Getting a mouthful at Manny’s

 By Monica Urrutia

A new Filipino restaurant opened up in my neighbourhood recently and I finally had a chance to try it: Manny’s Grill and Silog House, Authentic Manila BBQ by Kayturing.

For full disclosure, I will say up front that I do know the owner but I believe I still provide an unbiased review below.

I have often driven by this site on 6th Street commenting that it would be a perfect spot for a Filipino restaurant given the few alternatives nearby and the growing Filipino presence in the neighbourhood, so I was pleasantly surprised when I heard about Manny’s opening up.

We started with lumpia shanghai for an appetizer. The quantity of spring rolls and the price met industry standard. It came to us piping hot, with a crispy exterior and flavourful stuffing. The kiddo enjoyed it, which is always a good gauge for us.

For our main, we ordered bilao, which means woven tray. You choose from among three different sizes and it contains a variety of food offerings. Given we were a party of three, we ordered a small bilao. It came with two barbeque skewers, shrimp, stuffed squid, grilled eggplant, choice of fish (fried marinated milkfish or tilapia – we choose the milkfish), and choice of rice – we went with garlic rice. A couple of dipping sauces and atchara completed the dish.  Sinigang soup was also included as sides.

I enjoyed the sour level of the soup and its lightness. Often broth from sinigang can be very fatty, but this was not the case and theirs allowed the flavour to stand on its own.

My favourite thing was the pork barbeque. As explained to me, this was “authentic Manila BBQ by Kayturing”, which is a family-held recipe from the Philippines. My skewer was full of several meaty pieces, definitely more generous in portion than what other Filipino restaurants normally provide. I appreciated their marinade. It was not sweet as some Filipino barbeque can be and paired well with their vinegar dipping sauce.

I also loved the saltiness of the milkfish. Again, the vinegar dipping sauce and the garlic rice helped balance out all of the flavours. I would say that the rice that comes with the bilao seems more like a portion for one person (albeit I was hungry), so we did have to add another order of rice to ensure all of us had some to eat. The garlic rice was very easy to eat and not oily or heavy.

D. had turon for dessert. I tried a bite. This was rolled longer and slimmer than what one might see elsewhere, with just enough sugar on the outside and sliced jackfruit on the inside. I am used to the banana/jackfruit combo for turon. Again, freshly cooked, which always makes it a bit tastier than those restaurants who have it sitting in a tray all day. If Manny’s considered adding the option of a scoop of vanilla ice cream it would help complete the offering as a full dessert dish.

All in all, a great start. I wish the new restaurateurs well. Given this experience and the proximity to home, I am sure I will come back often.