I daresay I’m pretty lucky to be working with people who love food as much as – or possibly even more than – I do. It usually results in plans to head out of the office on a Friday evening to grab dinner and [occasionally] a few drinks. In doing so, we find ourselves trying new restaurants or discovering new dishes and treats from old favourites. There are many ways of enjoying a Friday night out, – some better, some worse – but, really: this is the one I’m sticking to.
One particular Friday night outing found us snaffling up an Uber ride to Century City Mall where the Hole in the Wall food hall features an amazing selection of cuisines to tempt even the pickiest tastebuds. Once there, we made a beeline towards Bad Bird.
Bad Bird’s piece de resistance is its umami fried chicken: chicken that is steeped in a flavourful marinade before being rolled in seasoned flour and panko. These deep-fried beauties are gorgeously crunchy on the outside (yes, the skin crackles loudly whenever you take a bite), deliciously succulent within, and – sans exaggeration – have a definitely moreish flavour.
The chicken comes in three levels of spiciness: normal which has a rather miso and nori sort of flavour profile, spicy which has the somewhat citrus and capsicum heat of shichimi togarashi, and the totally worrying chemical. I don’t have the gall to sample the chemical level which I hear really sends zings up and down one’s esophagus, so I just stuck with the spicy and was not disappointed.
Considering that I got a breast portion (you know very well I’m more of a dark meat sort of person), I found it very good: juicy and not at all dry, the meat having soaked up the pleasantly piquant marinade to the smallest fibres. Hefty and just this side of fiery, it was a delicious way to kick-start the weekend.
And it isn’t just the chicken that wins prizes at Bad Bird as the sides are anything but shabby. The stall adds an Asian twist to a classic from the American Deep South: their chicken and waffles plate (Php 320.00) plates up the umami fowl with sweet potato waffles slathered with nutty-tasting miso butter and a generous drizzle of real maple syrup. Definitely a go-to dish for people who crave for something sweet but not so sweet as to be considered dessert.
Savoury-cravers like myself, on the other hand, would do well to grab the dirty rice plate (Php 350.00). Here, the chicken is accompanied by a generous bowl of fried rice made absolutely flavourful and divine by the addition of bacon, chicken liver (!), and katsuoboshi shavings that give it a distinctive surf-and-turf vibe (well, coop and coast to be more accurate.) The plate is rounded off with an equally generous portion of house-made kimchi. The tang and almost fruity taste of the chili-pickled cabbage is just the thing to cut through the rich flavours of the chicken and rice. Definitely something to return to some other weekend.
Bad Bird: Hole in the Wall Food Hall, 4th Floor – Century City Mall, Poblacion, Makati