Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Top Meals Food Haus

Look for the definition of “hole in the wall” in the dictionary and chances are, a picture of Top Meals Food Haus will appear beside it.

Located in the middle of nowhere, somewhere in the depths of non-commercial Makati, sort of near Rockwell, this humble food spot was first discovered by intrepid food explorer Anton Diaz. He is, Top Food owner Wilson Tan says, the reason that Top Meals has appeared on the foodie map.

The restaurant serves authentic Bicolano food. This means hot, oily and filling. The fare here is as unpretentious as its décor and surroundings. Food is cheap, served in plastic plates in an unairconditioned eating area right next to the street. Presentation-wise, what you get is a warm saucy mess, much like what you get at home. The dining area is tight, the staff casual and friendly, and of course, the food is lutong-bahay good.

The Chicken a la Mado (P68) is a secret recipe Wilson inherited from his grandfather Amado. The recipe is secret, and Wilson won't tell you what goes in it. The chicken has a slightly smokey flavor and comes with a creamy, oily sauce that you'll want to skip and eat up at the same time. My advice, in the words of Weird Al Yankovic, just eat it.

The Pork Binagoongan (P65) is very salty. As I am not a fan of binagoongan, which is basically posk with bagoong (shrimp paste) and some vegetables, I don't think I am qualified to judge this dish. My companions thought it was good though. The Bicol Express (P66), though loaded with chili peppers, was a bit of a disappointment as it wasn't tongue-searingly hot, as it is reputed to be. We think Mr. Tan has been toning it down for his Manila clientèle. He did say that he could make it hotter upon request.

The Bicol Humba (P65) comes with a thin, light-colored sauce, making it seem more like watered down adobo, though its trademark sweetness is still there.

I rather like the Tuna Sisig ({P68), which is hot, crunchy, and served with egg, the latter of which gives it a certain X factor. Probably still unhealthy, but not as much as the other dishes. But then, why eat out if your watching your figure?

I also liked the Laing (P68), stewed gabi leaves (normally poisonous. Did you know that Filipinos are one of only two races in the entire world that eat yam leaves?) pumped up with gata (coconut milk). Tastes exactly like the way our yaya makes it, which means its authentic.

The Leche Flan (P65) is firm and not too sweet. I take my leche flan very seriously, and while this is not the best I've had, its good enough that I didn't want to share it with others.

The servings at Top Meals are small – each order serves one – but eaten with rice (and you have to eat rice with what you orderotherwise you're missing out on the whole experience), it's enough to fill you up.

The restaurant also offers relatively cheap fruit shakes. The cream-based Strawberry Shake (P49) is perfect for rainy days while the other fruit variants (more smoothies than shakes – P39) are great during hot days and summer nights.

Top Meals Food Haus
5994 J.D. Villena St. cor. Mabini St. Poblacion, Makati.
The place is beside Estelle Salon.
(Villena St. is the street in the middle of Museo ng Makati and Rockwell, along J.P. Rizal)
Telephone: +632 895 1249


Anonymous said...

Looking fwd to a good meal at Wilsons food haus!

Great review...

Thanks, Jerry

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