Monday, October 21, 2013

Going Gaga Over Garlic

Mad for Garlic Philippines restaurant at W Global Center, Bonifacio High Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City
Two things intrigue one about Mad for Garlic — an Italian bistro that originated from South Korea, and the joyous and generous use of garlic, a most beloved spice.
“Mad for Garlic is a wine and garlic restaurant that showcases garlic-themed dishes using different varieties of garlic and cuts. We are unique for offering Italian cuisine with a twist of Asian flavors,” described Archie Rodriguez, president and chief executive officer of Global Restaurant Concepts, which brought the Korean bistro to the Philippines and which is responsible for getting Philippine franchises of  California Pizza Kitchen, PF Chang’s, Morelli’s Gelato, IHOP and Gyu-Kaku.
“We discovered this in Singapore and Korea,” he related. “I tried it first in Singapore, and I went to Korea to try it again…I was really impressed by the food. The food is different from what you’ll find anywhere else…The food is so flavorful.”
They decided to buy a franchise, but managed to work out a joint venture instead.
Rodriguez further introduced the restaurant: “Our Korean partner, Caroline Nam, simply loved Italian food. She realized that people in Korea really loved garlic as well, which is a main ingredient in Italian cuisine. So with that in mind, she and her team created this wonderful concept of Mad for Garlic about 13 years ago. There are now 22 locations across Korea, Jakarta and Singapore, and this is their first venture into the Philippines. One will find that Italian dishes served here at Mad for Garlic not only stand out because of garlic, but because they are uniquely flavored.”
The restaurant is very popular in Korea, he related, and there are branches near each other but there still be queues. With the Koreans coming and living in the Philippines, Rodriguez thought they will be a “natural market” for them. But he also thought the Filipinos will find the food interesting because we like garlic and we like things sweet and spicy but not too spicy.
Korea and Italy are two countries with famous and distinctive cuisines. Italian is one of the most beloved cuisines in the world, and it is one of the most frequented deconstructed, reinvented and customized according to tastes. On the other hand, Korean is unique, even among Asian cuisines — spicy, fresh, tantalizing. Kimchi is the iconic side dish. While Mad for Garlic does not attempt at fusing these two, the cooking of Italian dishes with Korean sensibilities created a new family of flavors — not totally Italian and not quite Korean or Asian.




 

 

The all Filipino staff was trained in Korea to serve dishes that is close to the original as possible.
Start with Dracula Killer (P195), a wonderful appetizer of soft garlic bread served with garlic cooked in olive oil and anchovies. The large pieces of garlic are baked to perfection, flavored by the briny anchovies, heaven for garlic lovers like me. Scoop the remaining olive with the bread.
A healthier appetizer option (although garlic itself is said to be medicinal and have health benefits) is the anchovy garlic cream fondue (P365), creamy anchovy garlic fondue served with broccoli, cauliflower, tomato, oven-baked whole garlic and croutons.
Many of the ingredients are imported, but when available they are sourced locally event the most important ingredients of all.
“There are about a thousand varieties of garlic and several of them are cultivated uniquely in Korea. The country, in fact, is considered one of the world’s premium producers of quality garlic,” Rodriguez told us. “Here at Mad for Garlic, we use our local garlic varieties. Some we bought from China.” 
The Zuppa di Pesce (P655) reminded me more of Korean dishes, especially the hot and spicy soups. The Zuppa is a delightfully spicy soup with various kinds of seafood, served with garlic bread sticks. The bowl was brimming with the bounty of the sea — mussels in their shells, rings of squid, shrimps, morsels of fish, etc. The broth is delectably thick with tomato sauce, nicely punctuated by spice. But for Rodriguez, the Zuppa di Pesce, which is one of his favorites, reminded him of the Spanish sopa de mariscos, but it has lot more flavor to it and it is spicier.
Dracula Killer, soft garlic bread served with garlic cooked in olive oil and anchovies
Zuppa di Pesce, a spicy seafood soup
Tutto mushroom salad with three kinds of mushroom in teriyaki sauce with grilled red pepper, asparagus and arugula


