Tuesday, May 15, 2018

First Bite: Hops & Brews

Hainanese Fried Chicken? Why, yes it exists. And it could just be a couple of blocks away from you! 

Hello, Hops & Brews
Located at the ground floor of the posh I'M Hotel, Hops & Brews has become a favorite hang out place of the hotel's guests and patrons as well as locals who frequent the area. 
Known as a restaurant that offers scrumptious dishes and drinks of all sorts, Hops & Brews serves as a great area to place for lunch, dinner, afternoon catch up sessions, meetings and even night out with friends. 
I was invited to a tasting session a few weeks ago and sampled Longa Nachos (PHP250), Sardinas Aglio Olio (PHP355), 5 Cheese Flatbread (PHP320), Shrimp Tempura (price not on the menu), Hainanese Fried Chicken (PHP485), Mac and Cheese (PHP365) and cakes from Pilmico namely Blackout Cake and Pastillas de Leche Cheesecake. For drinks, I had Virgin Madras and Matcha Cafe (PHP175).
I started my meal with my refreshing glass of Virgin Madras which is a blend of orange and cranberry. Sweet, tangy and absolutely perfect to beat the heat! 
If you like your snacks with a hint of sweetness, then you'd enjoy Longa Nachos. This plate is generously topped with all the things you love about nachos and made better with our favorite breakfast sausage.
Sardinas Aglio Olio is something pasta lovers should get. This olive oil-based pasta is simply addictive. Make sure to get a bit of sardine for that extra taste! 
But if you prefer something with cheese, go for Mac & Cheese. This beautiful bowl of Rigatoni is smothered with mix of cheddar, mozzarella, parmesan and kefalotyri cream sauce and topped with applewood smoked bacon. I found the use of rigatoni a perfect choice as it makes you appreciate the boldness of flavors in one mouthful. A bowl is actually good for two but if you are a serious cheese lover, then better order one for yourself as you wouldn't want to share this! Tangy, salty, and with a bit of smokey sweet taste, this bowl is heaven!
And if Mac & Cheese is not enough to satisfy your cheese craving, grab a plate of 5 Cheese Flatbread. Unlike other cheese flatbreads I've had, this one was relatively thicker. Topped with a generous amount of cheese, the thick crust made it not cloying at all. 
We were all impressed by the majestic look of the Shrimp Tempura that graced our table. The lightly battered shrimps were spot on. It had great batter and shrimp ratio giving you that delectable seafood snap with slight crunch with every bite. It's actually good even without the dip!
The highlight of our visit though was the unheard of Hainanese Fried Chicken. This sous-vide then fried to golden brown perfection chicken reinvents the popular Singaporean dish. It had that beautiful crunchy coating with the inside juicy and flavorful. Served with ginger rice and several sauces on the side, this dish is something you seriously have to get from Hops & Brews! I love how it made us appreciate a classic dish differently without compromising the flavor that made Hainanese Chicken famous. 
And to cap our festive meal, we indulged in some Pilmico cakes.
Both cakes were divine. Blackout Cake was chocolatey yet not overwhelmingly sweet. Balanced and moist, this would be a great treat to bring to potlucks and gatherings. Even as a gift!
Pastillas de Leche Cheesecake was a scene stealer that afternoon with its unbelievably delectable taste. We all assumed that this would be very sweet but it was just right. The balance between the sweetness of the local favorite milky treat and slight tart from the cheesecake is brilliant! 
I ended my scrumptious lunch with a cup of Matcha latte which was good too! The green tea taste was pronounced and was toned down nicely by milk. I'd definitely get this again along with a slice or two of Pastillas de Leche Cheesecake!

Overall, it was an awesome lunch! I'll surely be more motivated to swing by Makati soon! 

Hops & Brews is located at Ground Floor, I'M Hotel corner Kalayaan Avenue, Poblacion, Makati City. 

Hops & Brews Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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