Eggs iMeldaThe first layer of this amazing dish is something called pandesal, which I had to ask about last weekend during my second visit. Pandesal are chewy little yeast rolls and, in this instance, they're split to serve as the base of the dish as a muffin would in Eggs Benedict. The next layer is two glorious, sunny poached eggs with the brightest yellow yolks I've seen. The eggs are topped with shredded taro root leaves cooked in coconut milk, shrimp paste, and chilies. A lot of these elements (taro, otherwise known as eddoe, coconut milk. chilies) are ones I recognize and welcome from our time checking out West Indian food here on MOTB. To complete the picture and totally mess with your concept of Eggs Benedict, the eggs are topped off with calamansi, a citrus butter sauce that serves as a perfect foil for a pair of large, salty grilled prawns served with their heads and shells still on. I'm not sure if my friend Miishi was amused or horrified when I asked Nicole for a tutorial on how to eat the prawns. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Prawwwwwwns -- How can you not love a face like that?"][/caption]
I don't have any pictures of me sucking the head of the prawn (thankfully), but I looked something like this photo of my fellow food writer, Melody of GourmetFury.com. The dish was rounded out by kamote (Filpino sweet potato) fries doused with a few splashes of house-infused garlic/hot pepper vinegar. I loved how the salty elements laid up against the heartiness of the pandesal and the rich, familiar taste and feel of the quality poached eggs. The jury is still out on how I feel about calamansi, but I enjoyed this dish so much that it was a struggle not to order it again when I went back.
Tortang TalongThis is what Miishi ordered. I love eggplant, so I had to sneak a bite. The eggs were scrambled, omelette-style, around the roasted eggplant, and it was served with a traditional Filipino salad of tomato, cucumber, onion and cilantro. While I found it delicious, I definitely think I won at brunch this day. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Tortang Talong - Asian eggplant, roasted and rolled up with sauteed onion, cucumber, cilantro, kamatis (tomato)."][/caption]
A couple weeks after my first visit, I brought another adventurous friend out to Maharlika and this time I NEEDED heavy food. I got my face rocked off at a Simian Mobile Disco/Hard Weekend show the night before and it was so amazing. Sunday definitely found me in full recovery mode.
Armed with my appetite, coffee and a pair of sunglasses, I navigated the menu and walked my friend through the last experience. We both decided to try things that I hadn't already eaten, except the tocino, which I had to have her taste.[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Eat this now: Tocino (cured pork tenderloin) - OMFG-worthy."][/caption]
She went with the Barrio Breakfast (corned beef hash, 2 eggs any style, homestyle pandesal, kamote home fries, guava paste, coco jam & atchara - pickled green papaya) and I went with the Ilog Breakfast. Hers was tasty (no pic), but I felt I again won at brunch. Not that this is competitive or anything.
Ilog Breakfast[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Ilog Breakfast served with sunny side up quail egg & rice and tocilog-tocino, a 7-up cured pork tenderloin"][/caption]
See that picture? You could not create a better plate of food for someone recovering from a literal Hard Weekend. We've got fried rice, a sunny side QUAIL egg, some of that traditonal salad and then almost 2 cups of the most amazing 7-UP cured sausage wonderment. Mix it all together and add some of the house-infused vinegar we talked about and, man, we are in business.
So, here's my verdict: GO. Eat everything. Except the eyeballs on the prawns. Those are kind of funky.Enzo and his team are bringing sexy back in this bright and sunny space with their salty, creamy combinations on the plate and drinks that make you wish you were on vacation.
This is my first post on Filipino fare, and I've never eaten it before. I know nothing about it, but I am beyond fascinated with the melding and fusion of cultures (mainly Chinese and various Hispanic influences) that have touched the Phillipines and their cuisine. Since we don't have a big Filipino enclave here in the city, I could do something unusual for MOTB with this post and just talk about one restaurant instead of a whole neighborhood.
Below is a funky Filipino version of ketchup made with bananas. This is the stuff that fascinates me.[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="375" caption="They don't have ketchup, but this banana sauce does not taste like bananas."][/caption]
I'm hoping this post reigns you in to talk to me here about some other Filipino gems in the city. I know I'll be picking Enzo's brain and begging his friends to cook with me soon so I can start learning as much as I can about this special place.[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="375" caption="Enzo Lim behind the bar at pop up Maharlika."][/caption] Maharlika
- 351 East 12th street @ 1st avenue (former Resto Leon space)
- Open: Saturday and Sunday 11 am - 3 pm
- Walk-ins welcome for parties of 2 or 4, reservations necessary for parties of 5 or more
- Reservations: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Menu: http://www.menupages.com/restaurants/maharlika/menu
I love sharing details about upcoming tasty trips and adventures, so you won't want to miss a bite. As always, please feel free to chat with me on Twitter, join our group on Facebook and keep up with new posts here by subscribing.