MANILA, PHILIPPINES - Tucked in one corner of the newly-opened SM Jazz Residences along Jupiter Street corner Nicanor Garcia and a little away from the line of noteworthy restaurants which make-up the new attraction, all of which clamour for attention and warrant a visit visit is this semi-elliptical, 2-storey of a restaurant adorned by glass walls and a bright, red double door that welcomes everyone who enters.
The red door is the most striking detail that you can observe in the restaurant, all else is as basic and unassuming as it can get. There is no maitre d' waiting outside to seat out the arriving guests; what awaits is a big menu clearly stating the dishes that can be expected from the establishment with their corresponding prices. It would all be up to the guests now to either go inside to try their dishes or move on somewhere else. If a combination of Hainanese chicken rice, steaks and wings is not weird at all for you or if you happen to like any of these things, I bet on my peso that you will go inside without hesitation partnered with a little bit of excitement; because really, how can these three main dishes go hand in hand? It just does not add up.
Going through the red door would let you stand face to face to this counter with a wooden base and a black granite countertop. At first you will find yourself standing in the middle longer than expected as you await for someone to usher you in to your seats and hand you down the menu to choose your order from because let us face it, that is the norm right? I tell you now that it will not happen. You must approach immediately the girl at the counter as orders are to be placed right then and there, just like in a fast food restaurant. So while we scramble to read off from the menu written on its backdrop glass wall and pick up a few items that look like something we might like, the girl in the counter also throws in some suggestions and recommendations to better help us decide on what to get and settle in for. Good thing it was a slow Sunday noon and no group was in line behind us which gave us more time to put more thought on our orders.
Living up to its no-frills description, the establishment was decorated simply with wood, metal, leather and neutral-colored walls and brick walls; very warm and inviting I could literally prop my feet up on the couches and sit Indian-style, talking and talking with whomever I am with until the wee hours of the morning; only if I could stay in longer than 11 PM but of course.
The two-floors of chairs and tables could easily sit up 60 hungry people during the busy hours of the day. You can call in to reserve if you do not want to take your chances though.
The Butter Garlic Shrimp (Php 250+) is exceptional. When I asked the lady in the counter what else can she recommend, she told me pronto to get this. Now I know why. Other than the combined rich flavors of the herbs, spices and garlic that was used to form the base of this dish are the succulently cooked shrimps that will slowly turn you to a greedy monster as you take in more bites. You would just want to corner it for yourself and just order a different batch for your co-eaters.
The Asian Soy Glazed Wings (Php 200+) is another story. Chicken wings cooked to a crispy goodness and poured in with their special sauce on top? Now that is something that kids and adults alike will ultimately enjoy. Though I love the crispiness of the wings, the sauce needs to tone down its saltiness a little.
Since my grandmother is feeling a little under the weather earlier today and she does not want to aggravate her stomach problems anymore, she opted to try the Hainanese Chicken Rice (Php 245+) instead. According to her, it pretty much resembles the Chicken rice in Singapore. She was actually raving about it the entire time and she even kept on pestering us into tasting the rice and the chicken until we succumbed. And yes, I must say she was absolutely right!
We only ordered half a rack of of BBQ Baby Back Ribs (Php 400+ for a half rack / 700+ for a whole rack) since we know we still have a lot of dishes to finish. The meat may not be the fall of the bone kind but it is still tender in its own right. I just have some issues with the taste of the meat since it did taste bland to me and it was already kind of cold when it came to our table. Good thing, the smokey barbecue sauce that came along with it was superb that it masked perfectly the dull taste of the meat.
The Fish and Chips was humongous. It contains four irregular shaped cuts of Cream Dory that could easily satisfy a family of four! It perfectly goes well with the sweet and tangy taste of the honey mustard sauce.
Ahh, the Guava Basil sorbet (Php 120+) is something else. Refreshing on the palate, this little sunshine goodness proves to be the perfect way to end a full-flavored meal. It is very apt in restoring balance and cleansing off the meaty taste that lingered in our mouth after devouring the dishes we ordered. Pure and freshly-made, I hope that they would package it in a sorbet tub soon for individuals like me who would want to take this out and consume this in the comforts of their own homes.
Offering comfort foods that are delicious, good for sharing and at the same time affordable, I can foresee that Hai Chix & Steaks would definitely stay on top of our list for so long, until such time that we are already done with it. Maybe next time I will have an order of the strongly raved about Porterhouse or Ribeye Steak to taste what the commotion is all about!
Hai Chix & Steaks
(add) SM Jazz Mall Residences Jupiter Street corner N. Garcia, Makati City | (tel no.) 09178115626 / 09179713596 for reservations | (website) https://www.facebook.com/haichixandsteaks/ |