Kyle’s Eatery: Like home but better

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“Call me Kyle, ma’am.”

Not Chef. Not “sir”.

Just Kyle.

Kyle Martir could easily give certified chefs a run for their money. Tucked within the village of Olympia in barangay Alijis is Kyle’s Eatery, a small carinderia he owns and runs.

Kyle Martir shows off the house specialties, a collection of familiar fare but with a twist. | Photo by Banjo C. Hinolan

The place is rather nondescript, unpretentious. Or in the lingo of millennials: not Instagrammable.

But people don’t go there for the instagrammable ambience.

Hungarian sausage paired with Java rice topped with a perfectly-cooked sunny side up. | Photo by Banjo C. Hinolan

They are there for the food.

Back ribs. Palabok. Lengua. Bulalo. Chicken ala king.

It’s usual fare. But in Kyle’s, the food is upped a layer higher.

The back ribs, for instance, does not require a knife; meat just comes right off. The meat itself is seasoned, unlike in other restos where the flavors are derived from the sauce. Kyle’s backrib sauce is also superior: there are equal notes of sweet, sour, salt, bitter, and that unmistakeable umami, with a little bit of heat. Done in sauce heaven.

Back ribs. Tender. Tangy. Spicy. Hot. Sweet. Umami. An explosion of flavors in one plate. | Photo by Banjo C. Hinolan

The chicken ala king is also different. It’s deconstructed (and Kyle’s eyes lit up at the description). There is the fried chicken tender, equal parts juicy, equal parts crisp. And it sits — not soaked in — the bed of ala king sauce.

Chicken inasal. But fried. It’s twists like this one that keeps the customers coming back for seconds. | Photo by Banjo C. Hinolan

The eatery also has combined TWO classic dishes in one: the lengua and the cansi. This time, Kyle turned a classic over its head and paired it with another classic, that jiggly delicacy that is the despair of hypertensives everywhere. Doused in creamy mushroom sauce and arranged on a sizzling plate. It’s beyond words.

But it really is the palabok that is a huge best-seller. It’s belly-busting at half the price in restaurants.

Deconstructed. The chicken ala king is not slices of chicken drowning in ala king sauce. Instead, it’s chicken tenders sitting on a bed of the classic sauce. | Photo by Banjo C. Hinolan

“It’s chicken palabok,” he tells DNX. Even the cracklings are a local brand of chicharon chicken flavor.

“It’s chicken palabok,” Kyle says of his creation. The generous portions and the reasonable price make this the bestseller. | Photo by Banjo C. Hinolan

As we talk, a woman orders and patiently waits. A couple on my six orders the sizzling lengua y bulalo.

As we prepared to pack up, more people are coming in for a rather late lunch or afternoon snack.

And Kyle excuses himself to return to the kitchen for more cooking.

And by the looks of it, it would be something he would be doing for a long time.

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