Backyard Kitchen and Brew in UP Town Center is the newest venture of Chef Ed Bugia of Pi, Pino, Pipino and Burger Project. This is Chef Ed’s ode to locavore cuisine, almost all the ingredients are locally sourced straight from the farmers and breeders. I wholeheartedly support endeavors like these that give small farmers a better chance of survival plus they taste even better.
Backyard Kitchen and Brew is located in Phase 2 where a lot of new restos and retails shops are scheduled to open including a supermarket.
The place has a chill vibe with lots of interesting stuff all over. There are metal bucket lamps, ladders hung from the ceiling but the nicest ones are these old car plates re-purposed as lamp covers (genius). Their signage is surrounded by plant pots is also a nice homey touch.
During our visit, they had only 22 items on the menu, from soup to dessert. Chef Ed is already planning to add more to his wide menu mix of what he describes as “when chef’s do potluck”.
We started our holiday food tasting with the Salted Egg Chicken Skin Flatbread (P255). One look at it and you’ll know it’s a creation by Chef Ed Bugia. There’s traces of evil via the salted egg and crispy chicken skin but also a touch of sweet whimsy with the inclusion of cherry tomatoes. A mix of mozzarella and ricotta cheeses is topped before it’s baked. I’ve not been a big fan of flatbread but this one is the perfect thickness, crispy but you can still roll it up like a panizza.
Can’t get enough of chicken skin then an order of the Salted Egg Chicken Skin (P205) is a must. Freshly fried chicken skin is tossed in a salted egg mixture to get a nicely textured and flavored appetizer.
Pair it with their Joe’s Brew Fish Rider Pale Ale and Sierra Madre Wheat Ale or the specially made micro brew by Joe’s Brew called what else but Backyard Brew. The Backyard brew is available in dark and light ale versions. I tried both the fish rider and the light backyard brew and enjoyed both.
If chicken skin is not your thing like Irene then the Longganisa and Peppers (P255) would be the better choice. Crumbled homemade longganisa, roasted bell peppers, tomato sauce, mozzarella and ricotta. The chicken skin flat bread may be the surprise but the flavors of the logganisa just endures and is less cloying.
What would be the result if you combine two well loved Filipino soup dishes into one? You get the Sinigang na Batchoy (P195), Irene was practically jumping for joy because those are two of her favorites right there. Egg noodles simmered in kamias broth (I like this much more than sampaloc) with pork offal, egg and fish paste. A comforting bowl of imaginative goodness.
Fried chicken is so popular in the Philippines that you can find it almost anywhere but at Backyard they do their Waffle Breaded Fried Chicken (P305), a little bit different. Chef Ed gets boneless chicken thighs and coats it in dry waffle mix (waffle mix sans liquid) and deep fried it to golden brown with maple butter slowly melting all over it. The fried chicken has a mild sweet flavor because of the waffle coating so they serve it with sauteed kale for a flavor contrast. See those two pieces of ciabatta toasts, this is Chef Ed Bugia’s food so they must be something crazy. The two toasts are slathered with whipped bone marrow (WHAT!), yes bone marrow but you’ll be happy to find out that bone marrow is all kinds of crazy good for you so indulge away.
Want more of the whipped bone marrow ciabattas, they are used in the Ciabatta with Pulled Pork (P255/2, P495/4) which has house made bbq pulled pork and a dollop of sour cream. The other toast option is the Ciabatta with Duck Pate and Flakes (P255/2, P495/4) which has a layer of duck liver pate, shredded duck flakes, jalapeno and drizzle with guava jelly.
Lobster and Prawn Roll (P325). I first tasted the all lobster version of this at a pop up event in Burger Project Jupiter. Chef Ed has decided to add shrimps into the mix to keep the price lower. Chopped lobster and prawn are mixed with a lobster and prawn mayo butter dressing in between a buttered brioche bun. Be sure to squeeze the lemon before eating to brighten the flavors up and cut the richness of the mayo dressing. I’ve been clamoring for Chef to add this to any of his restaurants and I’m happy he finally did.
Nose to Tail Fettucini (All the Good Stuff) (P275). Home made fettucini tossed in tomato sauce with ox tripe, pork cheeks, beef brisket and chicken liver. I’m not really crazy about offal but gave this a little try. The pasta has a nice bite you only get from fresh pasta coated in just enough tomato sauce with lots of chunky pieces of different meats. Not really something I would order but people who love offal should order this pronto.
Slow Roasted Beef Belly (P325). A simple, everything in one wooden bowl dish. Sliced beef belly, fried egg, mushroom gravy on top of herbed barley. I’ve had barley drinks before but have never eaten them as a rice substitute. Eating the barley together with the smoky and tender beef belly, I did not even miss the taste of rice. I’m really enjoying the new rice substitutes like barley and quinoa.
I also tasted a little of Richie’s Backyard Burger (P285). A 100% chuck and brisket beef patty in between a buttered brioche bun with cheddar cheese, parmesan crisp, arugula, onion, tomato and a dash of sriracha ketchup. The bun is soft while the patty has the strong flavor and texture that I love while the parmesan crisp adds a jolt of sharp contrasting flavor. This is easily one of my favorite burgers in Manila.
I had a taste of the Uni Carbonara (P275) but forgot to take a pic. It had a hint of the uni that was the lightest from all the versions I’ve tasted in different restaurants. People who might be scared off by the fishy flavors of uni can safely order this one.
Finish off with their pour over coffee using beans from Sagada roasted by Current Swell Coffee Brewery. Our local coffee farmers grow great coffee and it’s time they are introduced to as much people as possible.
Pizzookie (P385). A giant chewy chocolate cookie baked upon order using Chef Ed’s old recipe. Topped with 2 scoops of mantecado ice cream which pairs perfectly with the flavors of the Meiji black chocolate he tosses into the cookie. A dessert that is meant to be shared among friends with a close eye on how much each person has eaten.
Chef Ed has a winner in Backyard Kitchen and Brew, a place for comfortable and fuss free food with nice drinks in a cozy atmosphere. The menu is still growing so there will be much more to discover on a succeeding visits.
Backyard Kitchen and Brew2nd Level UP Town Center Phase 2 Katipunan Avenue, Loyola Heights, Quezon City, Philippines Contact No.: (63999) 366-6921 Operating Hours: 11am to 11pm Daily
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