Dancing Salsa Rice with steak

For a less spicy soup, try the Soute di Cozze (P435), fresh mussels with homemade tomato sauce, or the White Mussel (P265), mussel in garlic cream and béchamel sauces.
As counterbalance, the Tutto Mushroom Salad (P665) was subtle and earthy with its three kinds of mushroom in teriyaki sauce with grilled red pepper, asparagus and arugula. Other salads in the menu include the fresh spinach salad (P295), spinach, fried garlic and bacon slices with balsamic dressing; the traditional Caesar’s salad (P275); Caprese salad (P695), fresh tomato and buffalo mozzarella cheese with basil dressing; and insalata di mare (P595), vegetables with seafood.
Their pizza varieties are very interesting — mixed cheese pizza (P425) with four kinds of cheese; margherita pizza (P475) with tomato sauce, cherry tomatoes and mozzarella; old ham and sausage pizza (P495), a creamy pizza with sausage, ham, bacon and black pepper in a special sauce; spicy meat dipping pizza (P625) topped with greens in béchamel sauce and served with spicy meat sauce; garlic and sweet potato pizza (P495) topped with arugula and mozzarella and Grana Padano cheeses and drizzled with honey mustard sauce; picante salchichon pizza (P695); and calzone pizza (P595) with garlic cream sauce. 
The gorgonzola pizza (P475), which has gorgonzola cheese served with honey, proved to be surprising interplay of flavors. I’ve never tasted pizza this sweet, except for dessert pizzas, and it worked. Take a slice and dipped it in honey! But the Garlic Snowing Pizza (P545) remained to be the star among the pizzas. It has Mad for Garlic special sauce topped with shrimp, pineapple, and fried sliced garlic.
“Garlic Snowing Pizza is number one,” said Rodriguez about the bestsellers, “and has become a huge favorite in all our locations. It’s a mildly sweet garlic thin crust Mad for Garlic pizza topped with shrimp and diced pineapples. Gorgonzola Pizza, topped with Italian Gorgonzola cheese and served with honey dipping sauce, is the second most popular dish we have.” 
He added: “For pasta, it’s the Garlicpeno Pasta (P245). It’s a Mad for Garlic special pasta served full of garlic and Mexican peppers. The Creamy Taraco Pasta (P445) is also a bestseller, made of fusion style cream sauce pasta with pollack roe.”
But he thinks the crab and lobster pasta (P475) is well suited to the Filipino palate. It is a very likable pasta with garlic cream sauce, crab and lobster meat, a safe choice if finicky about spice. But Mad for Garlic offers plenty of pasta choices, both traditional and inventive — Arrabiata (P295) with three kinds of chillies, bacon slices and homemade tomato sauce; shrimp and garlic sprout (P425); triple garlic (P595) with mussel, shrimp, cuttlefish and garlic sprout; creamy chicken popcorn (P395) with soy sauce cream and chicken; Shanghai Bomb (P495) with fried noodles and seafood sautéed in chilli oil; zuppa di mare (P495) with various kinds of seafood; pescatore (P695) with seafood and homemade tomato sauce; Red Devil (P595), which is real spicy; and gorgonzola cream (P750) with scallops and mashed potato.
Being Asian, there is a separate section for rice, which includes risotto. Predicted to be a hit is the Dancing Salsa Rice with Steak (P295), more Korean inspired. This garlic rice dish with wine marinated beef, topped with fresh bean sprouts and fried egg, along with diced tomatoes and jalapeño, is served on a hot plate, which is mixed teppanyaki-style by diners.

