A warmish experience at Brasas (restaurant review)

I recently had a chance to eat at Brasas at the Evia Lifestyle Center in Las Piñas. I hadn’t heard of the place before and I didn’t bother looking it up before the day itself, so that plus my lack of familiarity with other languages (knowing ahead of time that “brasas” is Spanish for “embers” or “live coal” would’ve helped immensely) rendered me absolutely clueless on the meal we were about to get our hands on.

Brasas offers Latin American street food, but the flavors are not at all strange to Filipino taste buds. The menu basically consists of platters, wraps, sandwiches, and sides, all of which contain different kinds of grilled meat and chopped veggies. In case you’re not the adventurous type when it comes to food, you will find something you like, granted you’re not afraid of food that’s of the barbecued, deep-fried, cheesy, greasy persuasion (or as I like to call it, “heaven”).

For appetizers, we were given the Ay Caramba la Papa: basically homemade potato chips, bacon bits, salsa de queso and pico de gallo with some cheese dip. I guess we looked like we enjoy our food in death row proportions because the servers set down one platter for each guest. For. Each. Guest. “Ay, caramba” indeed. The chips themselves were satisfyingly salty and crispy, though the chip-to-bacon-to-cheese ratio was a tragic letdown, especially after seeing photos of how it’s supposed to look like in various food blogs. (I know, I know; complaining about the large serving and whining about the amount of bacon seems contradictory, but I know what I’m talking about. Shut up.)

Preparing us for the main event was the Ensalada de la Casa, a combo of greens, South American slaw, tortilla strips, some grilled chicken and a lime-cilantro dressing. Again, we were tasked to fight our way through a small leafy mountain, and seeing as I wasn’t the only one who didn’t finish the whole thing, I knew my stomach wasn’t just being a wuss. The lettuce was nice and fresh, and the chicken flavorful and cooked just right. I just wasn’t a fan of the lime-cilantro dressing, which I found to be too sweet (unless of course it’s supposed to taste like that, in which case, I’m not a fan of lime-cilantro dressing in general).

Ensalada de la Casa
Ensalada de la Casa

Finally, we were served a Peruvian dish called Lomo Saltado, which combines beef tenderloin strips, tomatoes, onions, potatoes and Latin rice pilaf (as you may have guessed by now, I did grab these lists of ingredients from their online menu). The meal was savory and the serving plentiful. And I have to say, the gravy-like consistency of the sauce partnered with the potatoes makes it great comfort food in my book.

Lomo Saltado
Lomo Saltado

One thing about the food bugged me, though. While the flavors were pretty good, I’d have to say I was greatly missing heat. Maybe it was the flames in the logo or the fact that the term “Latin American” for me conjures images of dancing chili peppers and food so spicy you’d need to douse your tongue with a frozen margarita, but I was expecting the dishes to have a certain level of kick and they didn’t.

If you do go, make sure your wallet’s full because it’s pretty expensive. Sure, they offer substantial servings, but at about Php 500 per person, it’s quite possibly the most expensive ‘street food’ I’ve ever had.

The Brasas branch at the Evia offers alfresco dining, which is a good thing since the inside’s a bit on the small side. And the servers are friendly and prompt, which is a big plus.

I’d eat at Brasas again, though I might go to a different branch to see if I can get a better experience of the Ay Caramba. I’m also looking forward to trying their heartier mains, especially after learning of the existence of the slow-roasted, crunchy piece of pork nirvana called the Puerco Asada.

Overall rating:

Evia Lifestyle Center, Daang Hari Road, Almanza, Las Pinas City


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