The Araneta Center of Cubao, Quezon City used to be The Place before Makati and Taguig became the cultural hubs they are now. But it has experienced decades of neglect since then and if not for the famous Araneta Coliseum it may have been all but forgotten.
Fast forward to 2014 and you can see that the center is set for a massive transformation. Having said that, there still aren’t much restaurant choices available aside from major fast food chains and big casual dining locations that aren’t really exciting anymore. There’s Cubao Expo but the restaurants/bars don’t open until night time and Bellini’s is just too expensive for their location. However, Mister Kabab in the Manhattan Heights condominium is open and it’s a very welcome change.
My friend asked me: “Why are you ordering a Shawarma Plate when you can buy a shawarma wrap near the office cheaper?” My answer to that, my friend, is I love making my food and the propect of preparing my own wrap was too enticing. The beef was tender but bland on its own. However this can easily be remedied by their complimentary Yogurt and Hot Sauces that you can use with gusto. The Shawarma Plate comes on its own so if you want to experience making it a wrap you need to order Pita for 20 pesos each.
Beef Chelo Kabab
The Beef Chelo Kabab seems to be one of Mister Kabab’s best sellers. Pictures from all their locations on Instragram always feature these two bad boys. I think this is because you get two strips of grilled meat for under 200 pesos, a steal for someone who’s really hungry and craving for meat. Personally, I found that these were lacking from more of a meat flavor. I get more of a roasted tomato and onions taste and the meat themselves were a tad dry.
Selfie Treat (sounds like a fast food gimmick)
Yes folks, they call it Selfie Treat. An order gives you a free glass of instant iced tea. That piece of grilled chicken, although good and juicy, just looks sad. However, give that bowl of spinach in yogurt an applause because that is really good!
I swear it’s not beef mechado. It’s oily, and some may say yucky, but get past that and you’ll actually enjoy an awesome meal. That braised beef is super fork tender! The seasoning is perfect! You get authentic beef, tomatoes, and turmeric flavors and you keep wanting more. I suggest that you pair this with the Beryani rice if you really want a hearty and spicy meal.
That aforementioned Beryani
It may look like you average garden fried rice with yellow coloring but don’t let you guard down. This is their spicy fried rice, and the spice comes from tons of sliced raw green chilies that are literally everywhere in the rice.
Those were just the pieces I was able to set aside but believe me I kept crunching on them as I kept eating. And I kept on eating! The rice itself has this middle eastern flavor that I can’t quite figure out. Together with the Abgousht, I got so much good flavor that I kept forgetting about the raw pieces of chili in the rice. They became some sort of drug after some time. I had to have those crunchy spicy chili bits!
Yogurt Shake, to counter the spice
Nothing much to say about this. It’s a straight-up chilled yogurt drink. Just the right sweetness with the good yogurt taste that’s perfect to counter that spicy number I did with the Abgousht and Beryani. The server suggested I get this, I guess she knew I was going to be needing it.
Chocolate Lava Cake… The secret chocolate goodness of Cubao!
It’s chocolate, atop of chocolate, atop of chocolate! It’s not always available, so when it is and you’re in here order it! It’s only 100 pesos! I mean c’mon! It’s a steal at that price!
This cake looks like a small brown blob but all its chocolateness makes this a sexy dessert. The kicker here is that it’s not overpoweringly sweet. You taste bold chocolate flavors without getting a sore throat. It was really surprising to get this in a persian food place that’s mostly known for grilled meat. 100 pesos! Other cake shops should be put to shame for charging so high and not delivering as much as this!
This may not be the first Mister Kabab but is sure is located in the perfect spot right now. If you may, please try the other fares aside from their chelo kababs. You’ll be surprised about how good they can be. That Abgousht was just perfect. The chocolate lava cake?! Start your date night off with something as sexy as that and see what will happen.
It’s exciting to be thinking about what’s in store for the Araneta Center in the years to come. I hope it leads to a dining scene that will resemble BGC. And no, I don’t work for the Araneta Group. I just happen to be working in an office located within the Araneta Center with a great view of the things to come.