Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Bistro Group Giving a Rebirth to Filipino Cuisine with Smokin' Hot BarBQ

Foodie netizens are being bogged by the emergence of Filipino food in the global scene.   Several articles had heralded  Filipino cuisine as the next big dining trend, which certainly have been gaining momentum, mostly in the US.   Ironically, US chains of fast food and restaurants have annexed and had been luring our diners away from where we all started, good ole' home-cooked dishes, the Pinoy way.
Given that fusion and global cuisine are so hot and are such a direct reflection of our national experience, it's hard to understand how one of the most fundamentally melting pot of food traditions seems to keep eluding mainstream popularity.   
Though several people are exerting efforts to make Filipino food stand out in the world scene, from young chefs creating a fusion between Filipino ingredients and Western techniques, to those who stick to heirloom cuisine, sad to say, there are still those who were slightly impressed, also, there are  those who opined pessimistically.
I would be a hypocrite if I say I don't patronize foreign dishes.  Frankly, like many Filipinos, I am slowly losing my true identity as a Filipino when it comes to consuming.   From pasta, sylvan Italian dishes, to burgers,  down to dim sums,  I love them all.  But then, I also love eating viands with rice, from fried, grilled to having rice swimming on tamarind soup, oh, I love them all,  in fact I was first in love with this rich culinary.
Let's talk about our very own Filipino culinary being global.   Filipino food is a truly global cuisine because of the Southeast Asian, Latin and even American influences that truly give Filipino food its vibrancy.  Through out our country's history, food had majorly played a great topic.  It would actually take me a very long post a concise write up about it. 
Why don't we rather go directly to what matter's most.   Where in Manila can we do a casual food hop to savor topping authentic Filipino fare?
Great thing The Bistro Group have thought of the putting the vibe back to our very own homegrown Filipino dishes.  With the new restaurant which just opened at Greenbelt 3, Smokin' Hot BarBQ Global Filipino Cuisine will probably  bring us back to our love for healthy and sumptuous food while observing a balance of good plating styles with the comforting flavors of authentic Filipino food.
Last Tuesday was a heck of night, as Smokin' Hot  BarBQ  was swamped by a wave of foodies and bloggers.     It is very spacious with a 140-seater floor with the ding in L-shaped with the right corner comprising the kitchen area.Contrary to the popular demand of  old white tables, theirs are in teal blue, which I find to be elegant yet with a bit of muskiness, together with the long padded chair in the same hue but darker.   I particularly fancied the walls which  I thought first was wall-papered with leaf patterns in clean beige, while realizing that it was simply a semi-finished wall painted with beige and drawn with leaves.    

We all began with ordering drinks.  My seatmates had Basil Lemonade (calamasi juice with basil) and Apple Mojito (a cocktail drink with rum, apple juice and mint leaves).   Careful on the cocktails if you are going to eat heavy, it was mixed a bit strong according to one of the bloggers.  Mine was a tall glass of power drink with a name that goes by "Granny and the Greenstalk."   Unfortunately, I wasn't able to finish mine,  I didn't realize how huge the size of the drink is.   It was thirst-quenching indeed, except it was very intense in the vegetable taste.   It is a mix of fresh juice from green apples, celery and cucumber.   The taste from the celery is overpowering, we know how strong raw food is, it is rich in anti-oxidants yet rich in the leafy-bitter (icky for kids) taste.  Maybe if the apples are heightened with the celery stalks lessened, the taste would be more appealing.   A better suggestion on the Healthy Drink list would be the "Juice Almighty" which is more fruity with carrots, pineapple and lychee.    But I would settle for a glass of their flavored water.  Bottled waters are filled with cucumber, lemon slices, and mint leaves.
First to be served is the Crispy Bacon Belly.  Bacon-cut pork belly strips are sinfully arrange so in a teasing manner.   It doesn't have to tell you to "eat me!"   Each bite is a resounding crunch that's followed with a salty      "chicharon-feel."  Let me tell you, it was great  to the last morsel, because it was fried to its ultimate crispiness, rendering the fat from the pork.   Don't forget to sprinkle some ground black pepper on it and maybe if you choose a drop or two of calamansi juice.   If you don't want to be adventurous, just go ahead and dip it in the vinegar provided on the table.
You can also partner your Crispy Bacon Belly with a serving of Ensaladang Mangga.   Not only to compensate from the oils you're subjecting your body to, but the sourness from the green mango elevates the flavor of the Belly slices.   The salad is comprised of green mango, tomato and leeks tossed in their home-made shrimp paste (bagoong).
Interestingly, I noticed the shape of the plates, their leaves, which is the same pattern on the walls.
Another one of my favorite, is the Pako Salad (Wild Fern Salad).   When I saw this being served on our table I instantly detected it and a flashback from our trip to Albay just came, and thus I suddenly had the urge to go back to Balay Cena Una where I had it last.

