Reviews

A Pepper Review of Kitchen 1B: A Wholesome Disappointment

July 9, 2014

In Apartment 1B’s early years, it was one of those restaurants everyone talked about that had a steadfast reputation. A tiny location in the business district, and simple but well-executed food added to its charm. There were even days when we would go there at least twice a month, in love with how the place was so inviting and unpretentious.

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We know the people behind this place can churn out some really good food, and maybe a new concept and some fresh ideas will spark up their kitchens again.

In the rapidly-changing Manila food scene however, the quiet legend of this tiny restaurant started to be overlooked. Places that served similar food but in a more chic setting, or those that served better versions of their bistro-style and brunch menus, eclipsed Apartment 1B. The prices of the place started to seem a little too high, and there were rumors of the quality starting to slip. I visited the place again after a long absence, and found this to sadly be true. Our nostalgia for the place however, made us eager to try their latest restaurant, Kitchen 1B. We know the people behind this place can churn out some really good food, and maybe a new concept and some fresh ideas will spark up their kitchens again.

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While the place is dressed beautifully, the food and the concept is boring and unexciting.

Kitchen 1B is supposed to be a “wholesome alternative”the organic, health-conscious sister to Apartment 1B. We are all for superfoods, for the organic movement, for sustainable and responsible eating. But this has definitely made the prices at Kitchen 1B way too steep and just a little ridiculous. There should certainly be a way to fix this problem? While the place is dressed beautifully, the food and the concept is boring and unexciting.

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Eggplant Croquettes (Feta cheese, tarragon-tumeric aioli), PHP 400

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Monte Cristo (Battered triple decker sandwich, Swiss cheese, ham, free range probiotic hormone-free chicken, challah loaf bread, strawberry jam, sweet potato chips), PHP 490

Eggplant croquettes, while soft, tasted nothing like eggplant, and the aioli alongside it overpowered the bland, fried logs. It was a serviceable aioli, but the punch of garlic did nothing for what it was meant to complement. A Monte Cristo was a sad excuse for one, with bread way too thick and dense. The ham, chicken, and cheese, were all in dismal amounts, hidden by the gargantuan bread, and lacking any sort of flavor. A strawberry jam accompanying it tried to support the sandwich, but the sweetness was again way too overpowering.

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Oven Roasted Stuffed Pork Chop (Free-range pro-biotic pork, ricotta goat cheese, spinach, fennel, mango-pineapple chutney, cruciferous vegetables), PHP 660

A stuffed porkchop was actually cooked perfectly well, but it did not justify the price. It also came with a huge side of onion jamagain way too sweet. There was also way too much of it on the plate, and with its overpowering sweetness, should have been a sauce, and not a side.

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Pineapple Crumble (Poached pineapple, coconut-tapioca cream, quinoa oat crumble), PHP 230

Dessert was dismal tooan attempt to be healthy meant that the crumble on poached pineapples and coconut cream were made of quinoa. Oats or granola would have been just as healthy, and would have definitely lent themselves better to being toasted with sugar. The quinoa, while crunchy, burns easily when toasted, and left an unpleasant taste in the mouth.

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Green Tea Juice (kale, broccoli, green grapes, parsley, green tea), PHP 200

The wholesome concept is great, but this is snooze food.

We have a lot of faith in this group of restaurants, but they are in a rut. The wholesome concept is great, but this is snooze food. If there was just a little more flavor, just a little more finesse, then this could turn into a hit with more than just the health-conscious crowd.

Rating: 5/10

Kitchen 1B
G/F KL Tower, Gamboa Street,
Legaspi Village, Makati City

10 comments in this post SHOW

10 responses to “A Pepper Review of Kitchen 1B: A Wholesome Disappointment”

  1. Guest says:

    YES GODDAMNIT THIS POST EXPLAINS EVERYTHING I THINK OF THIS PLACE

  2. Yuki says:

    YES GOSHDARNIT THIS POST SUMS UP EVERYTHING I THINK OF THIS PLACE (at least at the time i visited, though i acknowledge restaurants may not always be consistent with their execution.)
    nothing wrong with simple/predictable things done well, though they’d have to be done REALLY well.

  3. mrdeliciousph says:

    The price of the eggplant croquettes seems a little high but the rest of it seems reasonable to me. For example the pork chop, free-range pork will probably cost at least p250/kg, ricotta goat cheese, broccoli, brussels sprouts and fennel are all very expensive. I’d be surprised if her food cost is any lower than 35% (that would only be p231 cost). So I don’t agree that this restaurant is expensive in relation to the value of ingredients presented.

    There is a disconnect amongst this market between what they think their food SHOULD cost and what it ACTUALLY costs. However if the food’s not exciting that does detract from the value a bit. 🙂

    • Volts Sanchez says:

      Agree with the costs. I think that the taste (including how novel it is) means more at this price point, since said price point is actually quite substantial. Besides, with interesting ingredients like that, you ought to come up with something that tastes great at the very least.

    • Angelica Gutierrez says:

      I could not agree more!

  4. gary says:

    Just ate dinner in Kitchen 1 B. A friend of mine warned me about the negative review by Pepper. Sad to say we were so disappointed with the food. Ordered the Oat crusted mushroom quiche. The crust was mushy and soft not crumbly. It was extremely hot in the center so I asked the waiter if the quiche had been heated in the microwave. To my surprise he answered in the affirmative. Yes sir it was microwaved. I have never eaten microwaved food in a restaurant that had several chefs in the kitchen. The side salad was uninspired with just one kind of lettuce and 1 cherry tomato. What made is inedible was the dressing which was extremely sour and acidic. My wife ordered the vegetable soup with turkey meatballs. The soup tasted like something out of a can. The meatballs white and tasteless. I had their best seller the porkchop stuffed with spinach fennel and ricotta cheese. The pork chop was cooked well but tasted weird. The spinach that was steaming inside was the culprit. To have a leafy vegetable with cheese crumbles inside a pork chop affected the savoriness of the pork. The spinach tasted like boiled pechay. It ruined the taste of the well cooked chop. The cauliflower and broccoli sides had no taste. The plum sauce was too sweet and too much. My wife ordered the beet and goat cheese salad. The goat cheese was dry and tasteless. The beets were okay but cut too thin she couldn’t appreciate the taste of the beets. Overall Pepper was right. The dishes we tried had good quality ingredients but the flavor combinations did not gel. Sad to say we are not coming back.

  5. disqus_FTaVFrQ1FR says:

    I went there despite reading this review. And, yes this review is absolutely correct! The food is so expensive, and I don’t get why it is considered ‘healthy’ food when most stuff are dripping in oil or barbecued with lots of charring (aka carcinogenic). Having organic ingredients doesn’t make the food healthy if you prepare it in an unhealthy way!

  6. efriend says:

    I planned to walk there. After this review, nah! I don’t mind the price if the food is really good.

  7. Zak says:

    I couldn’t agree more. We were quite excited to try it out (not having read this review prior). The interiors were amusing but that also was a red flag for me – it seemed hodge podged. The food was blah and the prices were just too high. I hope the owners/managers know what they’re doing.

  8. Rene M says:

    Had dinner there last night. The Garlic Shrimp Pasta was way too salty. The Cheese Burgers were a big disappointment. We ordered them medium rare.. they came HARD BOILED. The only saving grace of the dinner were the onion rings. On a positive note, the staff were courteous and very attentive. For a P3200.00 ++ dinner, I was expecting more. Needless to say, we left disappointed and literally with a bad taste on our mouths.

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