“Call me Kyle, ma’am.”
Not Chef. Not “sir”.
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.
The place is rather nondescript, unpretentious. Or in the lingo of millennials: not Instagrammable.
But people don’t go there for the instagrammable ambience.
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.
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.
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.
“It’s chicken palabok,” he tells DNX. Even the cracklings are a local brand of chicharon chicken flavor.
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.