Sunday, March 16, 2014

Grilla Bar and Grill: Witness The Amazing Transformation into a Family Restaurant

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Gone is the menacing gorilla that once adorned its exteriors, tarps and posters. When once it used to frighten children because of the seemingly threatening gorilla mascot, it's now kid-friendly and highlights instead a map on the cover of it's menu. The restaurant has transformed into a dining experience for everyone (barkada, friends, colleagues, classmates, etc.,) to enjoy especially the whole family of kapamilya, kapuso, kapatid and whatsoever. So the next time you want to satisfy your family's hunger, visit the Grilla Bar and Grill (Hey, wait!... I believe they are now calling the restaurant as Grilla Filipino Cuisine),  and be amazed with the incredible transformation.

The Grilla Filipino Cuisine restaurant has fresh new interiors pleasing to all ages. When I got invited to try out their new dishes plus their choices of homemade backyard liquors,  I immediately noticed how the restaurant located in Kalayaan, Makati has changed. From the very moment I saw the restaurant signage that now says only Grilla and below in smaller print are the words Filipino Cuisine.

I was actually looking for the iconic gorilla...but it was totally gone. I visited the Kalayaan branch before and the renovation was really noticeable. I was informed that the changes has happened throughout all the other branches including their very first branch in Antipolo. So expect to see a lot of more new things on your next visit as the transformations are still in their process.

Congratulations to Grilla's new image! I'm sure many will be curious to see for themselves the big changes you have done with both your restaurant and your menu.

When I asked the operations manager what will replace their gorilla mascot, she said there was none yet in mind. However, she did show me the menu and told me that a map of the Philippines can now be seen instead. This is because they are now trying to focus on informing the public that they are now your ideal destination for Filipino cuisine specialties.

You can see the map now graces the cover of the Grilla menu

Inside the new menu are both the all-time favorites and new specialty dishes of Grilla

Truly there are a lot of things to be proud of as Filipinos that we really have to promote it everywhere in the world especially here in the country. Though Grilla has been known to serve great Filipino dishes, it was commonly perceived as only a bar where you drink beer all night and be merry. But there's definitely a lot more than just merry-making while getting drunk at Grilla, it has a lot more to boasts than just a night spot for the barkada.

Their new dishes were inspired from different places in the Philippines like Pampanga, Cebu, Bacolod, Ilocos, Quezon Provnce, and Bataan to cite a few. What I will be sharing with you are just some of the new dishes we were able to try out in just one sitting. Chef Redd informed us that there was a lot more dishes created to please your appetite. Unfortunately, they could not really serve everything to us as that will perhaps take until tomorrow, and we're already full to the brim. Hahaha!!

Grilla Chicharong Cebu at Php 160 per order

The Chicharong Cebu crackles at every bite and is not too salty like other chicharon's I've tried before. It will fill you up already at a price that's just right as an appetizer. If I was not watching out for my diet, I would have consumed a great deal of these delicious back fats. Don't just take my word for it, you have to try it yourself and always make it a point to make this the number one choice for your starters.

Tofu and Sigarilyas Sisig at Php 145  per order

Try something different with their new Tofu and Sigarilyas Sisig. Tofu has been a favorite since my childhood days and Sigarilyas is not something I commonly see served in most restaurants so this dish was quite new for me. Though they should call it Spicy Tofu and Sigarilyas and Sisig for it will surely give you a run for some water....But for all spicy dish lovers out there, this will make your day...and remember that its just for starters. Wait until you read about their main dishes.

Pork BBQ & Salted Egg Triangles at Php 185 per order

Hep hep hooray for the Pork BBQ and Salted Egg Triangles. Can I say I got lost somewhere in the Bermuda Triangle because I really thought it was out of this world especially when you tried it with its dip sauce. I overheard the others from the next table already asking for rice because this dish was great enough to be your viand.

Inihaw na Manok na Sinampalukan at Php 225 per order

I knew we could do more with chicken and not just the traditional "prito" or fried, or mother's favorite "tinola" recipe where we put in "sayote" or green "papaya", Grilla has the Tagalog named Inihaw na Manok na Sinampalukan or roughly translated as grilled or roasted chicken with tamarind-based broth or soup inspired from a dish that originated in Pampanga.

There's no doubt about it that this was the favorite dish of many of us who shared the table. I love sipping the sour broth and munching the chicken and veggies alternately.

Lechon Liempo Ala Cebu at P850 per kilo

The Lecho Liempo Ala Cebu actual sample size dish can be seen at the top most. What you see here is just the smaller portion. They price it at a per kilo basis so you could probably order as per your desired amount. You'll have no regrets because they are definitely prime choice meals.

Beef Kansi at Php 345 per order
 The Beef Kansi was tender portions of beef with a very distinguished taste like that found in Bacolod. I was in Bacolod a few weeks ago and it was definitely authentic in taste compared to the ones served there.