 Crab and lobster pasta

Garlic Snowing Pizza with Mad for Garlic special sauce topped with shrimp, pineapple, and fried sliced garlic


Gorgonzola Pizza
Garlic Sprinkle Gelato
Just as tasty are the other offerings including Garlicky Rice (P345), fried rice with octopus and squid; Galicholic Rice (P325), fried rice with shrimp and vegetables; garlic sizzling rice (P425) with bacon and flying fish roe; grilled chicken and mushroom risotto (P395) with spinach and three different mushrooms; seafood cream risotto (P775); seafood rice (P695); and jalapeño garlic rice with steak (P995).
For meat lovers, Mad for Garlic has a few steak dishes. “The steaks are sweet and spicy also, just like bulgogi,” Rodriguez described.
To go with the food, the restaurant offers fruit shakes, beers, coffee, soda and tea. Unique are their “signature ades” such as Lemon_Ade and Orange_Ade, but try the original Wine_Ade (P170), a mix of red wine and soda, and Yuja_Ade (P110), made from traditional Korean herb tea of yuja fruit preserved in honey. Being a bistro, it has an extensive selection of wines, which embellish their walls.
“In general, we would recommend dry, sweet wine for our spicy and garlicky menu. Our white wine selections would also go very well with the cheese platter,” Rodriguez suggested.
Desserts are not big in Mad for Garlic, and one unique concoction proved to be challenging to the taste — the Garlic Sprinkle Gelato (P175), a garlic ice cream served with garlic cookie. This one left a weird garlicky taste in the mouth.
While garlic is universally enjoyed, many are not fond of its smell.
“We’ve found that many of our guests don’t think our dishes smell strongly of garlic, perhaps since we use different cuts and varieties,” said Rodriquez. “Mad for Garlic is actually a great place to take your date, as so many of our guests do in Korea.”       
“It has a great ambiance to enjoy a meal with a special friend, or maybe talk business or even to celebrate a special occasion with family and friends,” he added.
While they enjoy experimenting and coming up with original dishes for their other franchises, especially for California Pizza Kitchen, Rodriguez said they would not yet do so for Mad for Garlic.
“We would like to focus on the original Mad for Garlic menu for now.  We’re excited to be offering a menu that is already being enjoyed across Asia, and we’re confident it will be accepted and enjoyed here, too.”
He mentioned that his team spent four months in Korea for training. He wanted the Philippine restaurant to be as close to the Korean originals as possible down to the look. He also said they are now planning to add to the first branch at W Global Center at the Bonifacio High Street in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City. “We hope to open two to three more stores this year, possibly in prime locations in Makati and the Ortigas area. Some of our options are Greenbelt, Shangri-La Plaza mall or Power Plant Mall.”

Mad for Garlic is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. from Monday to Thursday and Sunday, and 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. from Friday to Saturday.


Monday, October 14, 2013

The Great Northern Food Experience


MarQuee Mall in Angeles City will host a major food market event

Northern Luzon has one of the richest food landscapes in the Philippines. The Ilocano region has given the country the iconic dishes pinakbet and bagnet, as well as the popular condiment bagoong, but there is much more to be explored by those not familiar with Ilocano dishes. At the eastern flank, Cagayan Valley’s food items deserve more appreciation such as the pansit Cabagan, sinanta and the mochi-like pawa of Piat. The Cordillera is home to several indigenous groups and has ethnic cuisines. The Tagalog province of Bulacan is rich in history and culture including the culinary one. Metro Manila, the melting pot, is where you can find sophisticated dining and many food innovations. And then Pampanga, which likes to be called the Food Capital of the Philippines, has a proud, rich and interesting culinary history, traditions and cuisine.
Thus, it is but apt that a northern Luzon food event is held here, particularly at the MarQuee Mall in Angeles City, Pampanga’s most urbanized area. Opened in 2009, the mall has become a favorable destination for shopping, dining and entertainment. With Big Bite! The Northern Food Festival, the mall ups the ante and offers both locals and visitors a one-stop showcase of the best of the northern Luzon gastronomic experiences.
The food market, which will happen for three days from October 18 to 20, 2013, at the MarQuee Park, will include over 100 vendors representing Pampanga, Metro Manila, Baguio City, Bataan, Bulacan, Cagayan, Ilocos, La Union, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Pangasinan and Zambales. Aside from the sale of foods, there will be also cooking demos, a cooking competition among culinary schools, the best heirloom recipe contest, food eating contests, and food sampling.
The food stalls will be offering fresh produce, cooked food, baked goods, desserts and much more. Things to look forward to are the native and traditional delicacies, especially the unusual kinds. Pampangan cuisine is expected to be the star of the event, and there are several Pampangan food stores and companies participating, including Nathaniel’s, which is known for its buko pandan; Kabigting’s, whose halo-halo, which uses carabao milk and carabao milk pastillas, and pansit palabok are well loved; Pampanga’s Best, popular for its tocino; the restaurant Apag Marangle, which will serve exotic dishes such as mole crickets (camaru) and stuffed frogs (betute); and Susie’s Cuisine, which is known to offer the best kakanins (rice-based sweets), particularly the tibok-tibok, a coconut cream and carabao milk pudding topped with fried coconut bits. In fact these stores have outlets in the MarQuee Mall. 



