Friday, February 17, 2017

Grilla Filipino Cuisine Is Now at SM MOA by the Bay

Wazzup Pilipinas!

I’m very adventurous when it comes to my dining preferences. Therefore, I am open to all kinds of dishes - may it be from the many popular restaurants at the malls or food parks with meals inspired from the different regions of the Philippines or from different countries, down to the neighborhood “carinderias” or “turo-turo” with the only exemption being the street foods that are exposed to pollution like dust and smoke.

But when I’m hungry, you won’t find me experimenting on a new kind of dish. I would always find myself eating Filipino comfort foods because I have proven so many times that they will satisfy my cravings for a satisfying meal.

But don’t get me wrong, I love Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and all kinds of foreign dishes, but there is something in Pinoy foods that makes it all fulfilling at every bite. This makes our very own Filipino food the best choice to fill me up at times when I need to grab a quick bite. Nothing come close to our very own.

The same experience was felt at our dining experience at Grilla Filipino Cuisine. It’s not my first time to dine at the said restaurant since I had the opportunity to dine already at a couple of their other branches. The newest branch, located at SM MOA by the Bay, is the third Grilla branch I have visited for a bloggers food tasting event, and once again, they never failed to impress me.

The event was meant to introduce their new dishes, or combination of dishes, as they were also offering combo meals that are great for sharing among the family, colleagues, “barkada” or with fellow bloggers that are foodies by nature.

You have to give special mention to the interiors of the restaurant as they are strikingly themed based on Filipino culture or heritage inspired - with intricate but modest decorations in the hues of Earth brown. The chandelier combo in the middle part of their ceiling is a conversational piece by itself...and take a closer look at their walls that's so exquisitely magnificent.

During the bloggers' event, they gave us Pinoy-inspired souvenir tokens like the mini ukelele that I got which I now have hanging on on of our walls as a decorative ornament.

We got to meet one of the owners, Richie Ticson, who is said to be a former basketball player and coach nicknamed The Velvet Touch for his outside shooting, but is now mostly a restaurateur because aside from Grilla, they also have other restaurant brands like The Old Spaghetti House for pasta dishes, Shrimp Shack for seafood delights and Potts Point Cafe for organic dishes together with its great coffee. I'm missing Swensen's ice cream and sundaes.

Who doesn’t love to eat great food especially when they are mostly your all-time favorites? What I love with Grilla is that they transitioned from being a “bar and grill” to a “Filipino cuisine” restaurant making them more family friendly.

Iced Tea (Pitcher - Php125, Single -Php50, Bottomless - Php70)
 A pitcher of refreshing Iced Tea does great to sooth the body from the hot weather, but now lately that we have a colder temperature, it still satisfies you as it is not the usual powdered-based iced tea.

Tokwa't Baboy
Grilla has made a healthier version of a famous dish we all love to pair with our "lugaw " or porridge, or with our favorite beer as a simple "pulutan" or appetizer taken with alcoholic drinks. The Tokwa't Manok is an alternative to the Tokwa't Baboy dish which uses pork. The taste? Most of us do love chicken, as it is a very common dish that's always available at many restaurants especially at fast food chains but it's rare that you see "unbreaded" ones paired with fried tofu.

Crispy Chicharong Bacon (Php185)
I haven't met anybody who doesn't adore bacon except my vegan friends. The Crispy Chicharong Bacon makes the super "starter" a real blockbuster now that's it's fried thinly and served with vinegar dip.

Crispy Fish Trio (Php450)
 The Crispy Fish Trio is composed of "tilapia", "Bangus", and "hito" that's served with vinegar dip. The "fishes" are already fried in bite-size portions that makes it again a perfect and healthier starter that's already filling by itself. You can conveniently pair it with our staple food rice together with our favorite drinks.

If I brought my wife with me, she will surely enjoy this as she loves everything fried to a crisp.

Lechong Liempo Ala Cebu (300 grams - Php430)
The Lechong Liempo Ala Cebu gives you a taste of the famous Cebu "lechon" or roasted pig that's distinctively Cebu - marinated in ginger, garlic and lemongrass. The serving size is reasonable since you shouldn't have too much of this fatty goodness. Served with sinamak or liver sauce, that's two sauces that are actually options to get a couple more alternative taste.

Beef Kansi (Php325)
 When in Bacolod, the Beef Kansi is the most ordered dish as the place is famous for this cross between a "sinigang" and "bulalo" which are two equally loved Filipino dishes as well. This Kamias sour soup is made with beef bone marrow that's also a "putok-batok" favorite.

Pista sa Nayon (Php995)
The festive meal they call "Pista sa Nayon" is now my new favorite family meal because of its great meal combination. Crispy Pata, Sinampalukang Inihaw na Manok, Seafood Gising Gising, Fried Okoy and steamed rice. That's four dishes with three rice servings so you would think it's good only for three but you may have to be heavy weights or sumo wrestlers with huge appetites since the actual meal combo is humongous enough for even 10 people if you just order extra servings of rice.

Sisig Sampler (Php320)
Get to taste three kinds of sisig with the Sisig Sampler that could be chicken, pork and tofu-sigarilyas. But wait, there's more - you could also opt for squid, tuna or bangus.

Though I prefer my sisig crispier since I believe that's supposed to be how sisig is cooked, the sampler already allows you to have three dishes in one plate, and the next visit will be a new set of three more kinds.

Grill-A-Palayok (Php750)
 The Grill-A-Palayok has always been an intriguing way to serve food (mussels, clams, maya-maya fillet, thinly sliced beef short plate and pork belly that's continuously cooked while served because of its hot stone inside the "palayok" or clay pot. It comes with a hot broth of ginger and lemongrass, plus three condiments: sinamak, nilasing na mangga and soy-vinegar dip.

Halo-Halo Spring Rolls (Php165)
The Halo-Halo Spring Rolls is not new for me since I have seen many restaurant serving this dessert that already has became a familiar sweet treat for me. Just like at other restos, the spring roll or what we all know as "turon" has red monggo beans, sweetend bananas, and kamote. It is served with ube ice cream and a sprinkle of toasted pinipig.

Grilla Dessert Sampler
The Grilla Dessert Sampler deserves a better name than just a "sampler" since it's three delectable treats make it a real winner. Suman-Manga topped with Macapuno and Vanilla Ice Cream is the top among the three with the Leche Plan coming in next. The Palitaw smothered in coconut sauce needs improvement as it was a bit hard. I know since my wife cooks them during special occasions too, and I loved them.
Now, that's you've previewed what to expect at Grilla, you should also read my previous posts about the restaurant so you would know the other dishes that are available at this family-friendly restaurant. The SM MOA by the Bay branch could become your next foodie destination as they also have a special area right by the bay, and is also a great place to view the well-celebrated and highly anticipated fireworks display at night. 

But who am I talking to? I know you're already out there at the restaurant ordering your first dish for the day. See you again on your next visit! 

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