It’s a cheesy title, I know, but it’s imperative that I set this straight as early as now: Grilla is a great food experience.
When you’re a local of a certain place or country, it’s easy to take your local cuisine for granted because of the ‘We can buy it cheap,’ ‘They’re the dishes our moms make,’ and the classic ‘We have our own version of that’ arguments, so, naturally, we forget that food doesn’t just exist to appease our needs but also to delight our senses. And that is why places like Grilla exist.
For our first course, we had tofu and sigarilyas sisig, a vegan version of the Kapampangan favorite, chicharong Cebu which was crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside, and pork bbq and salted egg triangles which was so delicious and quite fun to eat with its dumpling-like quality. You can tell I really loved the first round.
Next came inihaw na manok na sinampalukan (which I’d translate as grilled chicken in tamarind stew) which was good. I can imagine having a serving on a dark and rainy evening.
The last course definitely did not disappoint, as we were served delicacies from north to south. There were beef kansi (an Ilonggo stew both sweet and slightly spicy), the generously served inadobong tilapia sa gata at sili, and poqui poqui, an Ilocano dish composed of eggs and eggplants. My favorites were their Ilocos dinuydoy, a dish of pork and squash cooked to the consistency of mashed potato, lechon liempo ala Cebu which they say is roasted for six hours and produces the most savory and scrumptious pork, and the house signature Grill-a-palayok, a DIY idea for grilled meat and seafood. To cap off the feast, we had halo halo spring rolls topped with ice cream.
Apart from the delicious dishes of Grilla, they also served us flavoured shots in dalandan, kalamansi, tarragon, rosemary, and brown sugar & cinnamon, all of which put a smile on my face and an oomph in the evening.
I appreciate the artistry in Grilla, and the way it expands your culinary horizon without alienating you from the homegrown. Don’t get me wrong—you might feel a little unfamiliar with the menu, but this is where your discovery of true Filipino food starts. Rest assured that you will be delighted from start to finish.