Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Maharlika 05-07-2011

Location: 351 E. 12th St. at Resto Leon (Until May 15th on weekends only, Moving to 5 Ninth after)
Time: 1pm
People: FF, MKang and myself

Feelings: There are not enough Filipino restaurants in the city. The last Filipino spot I had was Purple Yam at Ditmas, and while it is not overall vegetarian friendly cuisine, I appreciate the unique and bold flavor choices. So although I am not a big fan of pop up restaurants because of the large crowds they attract, I could not pass up this rare opportunity to taste Filipino fusion brunch at Maharlika.

Reservations are strongly recommended, so make sure to email them early. The restaurant was completely packed with a line out to the door, and it was unusual to see a big crowd on this quiet East Village street. Often when there is a long wait, the staff could get rather annoying and pretentious, but at Maharlika, it's another story. They were pleasantly courteous without a hint of pretension. Our waiter explained the menu and dishes thoroughly, which was almost like taking a class of Filipino cuisine 101.

It took quite a while for the food to arrive, but spiced nuts and fried chicken skin with a side of Filipino style vinegar were presented to tie us over. The fried chicken skin was supposed to be used as palate cleanser, but we were a bit turned off by the grease. My mango stuffed French toast ($12, with caramelized macapuno and brioche from Balthazar) was on the sweet side, but it was truly decadent, and the soft texture of the brioche was delectable.

If I have a blog called Ramen and Friends, MKang should have a blog called Friend Rice and Friends. She knows her fried rice, and in fact she orders it almost every time we are out. Here, she ordered sizzling sisig with eggs ($13, grilled pig ears, snout, belly then sautéed with onions, garlic, lemon, served on sizzling plate with garlic rice). She thought the pork parts sounded strange but "tasted like yummy, greasy, crispy bits of pork," she said.

FF had Filipino style garlic flavored rice porridge with chicken, arroz caldo ($7). The fish sauce came on the side, and she mentioned that the flavor was already strong an did not need to add any sauce.

The concept of Asian fusion brunch is a welcoming addition, and Maharlika certainly satisfies the cravings of our Filipino curiosity. If you never tried Filipino food before and don't want to trek all the way to Ditmas, this would be a great introduction. When it comes to Filipino fusion, I certainly miss Cendrillon in SoHo, but Maharlika absolutely deserves a permanent spot in NYC restaurant scene.


KikaEats said...

So glad you finally made it there. I am going back this weekend before they change to their permanent location. Great photos!

Yosh. O said...

Thanks! I wish they'd stay in E. Village!