You'll Go Crazy for Loco Manuk's Insanely Flavorful Roast Chicken

This chicken dinner is a winner!

Loco Manuk
5072 SGC Building, P. Burgos corner B. Valdez Street, Poblacion, Makati City
Open from 12 p.m. to 1 a.m. (Sunday to Wednesday) and 12 p.m. to 3 a.m. (Thursday to Saturday)

PHOTO BY Majoy Siason

(SPOT.ph) It’s easy to dismiss Loco Manuk as another all-for-the-aesthetic, Instagram-worthy restaurant. Their spacious dining area on the second floor is, after all, an IG junkie’s dream come to life: Every nook is covered colorful messages from the restaurant’s patrons plus vibrant posters and funky décor. Even the bold, patterned tiles make for a great #shoefie background.

Every corner of Loco Manuk's dining area is a feast for the eyes.
PHOTO BY Majoy Siason
PHOTO BY Majoy Siason
PHOTO BY Majoy Siason
Parreno shares that diners can still leave messages on the walls.
PHOTO BY Majoy Siason

But for chef Danny Parreno, it’s more about expressing his colorful Peruvian background than it is about racking up likes on social media—not that they mind the latter, of course. “We wanted people to feel that Latin, Hispanic influence,” says Parreno. “So we decided to go with a look that is loud. All of this, for me, is just about having fun.”

They've also got a sunny al-fresco area.
PHOTO BY Majoy Siason
PHOTO BY Majoy Siason

Plus, they’ve got food that’s as vibrant and impactful as their interiors—Chef Danny cites not just his home country, Peru, but also Thailand as his main culinary influences. “I really liked the punchy, fresh flavors of Thai food,” says Parreno. “Coming from Peru, that flavor profile wasn’t foreign to me since we also use a lot of lemon and chili. So when I discovered Thai food, I thought ‘Oh my god, I’m at home.’”

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Loco Manuk roasts their chicken for three to four hours then steams it before serving.
PHOTO BY Majoy Siason

The Philippines, too, has become another source of inspiration for Perreno. “Coming down to Manila, I started to get excited by all these different products,” he shares. “You have these amazing mangosteen, for example, or these beautiful Indian mangoes. For me, I thought this was like chef’s paradise.”

The Wood Roasted Chicken is so tasty, you'll forget to ask for a dip.
PHOTO BY Majoy Siason

Parreno channels the spicy, citrusy flavors of Peruvian and Thai food into Loco Manuk’s specialty, the rotisserie-style chicken. And as much as possible, he uses local produce to create the flavor profile he’s looking for. “We’re very particular with the wood we use to roast our chicken,” he explains. “We tried different kinds of wood and we always came back to kaimito. It’s a nice plum that has this sweet aroma, and then we still wanted to have a smoky flavor, so we did a 50-50 blend with mahogany. Then we slow-roast for three to four hours in a nice, controlled heat.”

All the meticulousness pays off once you get a bite of the juicy Wood Roasted Chicken (P630/whole, P330/half, P170/quarter), whose mildly fruity, smoky notes hit you from skin to the tender meat. It’s so tasty, you almost forget about the sauce, but Loco Manuk has five, which lets you know they take dips seriously. If you only have space for one, try the Chimi Loco (P45)—Loco Manuk’s fresh chimichurri uses Vietnamese nuoc cham or fish sauce, Thai nam prik pao or chili jam, calamansi juice, and finely chopped Baguio pechay and spring onions.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

You won't be able to get enough of the sweet-spicy crust on the BBQ Spareribs, Szechuan Caramel & Fried Garlic.
PHOTO BY Majoy Siason
The pork on the Red Braised Pork Ribs Rice Bowl is tender enough for chopsticks to slice through.
PHOTO BY Majoy Siason

The Southeast Asian influence also shines through in Loco Manuk’s other offerings. The BBQ Spareribs, Szechuan Caramel & Fried Garlic (P450) is amazingly buttery-soft, which contrasts wonderfully with the toasted spicy-sweet caramel crust. If you’re dining solo, you can also opt for the rice bowls: The succulent pork ribs of the Red Braised Pork Ribs Rice Bowl (P260) also falls apart at the slightest touch of a fork and has a salty-spicy bite from a black-bean relish that pairs perfectly with rice.

The zesty and spicy Banana Blossom, Carrots, Green Mango Ginger and Chili Dressing (P140) makes for a refreshing starter or side dish.
PHOTO BY Majoy Siason
Prepare to make a mess with the Churro Sandwich with cookies 'n cream ice cream and lots of chocolate sauce.
PHOTO BY Majoy Siason

Loco Manuk isn’t just all about the chicken, either: Their tagline is “Chicken and Churros,” which lets you know that dessert is a must here. The Churro Sandwich (P180) is just the sweet treat you need to cap off a flavorful meal—the churro discs are buttery and pillowy-soft, and come with a thick scoop of ice cream of your choice: Berry Sauce and Strawberry Ice Cream, Salted Caramel and Vanilla Ice Cream, and Cookies ‘n Cream Ice Cream.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

There’s a lot of good things going on at Loco Manuk—and we don’t just mean the vibrant interiors. But Parreno isn’t quite done developing his resto yet. “We wanted Loco Manuk to kind of be like a living organism,” he shares. “So every day it changes. There could be new writing on the wall, for example.” He also plans to open a bar in the space soon and has already teamed up with a mixologist. Lots of exciting things are planned for Poblacion’s new, bright spot—but we dare say the chicken is more than enough to keep you coming back.

Photos by Majoy Siason

*Update: A previous version of this article mistakenly called Danny Parreno the owner of Loco Manuk. This has since been corrected.

Tell us your #feels!

Win
1
Yum
20
Want!
1
LOL
WTF
1
23
Total votes
View more stories tagged ""

Read more stories about

Comments

Latest Stories

Load More Stories