The spot : Maharlika
Location : 111 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003
Phone: (646) 392-7880
Instagramable: Yes, very colorful and vibrate decor
What we ate :
PAN DE SAL w/ mcapuno jam, guava jam
FLIP'D CHICKEN AND UBE WAFFLE batterless fried chicken, purple yam waffle, caramelized macapuno syrup, anchovy-compound bagging butter
LONGGANISA sweet garlic pork sausage
TORTANG TALONG egg battered, flash fried grilled asian eggplant w/ cucumber tomato ensalada
BILAO PLATE - garlic rice, fried egg, fresh fruit, cucumber relish , watercress salad ( Cauliflower bicol)
BEEF TAPA - marinated & air dried flank steak
EGGS IMELDA - pandesal, farm fresh poached eggs, fresh taro-root leaves, coconut milk, head on prawns , kalamansi hollandaise, kamote home fries
EGGS AGUINALDO - lemongrass marinated grilled pork belly, two fried eggs, kamote home fries, water cress salad
Kalamansi Juice ( the Filipino version of lemonade and limeade)
KC CONCEPCION - Bourbon whiskey, cinnamon bark cordial, black walnut and orange
Ambiance: Tropical chic serving traditional filipino style decor.
Review: Since it's inception, social media has connected me to amazing individuals, and this Saturday morning was no different. A couple of weeks ago a woman found my blog through a mutual friend. She then slid in my Dm's to invite me to a Filipino brunch. If you been following me for a minute, you know I was honored and excited. When someone asks me to eat with them, I don't take it lightly! This is the very reason I created Brunchnista, to connect and Kiki!
We immediately locked in a calendar date. None of this, "we should do brunch " and before you realize weeks have gone by and the likelihood of actually meeting up fades into the distance. Filipinos take the saying " breakfast is the most important meal of the day" very seriously, and brunch is a serious matter, and I was excited about of pending met up!
So on this Saturday, I ventured to Manhattan for a traditional Filipino brunch at Maharlika. When I arrived, Isis was patiently waiting for me. After brief convo, we discovered we have several mutual friends in common. Although we had probably been in the same room before, we now had the opportunity to connect in a meaningful way! Isis was extremely patient taking her time to explain to me each dish and their ingredients. I could feel the love of her native cuisines oozing through each description. As she reminisced about dishes, she ate growing up, as an adult and with her family. By the time she was done my mouth was watering with anticipation.
Isis is a regular at Maharlika and knew what to order for the optimal Filipino brunch experience. Once the food arrived, it transported me out of New York into a tropical escape. There is no one flavor to describe the delicious cuisine. Spanish culture influences it with a regional twist making the dishes hearty and filling. The presentation was pretty, and when I took my first bite, I knew that the display matched the taste. Each dish was bursting with flavor, and I could taste that someone in that kitchen loved the art of cooking. As I explored each plate, I recognized familiar characteristics of the Caribbean like coconut and tamarind. My top two dishes were the Eggs Imelda a tradition take on eggs benedict and the Cauliflower Bicol Plate, which is a must if you love coconut. Chicken and Ube waffle was good, Ube is a purple yam that gave the waffle a pretty purple color. By the time we made our way around to tasting it was cold, I'm sure it would have been even better straight out the kitchen. Filpino cuisine includes lots of meats and shellfish which I don't usually eat but felt it was important to still taste each dish out of respect for my host and her culture. A little etiquette goes a long way!
Food is our common ground it relates us in ways mere words can't, and this brunch experience was no different. Toward the end of our Brunch, the owner of Marharlika- Nicole Ponseca arrived.
Nicole and Isis have been friends for years, so she sat with us and gave me a little history about how she started her restaurant. Nicole shared that she felt her generation wasn't preserving Filipino cuisine. She spoke about the lack of representation of Filipino cuisine scene and how she stepped out on faith with lots of passion, to build Marharlika. Today, Maharlika is now one of the most beloved and influential restaurants in New York City. Of course, I was all the way here for this brown girl magic! It just made the meal that much better! My visit to Maharlika was great. The staff was friendly and accommodating. What I love about Filipino culture is that they believe that you should eat like a king during breakfast because it gives you more time to chat and enjoy each others company I got a chance to connect with a new person and learn all about her food, family, and culture. I couldn't think of a better way for the brunchnista to spend her Saturday afternoon.
Rating: 🍴🍴 🍴 🍴 out 🍴🍴🍴🍴🍴