grub + travels + perspectives

Neil's Kitchen Alabang

Instagram (well, social media in general) has been a big part of our lives right now, and the saying "we eat with our eyes first" certainly has a whole new meaning these days. It was certainly a game changer for the food industry. Personally, a nice interior isn't necessarily the topmost requirement since quality of food will always be king, but of course, a quirky accent here and there or a corner with good lighting or a nice looking wall or an unconventional theme would be a great bonus for the patrons' eyes. In fact, those are the things that would attract other customers and make others come back. The curiosity turns to likes, taps and retweets, and the likes, taps and retweets can mean revenue for the restaurant.

Terr shared this link on my wall because they know how I like my food pretty in photos (hahaha) and I was surprised to find these restaurants with impeccable design and decor. I've been to a few of them, mostly in the south, and I was always under the impression that themed restaurants are always hard to find because they're located somewhere remote.

I automatically fell in love with Neil's Kitchen's interiors because of the prominence of the colors of black and white and the cluttered but coordinated overall feel. Of course, before going there, I was able to see photos online and I love their staircase! Reminds me so much of the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland!

I went to Neil's Kitchen with my family last week to celebrate my parents' wedding anniversary. Upon entering, I was wowed by the flight of stairs that is ridiculously photogenic and without a doubt the highlight of the restaurant's interiors. Curiouser and curiouser!

With an interior like this, you kind of have these certain expectations with the food you'll get to eat, right? And for me, it was screaming "Foodie wonderland!"

The one thing I didn't anticipate though was the crowd. I didn't expect that the place was well-known enough (sorry huhu) to be filled during weekends! When we arrived, we had to wait for 15 minutes or so to be seated. And as you know, a filled restaurant just means lesser photo opportunities.

There were just too many people that time, it was hard to navigate through busy bodies and tables and chairs, so I just decided to get better photos next time. We weren't even able to see the My Father's Bookstore! Huhu.

The menu is short and consisted mainly of Filipino dishes with a unique twist. But everything on the menu was quite odd and got us intrigued. Here's what we had:

Grilled Chicken and Crispy Pork Dinuguan Fondue
Bagoong Paella with Kare-kare
Sinigang Paella with Grilled Pork Belly
Puto Bumbong with Buco Jelly and Toasted Coconut
The food certainly was presented in an unusual way, in odd pairings and more of reinvention of the Pinoy classic favorites. My pick was the Sinigang Paella with Grilled Pork Belly (yeah because pork) and though I was already expecting how the sinigang will be incorporated in the paella, it still came as a surprise to me at how the combination was perfect -- the charred, tender pork belly with the flavorful Sinigang Paella. It works! And it's not a hit-and-miss kind of dish, the flavors are consistent up to the last bite. The paella was packed with sinigang flavor! And the kangkong chips that decorated the plate was a nice touch as well. If you'd blindfold me and feed me that, I'd never notice the difference, say, with potato chips like Lay's.

I enjoyed my food so much, I didn't bother tasting the other dishes that my dad and my brother ordered. That, and I was already super full. Our dessert was my mom's pick because she just loves native delicacies. I initially declined when my mom asked me if I wanted some but gave in eventually when I had a little taste of it. Puto bumbong in butter and coconut milk was one of the biggest revelations to me. Besides the beautiful pop of color, each layer of this sweet treat was an adventure of taste and textures: buco jelly on top of the purple sticky rice swimming in coco milk and butter, then topped again with a mix of toasted grated coconut and muscovado sugar. What a way to end our meal.

Initially went here because of the beautiful interiors, but I guess we were able to hit two birds with one stone because we were totally blown away by the food. The consensus: one of the best restaurants our family's been to. Yep. It was that great. Photogenic place and food that is a feat to the palate. Looking forward to Chef Neil's new creations soon!

Neil's Kitchen is located at Lot C 701 and 704 Westgate, Filinvest, Alabang, Muntinlupa City
Operating Hours: 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM
Contact Nos.: (02) 710-8962 / (02) 771-1334 / +63917 311-2916
Official Facebook Page