I confess: this blog has been radio silent for what has been a relatively long time. Work deadlines, one’s book, a bit of personal fretting, a lot of ill health, certainly more ill will from one source or another – these have all taken their toll and then some. To the extent, alas, that I was housebound for the better part of a week; chronic fatigue syndrome and creative burnout can and will do that to you. Believe me when I say that the results have not been pretty.
There have been a few pockets of happiness, though. Solo walks around the BGC with naught but my iPod camera for company, snapping shots of things that tickle my fancy and inspire fresh verses. Reading updates from the friends who are still on the road, the fun they’re having between gigs; the things they’ve seen, done, and experienced. Meeting up with friends old and new over cups of very good coffee and plates of nice sandwiches and pastries. (Those croissants at Toby’s Estate, those flat whites…!) Cooking or baking for family and friends whenever I have energy to spare. And, of course, trying new restaurants on my own.
One particular place that stands out is Shawarma Bros.
Shawarma Bros started out as a food truck plying its trade in key points of the Greater Manila Area and doing the rounds of several popular gourmet markets and foodie events. Now, though, they have a spot at the Boni Stopover in the BGC, a place rapidly gaining popularity due to the number of restaurants located within.
The interiors are rather manly, really; definitely speaks to the bros amongst us. An urban aesthetic, rather street with simulated pedestrian lanes, bare pipes overhead, rather Spartan interiors: but there is a fun sort of vibe running through the place, giving it a relaxed ambience that encourages diners eating in to chill out and enjoy their food as opposed to just bolting it down and fleeing the premises ASAP.
It’s semi-self-service here with the Bros: you mosey up to the counter and place an order. The staff will give you a nifty thingamajig like the one at the top of this post; wait for it to light up and buzz; go pick up your order along with napkins and cutlery, and let the good times roll.
The thing about Shawarma Bros is that they kind of go beyond the Middle Eastern wrap from which they took their name. Aside from classic shawarma plates featuring grilled beef, chicken, or lamb, they also pander to local tastes by offering generously-portioned rice plates which feature one’s protein of choice paired with a tangy salad and some zesty and flavourful biryani rice. In a rather unusual twist, they also offer – get this! – burritos where pita bread is rolled around biryani, your protein of choice, and some veg.
For those with very hearty appetites, however, the Bros also offer their Big Bro rice plates. Aside from the aforementioned rice plate, you also get a saucerful of beef keema – and if that isn’t hefty enough for you, I don’t know what is.
For this particular lunch, I decided to go full-on MidEastern and opted for the lamb steak Big Bro rice plate (P 279.00; with a single-serve iced tea). Here, the lamb is plated up in bite-sized chunks alongside the rice and salad. Very tender to the bite, the lamb is also properly seasoned and you can detect the flavour of cumin and – was that a touch of cinnamon? – garlic. The gaminess that puts off most people from eating lamb is quite toned down and the tangy tomato, cucumber, and onion salad adds a sharp, tart contrast to the meat.
The keema is also tasty. Think of a Bolognese sauce that can pretty much stand on its own without pasta and, like the lamb, flavoured with the spices of the Middle East. When eaten with spoonfuls of the biryani, it gains a nutty savour.
Upon ordering, the staff will also ask you what sauces you’d prefer. Their hot sauce is pretty damned incendiary; perfect for chileheads. But, for more tender-tongued specimens like yours truly, the tomato cheese with its nacho-like flavours and the bright-tasting garlic yogurt will suffice.
All in all, Shawarma Bros will definitely leave you well-stuffed and absolutely satisfied with your meal.
Shawarma Bros: 2nd Floor – Boni Stopover, 31st St. cor. 2nd Ave., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig