Where Soul Meets Food

Friday, November 4, 2016

Soul Chefs is located at the prime area of Marikina, Lilac St. Coming from Quezon City, I didn't have a hard time finding the place especially with the help of Waze.

The moment I entered the place, I was welcomed by a very relaxing interior. My immediate thought was, "this is such a cozy restaurant". I loved the artwork, the frames, and the wallpaper. I loved the colors, everything!

The restaurant is named Soul Chefs for the main reason that they cook with feelings. The chefs behind this wonderful place believe that to be able to serve good food, you don't just cook; you don't just do the plating - you put effort and your soul to each dish. Talking about effort, all ingredients are homemade. They don't buy ready made ingredients in the market.

Now let us take a peek at the food we ate.

Soul Chefs Salad, P180
As an adult, whenever I eat out, I now try to force myself to eat salad or any form of fiber. I got giddy upon seeing this salad because I saw the generous (for a salad) serving of the chicken chunks! The chicken definitely tasted like KFC Hotshots (which I know everybody will love) but it's not as breaded, meaning they didn't cheat. Good, good, good! There was definitely patis (fish sauce) present, and they also added sriracha vinaigrette which added a fun kick to the salad. Sriracha vinaigrette helps mellow the tartness of the vinegar without diminishing the flavor.

Shrimp with Salted Egg, P350
 I am personally not a fan of salted eggs and I am actually allergic to shrimp but I dared to try this dish just because it was so inviting. (PS: I made sure I had my meds with me)

The best part about this dish is that you get to eat the whole shrimp. They made the head of the shrimp very crispy so that you could eat it. The shrimp did not have a stench taste/smell and it was not too salty. We all know that shrimps have their own flavor and just one mistake upon cooking, you'll end up having your shrimp too salty. This. Was. Perfect.

Chicken BBQ Chimichangga, P220
This quesadilla came with a warning that it would be spicy. I personally love spicy food and now, I personally love this! The chicken tasted so good and the wrap was perfectly cooked. I missed out on tasting the "bbq" in the dish, but I didn't care because my favorite part of this dish is the garlic mayonnaise. It was so good I forgot about everything else. I am not overreacting here cause...who doesn't love garlic mayo anyways?!

Sizzling Bulalo, P375
I like my traditional Bulalo. I like it with soup and patismansi. I was a bit hesitant (at first) to eat this because I was afraid it might be sweet but my friend Mai said that this was her favorite dish and so I tried it. It wouldn't be anyone's favorite if it weren't good, eh? 

I was surprised with how tender the meat was. The meat they used is from New Zealand, another plus, but it ended up to be this tender because it was cooked with soul...naks! No kidding though. This doesn't taste like it was cooked in a hurry. It was carefully prepared by the magical hands of the soul chefs! What's also surprising about it is that even when it had gotten a little colder (and obviously with no sizzle anymore), the texture was still intact. Usually, when we eat bulalo or any beef dish, there would be sebo and would taste of fat all the more. But this... this was something else.

Dinaksig, P180
My friends and I didn't know what Dinakdakan is, so we made contact with Mr. Google. As per Google, it is an Ilocano grilled pig head/face, it is a somewhat similar to sisig. However, dinakdakan is cut in small slices against sisig which is chopped or cut in small cubes. It is actually serve as appetizer for those who love drinking liquor but it is equally good for viand. Preparation is similar to pork kinilaw with the addition of pork brain and/or mayonnaise. My friends and I kind of..freaked out a bit. Nobody was prepared to eat pig ears that day!

Being one of Soul Chefs' best sellers, no, they didn't use pig ears. Dinaksig is their own concoction of Dinakdakan. Dinakdakan + sisig = Soul Chefs Dinaksig. NOT intestines nor stomach nor ears nor brain but pork belly. Yum, yum, yum! It came with a warning that it might be too oily but none of us tasted "too much oil". We had a chat with Chef Patrick after and we told him it was too oily; only to find out that they used olive oil. Yes, sisig and olive oil does match. I personally am not a fan of mayo-sisigs but the mayonnaise in this sisig is conservative and just enough to add to the flavor. This is now my Top 1 Sisig (with mayo). Non-mayo sisigs are a different issue. :D

Crispy Pork Belly, P250
Crispy Pork Belly, P250
 Oh the mother of them pork bellies...lo and behold, my favorite Soul Chefs entrée: Crispy Pork Belly!! Forgive the excitement. I just love this so much that as of writing, I am thinking of a free day to drive to Marikina and get this plate of heaven.

How do I even begin?!
The meat is cooked for SIX HOURS. Can you believe that?! Talk about effort. Six long hours. It's three (3) hours roasted, and three (3) hours boiled. Now you might be wondering about the skin... the skin is fried. This masterpiece tastes so good I cannot even think of a flaw. It was a brilliant idea to cook it separately and it was a brilliant idea to come up with the cooking strategy. We were filming for the 360 video when we ate here and after the whole thing, I asked for more rice and finished what was left. Hehe! I know, same old me.

PLEASE do watch our 360 Video Review of Soul Chefs here: Filipino Soul Food 360

Photo opp with the gang, Chef Patrick and Chef Billie

All in all, they're not all "corny" when they decided to claim that they cook with their souls. Although I do not mind driving to Marikina for this, I'm hoping for a branch out in Quezon City!
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