Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Best of SanFo Here at Hyphy's

Chef Bruce Lim is everywhere.   But definitely his soul is always at HYPHY’S.   Being a celebrity and Asian Food Channel's Filipino Food Ambassador, a round-the-clock view of his daily life is for sure exhausting.   Yesterday he 'd be at Singapore, Kuala Lumpur or HongKong, you might spot him at his other restaurant, Chef's Table, the next thing you know, he might be off at a cooking demo somewhere or filming his next show for Tablescapes, which by the way  premiers on the 22th of August.   Somehow it doesn't seem to show up,  this spumy, hunk of a guy, rolls with the punches and always taking things up a higher notch.  
Together with his charming wife, Michelle, they make every possible ways  making Hyphy's another home, an extension of their own kitchen.   
Born and bred in Fog City, Bruce attributes a huge amount of his development to the experiences he had growing up in “Frisco.” We may know him best for his tongue-in-cheek sense of humor, panache at fine dining cuisine and his cooking show with Angel Aquino on AFC, but Bruce has a different tale to tell, a story that we are not familiar with just yet, and it’s all about how his heart remains in San Francisco. The city was instrumental in making Bruce into the celebrity chef that we all know and love. It remains instrumental in Bruce’s latest career decisions as well.  As can be seen in their restaurant, with the sublime but sophisticated laid-back mood, detected from the walls and the dining pieces.
Despite being relatively young, there is no doubt that Bruce is an expert in his field, having pulled the punches and worked hard to be where he is today. He graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in London at a young age and returned to the Philippines for good in 2004 to expand his horizons and explore his roots. He has stayed since – but his heart was elsewhere. Hence Bruce’s latest project with wife Michelle – Hyphy’s (pronounced HAI-fee’s), the San Francisco-inspired restaurant at Robinson’s Galleria’s Veranda. Serving dishes that are a play on the comfort food that Bruce grew up with, Hyphy’s is not just a touch of Frisco in Metro Manila, it’s a touch of Bruce’s childhood as well.
Hyphy’s is a duality of benefits: first of all, it allows Bruce a touch of home, to make Manila into his beloved San Francisco, giving him a slice of his childhood, and escape from the rigors of a packed schedule and the celebrity lifestyle. Secondly, it allows us, his fans and his admirers, to experience Bruce in his purest form – unabashed, unashamed, totally himself, relaxed and true.
The menu speaks of Bruce and Michelle, what they love to eat and what they love to share to their fellow diners.
Because they want to offer their authenticity to every dish they serve, they even bought an oven just for the breads, so expect everything fresh and made form scratch.   Like the sourdough bread used to hold the Clam Chowder.   Let me tell you about the  soup, it was magnificently full of flavor, it is very thick and has lots of vegetables.
Then there's Cobb Salad, classic base salad, but the chicken made more sumptuous by grilling it.
Hyphy's version of Caesar Salad, the Filipinized dressing will amuse you, together with the crisped, chopped bacon, croutons and Quezo de Bola was used as against parmesan.
This is Chef's favorite, according to Michelle, Minced Chicken on Lettuce Cups.   I had this at Little Asia, and compared to this, Little Asia's is sweet and not as good as Hyphy's, I did expected this to be better than the previous, and now I know what to recommend my friends.
 Now my favorite Pasta dish.   Who could have ever thought of putting Tuyo (Salted Dried Fish) on Pasta?    The Calamansi Tuyo Pasta, which was inspired by his nephew, William. Whenever he would visit his brother in San Francisco, William would always ask Bruce to bring him some tuyo. Since bringing fish on international flights is prohibited, Bruce had to compromise and bring William some tuyo flakes instead, which William would ask Bruce to make into a pasta. Combining fruit from William’s backyard lemon tree, an aglio olio pasta and the tuyo flakes, Bruce inadvertently stumbled onto another recipe that was definitely a touch of home. This same theme snakes all throughout the menu – the food has touches of family, of home, of San Francisco; memories, comfort, childhood, nostalgia.  

Another dish which really holds dear to his heart, is Chicken Chow Mien.  When he was still in grade School, at San Francisco,  instead of taking the bus home from school, Bruce would use his transportation allowance for a $1.50 box of chow mien, and munch it on the way home.
See how good that is,  the savoury noodles, that is not spicingly biting and salty but delectable.  My kids would love this!
Tired of the good old boring sandwich?    SF Steak Sandwich.  Where beef steaks are sliced thinly, topped with bell peppers and lots of cheese, served with a big handful of  .   A lunch such these will leave you bloatingly-filled.   A good value for your lunch-money.
 If you are not the type who would eat burgers or sandwich for lunch or dinner, well here is yours, Bangus Steak.   It's a bone-less Bangus, fried to perfection, syrupy sauce dripped  a top with the house' own Atsara.
 For a heavy chicken meal, kids' crave,  Buttered Chicken.  It is an addition to their menu, wherein the chicken pieces are brined in butter, then deep-fried , Southern Fried Chicken Style.   You will taste the difference once you dig in inside, the chicken meat has a light creamy sweetness to it, from the butter perhaps.   Way yummier than others claiming to have Southern-style fired chicken.
Oh the meal I had, was all taken down my tummy with the aide of this cool and refreshing Dayap Iced Tea.
Yes, I am still on earth, however, I was taken to heaven, when I had the first dessert spoon on Tablea Chocolate Torte.
Let me tell you why.  It's our very own Tablea chocolate made into a thick, ganache-like cake and enhanced with coffee.   Everyone's fave, chocolate chip cookies, crumbed and topped on it together with whipped cream.    A chewy dark chocolatey insanely delish cake.   It's more like my brownie halfway done, or a cake mixed with melted "Serg bar."   See I remembered my fave chocolate when I was a kid, definitely  missing it!  A cherry made it even more dulcet-looking!
A closer look will give you a hint, however, your visit to Hyphy's would be incomplete without trying this out. Quite a big portion is being served though so 2 to 3 persons can have this.
So now were talking Filipino, sticky rice, mangoes and condensed milk, essentials in Filipino dessert but made meticulously following San Francisco culture.    They are also components in making Warm  Mango Sticky Rice.  Cooked somewhat like Malagkit where the rice was slowly simmered with coconut milk and sugar.  Topped with mango syrup and fresh cubed mango and condensed milk, you'll be surprised it is not as sweet as you'd expect.
All of these in one seating, made best by capping the whole San Fo gastronomic session with a cup of coffee. Thanks to Lola Pacencia (Chef Bruce's Grandma), Chef Bruce' s mom, Michelle and all the people behind the inspiration that made Hyphy's. 
There's a lot more to experience at Hyphy's,  Do visit them and ask for the day's promo, I've heard that they will be raffling off flight tickets to San Francisco taken cared by Lee Kum Kee.  The catch, a Chow Mien Challenge.   Just order Chow Mien as many as you can, and you'll automatically qualify for the raffle.  Do add their Facebook site and check updates of the promo there.

Hyphy's by Chef Bruce Lim
The Veranda, Robinsons Galleria, Quezon City, Philippines

Telephone: +632 477-7611


  1. tried it too and i liked the tuyo pasta even if i don't eat tuyo! it was my 1st time to eat tuyo when I ate this pasta. :P i found the pasta a bit oily/ salty (so I only ate a bit of tuyo) but twas generally good. I wanna try the choco cake!!

  2. my wife already had a lunch here... sabi niya masarap daw yung tuyo... masasarap daw ang luto so habang nagkwekwento siya, ako naman habang nakikinig ay lunok ng lunok at takam na takam... next ako naman ang bibisita rito, isasama ko 4 kids ko, syempre si misis sama rin... :)


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