Kabigting’s halo-halo
Kabigting’s pansit palabok
 



Nathaniel’s famous buko pandan
 

Tibok-tibok, a coconut cream and carabao milk pudding topped with fried coconut bits, is popular among Susie’s Cuisine’s kakanins
Expect also the sisig, a favorite pulutan. The dish of mixed and chopped pork parts, usually the face and ears, served on a sizzling plate actually originates in Pampanga, along the train tracks in Angeles City, invented by the late Lucia Cunanan, who now has several branches of Aling Lucing’s restaurant. Another dish to expect is the kare-kare, a stew of vegetables, pork, beef or seafood in a thick peanut sauce, eaten with rice and bagoong alamang, salty shrimp paste. Pampanga lays claim to this perennial Pinoy favorite.
Big Bite affords visitors to meet celebrity cooks and chefs as some of them are invited to do cooking demonstrations. Owner of Bistro Filipino and the catering business, the Chef Laudico Group, and judge for Junior MasterChef Pinoy edition, Rolando Laudico will share his expertise. Former beauty queen and now cooking show host Sabrina Artadi of Sabrina’s Kitchen will also be gracing the event. Pampanga, of course, has a host of excellent cooks and chefs, and the most prominent two will be at Big Bite. Chef Sau del Rosario of Le Bistro Vert will be there, as well as Lillian Borromeo. Atching Lillian, as she is fondly called, welcomes visitors to her ancestral home in Mexico, Pampanga, to experience authentic and traditional Pampangan cuisine, and hear her talk about the province’s culinary heritage. Most likely she will demonstrating how to make the San Nicolas cookies, and Atching Lillian makes them in heirloom moulds.
Many people have recipes handed down to them by their forebears. You can be like Atching Lillian and share them via an heirloom recipe contest with a P20,000 prize at stake. The contest is open to legal residents of the Cordillera Administrative Region, Ilocos Region, the Cagayan Valley and Central Luzon. Entries will be accepted on Oct. 18, 7 to 10 a.m. at the MarQuee Park. 

Chef Rolando Laudico
Lillian Borromeo is a keeper of Pampangan culinary traditions and history

Celebrity chef and Pampanga native Sau del Rosario will do a cooking demo

Sabrina Artadi
Along with the culinary giants, student and emerging chefs will also demonstrate their kitchen skills via the Big Bite! Culinary Cook Off. Participating in this cooking contest are the culinary schools of Philippine Women’s University, System’s Plus College, Angeles University Foundation, NorthPoint Culinary Academy and Bulacan State University. The contest will be held every day of the festival from 3 to 5 p.m. On the other hand, those who can’t cook can eat; there will be eating contests. 
MarQuee Mall’s shoppers and patrons may also avail of the Big Banquet promo.  Every P500 receipt from a MarQuee Mall shop entitles the shopper to free food samples from selected vendors every day of the festival from 6 to 8 p.m. Big Bite! also features nightly music from live bands, making the festival a multi-sensory event which everyone can enjoy.

