Habanero Kitchen.Bar: They love the hot stuff

Cubao Expo,General Romulo Avenue, Cubao, Quezon City

Cubao Expo,General Romulo Avenue, Cubao, Quezon City

One of the perks of working at the Cubao Office is that we are pretty close to Cubao Expo. You can find some reviews of mine of places in Cubao X here and here. Habanero kitchen.bar is a recent joiner but the people have been quick to welcome it with open arms.

Slapping “Habanero” on the name is not a gimmick. They’ve thought of every way to incorporate it to almost everything, they even have a Habanero Vodka that will blow your mind. If you’re not familiar with the Habanero (and how it’s way more spicier than our siling labuyo), here’s a little video from Glozell showing just how volatile this little pepper can be.

No airconditioning and it looks really old inside, but you can actually call it a gastropub

No airconditioning and it looks really old inside, but you can actually call it a gastropub

I have been here three times already this year: The first was when I was touring one of my staffers who made a trip to the Cubao office from Alabang; The rest were with Haziel. My girlfriend loves spicy food and so Habanero kitchen.bar would be a place to her liking, food wise at least.

Kids and yuppies alike seem to flock to this place

Students and yuppies alike seem flock to this place

Habanero-Kitchen-Bar

A lot of spicy dishes but I don’t think everything has Habanero as an ingredient necessarily (I could be wrong, don’t quote me on that). The ones you’re sure to have habanero are mentioned in the menu such as the Mushroom Pasta with Habanero Rum, Lechon Habanero, and the Turon Habanero to name a few.

Habanero-Kitchen-Bar

Not much has changed in the look of the Bar from January to April, just the craft beers on display

It’s hot and humid inside (especially during the El Niño phenomenon happening at the time of this writing) and the spicy food does not help that. Prices are a bit high for the location, but the place does not have any tv or play loud music. You can just enjoy the company of the people you are with along with the bold, spicy food and great alcohol.

Habanero Vodka

One with Sprite, one just on the rocks

One with Sprite, one on the rocks (or ball?)

I swear this is not a gimmick. As you swig the vodka, you are assaulted by this flavor of habanero and your brain will begin to panic like it’s preparing you for a world of hurt. But then the assault of spiciness does not come (well not much at least) and you are both relieved and amazed. I got it with Sprite and it did not mask any of the Chili flavor in the vodka. I also swear that the habanero essence in the alcohol made it stronger. I felt hammered after just one glass. You must try this, your visit in Habanero kitchen.bar is worthless without drinking the Habanero Vodka.

Chocolate Lavender Mudslide

Can you guess who ordered this? :)

Can you guess who ordered this? 🙂

Aside from the Habanero Vodka, they also have a Chocolate Lavender Vodka. The chocolate and lavender taste is not overpowering and is interesting with the spirit of alcohol. Putting it with more chocolate in a glass slightly tapers down the alcohol but you won’t lose it altogether. This will be an excellent middle ground for people who are alcohol averse but still want to hangout with those who are not.

Pinatubo Craft Beer – Brainstorm and Sunrise

Brainstorm and Sunrise, some of the Pinatubo Craft Beers

Brainstorm and Sunrise, some of the Pinatubo Craft Beers

Sunrise is a wheat beer. I like wheat beers be it hoegaarden, Brew Kettle, or the craft brew by Pedro (which looks and tastes like Brew Kettle). All those three have a light, orangey, and floral taste. Sunrise is bitter with a faint citrus hint. I do not really like it. Brainstorm is a dark IPA and it is just bitter tasting to me and I also don’t really like it.

Habanero Three-Cheese Pizza

"Not just for cheese lovers!" - Habanero kitchen.bar

“Not just for cheese lovers!” – Habanero kitchen.bar

It’s pricey at just under 450 Php. It’s made of cream sauce, habanero rum, mozzarella, cheddar, and quezo de bola (the picture was the iteration when it still had parmessan instead of quezo de bola), and basil. The habanero rum is hardly distinguishable on the pizza but I imagine it would taste a bit like Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, am I correct? Aside from that it will be just ordinary cheese pizza and so I don’t really agree that it should cost this much.

