Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Wednesday, February 08, 2017
Tokwa't Manok








What started as a Filipino dining tradition in Antipolo City 19 years ago is now an exciting dining destination at the SM Mall of Asia By The Bay. Originally called Grilla Bar and Grill when it first became popular among students and young professionals along the frenetic Sumulong Highway, the restaurant is now rebranded as Grilla Filipino Cuisine. The main difference lies in the plenitude of more Pinoy dishes being offered that are great for family bonding and not just tasty for pairing with a late night booze. Diners from different parts of the country can also appreciate the regional scope of its menu.

The strength of Grilla Filipino Cuisine is its approach to the local fare which is best consumed with loved ones. This has never been more evident in its best-selling Pista Sa Nayon, a fiesta-inspired platter of crispy pata (fried pork shank), sinampalukang inihaw na manok (grilled chicken), seafood gising-gising (a Kapampangan favorite), fried okoy (shrimp fritters), and a set of banana leaf-packed steamed rice. If that made you salivate, then you know what a delicious revelry is, Filipino-style!


I visited the relatively new branch of the restaurant in Pasay City for late lunch one afternoon and, almost instantly, I fell in love with the interiors. From its rattan-decked wall to its equally rustic chandelier, the dining area decor made sure I got a visual prelude of what the menu of the restaurant is about. Sourced from Pampanga, the materials used for the overall design can make any guest, local or foreign, feel like they're dining at a world-class resort.

Check out the following dishes that I tried at the restaurant which will definitely make you want to order the other options in the menu:

Crispy Chicharong Bacon
Crispy Chicharong Bacon
For appetizer, I tried this set of thinly sliced pork belly that proved to be totally crispy. It's one deep fried dynamite that can also work well with a glass of beer.

Tokwa't Manok
Tokwa't Manok
A healthy departure from the popular Tokwa't Baboy (pork), Grilla's Tokwa't Manok is almost the same but not quite. Instead of pork liempo, it has grilled chicken inasal and fried chunks of tofu. The accompanying sauce is spiked with just enough spice that enhances the contrasting flavors and textures of the chicken and the tofu.

Crispy Fish Trio
Crispy Fish Trio
It's one thing to have one type of fish in one's seafood order, but it's another thing to enjoy three. Case in point: this set of crisp fried strips of tilapia, hito and bangus (milkfish) piled on top each other in one large serving. Dip per strip into a bowl of vinegar for extra flavor.

Beef Kansi
Beef Kansi
Soup lovers will find this Grilla version of the Negrense dish worth trying. Whether it's raining outside or not, this bowl of beef and beef bone marrow in a silky sour soup with kamias as base will make you feel at home. A taste of its light-bodied broth will instantly remind you of sinigang or bulalo.

Grill-A-Palayok
Grill-A-Palayok
This Grilla original is what I recommend the most for its inventive way of mixing mussels, clams, maya-maya fillet, beef short plate and pork belly over hot stones in one traditional clay pot serving. The order entails the diner to be ritualistic from pouring the hot broth of ginger and lemongrass onto the pot of grilled treats and sampling its accompanying three condiments of sinamak (spiced vinegar), nilasing na mangga (mango) and soy-vinegar dip.

Halo-halo Spring Rolls
Grilla Dessert Sampler
Grilla Dessert Sampler
Halo-halo Spring Rolls and Grilla Dessert Sampler

For desserts, diners can also expect traditional Filipino flavors in the form of the restaurant's Halo-halo Spring Rolls and Grilla Dessert Sampler.

The spring rolls are served a la mode and evokes nostalgia beyond its tasty filling of red mongo beans, sweetened banana and kamote. The hot and cold contrast makes for a burst of flavors in the mouth.

Those who easily get overwhelmed by a single intimidating dessert or those who love to indulge in more than one sweet meal-ender will find the Grilla Dessert Sampler just right. The sampler includes leche flan, palitaw in thick coconut sauce and ice cream-topped suman with ripe mango slices. One can go crazy mixing it up with all three desserts!



Grilla Filipino Cuisine

Official Facebook fan page of Grilla Filipino Cuisine

Phone: (02) 426-1635
Branches:
• SM MOA By The Bay
• Sumulong Highway, Antipolo City








Crispy Fish Trio

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