Big Bite! The Northern Food Festival is staged in partnership with the Department of Tourism, Department of Trade and Industry, Manila North Tollways Corp., Asian Food Channel, Cignal Digital TV, and Mercato Centrale Group. For further details and inquiries, call +63917-7527071 or email bigbiteMarQuee@gmail.com.  Like and follow MarQuee Mall’s social networking sites: Facebook.com/MarQueeMall, @MarQueetweets, and @iloveMarQueemall (Instagram).

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Saturday, October 05, 2013

A Gathering of Galleries: Manilart 2013 Reaches Outside Metro Manila

From left: ManilArt Foundation board director and ManilArt 2013 Media Relations Committee head Delan Robillos; SMX Convention Center director of sales Charry Casabar; Ciara Eadie of Archivo 1984; ManilArt Foundation board member and ManilArt 2013 Finance Committee head Robert Bjorn Santos; Skyjet Airlines president and CEO Dr. Joel Mendoz; dean of SoFA Design Institute Tobias Guggenheimer; National Commission for Culture and the Arts’ National Committee on Art Galleries head Amy Loste; SMX Convention Center assistant vice president of sales and marketing Marivic Marquez; Lifestyle Asia associate publisher Cheryl Tiu; Lifestyle Asia editor-in-chief Anna Sobrepeña; Diageo Reserve marketing executive Mara Chen; ManilArt Foundation board member and ManilArt 2013 art fair director Romana Go; and ManilArt Exhibitor Relations Committee head Rio Ambrosio
From October 9 to 13, 2013, prominent and emerging art galleries around Metro Manila will converge in the fifth mounting ManilArt at the newly inaugurated SM Aura Premier Convention Center in Taguig City.
Included is the Galleria Duemila, a custom-built gallery in Pasay City said to be longest running commercial gallery in the Philippines, having been established in 1975 by Italian-born Silvana Ancellotti-Diaz. Galleria Duemila, which specializes in contemporary paintings, sculptures, works on paper and installations, as well as rare secondary-market stock by modern Filipino masters, will feature its roster of artists including Raul Lebajo, Julie Lluch, Duddley Diaz, Nelfa Querubin, Lindslee, Margherita de Balzo, Onib Olmedo, Romina Diaz and Roberto Robles.

