In the growing list of restaurants and cafés in Bonifacio Global City, one of the handful that I keep going back to is Crisp on 28th. Aside from my spicy Chicken Chipotle Quinoa Salad (Php 280) and staple coffee served with nostalgic iced gems, the cozy, relaxed atmosphere is great for getting work done, holding impromptu business meetings, or chilling outside taking in the sunshine and occasional breeze.It is also home to one of my favorite cheffy friends, Siggy Santiago-Torrente. This woman can brighten up a room when she walks in, her creativity in the kitchen shines in most of the dishes the café puts out, and is genuinely one of the nicest people you will ever have the pleasure to meet.
While one may dismiss the café for a place to get a slice of cake and a cup of coffee, people don’t realize that they also serve full meals. And they’re pretty awesome. While some are quintessentially Filipino, others are influenced from other cuisines, but still with a heavy Pinoy twist. Now, while I wouldn’t recommend you eat there everyday… but with their new Asian dishes, you may just end up doing just that if you live or work around Serendra.
The Chicken Adobo Nachos (Php 280) is listed as an appetizer on the menu, but I think I went through most of it myself, so if you intent to be mindlessly munching on a mix of tortillas and nachos slathered with coriander garlic cream, confit garlic aioli, and salsa, covered with bright green coriander, adobo flakes, corn, and mangoes while you get work done on your laptop – this is what you need to get. The combination of a crunchy base, fresh cilantro, salty adobo flakes, and chunks of sweet mango makes for the perfect mix of flavors to excite the Filipino palate.
Growing up, I hated tinola. I would rather eat my own foot than have a mouthful of the bland soup with soggy vegetables, and sickly pale boiled chicken with its rubbery skin. But after tasting Siggy’s Lemongrass Tinola Bowl (Php 390), I’ve come to the conclusion that whoever made that dish during my childhood just wasn’t a very good cook. Crisp’s take on the classic Filipino comfort food swaps out boiled chicken for flavorful pan-fried chicken thigh fillet, with pearl couscous, sayote, and a malunggay pesto, all served in an aromatic lemongrass-ginger broth. It is so good, the couscous is enough to keep you full.
With everyone totally buying into the ramen trend, the restaurant decided to come up with Manila Ramen (Php 320) that has all the goodness of the classic Japanese noodle dish with all the toppings one would find carted around by a street vendor in Manila. Each big bowl comes with generous helpings of pork liempo, chicharon bulaklak, and kwek-kwek in a rich broth base made with pork and beef bones that have been seasoned and boiled for hours on end. Each mouthful is a wave of savory, comforting flavors to bring back one’s nostalgia of simpler times.
Another dish borrowed from abroad is their Pancit Pad Thai (Php 320), which uses bihon noodles in lieu of rice noodles, a sweet, sour, and salty tamarind-peanut sauce, lemongrass chicken strips, scrambled egg ribbons, peanuts, beansprouts, shredded cabbage, lightly fried red onions, spring onions, radishes, and Thai basil. Sweet, tangy, salty, and spicy, this is the type of bilao I’d like to take home as pasalubong for a family gathering! Toss everything together and you’ve got yourself a healthy meal.
Taking inspiration from the Bacolodnons, the Kansi Nasal (Php 360/solo; Php 680/sharing) melds the flavors of inasal – atsuete and lemongrass – into the sour Ilonggo soup. The broth is made with tamarind, lemongrass, and annatto is the base for tender slices of beef brisket with langka relish on top. The beef practically falls apart to the touch, and the sourness of the broth will have you asking for extra rice.
Being a chicken fiend, I loved the Hong Kong style Sesame Roasted Chicken (Php 340/ solo; Php 640 sharing). Similar to HK duck, the chicken is brined, boiled in soy, roasted, and then fried upon order, with tuyo brown rice and a simple salad of green and white onions on the side. Probably the simplest looking one out of all the new dishes, but don’t let that fool you – the crispy crunch each bite let out is enough to make heads spin to check out what on earth is making all that noise, and the fragrant sesame oil gets mouths watering.
After trying out all of Crisp’s new dishes, I can’t pick a favorite. They were all incredibly well thought out and expertly executed, with Siggy taking inspiration from the owner’s go-to Filipino dishes, like co-owner Solenn Heussaff’s fondness for kansi. Congratulations, Chef Siggy, and the rest of the team for these amazing new dishes! They all taste as good as they look! Aside from the delectable Filipino fusion meals, Crisp also serves all-day breakfasts, pastries, cocktails, wine, and coffee.
Crisp on 28th is located at the Allied Corporate Center, 28th St., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig and is open daily from 8am to 11pm. For inquiries and reservations, please contact +63 917 584 6883.