Monday, August 22, 2016

First Bite: Hey Handsome

Hey Handsome has been receiving praises from notable influencers from the foodie community for a month now. Actually, just knowing that the minds behind this concept are the ones who brought Your Local already convinced me that I have to visit this place ASAP. I really respect these young talents as they are not afraid of the insanely crazy restaurant industry we have now. And to use unconventional raw ingredients such as keluak,a big poisonous fruit found in Indonesia, among others, proves how passionate they are in their craft and in bringing new flavors to Manila. The restaurant was scheduled to open last Friday but since the owners want to make sure that everything is perfect, they had to delay the opening and moved it to August 17 instead. (Thank you, Charlie Paw for the heads up!) And finally, Hey Handsome is open!!!

Hello, Hey Handsome!
I was greeted by lovely interiors that reminded me of Your Local, only brighter and more Instagram friendly (given the abundance of light). The modern mixed with industrial feel, high stools and white and green tiles turn every corner of this restaurant perfect for shoots. 
I guess Nicco Santos, one of the owners, head chef and a photographer himself, considered how foodies love to take snapshots of food and restaurant interiors. 
The restaurant aims to infuse more “real” Asian flavors such as Peranakan, Thai and Malaysian. Though some of the ingredients are sourced in other Asian countries for more authentic flavors, some are sourced locally. I honestly could not really tell which ones are authentic tasting or not. As long as the dish tastes good, I’m a-okay with it! 
I have read several positive reviews about the Beetroot Paneer (PHP480), Nam Tok (PHP580), Bebek Penyet (PHP680) and Nasi Lemak (PHP645). I decided to go with last one knowing that is considered as a complete meal in Malaysia and Singapore.
Quite unfamiliar with the dishes, I did a quick research and found out that Nasi Lemak is usually composed of meat, salted peanuts, coconut rice, hardboiled egg and dilis. But it is wrong to expect “usual” when dining at Chef Nicco’s restaurant. Instead of serving nasi lemak (coconut rice) with meat, Hey Handsome paired it with sea bass otah infused with spices that is wrapped and grilled in banana leaves served with sambal, pickled soft boiled egg and peanut brittle with dilis.
I loved every bit of my heavy plate! The sea bass otah was so soft, juicy and had a nice light taste that went well with the sambal and cucumber bits. 
The peanut brittle with dilis added crunch and balanced the salty and spicy flavor of the sambal and sea bass otah. 
I didn’t get the pickled taste of the soft boiled egg but the silky texture of the egg sure complemented the whole dish. (I had to lessen my sambal intake after a few mouthfuls as it was a bit too spicy for me.)
Slightly sweaty (or rather glowing), I had a sip of my Donkey Punch (PHP130) to help get rid of the spicy taste of the sambal. And oh boy, it didn’t do much as one sip gave me a strong kick of ginger. 
It was a lovely blend of lemongrass, galangal, Elderflower liquor and passionfruit puree though and it was spectacular when enjoyed alone or with other non-spicy dishes. 
It also made me feel that it made my voice nicer and worthy to be part of The Voice… audition. 

As for dessert, I decided to go with Cream Puff (PHP190) after hearing the word “durian filling”. And they were not kidding when they say durian!
It would take a severe flu for one not to be able to taste the durian flavor in this dessert. Served chilled, the delightful puff had a slight chewy texture and each forkful would result in the durian filling oozing out of the pastry. The durian itself had a strong taste and I had to eat it slowly to avoid being overwhelmed by it. 
While finishing my first cream puff, Charlie asked me if I would like to try Yogurt (PHP200). I promptly said yes and soon, a glass bowl of yogurt with black sesame jam base and black sesame lace wafer was served. 
It was love at first bite. The yogurt was creamy and tangy just the way I like it. The black sesame paste added a bit of rough texture and sweetness to the dish. I also loved the black sesame wafer which created crunch. This Hey Handsome homemade yogurt is an absolute must order dish, especially after devouring a heavy lunch!
Overall, it was a pleasant lunch! The meal was a bit on the expensive side but you’d definitely get your money’s worth! I headed out with a happy tummy and a smile on my face. 
For those who are not based in BGC, fret not as Hey Handsome might be open for brunch and dinner soon! Just keep on checking their Instagram account for updates. For now, Hey Handsome is open Mondays to Saturdays at 11 am to 2:30 pm. Come early as the place gets full fast!
Hey Handsome is located at Net Park, 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. For inquiries, contact them at  (02) 946 38 15. 

Hey Handsome Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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