An exhibitor's booth during the ManilArt 2010 art fair
Street art demo brought indoors during the ManilArt 2010 art fair
On the other hand, Big and Small Art Company will banner its resident young artist Aleah Angeles, after presenting Ronald Ventura last year. According to gallery owner Dr. Joel Mendez, the figurative artist, whose painting Lazy Daisy was auctioned by Christie’s Hong Kong in 2012 for $7,759, almost twice its estimated original value of $4,138, will showcase her trademark lyrical and romantic large-scale paintings of young, innocent girls in a solo exhibit called “Seed.” Aside from using oil on canvases, Angeles ventured into a whole artwork featuring miniature paintings from top to bottom.
In an effort to showcase art outside the National Capital Region, this year’s ManilArt will show exhibitors from the regions. In addition to pioneer member/exhibitor Tam-Awan Village of Baguio City, the Amarela Gallery of Bohol; Charlie’s Gallery of Bacolod City, Negros Occidental; Yaru Nu Artes Ivatan of Basco, Batanes; and a huge contingent of Visayas-Mindanao artists presented by Qube Gallery of Cebu City will also join the art fair.
The rest of exhibitors include L’arc en ciel, Galerie Francesca, Galerie Nicolas, Archivo 1984, Vmeme Contemporary Art Gallery, Finale Art File, Quattrocento, Leon Gallery, Qube Gallery, Galerie Anna, Artes Orientes, Galerie Joaquin, Galerie Stephanie, Manila Contemporary, Blue and Gray Gallery, Paseo Gallery, Artery Manila, Arte Pintura Gallery, Renaissance, Galeria Delas Islas, Gallery Nine, Transwing Art Gallery and Gallery Big.
ManilArt is organized by the Bonafide Art Galleries Organization with governmental support through the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and support form the private sector including Lifestyle Asia magazine and the One Mega Group.
According to Imelda Loste, head of the NCCA’s National Committee on Art Galleries, ManilArt over the years has showcased over 2,500 works of Philippine artists. Attendance is also increasing. Last year, the four-day event at the SMX Convention Center of SM Mall of Asia registered about 11,000 visitors, mostly art patrons, collectors, enthusiasts and students.
Loste said that the ManilArt is timed during autumn in many parts of the world and when many big art expos are happening. They aim to make ManilArt a big art event of the country comparable to those abroad.
This year, the slogans for ManilArt are “Celebrating Variety” and “Art According to All” to emphasize “the continued government support, participation from other regions, and the private sector rallying behind the art fair.”
ManilArt will open with an invitational gala night on October 9, expecting to draw foreign and local dignitaries, art collectors and enthusiasts, government officials and heads of the industry, prominent artists and museum professionals. The regular run of the art fair will be from October 10 to 13, from 11 A.M. to 9 P.M.
Among the activities of the art fair is the Walking Tour for students and enthusiasts, to be held everyday (1 to 2 P.M., 2:30 to 3:30 P.M., and 4 to 5 P.M.). There will be a separate walking tour for bloggers, with lectures and workshops.
An art fair catalogue, sponsored by Lifestyle Asia magazine and the One Mega Group, will be available at the fair as well as new ManilArt merchandise featuring images of artworks. Parents who will be bringing children aged seven to 12 will get the chance to receive storybooks illustrated by noted visual artists.

For inquiries, call 910-8016 or 0917-3272529, or e-mail info.manilart@gmail.com.

 Aleah Angeles’s Rare Fairy Seed 3 (60 by 72 inches, oil on canvas) will be showcased in ManilArt 2013 





Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Still Smokin’ After Ten Years


The Off the Grill branch along Brick Road of the Santa Lucia East Grand Mall in Cainta, Rizal

On rainy nights, frogs come out and make noise, but they can hardly be found now in highly urbanized Quezon City, only in the logo and bright sign of a prominent bar and restaurant along Timog Avenue. The owner said they saw many frogs when they were building the now popular night spot and decided to put them in the logo, one holding a bottle of beer, another a microphone and the other a fried chicken, showing what Off the Grill offers—drinks, live entertainment and food.
“Well, (we chose) frogs because of their unique sound, (which) can definitely attract people. Frogs bring in good luck,” added one of the owners and operation manger Jeremy Sy, who insists of being called Boojie.
Located at the corner of Timog Avenue and Scout Torillo Street, Off the Grill is a large bar and restaurant that assumes the look of a warehouse, a vestige of the 1990s when the warehouse type and industrial look had become popular among bars. It is cavernous inside, the steel frame embellished with faux vines, and plastic chairs and tables spread on the 800 square meters of dining area fronting a large stage. There is a fake waterfall at one end and a well-stocked bar at another. A room closed off from the bar is a family restaurant. Open six to nine in the evening, it is well-lit and has a better ambiance, but it has large glass windows so one can see the live acts. The whole place can accommodate about 700 people. There is an additional 200 square meters for the kitchen and 400 square meters for the parking lot with 30 parking slots.
Sy said the area had many “bentahan ng gulong” (stores selling tires) and Off the Grill (OTG) was one of the pioneers there. Now, Timog Avenue and Tomas Morato Street are studded with restaurants and bars, a popular dining and night strip.
“Looking back, we never thought this will hit the market,” Sy recalled. “We were just a group of friends who wanted to have a place where everything is cool—music, ambiance, food. I guess it’s that kind of ‘experience’ that has brought us to where we are now, and which the people or the public come back for—the Off the Grill experience.”
Off the Grill opened in 2003, sporting the characteristics the owners wanted in a bar—a homey, garden set-up serving good food and having live bands. Over the years, it has become popular, especially among the professional types with the median age of 35 years old.
“Those who can spend,” Sy said. “We cater to the buying crowd.”
The beer is at P65, the most expensive in the area. But the advantage is the safety, Sy added. The bar-restaurant doesn’t attract the rowdy crowds, making it almost safe to bring the kids, and some do. One can hardly find a bouncer.
A popular attraction of the bar-restaurant is the live acts. Every night, Off the Grill features different bands and performers. Sy boasted that the bar-restaurant pioneered in having live bands and acoustic performances. In fact, some of the popular and award-winning performers started in Off the Grill. 
“We are proud to say that some of our country’s top performers in the music industry started their stints here in Off the Grill,” shared Sy, “the likes of Side A, Freestyle, Paolo Santos, UrbanNation, Richard Poon. And they are still very much part of Off the Grill.”
Through the years, guest  performances from MYMP, K24-7, True Faith, Mocha Girls, South Border, Brownman Revival, Princess Velasco, First Five, Duncan, Jimmy Bondoc and Saia continues to add glitter to its nightlife experience. Chopstiks, 7th Soul, Joint with Pau Chavez, Flow, Retrospect, Fat Session, Part 3, Milan, Deep Projek, Fair Ground, Big Night Out, Malik, Gentry, Pedo, Bloomfield, Luke Mijares, Alamid, Moymoy, Retro All-Star, Twisted Pair and Overdose have also graced the Off the Grill stage.

