I had been away from the beginning of winter and upon my return, I was happy to see that the Manila Grille, another Filipino restaurant, had taken over the former Cucina Manila’s spot on Joyce Street in Vancouver.
This past weekend was my first chance to try it out. The set-up is a bit awkward. From the door you see tables and chairs closely bunched together, then into the right corner is some baked goods, the cashier, then the bain-marie so you can pick your food (typical turo-turo style). It left myself as a new customer, a little confused about where exactly to line up. Some signage may help or having one of the staff greeting people upon entering as the restaurant isn’t large.
I hovered near the bain-marie and unknowingly jumped the line, but the gentleman that was supposed to be served first was quite understanding. The service from staff was fairly abrupt. The staff person was complaining loudly to us that she was short-staffed and while I can definitely understand that frustration, I don’t believe that the customers should bear the brunt of her wrath.
I ordered the 2-dish with rice combo. My two dishes included sinigang na baboy (sour tamarind soup with pork spare ribs and veggies) and chicken barbeque on a stick. Budget-wise it still met my mmmmura scale coming in at less than $10. Portion-wise, the rice was plenty, as was the chicken. In contrast, my small sinigang container was filled with two largely chopped pieces of daikon (which probably took up half of the container) leaving space for only a few pieces of spare rib and a couple of pieces of baby bok choy and string beans.
In terms of taste, I did enjoy the sinigang, but not the daikon. The broth was at the medium-range of sourness and was not fatty. The chicken barbeque looked saucy and I couldn’t wait to take a bite. Unfortunately, immediately after that bite, I realized that the barbeque was stone-cold. I had ordered it from the bain-marie, but I am guessing it must not have been in a heated portion of the food warmer. I was very disappointed. Luckily, I had a microwave at work otherwise, I would not have been able to eat it at all.
I had chosen dishes that were usually my favourite go-to’s for Filipino restaurant. Since both didn’t make the grade I would have to be hard-pressed to return.