Manila makes S'pore fare
I ordered everything on the menu - in one meal.
And the reason? This is one of the hottest restaurants in Manila.
Also, the Filipino owners and chefs are specialising in Singapore-type chow though many have not been to our little red dot.
I am a believer of change but only if you have respect and a sense of history, so you move in the right direction.
Truffle and foie gras dim sum does nothing for me except inflate the bill.
But egg and pulled coffee ribs waffle-wich is what I want to try as it's about egg, ham and bread with coffee.
There were 12 items and some drinks I will go back for - like the Donkey Punch (lemongrass with galangal tea 130 pesos, S$3.70).
But what impressed me is the desire in these foreign cooks to take on a "thinking chef's heritage menu" of Singapore.
I've seen how multi-Michelin star chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten did so at his Spice Market restaurant and now I see it at Hey Handsome.
Owner Nicco Santos says that was how he remembered men calling each other when he studied here.
Here is what was noticeable:
A thinking chef’s Nasi Lemak- with peanut brittle and sambal sea bass. PHOTO: MAKANSUTRA
Nasi lemak: a sambal seared sea bass sits atop light coconut rice with some fancy ikan bilis, pickled egg and sambal. A great take on the classic and a good justification the 720 pesos price tag.
The Buah Keluak with lamb and nasi ulam. PHOTO: MAKANSUTRA
Buah Keluak (640 pesos): they do a lamb buah keluak with nasi ulam and a charcoal keropok.
It was tantalising but I would love more heat in the sambal buah keluak and more herbs in the nasi.
The Fried egg salad was the pick of the meal. PHOTO: MAKANSUTRA
Fried Egg Salad (250 pesos): It does not look like much, but this was the fastest to be finished. It's just fried egg and ground sausage with herbs and greens.
I think this is a take on the Thai Pad Krapow with egg sans the rice. It was hard to move on from this dish.
Soft Soft Tofu (280 pesos): Chinese-style tofu with century egg. It is done ala tahu telor style. Tofu, egg and century egg chunks deep fried and covered with bonito flakes. Delectable.
The Kueh Lengkuas dessert was appealing, to the others. PHOTO: MAKANSUTRA
Kueh Lengkuas (220 pesos): a dessert with galangal infusion, coconut and rose accents.
This one missed me by a mile but my buddies mopped it up like it was liquid gold. It was like a trifle of sorts.
I hope there will be a new breed of chefs in Singapore too, who will reinvent heritage flavours.
I see it in some menus like at CreatureS. But we still need more thinking chefs here.
Ground Floor, Net Park Building, 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City, Manila, Philippines
- 6pm to 10pm, daily
KF Seetoh, the founder of Makansutra, dabbles in street food businesses like Food Markets, his own TV shows on cable, publishing food guides, consultancy and online content. He is also the creator of the World Street Food Congress. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.