If there’s anything that’s everyone’s favorite food, it has got to be fried chicken. Running for nearly a year now, KETTLE still manages to gather a crowd and stack 10 to 15 customers in the waiting list. Every single table has got to have an order of their Southern style Buttermilk Fried Chicken.
The people behind mainstream steak house Tender Bob’s and Meat Plus Subic understand that the market deserves amazing comfort food. Prices at Kettle is certainly a notch higher, but having people willing to line up at Kettle is proof that people would pay more for quality, focused dishes that has the potential to become a classic favorite.
Kettle Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Cajun Honey and Gravy – P519
Its worth noting that Kettle’s Buttermilk Fried Chicken has been marinated 24 hours and spiked with paprika to have a unique crunch to its skin and make it unforgivingly tender on the inside. No bones, all meat. At P519, two large Fried Chicken at the size of your hands plus three cornbread makes it a great knockoff for tables of two but a little short for groups of 3-4.
Nowadays anything with honey to make it sweet and salty at the same time creates a buzz, especially with fried chicken. (If you can remember Gino’s Brick Oven Pizza also serves spiced honey on the side.) Cajun honey adds a great sweet taste to Kettle’s fried chicken and critics say, it could very well compete for the best buttermilk fried chicken in the country.
My personal opinion? I liked Pancake House’s pan fried chicken and gravy better than Kettle’s buttermilk fried chicken as I could probably ask for some maple syrup in their kitchen and drizzle the chicken skin generously. If it weren’t for its huge portion (which after dining a second time, the portion seemed to be larger than my first visit), and imagine it chopped into Fried Chicken tenders, I’m pretty sure people would have a different reception to Kettle and their bestselling dish. But then again, great work for Kettle to set it apart from the rest, a feat well thought of that is a hit to the Filipino market.
Mac and Four Cheese – P269
If Buttermilk Fried Chicken met my expectations, the rest of the items we ordered failed to win my tastebuds. I found Kettle’s Mac and Four Cheese with cheddar, fontina, gruyere and parmesan a bit tough to chew and lacking in cheese flavor.
It was a bit dry and I wished there were more melted cheese to coat the macaroni and make it one great comfort dish. Lifting a spoon of macaroni doesn’t produce that gooey creamy cheese that we all love in this favorite comfort dish.
Angus Roastbeef Sandwich – P439
Likewise, Kettle’s Angus Roastbeef sandwich was just alright. I was never a fan of putting beef and cheese into the same sandwich. The beef was tender and flavorful and I loved that it had the right amount of fat in it. Having the sandwich open-faced makes it expensive for a single sandwich and the bread probably wrong to match the delicious beef.
Pork and Potato Strips – P339
A lot of tables ordered the Pork and Potato Strips which my friend recommended me to order, but I was staying away from potato strips for the time being until I lose all the Tokyo weight I put through. 🙂 Those crunchy pork belly strips really tempted me so perhaps this should go in my order.
Flat Customer Service
Service was amiss; I found some servers rude, exuding too much confidence that you would indeed return to their restaurant even with a flat customer service and often times ignore you. One of them forgot my additional order of honey and would seem he did on purpose so I didn’t push through it anymore. My order of Roastbeef sandwich took too long to be served too and my appetite eventually faded.
System of waiting in line is not very good. Getting customer’s mobile number before they roam around the mall makes it unfair for the next ones in line to be seated. The receptionist was taking too much precious time calling each customer on the list when around 2-3 tables are already available, and several customers waited patiently for their turn and never left. 90% of the time, people in malls don’t really pay attention to their mobile phones tucked in their pockets or bags. I always say Chilis’ has if not, one of the best queueing system there is, keeping everyone fair on the list.
Then again maybe after going to Tokyo, the philosophy of Kaizen 改善 or continuous improvement even in restaurants kind of stuck in my head ~ something I always wished that we, here in the Philippines, would also adapt to make things efficient and smooth. We have a long, long, long way to go.
The Verdict: Worth Trying But…
The hype with the buttermilk fried chicken really increased my expectations with Kettle, and while it was indeed worth it to order their bestselling dish, I question if it will be able to withstand tough competitions with only one stellar dish and keep the quality and portion size consistent, with their less than satisfactory customer service. Being one of Manila’s best restaurants this 2014? If we’re talking about fried chicken only, maybe yes.
|Taste and Originality:||( 3 / 5)|
|Customer Experience:||( 1.5 / 5)|
|Value for Money:||( 2.5 / 5)|
|Brick and Mortar:||( 3 / 5)|
|Average:||(2.5 / 5)|