Hikay Lutong Pinoy

2 Jan
Hikay Lutong Pinoy

First post of the year! – Hikay Lutong Pinoy

It’s the new year and I was hoping I’d do a lot of posting as a new year’s resolution. Since last year wasn’t a really decent year for my posts, I would like to make up for the lack of food reviews 🙂 Now, here’s the buena mano for the year 2014!!!

Hikay Lutong Pinoy

With the Family for Post-Christmas Dinner

My uncle and a nephew came to visit after Christmas so my cousins decided that it was time for a big gathering. Since they were getting tired of Lantaw and we had a very very kulit kid in tow, they decided to have dinner somewhere with literally four corners. Filipino food was the safest and easiest way to the tummies of our dear parents so we went ahead and checked out Hikay Lutong Pinoy at the Calyx Centre in IT Park.

It’s quite easy to spot, just across McDonald’s Drive-Thru at The Walk and beside Serenitea. The place is quite small compared to the likes of Chikaan, Lantaw in Cordova and Golden Cowrie.

Hikay Lutong Pinoy

Their Lighting Fixture – amazing!

They only have a few seats, but the lighting fixtures were awesome. There’s really nothing fancy inside the restaurant, perhaps they want to make it a zen-ish twist to the usual Filipino Restaurant ambiance. I think the place was already great in general except for the centerpieces – a regular looking vase with a fortune plant on it. Not something you would expect from a chic-looking resto though. 🙂

Now let’s get to the food. I admit – I love the food there! I know Filipino food is very basic for us and it’s really hard to tell if the food is any good because your mom or someone you know might cook a better version of it. But for me, Hikay’s Bicol Express was more than outstanding! It wasn’t too spicy but the flavors were just bursting in my mouth – the taste of “uyap” or small shrimps and coconut milk, plus the pieces of meat were quite big. My second favorite was the Ampalaya salad. YES, that’s right – Ampalaya. It was made of fresh ampalaya with dilis and tomatoes. You could not taste the bitterness of the Ampalaya at all. It was honestly a great way of serving Ampalaya to those who do not like its bitter taste. They also serve an array of Filipino food staples. We had Tinolang Manok Bisaya, Sisig, Crispy Pata, Ngohiong, Kinilaw na isda, and Baked Scallops. The scallops were unlike I have ever tasted as well – they were just baked right so the Scallops didn’t taste like they were dehydrated (if you look at the pictures you’d see how fat the scallops still are).

Hikay Lutong Pinoy

Baked Scallops – YUM!

Overall, our dining experience was pleasant, but my family they’re quite strict with customer service. The service at Hikay did not pass their standards. I will explain myself on the ratings below. I think McDonald’s had better food service haha. Or my family’s just so used to service at Lantaw or Golden Cowrie where they proactively wait on you for everything you need. And now for the verdict!

Hikay Lutong Pinoy

Our Food Spread

Ratings:

Hikay Lutong Pinoy

My Fave Bicol Express and Kinilaw na isda on the left

Food: 8/10 – The food is already delicious for a Filipino restaurant, but there is room for improvement. For me, the other dishes were alright and the others were quite outstanding. I could really say this is a good score for a Filipino restaurant for me because we’re so used to the food that it gets hard to judge it. Again, the must-try dishes for me are Bicol Express, Baked Scallops and the Ampalaya Salad. They need to improve though on their portions. I was quite disappointed with how small the beef steak serving was.

Value for Money: 7/10 – The price isn’t really any different from other Filipino restaurants around. It would really depend on how much you’re willing to spend on the food that you’d like to try. Let’s say the Large Crispy Pata is at PhP 365, which is more or else the same price with the same sized Crispy Pata at Chikaan. I would like to think that it’s worth splurging on food at a Filipino Restaurant if you’re with a big group or with family.

Hikay Lutong Pinoy

Beef Steak on the left and the Ampalaya Salad on the right

Service: 5/10 – If there’s one thing that should be outstanding from a Filipino Restaurant that is the service. Sadly, for Hikay they really need a lot of improvement with their staff. Good thing we ordered and made a reservation the day before because the food could take a while to serve even on a slow day. The odd thing is the waitresses panicked when a lot of customers started coming in and you, as a customer, can feel that. It goes down from there. Unlike other restos, they don’t proactively offer you a refill of your rice or your iced tea. It’s quite a hassle having to call them over to your table for a refill. Worst part was when we asked for our take home leftovers tenenentenen!!! They did not put it all in the bag. It’s not a big deal really – but it’s a like a proof of their state of mind – present but absent. minded.

Cleanliness and Ambiance: 8/10 – I like how they fixed the place. Nothing too fancy nor too flashy. I loved their plates and the clean feel to the whole resto and I especially liked the lighting fixtures. the place was well lit and cozy. There’s a bar on the far right side and a restroom – which is much much much important in any establishment. Over-all the place was clean, but the tables are quite near from the next so there’s not much walking space if the resto is filled.

Hikay Lutong Pinoy

A bowl of Tinolang Manok Bisaya

Tip: If you’re in a hurry or you’d want to get your food fast – make a reservation and order ahead. You can search for their menu online or pay a visit before your actual dining experience. Their dancing waiters/waitresses are also on during the weekends so if you want a good show, maybe you should dine there on those days.

It’s such a great experience for me to start my first post of 2014 with a place I shared with my family. After all, I got my love for food and cooking from them. I really hope this would be a good year for all of us and a better journey towards culinary finds in Cebu and wherever my feet would take me. Happy new year!

Happy 2014 Everyone!

Happy 2014 Everyone!

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