Finally, The Bistro Group – which owns and operates renowned foreign franchises TGI Friday’s and Italianni’s (among others) – has a Filipino theme restaurant and it goes by the name Smokin’ Hot BBQ .
The resto is an original concept by the Bistro Group under the culinary stewardship of young executive chef Josh Boutwood (in middle of photo, walking). We were lucky enough to be one of the first to try their offerings at their maiden location in Greenbelt 3. I have to say the initial impression is very good – from the presentation or plating to the taste of the dishes, the ambiance and the price points. It is possible to dine here for as low as P200 per person.
For first-timers, we highly recommend their barbecues since it’s the house specialty and where the name of the resto comes from. The secret? their trademark BBQ sauces which are very tasty and flavorful especially when basted into the meat. Shall I say that I can never have enough of their addicting Smokin’ Hot BBQ roasted chicken (P675 for whole, also sold in half & quarter sizes) as well as their Pork BBQ (2 pieces an order at P220).
The Grilled Pig’s Ear is another must-try since it was very tender and made delicious with the house BBQ sauce again. Pig’s ear is normally chopped into pieces and turned into sisig so the grilled version was something new (and welcome!) to my palate.
Am a fish lover so I wouldn’t hesitate to order the Grilled Tuna Belly (P295) which was served with the house salad and topped with more green vegetables. It was cooked perfectly – not tough and just right to the bite.
A gourmet treat since this is something we don’t eat everyday: kuhol sa gata or ginataang kuhol: local snails simmered in coconut milk and green curry
For health buffs, a sampling of authentic Filipino salads at the resto is a must. The green mango salad (P85) mixed with bagoong or shrimp paste, tomatoes and sliced leeks was a delight. But it was the pako salad (P135) which bowled me over since the homemade vinaigrette and native white cheese put on the top of the veggies were divine. I don’t mind being a goat in another lifetime if I could only eat greens and have these
Since this was a Pinoy resto, a selection of soups couldn’t be far behind. Specifically piping-hot bulalo and tinolang manok. Both were excellent. Am glad to say Smokin’ Hot BBQ have the flavors right down pat….
Of course, you can have steamed rice with most of the dishes but the resto also offers tempting rice specials such as sisig rice, chicharon rice etc. My favorite is their Black Rice (P165) which is mixed in squid ink topping and then topped with sisig. It was utterly delicious!
For desserts, there’s the usual biko, buko pandan, pili & cashew tart, buko lychee sherbet. But it was the Turon 2.0 which stole the show and got raves from the dessert fiends that night. The turon was some delicious banana ice cream scooped in homemade caramelized cones and expertly presented in a bamboo container. Nice!
I love this corner of the resto and the whole idea of putting the menu on the wall. Pretty straightforward. Screens are also mounted on the wall so diners can watch TV while eating.
Location: 3rd floor of Greenbelt 3. Just look for this sign