You will surely find this interesting enough to dine on with rice as the taste was so strong by its lonesome that it deserves to be partnered with rice. I had my second spoon of rice because of this "kamias"-based dish. It was worth the additional pounds of fat.

Poqui Poqui at Php 145 per order

Quite oddly sounding Poqui Poqui would always bring out a grin or smile out of us, and I couldn't help but laugh when one of the ladies jokingly remarked that  ironically it was mainly made of eggplants. True enough, that female sex organ sounding (and mentioned twice) dish was laughable at first but you'll stop laughing once you have tasted it. It will now command respect as the dish is remarkable and satisfying.

Adobong Tilapia sa Gata and Sili at Php 225 per order

"Tilapia" was always part of our weekly list of food to buy every weekend at the local wet market or "palengke". With the "bangus" leading the list, the "tilapia" was ultimately a second choice of must buys. We would always stock up on selected sea foods so we won't ran out of healthier dishes to cook.

The Adobong Tilapia sa Gata at Sili at Grilla Filipino Cuisine should be proud of this dish especially the creamy sauce that came with it. Conveniently removed from its fish bone and sliced already plus topped with a few slices of vegetables like "okra" and eggplant, it was easy dining on a fabulous sea food dish which traces its roots from Morong, Bataan.

Ilocos Dinuydoy at Php 135 per order

The Ilocos Dinuydoy, which got its inspiration from the chef's visit in Vigan, had crispy pork strips on top with slices of bitter gourd or "ampalaya". Dinuydoy is a popular Ilocano squash with bitter melon dish.

Squash is also something rare to find as a meal. Usually I just encounter it as a soup, but this time it's a full dish mixed with other ingredients to result in a somewhat balanced meal.
The consistency of dinuydoy defend from one's preference from runny soup consistency to almost dry chunky paste like dish.The one served to us at Grilla was the latter consistency but really quite tasty especially when you combine portions of the pork, bitter gourd and squash in one bite.

Grill-A-Palayok at Php 695 per order
 From Quezon Province, Grilla brings you their Grill-A-Palayok. At first you'll think its a pot full of seafood, but wait until you take a peek inside and see that there are also meat aside from the shellfish, shrimps, and others, they are uniquely cooked on heated stones (which are also inside the pot). I didn't really had the luxury of time to ask how they cooked it but apparently the ingredients were steam-fried in the pot and the stones were made as the conductor of heat that helped cook this amazing viand.

You pour in the broth separately served in a tea pot and have three options to add taste. For me, the dish was good enough on its own.

Halo-Halo Spring Rolls at Php 135

The Halo-Halo Spring Rolls may not be original as I've already seen a lot of similar desserts being offered in other restaurants, but the taste can compete equally anytime. As you may have guessed, the ingredients of the more than familiar "turon" is mixed with the known ingredients of "halo-halo" like beans and "langka" and then topped with one scoop of ice cream plus sprinkled with "pinipig" bits.

Homemade or Backyard Liqueur at Php 60 per shot glass

We were also given the opportunity to try out their new Backyard Liqueur concoction. At the moment they have five choices namely the Dalandan, Calamansi Basil, Tarragon, Rosemary and the Brown Cinnamon.

All the five Backyard Liqueurs in shot glasses

 I dare you to try all flavors at Php 60 per shot glass - straight or on the rocks. The master who made the concoctions was sir Mike and he recommends the Tarragon mix. I preferred the clearer fruit-based mixture of Dalandan. Each one was so cool to the throat and will not give you a nauseous feeling afterwards. I wanted to drink more but was just worried I might get drunk and may not be able to get back home.

The night will not be complete without "quiz night" where our large group were divided into teams with the goal to get the highest score out from answering easy and difficult trivia questions. Unfortunately, out team was not fast enough with our smartphones and Internet connection in Googling for the correct answer. Hahaha!

Yes! everyone was cheating... but that was quite alright as the game was meant for fun and not to be taken seriously. It was actually a time when we wished we had an LTE connection for faster searching of the answer online.

Chef Redd was quite proud of his masterpieces dishes that were inspired from his many visits of different places in the country

Sir Mike showing us the backyard liqueurs he concocted

The husband and wife team owners of Grilla
Foodies flock to where the foods are all neatly served. Everyone is all eager to capture the sumptuous food with their own cameras or smartphones and also listening attentively to what the Operations Managewr was explaining about the preparations of the food, in this particular case - the Grill-A-Palayok with smoke fumes coming out from the pots
Kaye - Our sexy hostess for the night in an all-black body-fit outfit

Grilla aims revitalize its image to become a family dining destination. Of course, they would like to target a wider market to give the restaurant added sales. There are numerous restaurants that specializes in Filipino Cuisines already but probably the best advantage of Grilla is that they already have made a name for themselves.

They already have many things to be proud of because they have been in the restaurant business for years already. With many specialties already available and now added with a new list of dishes, that's additional reasons to make it easier for them to attract new customers.

It is a great decision to open up their restaurant to a family atmosphere. I hope everyone checks them out soon and be among the first to try their new offerings.

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