Mussels Sisig Pizza

Their pizzas are really pricey and not that big

Their pizzas are really pricey and not that big

This was the first food I ever tried in Habanero kitchen.bar way back in January 2016 and it too is expensive. Almost 400 Php for a pizza made of tomato sauce and cream for the base, habanero rum, one of their specialties mussels (tahong) sisig, mozzarella, parmessan, and some herbs on top. It’s good but should it really cost that much?

A closer look at that Musssls Sisig Pizza

A closer look at that Musssls Sisig Pizza

This was back in the early days

This was back in the early days

Back then the server gave us these two condiments for our pizza. Can you see the Habanero in the Habanero Chili Oil? The Chili sauce was in s spritzer that you can spray with gusto. The next time I was here with Haziel they rationed the sauce in a small saucer. Oh the good old days…

Mushroom Pasta with Habanero Rum

Just say it. Those are bread pan pieces arranged on a line.

Just say it. Those are bread pan pieces arranged on a line.

Cream based pasta with sauteed mushrooms infused with habanero rum. Sounds good right? But what’s the deal with the bread pan? I’m not mad, I’m actually amused. I mean I like bread pan, but what is it doing in our bowl of pasta that costs 250 Php?

I can’t help but to ask yet again: “Should this bowl of pasta cost this much just because of the Habanero rum?” The pasta was a little bland and take out the rum it’s just cream and mushroom pasta.

This picture was also months ago and they may have dropped the bread pan in recent times, but why do it at all? Is it really hard to put actual bread in there?

Oysters Sisig

Looks the same as before, too bad the same cannot be said about the taste

Looks the same as before, too bad the same cannot be said about the taste

Do you know how expensive Oysters are here in the Philippines? And here you have a sizzling plate full of the stuff? You ask: “Is it fresh?”; I answer: “No”.

Habanero-Kitchen-Bar-Oysters-Sisig

The first time was delightful. It didn’t taste fresh but how they treated the dish made is appetizing. I don’t really condone chopping up oysters, deep-frying it, and then cooking it further in a sizzling plate. But the sauce, which I reckon revolves around mayonnaise, along with the onions and chives made it enjoyable. I also think that how they deep fried the oyster to get that right crust did wonders to cut some of the fishiness.

However, eating it again recently confirmed my initial nightmare about this dish. The second time around it tasted fishy and I guess they didn’t cook it as well enough anymore. Or it could be that there wasn’t enough sauce as the first time to mask the fishy taste.

Turon Habanero

A spicy twist to the traditional turon

A spicy twist to the traditional turon

“There’s only one way to describe this, it’s PARTY IN YOUR MOUTH” – Habanero kitchen.bar

The filing is the traditional Saba and Langka but what’s happening outside makes it special. It’s resting on a bed of coffee cotton candy and then there’s the Habanero Chilijam slattered on top. The garnish are baby basil leaves. Sweet and Spicy together in one dish is a good thing, but I would like it if this was made with an a la mode version to cut some of the intense heat from the jam. I mean it’s concentrated habanero essence in a thick jam, it’s flaming! Haziel loved this dessert, of course.

A little bit of nitpicking: The cotton candy is really thick and sticky and the hot turon placed on top melts it and thus cements the two together. You need to eat it with a knife and fork. You have to really cut into it because the cotton candy is so sticky and in the process you’ll be cutting into the wood vessel it is served with. The type of wood scores easily. I suggest this be served in a something tougher.

Ruminations…

Habanero kitchen.bar offers some surprising dishes and drinks, most especially their proprietary Habanero Vodka. That alone will get me trooping back as often as I can. I must question the prices of the pizzas though and I must try the Habanero Lechon in the future. I only wish it’d be airconditioned since the space is really small and always packed full of people.

Yes sir at the bar, I'm taking a picture of you. Not the sign on the window, you're my subject for the picture.

Yes sir at the bar, I’m taking a picture of you. Not the sign on the window.

If you’re in the Cubao area and in a jam for a place to drink with your buddies (or just yourself, I’m not judging), head on over to Cubao Expo. If Habanero kitchen.bar (which it probably will be) there are countless other spots to go try. It’s right next to The Appraisery and you can have a cuppa and play some table top games while waiting for a table to be available.


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