Monday, November 23, 2009
One hulking northern barbarian said, ‘To crush your enemies, drive them before you, and hear the lamentation of their women!’
But wise Kublai, grandson of Genghis, said, ‘Wrong! What is best in life is a mug of ice-cold beer in the hand, great food in the belly, and rock music in the ear!’ And Genghis had to say, ‘That is good.’
That hulking barbarian is some kind of Governator now, with all the woes of California sitting heavy on his troubled brow, but wise old Kublai rocks on at Kublai’s Rock, a hip and cozy restaurant and bar at the Magallanes commercial center in Makati. Kublai’s Rock offers a well-stocked bar, an equally well-stocked Mongolian barbecue buffet – which is what Cat and I always have when we’re there – and a new discovery for us, some great ala carte dishes as well.
What can I say about the food? As soon as the dishes started coming out, Cat practically had to beat me off them with a stick to make me shoot them instead of tucking in right away! We got to shoot and sample five of Kublai’s signature dishes; the best-selling Barbarian Burger, excellent beer companions in the Spicy Chorizo Sisig and Seafood Combo, the very filling and tender KR Kababs, and even one for the health in the form of bite-size Laing.
The Barbarian Burger is huge, easily the equivalent of three or four burgers from the major fastfood chains, and much beefier – in all senses of the word! Truly something to satisfy an appetite gone berserk, by Crom! As if the burger wasn’t hefty enough, it comes with a side of thick-cut fries and crunchy onion rings.
The Chorizo Sisig was a sweet-and-spicy dish, basically skinless sausage in the Fil-Hispanic style – garlicky and peppery, just the way I like it – served on a sizzling plate with a topping of onion rings and sliced chilies. Classic beer food, but I could have this for breakfast!
The sisig also went well with the Seafood Combo, another sizzling plate dish, this time of squid rings, shrimps and I believe clams, fried in tomato paste and spices then served topped with melted cheese. Really rich and filling!
With all these treats, the Laing made a very welcome side of vegetables. Kublais’ Rock presents this classic Pinoy dish in an intriguingly new way, as bite-size rolls of taro leaves cooked in and topped with a rich, thick coconut cream sauce and garnished with red chilies. My tastebuds having suffered permanent damage in India (grin), I would’ve welcomed even more of the chili garnish here.
For Cat and I, the great star of the evening was the Kublai’s Rock Kababs. Thick chunks of beef, pork and chicken grilled on skewers with mushrooms, green bell peppers, onions and tomatoes, and served with a sort of rice pilaf, this dish alone could easily satisfy two rather light eaters. The meat was very tender and with a light, herby-peppery-smokey flavor that’ll make you scream for either of two things: Rice! or Beer! Me, I would’ve wanted both …
As the Governator said: I’ll be back.
Kublais’ Rock is open from 5:00pm to 2:00am every day, and frequently hosts viewings of major sports events where patrons can watch the action on their three widescreen plasma TVs. Belgian beers are now also available at the bar.