New Restaurant Alert: Ricing Bowl at Chino Roces Avenue, Makati
A no-nonsense, do-it-yourself rice bowl joint
G/F Ponte Building, Chino Roces Avenue corner Ponte Street, Makati City
Open daily from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m.
(SPOT.ph) The guys of Ricing Bowl mean business. Longtime friends Bryan Prieto, Anton Panajon, and Budu Atilano may not be chefs or experienced restaurateurs, but they love eating enough to boldly open their own food business. And the idea was clear from the very beginning: to keep things as simple and fuss-free as possible for both them and the diners.
"We followed some models that were very enticing, like Chipotle in the U.S. and their assembly line method. We love food and we wanted to make things easy, to focus more on quality rather than quantity. But keep in mind, we are amateurs in this business. We're just a bunch of guys hoping to do some good, and that's pretty much how this concept was born," shares Bryan who heads the Ricing Bowl kitchen.
Easy, convenient, and delicious
"We have our own set of core competencies, so we know where each one stands. I take care of the finances, Bryan is in charge of the kitchen, and Anton handles marketing and social media," adds Budu.
The interiors of the Asian rice bowl station are as unassuming as its owners. The spotless, industrial design is simple yet inviting, and works to put the focus on the dining experience. Anton says, "We want to give customers an elevated experience, not fast food but not high end either. They can eat this much for this price in an ambience that is nice."
Eating is literally as simple as 1-2-3 in Ricing Bowl. The three-step ordering process, with menu choices kept at a minimum, helps customers easily create their rice bowl combos (P149/bowl).
The first step is to choose your sauce from the nutty Peanut Satay, the slightly sweet Pumpkin Gata, or the bestselling and quite addictive Salted Egg. All three sauces feature mild flavors and smooth textures so as to not overpower the vegetables and proteins, and come with complementary toppings such as fried alamang (for the salted egg), crushed peanuts (satay), and dilis (pumpkin gata) to provide just the right amount of flavor.
A generous serving of veggies, either the cooling Asian Crunch (coleslaw) or the smoky and sweet Charred Corn and Carrots, is added in Step 2. And in Step 3 comes the best part – the protein.
Although Ricing Bowl prioritizes simplicity and convenience, it veers away from the fast food setup. Each bowl is freshly prepared, with the Liempo and Pandan Chicken grilled for a standout smoky taste and served in bits for easier consumption. The Lemongrass Fish, seasoned cream dory balls more on the salty side, are deep fried until nicely brown.
"We could have gone the quick way out and just fried everything, but we decided that we liked grilled food. The texture, the flavor, the juices, everything just blends in much better with the grill," explains Bryan.
A hefty serving of premium white rice serves as the base, and just recently, brown rice (additional P20) was made available for a healthier option. French fries (P60) in barbecue, sour cream, and cheese are now available, too, for while you wait.
If you're planning a visit to this joint on the quieter side of Chino Roces, the Ricing Bowl trio recommends the following bestselling combos: Salted Egg-Asian Crunch-Grilled Liempo, Peanut Satay-Charred Corn and Carrots-Chicken Pandan, and Pumpkin Gata-Asian Crunch-Lemongrass Fish.
Ricing Bowl is still finding its footing, and the owners are looking to cater to even more diners. "We want people to try this location because it gives a homey vibe. People come here and they want to stay and talk to us, so we want to share that with more customers," Budu says.
Photos by Majoy Siason