To tempt our appetite more is the Pork Sisig on a sizzling plate which is served with Tortilla wraps.   As what  Chef Josh Boutwood said that the new Bistro restaurant's concept is all about taking our favorite dishes then giving it the interesting tweak for the presentation but making sure that the authenticity of  its taste remains.  The sisig has taken a well-deserved twist with this.   Chef Josh is Bistro's corporate chef.   Yes, cholesterol on the loose and more... 
If you can not spot the crunchy pieces of pig's ears on the sisig plate, why not have them whole.   The Grilled Pig's Ears are marinated, then cooked till tender and grilled, with a baste that is made special.
Kuhol sa Gata (golden snails in coconut milk) is something revered long ago, or maybe till now but only in the rural.  I am really fascinated at this dish, I'm sure many would also agree.  Escargot to gourmands, the  snails are not sauted though, they are simmered in coconut milk giving it the Filipino taste.
The joint would not be named as without barbeques on the menu.   The notable street food, Pork BarBQ, should always fit in every Filipino menu, because every member of the society have their own liking of it.   Though a question about its origin always comes up when eating a skewed meat, what really matters is when you sink your teeth into those savory meat, which is both salty and sweet.
For the house special, one should not miss the Smokin' BarBQ Chicken, roasted well with some charring and browned to the diner's delight.  The inside was juicy and tender, with that right marinate giving the flavor of an authentic "sinugba" (Visayan cooking term for grill).
Of course, they never ran out of options, for non-meat takers how about grilled Tuna Belly.   Marinated with their house BarBQ sauce, and then grilled just perfect.  The toasted garlic bits, the chilis and the salad that goes with the fish makes the dish more glammed up and ready for the taking.
I just hope my relatives and family abroad don't get mad with me for posting this.   I'm sure this would make them miss the country and the food more, and leave them wanting to get back home.   For a lunch or dinner that needed to be hearty, stop by and get your self and your loved ones a serving of their Bulalo.   The beef brisket which is really tender is served fallen off the bone and with the bone marrow in it.   Love how the vegetables looked, still crunchy but cooked enough.  A serving can accommodate two eaters.
How about a different Sinigang? Simmered chicken drummets in sour soup base.   Different also in that, the leaves of the sampalok (tamarind) is used as the souring agent.   A hint of ginger can also be sensed.   The sourness of the dish is just fine to my penchant.   The Sinampalukang Manok simple dish actually to make at home, only if you have access to sampalok leaves.
What can be a meal without rice?  A non-Filipino lunch or dinner.
Having rice as our staple makes us so distinct, and you would be surprised of the varieties we have.   There's the red rice, the brown rice, Jasmine, and too many to mention and for me to memorize.   There would be times when we would get tired of the usual plain steamed rice, or a garlic rice that is fried.   In his brilliant state of mind, Chef Josh and the team have crafted seven kinds of rice dishes.   The one on the picture are Aligue Rice (the yellow one), Dulong Rice and the controversial Black  Rice.  Aligue, dulong and squid ink are some of the ingredients that we can say regional.   My personal fave is the exotic taste of the Black Rice.  A bit sticky and with that subtle squid's ink coloring and adding flavor to it.
Aside from salad, veggie dishes sauteed or mixed either with gata or shrimp paste has always been a part of every households table.   Like the Pinakbet, which has a an array of vegetables with bagoong giving the salty flavor. . It's just like our Lola's way of making sure we get the maximum nutrition in our plate.
When we all thought the dinner was over, and we are dead to the fill of our tummy, a bowl of Dinuguan had replaced the empty ones in front of me.  Disgustingly delicious.  This viand (may sometimes be eaten with puto, rice cake).   Sour, salty, bitter, all rounded into a stew of pork blood and trimmings.
Here is another revelation.   For those drastic times when you are in dire craving for sweet native delicacies and there is no lady selling them on bilao, you can head on here for that "sweet and sticky meryenda fix".   They have it too, Biko but made sossy and upscale.   A steamed sticky rice with coconut milk and caramelized brown sugar will never fail to comfort you.   Made even more special with a chocolate crumb, and white latik.
Sorbetes, a Filipino ice-cream was also taken to consideration but with the thought of turon (banana fritter in rice roll), thus with the incarnation of Turon 2.0  The dessert where bananas are mashed up and made into ice cream and added with banana compote is definitely a winner in taste, unarguably delicious cold treat.
Banana Ice cream, for real?  More so, to flare it up some more, the cone was handmade from sugar and grated pieces of rice paper.   Now made playful and put on a hallow bamboo with holes fitting the cones, five cones to be exact.
I guess that would be more than enough to convince you of how how Smokin' Hot rich our food is, as dished up by Smokin' Hot BarBQ.

Smokin' Hot BarBQ Global Filipino Cuisine
Address:  3rd floor, Greenbelt 3, Makati City
Contact number: 632 729 7431


  1. Filipino cuisine has a lot to boast for. Those dishes look attractive to the eyes and palates!:)

  2. Ang sarap lahat especially the kuhol sa gata. This reminds me to order blood for my dinuguan, I really miss Filipino food.

    1. That was what my relatives would say whenever I post something about our cuisine:)

  3. I like the idea of using leaves to have an authentic Pinoy style.. i haven't tried those kuhol yet but i think it should taste good.. :D thanks for sharing..

    1. It is good! A must try might I say:) You are welcome Mark.

  4. Wow, everything looks good and yummy. JNot only that, they are also placing filipino food to higher level with better presentation and dining place. Will definitely look and try this place =)

  5. Wow! I'm seeing three varieties of fried rice... I want try them... Nakakagutom tignan ang mga pictures LOL

  6. It's very Filipino and that sisig! they all look eye-candy! I love how the sorbetes being displayed! unique! :D

  7. Looks like authentic Filipino dishes. I love the plates, food and Sorbetes placed in the bamboo. So original!

  8. Sorbetes looks really delicious, in time for the summer.

  9. Great want to try the Kuhol, and the pig's ear looks so tasty.

  10. I love their Crispy Bacon Belly! Sinful like chicharon, I just can't get enough of it, it certainly left me wanting, wanting for more rice :D Smokin Hot Bar BQ at Greenbelt really serves good sinful filipino dishes, would love to try their Crispy Maskara soon!


I would love to hear your thoughts on my post, care for a comment?