(SPOT.ph) While many may not see the point of having Filipino home-style food outside one’s house—after all, what can they whip up that your mom can’t do better?—some restaurants make a strong case for it. For one, there’s Sarsa Kitchen + Bar, where Chef JP Anglo and his team just launched new dishes designed to give you the comfort you expect whenever you eat Pinoy food, but with playful new twists.
Sinigang Fried Chicken Wings
Case in point: Their Sinigang Fried Chicken Wings (P250). Even the name doesn’t quite prepare you for how distinctly sinigang-like these chicken wings taste, each crispy bite full of that mildly fruity but still distinctly sour tang only the classic Filipino soup can offer. The secret? “We make sinigang broth from scratch and we marinate the chicken wings there,” shares Chef JP. And because Sarsa is, well, Sarsa, there is a dipping sauce: A smooth red bell pepper dip to counter the acidity of the chicken wings. But if you ask us, the wings are already delicious on their own.
No Negrense restaurant is complete without some chicken inasal, so their new dish lineup includes two novel variants. The Spicy Pa-a (P185) is perfect for those who love some heat with their chicken, where every munch is piquant because of siling labuyo. But the admittedly more intriguing Gata Pa-a (P185) deserves a share of the spotlight (and the dining table), too. “We were talking about the future of inasal,” says Chef JP. “And we were in Catanduanes, and there were so many coconuts, so I thought 'What if we marinate chicken in gata?'” The idea proved to be genius, the addition of gata or coconut milk making the slices of chicken even juicier and creamier.
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While an essential part of Filipino cuisine, not many would voluntarily try chicken liver because of its gamey, slightly bitter aftertaste. Chef JP solves the problem through the Atay (P185), which comes with tsokolate sauce, an idea Chef JP credits to SPOT.ph's contributing lifestyle editor Clinton Palanca. “This is from when we did Madrid Fusion and the theme was 'nose-to-tail,'” Chef JP explains. “I asked for Clinton’s opinion and he told me, 'Why don’t we pair chocolate with the liver? Because it works—creamy and chocolatey.'” And the pairing does work—it helps that the chicken liver is cooked to a smooth, almost velvet-like consistency, with zero unpleasant aftertastes. The tsokolate sauce further masks its gamey flavor, adding a bittersweet dark chocolate-taste that pairs well with the chargrilled chicken liver.
Also new on the menu: Sizzling Monggo (P250)
The Kansi Rice Noodles (P295) is Chef JP's take on char kway teow.
Even after just launching 11 new dishes, Chef JP already has more things planned for the Negrense restaurant’s future. What’s next? “I want to make a Filipino curry,” shares Chef JP. “My attempts always taste a little Malaysian or Singaporean but I want it to taste simply Pinoy.” With a menu that consistently packs a flavorful punch, we’re sure whatever he has in store will be just as exciting.
See a list of Sarsa branches.
Photos by Majoy Siason