25 October 2012

On The Tummy Spot: Good Eats @ Chilli & Ink

It’s been a while now that I have written any review and forgive me for being remiss about it. A lot of work has just piled up but I will try to really update on a regular basis since I have a lot of material right now which just begs to be blogged about. Last week, I was invited to shoot for an event – Estee Lauder’s Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign by a friend of mine. She asked me to step in for another photographer so I merrily trooped to Rustan’s Makati and joined friend A for the shoot. Together with friend A, we also asked couple friend M and G to accompany us so we can have a little reunion of sorts.
We had a fun time during the afternoon shoot and afterwards we all decided to go to friend A’s new work place which was a tattoo shop/food joint all in one – Chilli & Ink. Friend A has been extending the invitation a few weeks back but full work days always got in the way so we jumped at the chance to do a little bonding time with good food and friends. A has been raving about this little resto cozily tucked in Teachers Village in QC, nearby the foodie Maginhawa street, so we went right in for the kill. I’d say I loved the small but comfortable and casual interiors of Chilli & Ink. The walls were done in a red earthy tone with black table and chairs to complete the black-on-red feel of the place. It could perhaps seat 8 comfortably but I loved it that way. The place was a hole-in-the-wall and if they continue with their good food offerings and the constant innovation on their products I have no doubt they will go a long way.

The first thing that was really interesting when we seated ourselves at the table was a bowlful of jelly ace together with some tattoo magazines. So while waiting for our food, we browsed through the magazines and talked about tattoos and everything in general. It helped to while away the time comfortably and we all needed to catch up so we yapped and yapped and updated one another on our lives. The main food offerings are chicken wings and cupcakes. I asked one of the owners why she wanted this kind of pairing and she told me that as a foil for the hot wings, they offer the sweet cupcakes to counter the spiciness of their dish.

We actually ordered 3 kinds of chicken wings and in each order there are 6 pieces of wings. I’d say not bad on the quantity meter there. They specialize in hot wings and they really have a hot meter on their menu as well for the wings that had less heat and so on and so forth. We ordered bagoong chicken wings (for the non-spicy eater), Wasabi chicken wings (which had 1 chili rating), and “Hot ng Ina Mo” chicken wings (with 2 chili ratings). We also got to try out all of their sweet cupcakes and they were yummy: Diablo, Blackforest, Coffee   and Pecan, Caramel, and Calamansi.

We all shared in the 3 flavors so we could decide on our own personal favorites. I first took a bite of the bagoong slathered chicken wings since I didn't want to confuse my taste buds later on if I ate the spicy stuff first. It was a revelation in bringing the taste of fried chicken together with the salty sweetness of the bagoong but it worked. It wasn't overly salty but it was just right and the sweet tones in the bagoong complemented the fried chicken well. Friend G loved it and declared that it was her favorite.

I then went directly to nose-popping heat haven with the Wasabi chicken wings. For some reason, I found it exhilarating or maybe it was just the wasabi talking. J The fried crispness of the chicken wing together with the slowly rising heat of the wasabi in my throat and nostrils just made my day. Maybe it’s because I happen to like wasabi or I was just happy with how the fried chicken and wasabi tasted together. It was a winner and friend M said so. We loved this one!

After that wasabi experience, I went on to the “hot ng ina mo” chicken wings which were rated just 1 chili finger (moderately hot). It was also good but the taste did not make an impression on me as much as the wasabi wings did. I’m sure this must just be personal preference but for the next visit, I’d like to try the other 2 chicken wings on the menu which got 3 and 4 chili finger ratings and heat myself to death. All in all, I liked how they cooked their friend chicken wings and how they tossed it with the sauces. The chicken wings were fried to a crisp without it being too oily and the amount of sauce on their wings was just right because it did not overpower the fried chicken. I don’t like my wings overly sauced. I feel it ruins the dish somehow.

After dinner, we went on to dessert with their sweet and interesting cupcakes. My personal favorites are the Caramel and Calamansi ones. I loved how their cupcakes were not too cakey and it was light to eat. The caramel flavor really did me in and I loved the tartness of the Calamansi cupcake together with its sweet flavor. All of us in the table had their own personal favorites. I was looking forward to the Diablo cupcake because it was laced with a bit of chili but I admit I wasn't able to get the heat that I wanted from the cupcake. I wanted more, but again it’s a personal preference thing. Chocolate and chili are really great together since they complement one another so I was kind of looking for more heat with the sweet cupcake or maybe because my tongue was just so desensitized with all that wasabi. Hehehehehe!

Overall, I’d say Chilli & Ink is good value for your buck. Their food is good and simple but with interesting twists and you can get yourself tattooed afterwards if you feel like it. I can vouch for their in-house tattoo artist! Writing about food in this cold, rainy weather is actually making me hungry. Waaahh!


P.S. Thanks to my lawyer friend Mark for the great photos I used on this entry. My cam ran out of batt so I couldn’t use it.

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