Brownman Revival
First Five

Freestyle
K24-7
  
MYMP
Princess Velasco
Paolo Santos, Jimmy Bondoc and Duncan
  
South Border
Saia with Duncan
 
True Faith
 Another aspect Off the Grill is proud of is the food. The menu is actually comprehensive for a bar with ample choices for appetizers, soups, salads, entrees, desserts, drinks and others. Popular chows are included as well as Filipino regional dishes, many of which are not offered in other bars. Additionally, they have their signature dishes labelled “OTG,” which Sy said are selling well along with their bestsellers such as the grilled tuna belly, the grilled squid, buffalo wings, sisig and crispy pata.
Among the appetizers the buffalo wings (P195) is the bestseller but they also recommend the cheese sticks (P95) and the French fries (P115). Aside from that, choices include buttered corn (P140), calamares (P195), chicharong bulaklak (P220), chicken wings (P160), crispy crablets (P150), crispy molo (P150), crispy tenga (P160), dinakdakan (P195), fish finger (P210), dried pusit (P175), garlic mushroom (P140), kilawin tuna (P220), kilawin tanigue (P220), lumpiang shanghai (P140), mashed potato (P65), nilasing na hipon (P230), onion rings (P150), peanuts (P80), potato wedges (P110), spicy tofu (P150), sugba’t kilaw (P275), tokwa’t baboy (P170), and vegetable sticks (P120).
This can be the entire menu for another bar but just a section in Off the Grill’s. In the soups, the bestselling is the classic bulalo (P320), but they also have clam chowder (P120), cream of asparagus (P120), cream of mushroom (P75), cream of wild mushroom (P120), nido (P75 per cup or P290 per bowl), nilagang baka (P195), papaitan baka (P135), seafood (P235), sinigang na baboy (P195), sinigang na hipon (P215), sinigang na salmon belly sa miso (P245), sinigang na tiyan ng bangus (P245), and sotanghon (P65 per cup or P200 per bowl).
Their vegetable dishes include ampalaya con carne (P165), Bicol Express (P155), broccoli with garlic (P170), broccoli with oyster sauce (P175), chopsuey (P180), kangkong lechon (P140) which is the bestseller, sizzling or adobong kangkong (P140), kilawing puso ng saging (P155), laing (P) and the Japanese stir-fried vegetables called yasai itami (P140) which is recommended. Filipino noodle dishes are aso offered—bihon gisado (P175), the bestselling birthday noodles (P195), lomi, (P175), pansit canton in seafood or pork (P195) and sotanghon gisado (P175)—as well as pasta (carbonara, P250;  grilled chicken diablo, P250; linguini in clam sauce, P280; and pesto, P280) and pizza (Hawaiian, P240; OTG, P250; pesto, P240; puttanesca, P240; and Supropia Fiesta de Pizza, P250). For sandwiches, they have the popular OTG (P210), cheeseburger (P140), clubhouse (P200), hamburger (P120), roast beef with fresh asparagus (P210) and Philly cheese steak (P220).
Seafood items are popular in Off the Grill such as the bestselling baked oyster (P240), ginataang plapla (P265), kilawing talaba (P160), shrimp and mushroom (P265), the bestselling Spanish gambas (P265), steamed fish filler (P250), steamed oyster (P215), steamed plapla (P195) and sweet and sour fish (P195). Sizzling plates have never become out of fashion, and they offer several varieties—chicken (P250), beef and mushroom (P255), pork sisig (P195), tuna sisig (P190), gambas (P285), salmon belly (P260), squid (P245), tokwa (P145) and hotdog (P105).

