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January 20, 2016

Neil Writes About Hot Box Kitchen Review

Comfort Food is something I know all to well. There was a time in my life wherein I couldn't have enough of it. This resulted in me weighing more than I would like. There is just something about it that you can't get enough of especially if you are away from home. 

HotBox Kitchen is a Canadian Comfort food restaurant from two chefs who hailed from Calgary several years before. When they moved here they decided to start a kitchen where they can cook food that they cooked when they were in Canada. As a result a lot of foreigners from Canada, and the USA come here to eat because it reminds them of home. 

Repurposed can and jar!

The Ambiance 

The Canadian couple wanted to start small and to see where it goes. The result is small place with smart use of space that reminds you of home with an added rustic touch to it. From the outside you can see that the furnishing of the walls, the door and the windows have that American style to them.

Even the kitchen looks like it was designed to make use of as much space as possible!

When you enter you will see the high chair and high tables on the right while the cosy couch chair, and lower tables on the left. The kitchen is at the back, and from where you sit you will notice that it too was designed to make use of as much space as possible.

I don't usually like house burgers but this is one of the exceptions!

The Food

They advertised themselves as a Canadian comfort food establishment so I decided to order a classic : their house burger.  When It came to me, I was a little surprised by its size. That was the only disappointment I had of the day because when I took that first bite, the beef exploded with juices and flavor that was complimented by the bacon, the tomatoes, the lettuces and the rest of condiments. Admittedly, It wasn't the best burger I've ever had but this is way above average. You won't be disappointed.

Their take on the Classic Canadian dish: Poutine!
There's a saying that bacon can make almost any dish better especially if you make your own (Bacon). Poutine, a Canadian dish made from french fries, gravy and cheese curds is one of their specialties, and when the dish came to our table, the plate was steaming and the whole room smelled nothing but bacon. They used the leftovers from their homemade bacon to make their gravy. They couldn't find a supplier for cheese curds so they topped their take with fried bacon bits. Though not truly authentic, the dish is still a must have whenever you visit.

10 ounces of USDA Angus Steak!
The Steak frites is a combination of a 10 ounce USDA Angus steak, and a bowl of hand chopped french fries topped with grated cheese. This can be upgraded into a poutine for an extra Php 100.00. The steak was seasoned with only salt and pepper to keep it simple, and let the flavors shine by themselves. (this also shows that the chef was confident with their skills) This leaves the verdict whether it be good or bad is in the technique and it was impressive. The flavors of the meat just danced in my mouth with the juices while the salt and pepper serve to add a complimenting contrast to the all ready delicious flavors from the meat strands and the fats.

It's so beautiful! (candied bacon)
Crispy, Sweet, Salty, and Fatty. Need I say more? Perfect if you just want to sit down, relax and have a partner for your beer. 

The smell of these things is intoxicating
Their 1/2 pound hot wings weren't supposed to be part of our meal because hot wings were in my weekly diet but the people sitting beside our table ordered these and the smell was just so inviting and so intense that we couldn't resist. We weren't disappointed. Again, like the burger, this isn't the best wings we've ever had but the sauce was perfection. It was spicy but not numbing. In fact, they could have increased the spiciness a couple of notches more and people will still get it. 

Deep Fried Oreos!

The Service

They have good amount of staff members plus the owners so the service was good. They immediately lead us to our tables and gave us their menu. They waited patiently and described the dishes in question promptly. There were some dishes that took longer than we liked but the wait was usually worth it. This is another place where dishes with simple recipes come out impressive because of  proper technique. In fact, some dishes can be done at home but because they cooked it so well, you wouldn't feel guilty in ordering them.

The Price

Dishes start like the candied bacon start at  Php 150.00 and can go up to Php 925.00 for the Steak frites. The average price per dish is in the Php 200.00 to Php 250.00 so this place is affordable for it's quality. 

The Verdict

What We LIKED:

  • Affordable and Quality Canadian Comfort Food
  • Recipes that can be done at home but are amazing because of their technique in preparation and cooking
  • Homey Ambiance
  • Steak and Poutine!

What We Almost LIKED:

  • The place can be tight at times
  • Some dishes take a little longer than we'd like
  • Can be hard to miss if you weren't paying attention
  • Operating Hours can be a problem for some people (start at 4:30PM because they want to spend more time with their kid, which is not a bad thing)

Do you want to Contact 'HotBox Kitchen?'
Address: 450C P. Guevarra corner Wilson st. San Juan,  Metro Manila, Philippines
Telephone number: (02) 275-4577

Operating Hours: 
Tues-Thurs, Sun: 4.30PM to 11.00PM
Fri-Sat 4.30PM to 12MN


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