New Restaurant Alert: Guisados at Congressional Avenue Extension, Quezon City
Finally, QC has a great taco shop, too.
1 Salinglahi Homes, Congressional Avenue Extension, Barangay Culiat, Quezon City
Open from 10 a.m. to 12 a.m. (Monday to Thursday) and 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. (Friday to Saturday)
(SPOT.ph) Mexican restaurants are pretty sparse in Quezon City, which makes Guisados, a newly opened Mexican-inspired eatery along Congressional Avenue Extension, fairly unique. Guisados is the creation of Jellone Umali and JP Valera, who met through mutual friends. Jellone was developing a recipe for lechon at the time, while JP, who hails from Texas, was mulling over the possibility of opening a restaurant here in the Philippines. The next nine months were spent developing the menu and cooking until they hit upon the right combination of what tastes like authentic Mexican and a flavor that the Filipino palate wouldn’t find too alien.
Jellone recreates Mexican flavors the best way he can using materials available in the Philippines. Instead of tomatillos, he uses unripe tomatoes and he concocted his own Mexican seasoning. His resourcefulness not only supports local products, it also keeps the prices reasonable, too. Freshness is the theme here, with 80% of the ingredients made on-site.
Guisados has only been open since late October 2015, yet it’s already drawing in curious diners and some of its offerings have become popular favorites. The Mexican Fries (P150), a heap of potato, sweet potato, yam, purple yam, and carrot slivers, is a popular choice for groups. The quesadillas (P220), which are filled with Angus beef and cheese, are another bestseller.
Mexican chicken wings
Guisados is careful to emphasize that it’s only Mexican-inspired. There are a few dishes that you wouldn’t find in usual Mexican restaurants, like the Mexican chicken wings (P245/six pieces, P385/10 pieces), and the rich, smoky Roasted Pork Belly (P250/quarter-kilo, P490/half-kilo).
Roasted Pork Belly
Tacos! (with rice!)
One of the highlights of the menu is the tacos, which come in five flavors: Beef Barbacoa (P80), Chicken (P75), Pork Carnitas (P80), Pork Belly (P75), Chorizo with Egg (P85), which Jellone says is inspired by Vigan longganisa, and Chicharron (P80). You can order a single taco, as part of a sampler (albeit at a smaller size), or as part of a meal with rice and beans. You can also swap out the corn tortillas for flour tortillas at P10 apiece. The tacos may not be particularly large, but they contain a satisfying amount of juicy meat sprinkled with onions and cilantro. Like most of the items on the menu, they come with a trio of sauces: red salsa, green salsa verde, and the labuyo-based spicy red salsa.
Jellone looks forward to adding more to Guisados’s selection, like ceviche, fish tacos, and nachos, as well as drinks, like mojitos and margaritas. Tip: Ask for the lemon drop, a refreshing blend of freshly squeezed lemon juice, water, and simply syrup, and add a splash of beer to it. For now, they’re concentrating on keeping everything fresh and consistent, and on introducing a new flavor to the city.
Photos by TJ Tantiangco