Monday, November 11, 2013

Bar-B-Skew: Southeast Asian-Inspired Street Food

I found out about this restaurant through less-than-ideal circumstances, but am very glad I did. A good friend, who is also a fellow blogger, posted a rant from who I could only call a Parasitic Blogger, attacking the restaurant's owners for "demeaning" the bloggers he invited (read: not acknowledging them as celebrity or top bloggers - which he specifically promised) for an event he "organized" for them (organized meaning he posted on his group's wall, "Hey, who's free to go to this place at this date and this time? First 20 people to reply with their e-mail address gets it!"). Apparently, the amount on the gift certificate that was handed out to everyone wasn't up to his standards. Because being given a P500 gift certificate for a restaurant with an average bill of P300 is outrageous! No, he wanted his "suggested" rate of P1,000 "tokens" per blogger, dammit! Seriously, who even uses the word "tokens" anymore?

This Parasitic Blogger goes around the Metro victimizing new establishments, promising "top" and "celebrity" bloggers (apparently he dines with Anton Diaz - and by dine I assume he means he's seated at the restaurant across the street from Anton), and as we learned from the owner of this establishment, he also charges the most ridiculous rates ranging from "operation expenses" to even "transpo expenses" when he thinks he can get away with it. For this restaurant that also included a new touchscreen phone, apparently. *cough* Samsung S4 *cough* He wants a new phone daw kasi. And because he hasn't gotten what he wanted, he's gone batshit crazy and posted a full on blogerrhea rant about how he's only after "their word of honor" (read: his Samsung S4), going to great lengths to call the restaurant owners cheap. The comments section of that entry is where it gets interesting - he gets a bashing from decent bloggers everywhere who are as outraged as I am at his blackmail and unsubstantiated threats.

My foodie fambam and I were totally pissed at the slander this Parasitic Blogger was willing to spread about the said establishment, that we decided to go to Tomas Morato to check out Bar-B-Skew for ourselves and show the owners some moral support as well as prove that not all bloggers - or blogger groups - are like his.

And guess what? We were more than happy to pay for our meal!

Bar-B-Skew is located at the Centerstage building along Boy Scout Circle. Their signage doesn't light up yet and so it may be a tad hard to find at night, so I suggest you look for Green Coffee instead. The rotating char-grilled skewers restaurant is right next to it.

The restaurant hasn't even been open for a full month yet, so we came in with full knowledge that the owners were still ironing out the kinks in the operation, which was totally fine. We were happy to give out feedback and suggestions to help out, too. The skewers were in a see-through chiller and had all your basic meats - chicken, pork, beef, and fish, along with some favorite Filipino delicacies that never fails to make me squirm like small intestines and liver, and some corn to represent the veg.

I like how the owners go to great lengths to ensure everything is clean and sanitary - we would be getting raw pieces of meat to grill after all, and Salmonella poisoning can be a real danger when meat is left out. They imported their chiller from Taiwan for this, but are looking for a bigger one to hold more skewers, ergo, more types of meat. It would be cool to have some squid and shrimp on the barbie, and maybe cocktail wieners and bacon, too. And for the vegetarians, what about watermelon skewers that turn into watermelon steaks?

They're currently still working on their dessert skewers - we suggested laying out some graham crackers and chocolate or fudge for people to make Smores. Also, generous chunks of pineapple would be fun to grill as well - not only does it get sweeter, but the char and the sweet pineapple can get quite addicting. So that would be something to consider. How about grilled mangoes, perhaps? Or better yet, make it a dessert kebab with everything on it!

The tables are arranged with the grill in the middle, so it's pretty fun to watch the skewers go round and round. There are vents directly above it to keep you smelling like you just came from a backyard bbq, but then that's just something that comes with the territory at any place with a grill. This is actually the perfect place to hit up after partying along Tomas Morato, since the food is affordable and this is the kind of fare you'd want after lots of drinking. Heck, you may just want to have this with another bottle of beer.

Hot coals are dutifully thrown into the grill in the middle of the table and after they've settled, you can then start to add your skewers. We found out very quickly that there is an art to arranging the skewers as some pieces of meat refused to turn when placed next to others, which would end up with one side charred black! We all had such great fun watching the skewers go around and around, the meat slowly but surely cooking over the hot coals.

When I said the meals at this restaurant were affordable, I meant very, very affordable. Aside from their Value Meals (P99 each), there are also skewer packs you can choose from which are perfect for sharing:
  • 6 Skewers + 1 rice (P139)*
  • 12 Skewers + 2 rice (P259)*
  • 24 Skewers + 4 rice (P499)*

If you aren't content with that, try the Eat All You Can (P299)* - where you can consume as many skewers as you want for 90 minutes.

* Please note that the prices are only for the grand opening and are subject to change in the near future - so make the most of it and check it out now before they do!

I enjoyed all the basting - coating my little skewers of meat with Bar-B-Skew's different sauces: Garlic Butter, Ginger, and Sweet & Spicy. I suggested that they come out with a satay sauce as well, it is Southeast Asian-inspired street food after all, and satay is a Malaysian staple! I have fond memories of waiting for uncle to ride up my street in his scooter when I was in Johor, his little grill attached to the butt of his ride, and all the condiments and sauces just hanging out the side.

I tried a little bit of everything - the beef, pork, chicken, dory, hotdog, chicken wing, and kikiam. Honestly, I was pretty stuffed with just half a skewer of each.

If you go the buffet route, you can dig into the side dishes available and help yourself to as much of the rice as your tummy so desires. I kept coming back for the coleslaw for some reason. It just went really well with the barbecue!

They also make a mean Korean-style fried chicken, which we all kept going back for. This is just as good as those at the popular Korean fried chicken places, and when you get the Eat All You Can option, it also makes for some good nibbling while waiting for your meat to cook.

A few of our other more adventurous foodie friends decided to try the real Asian favorites - the isaw and liver. I found it amusing that they sandwiched a banana-pineapple skewer right in the middle - I was wondering what that tasted like for the rest of the night.

So, when mucking around Tomas Morato and wanting to put out some good vibes in the world, head on over to Bar-B-Skew and support the 3-week old restaurant by eating at the establishment, enjoying the food, and giving the owners your two cents on what you liked and what you think needs to be improved. I hope the next time I go back, they have satay and tandoori-basting sauce and a lot more options for dessert!

And to the Parasite Blogger who thought he could get away with it - Skew you!

Just mucking around Manila,
Follow @_muckingaround on Twitter and Instagram.
Like the Mucking Around Manila fan page.

P.S. For event organizers, PR people, or business owners looking into online marketing - don't be lazy and do your homework. There are a lot of bloggers out there who would be more than happy to help you out - for FREE, as long as what you have or promote is something they'd be interested in. When you associate yourself with the vile Parasite Blogger and his minions, you are doing your business (or the one you represent) a great disservice. You deserve better than that - learn from the folks at Bar-B-Skew.

P.P.S. Mention the promo code: MUCKING AROUND MANILA when you order and get an iced tea on the house!

Update: Now the parasite blogger is trying to bunch everyone who despises his embarrassing behavior by trying to attack a friend of mine who hosts events every so often. Hey, it's not his fault parasites aren't in his demographic. Just apologize to the restaurant owners and move on with your life already.

+63 2 412 8661
UG03 CTTM Square 68
Timog Ave. Cor. Tomas Morato, Quezon City
Open Daily: Monday - Thursday - 11am - 2am; Friday - Saturday - 11am - 4am