails and radish, encrusted with buttery pie crust, served with toasted baguette on the side.

I can taste the acidity from the vinegar. I got a little bit of bitterness and teeny bit of kick from the green sili. I was delighted with the creative process that went into it. The baguette took a lot of getting used to.  The papaitan was too wet for it in my humble opinion. I was imagining a much thicker sauce if I were to dunk my bread  in that bowl or scoop some on top of the bread. Was it only me or the dish was screaming for rice? hahaha But this can grow on me. 4/5

 Baked Sisig Canneloni
Tiny sisig cannellonis (sisig wrapped in molo wrapper) layered with creamy bechamel, topped with liver sauce, cheese sauce, a little more sisig, bell peppers , onions, crushed crunchy pork skin chicharon.

This dish was a head turner. It looked so delicious in its yellow glory against the white plate. I tasted the cheese, a bit of the liver sauce and the bell peppers and onions. I was looking for the crunch from the sisig itself and the chicharon. I was also looking for the molo wrapper. The sisig itself was delicious. 

All in all it tasted  just like a  regular sisig  but with additional  layers of flavor from the cheese and liver sauce. Missing the acidity. 

My piggery will love this of course. 2-3 cups of rice please. 4/5


Menudo Mania P395
menudo sauce, liver sauce, shoestring potatoes, menudo, wansuy, lemon wedge served with steamed white rice, sunny side up egg, garnished with paprika.

The presentation was nice. I thought it was a different take on pansit initially because of the shoe string potatoes that looked like fried noodles at first glance.I loved the crunch from the shoestring potatoes, the tartness from the lemon, the layers of flavor in the dish because of the liver sauce. I would love this for breakfast. 4/5


Sloppy Beef Kaldereta  P425
Beef Caldereta stew sandwiched between two deep-fried breaded rice patties, drizzled with cheese sauce, topped with coleslaw, plated with shoestring potatoes also drizzled with cheese sauce and garnished with chopped parsley and parmesan cheese.

We all know that "sloppy joe" is a sandwich consisting of ground beef, onions , tomato sauce  and other seasonings served on a hamburger bun. So this actually fit the brief. But instead of ground beef they used kaldereta. Very clever.

I liked this a lot.I loved the whole concept. You chomp on it and instead of the usual bun you get the texture of the crispy chewy rice vis a vis the yummy beef kaldereta. The coleslaw provided the contrast in flavor to cut through the richness of the sloppy kaldereta. 

Sloppy Joe vs. Sloppy K? Win si Sloppy K hands down 4.5/5

Sloppy K (Beef Kaldereta)

Ohh-La-La-ing (P450)

Multi-layered dish composed of laing ( gabi leaves cooked in coconut milk), grilled rice patty wrapped in nori, coconut sauce, shrimp patty, taro shoe strings, sliced green chili finger. Garnished with green powder mix made of crushed vegetable rice crackers, toasted garlic and crunchy pork skin chicharon

The presentation was just wow. What threw me off was the nori.  I was a bit confused. A Japanese Laing perhaps? I also love my laing really spicy. But the laing itself was flavorful. The shrimp patty was too floury for me.  Enjoyed the crunch of the taro shoe strings and cruncy pork chicharon 3/5


Alabang Fried Pork Chop P395

Pork counterpart of the already famous Alabang Fried Chicken or more commonly known "chicken of the south". Two pork chops breaded and deep-fried until golden and crispy. Served with gravy rice , gravy and macaroni salad.

Pork was fried perfectly. It was juicy inside. I loved the macaroni. The piggery will love this with extra cup of rice . 4/5
Alabang Fried Pork Chop P395


Sinigang Pella with Grilled Pork Belly P350

Rice slowly cooked in sinigang broth, tomatoes, radish, string beans, pork belly. Paired with marinated grilled pork belly garnished with crispy kangkong.

Loved the simple presentation. Loved the sour , sinigang(y) paella. The grilled pork was the perfect pair for the yummy rice. This is sinigang without any sabaw (soup). Sarap! Portion was a just right for one person. Ops galit-galit muna. No sharing hahaha 5/5 
Sinigang Paella with Grilled Pork Belly

Wagyu Beef Sinigang P495
Gyudon style in a bowl. Steamed white rice topped with fresh tomatoes, blanched string beans, pickled radish, fresh radish, crispy kangkong and sliced grilled wagyu beef. Garnished with grilled green chili finger. Served wit sinigang sauce on the side.

An interactive dish. You get to control how much of the sinigang sauce you would like to pour on your bowl. I like just a tad of acidity on my dish.The wagyu were tender and flavorful. The red , yellow and white radishes were pleasing to the eye and to the palate. 4/5


Fried Suman Mangga and Chocnut P250
Fried suman (sticky rice ) at the bottom, followed by slices of sweet mangoes, then mango jelly, slathered with coconut cream then topped with crumbs of chocnut (peanut sugar confection very popular locally)

Oh my God. Sweet mangoes and fried suman are just the perfect combination.  The addition of the coconut cream, mango jelly and the chocnut just brought the flavors a notch higher. 5/5

Bungbong with Buco Jelly and Toasted Coconut P250

Layered Puto Bungbong ( sticky rice made of ube or purple yam), buco jelly with toasted coconut on top all slathered and swimming in butter caramel sauce.

Oh my. Step aside puto bungbong with butter, muscovado and dessicated coconut. I have a new favorite  puto bungbong dessert.

The heady combination of the sticky puto bungbong, the soft coconut jelly and the toasted coconut brought it home for me. The butter caramel sauce rounded all the textures and the flavors into one sublime dessert. Kulang na lang cafe or salabat. Yum! 5/5

Summary :

Quite a perfect day. The sun was out. I was in good company with like-minded friends. The food was divine. I adored the whole vibe of the restaurant. The servers were attentive.

Must bring the piggery here pronto

Neil's Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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