Crispy pata
Grilled tuna belly
Grilled pusit

Bulalo steak
The stars of the menu are in the Favorites and Grilled sections. The Favorites include adobong pusit (P160), bangus ala pobre (P160), beef caldereta (P250), beef salpicao (P280), binagoongan (P170), buttered chicken (P285), chicken cordon bleu (P205), crispy hito (P180), crispy kambing (P270), crispy pata (P490), crispy plapla (P190), patatim (P480), crispy squid heads (P), crispy tuna buntot (P295), fried chicken (P270), gising-gising (P260), kalderetang kambing (P280), kare-kareng baka (P270), lechon kawali (P225), lengua estofada (P280), pinaputok na plapla (P260), seafood kare-kare (P245), sweet and sour pork (P195), and salt and pepper spare ribs (P195). In the Grilled section, they have blue marlin (P135), boneless bangus (P235), chicken barbecue (P140), chicken inasal (P135), hito (P160), plapla (P60 per 100 grams), pusit (P90 per 100 grams), pork barbecue (P85 for two sticks), liempo (P180), pork spare ribs (P215), tuna panga (P85), salmon belly (P95), tuna belly (P95), tuna buntot (P85), chicken wings (P140), chicken tail (P140), chicken gizzard (P140) and chicken liver (P140). 
To go with these, they have rice cooked in different ways (P45 to P195) and salads (P95 to P180). Drinks include juices, shakes, tea, soft drinks, coffee, beers and different cocktails. Desserts range from halo-halo (P95) to ice cream maki (P80).
Sy said they will expand international cuisines offerings because many customers are asking for them. Actually, there will be several developments as the bar-restaurant celebrates its tenth year. One of the major ones is the establishment of branches, adding to its one branch along Brick Road of the Santa Lucia East Grand Mall in Cainta, Rizal.
“This year, we would like to spread some more, targeting to have five more branches, south-based, so that more and more people can get to share the Off the Grill experience,” Sy revealed, who dreams of expanding outside Metro Manila, particularly to Cebu, Davao City and Baguio City, in the next three years.
For the original bar, it will undergo a renovation because “it is already an old bar,” Sy admitted. The family restaurant will be turned into a fine-dining one, and there is plan to put up a dessert bar and a mocktail bar. A counter will be created for take-out orders.
They are now in intensifying the promotion of their catering services and “opening our prospects for franchising, which is our next big step,” Sy said.
With these developments, Off the Grills hopes to leap to greater heights and continue to make noise for another 10 years and beyond.

Off the Grill is at 69 Timog Avenue corner Scout Torillo, Timog, Quezon City, with telephone number 426-9773; and Brick Road, Sta Lucia East Grand Mall, Cainta, Rizal, with telephone number 571-7531.