Neil’s Kitchen is a new Filipino restaurant located in Westgate Center in Alabang. Located on the 2nd floor of a white castle looking structure with its small entrance painted yellow. This was the last stop of Jane’s fun filled birthday weekend extravaganza. I had no idea what food we were going to have thinking it might just be another run of the mill Filipino restaurant serving the same things.
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Once you enter Neil’s Kitchen, you are in for a visual and culinary treat. Little nooks and crannies that are so pretty you can’t help taking snap after snap.
The man behind Neil’s Kitchen is the eponymous Chef Neil Ramos. He was already running a popular catering business using the space for Neil’s Kitchen as a showroom of sorts. They decided to open up the restaurant upon prodding by many of their clients with many exclaiming “finally”.
They opened last December so the menu is still compact with a few new specials being introduced.
Calamares with Saffron Aioli (P350). A well prepared appetizer although nothing exciting.
Tokwa’t Baboy (P250). Pork and fried tofu with vinegar, chilis and other spices. Irene loves tokwa’t baboy and was eager to try this version. After the first bite, I saw her nodding her head and happily getting more. A must order.
Lauren is not too fond of Filipino food except for a few select dishes so she was happy they had fried chicken by way of the Chicken of the South “Alabang Fried Chicken” (P395). Lauren found the marinade a bit on the salty side.
Boneless Chicken BBQ (P395). Two pieces of boneless chicken thighs, tasty and grilled to perfection. The java rice is a bit underwhelming though as you can’t help compare it to Aristocrat.
Grilled Chicken & Crispy Pork Dinuguan Fondue (P395). The inventiveness of Chef Neil comes to fore with his interpretation of the classic pork blood stew. He has separated all the ingredients making the one mix and match, dip or dunk to their delight.
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Next were two noodle dishes one of which was Sinigang Noodle Soup (P325), a ramen like bowl using sinigang as a soup base. The buttered and grilled puto/ rice cake was the surprise from the batchoy dish, we even requested for 2nds.
Sinigang is at the forefront once again with the Sinigang Paella with Grilled Pork Belly (P350). A bright and flavorful, tarty rice dish that you can pair with the smoky grilled pork belly pieces. My bet for Neil’s Kitchen’s best dish and sure fire hit.
We sampled two more of Chef Neil’s paellas, the more conventional Paella Valenciana with Spanish Tempura (P450) and another inventive interpretation, this time of Kare-kare, the Bagoong Paella with Kare Kare. The bagoong is cooked into the rice instead of being a sauce/topping for the kare-kare. The nutty kare-kare plays well with the bagoong infused rice.
The merienda staple palabok is given an indulgent upgrade with crab fat. The Crab Fat Palabok (P350) is creamy with lots of minced chicharon/pork rind to give it textural crunch and more unhealthy but oh so delicious stuff.
TBone Tapa (P645). The most expensive item on the menu, a large sized t-bone steak is marinated like a tapa and then grilled. Served with garlic rice, fried egg and atchara.
Sinigang na Grilled Salmon. A new item soon to be introduced. Juicy grilled salmon on a bed of chopped sinigang vegetables and topped with a dollop of miso.
Little did we know that the most creative dishes from Chef Neil were yet to come.
Fried Suman, Mangga & Chocnut (P250). Fried suman with a large piece of pureed mango jelly and topped with chocnut bits and drizzle with coconut cream. They also add a little umbrella for whimsy. An extra bottle of coconut cream is served to give you the option to add more. I’d take this over the much ballyhooed Thai dessert any day.
Puto Bumbong with Buco Jelly and Toasted Coconut (P250). I don’t usually eat puto bumbong but how can you resist this colorful creation. A hockey puck like piece of toasted coconut sits on top of cold buco/coconut jelly and warm puto bumbong. A marriage of cold and hot, with all sorts of contrasting textures for another fun little dessert.
Turon de Napoleon (P195). A deconstructed turon that is so good, words are insufficient to describe it. Crispy layers of turon wrapper are filled with sweet bananas and jackfruit then drizzled with caramel sauce and dusted with powdered sugar.
I believe Neil’s Kitchen is one of the most exciting places for Filipino food. Chef Neil is giving new interpretations to the classics yet keeping the flavors true. My picks are the sinigang paella, tokwa’t baboy and definitely reserve space for the delectable desserts.
Have a full meal at Neil’s Kitchen or drop by for some dessert. Either way I guarantee you won’t regret it.
*reservations are encouraged during weekends*
Neil’s KitchenLot C 701 and 704 Westgate Center
Filinvest City, Alabang
Contact No.: (632) 710-8962
Facebook Page: Neil’s Kitchen
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