Blé in Aguirre: Meet BF’s Greek NewcomerAugust 31, 2019
- Samantha PacardoWords
Known for its constantly shifting topography, Aguirre Avenue caters to every craving with its long stretch of bakeries, cafés, bars, and restaurants. With new establishments popping up, sometimes the hardest part is choosing where to eat next. Allow me to make the job easier and to share with you my new fail-safe answer: Blé, a small Greek restaurant that continues to gain a following among Southerners for its authentic and reasonably priced food.
The menu is well-thought-out as there is just enough variety not to overwhelm you with choices or foreign words. Since everything is cooked to order, it’s a good idea to get an appetizer while waiting for your main course to arrive. Their hummus (PHP 150) is a crowd pleaser in every sense of the phrase: the chickpeas and tahini mixture is smooth, flavorful (unlike some versions that taste like the box it came out of), and can be shared among four people. In fact, the serving is big enough that you will probably need an additional order of their homemade pita (PHP 25) to get every last bit of dip from the bowl.
If you’re with a big group or just very hungry, you might want to try the dip platter (PHP 300). Aside from hummus, you will be served olives and two other dips, the babaganush (eggplant and tahini) and tzatziki (homemade yogurt). This is actually quite a steal since they don’t skimp in Blé and the dips in the platter are about the same amount as when you would order them separately.
As someone who has repeatedly answered the siren call of Blé’s souvlaki, I understand why a section in the menu is devoted to them. A traditional Greek street food similar to gyros, a souvlaki is a pita wrap with bite-sized chunks of grilled meat, vegetables and tzatziki dip. The regular souvlaki (PHP 150) is a personal favorite that is heavy in the stomach but not on the wallet. Not only is the pita always fresh, but you have a choice of wagyu beef, lamb and beef kebab, or chicken breast for your souvlaki.
There are also vegetarian (PHP 150) and vegan (PHP 70) versions of the souvlaki. Note that if you plan on ordering either of those, the grill is first thoroughly cleaned to remove remnants of meat and their oils before your meal is prepared. While the process is very considerate to the vegetarians and vegans who are particular about the preparation of their food, it also takes quite some time to complete so expect to wait a little longer.
If you’re looking to treat yourself, Blé’s lamb chops (PHP 500) are another crowd pleaser that can be split between two people. Four marinated pieces of lamb are grilled just until the meat is brown but still tender enough to cut even with a spoon. It’s easy to know when your meal is being prepared because the aroma of the cooking meat wafts through the restaurant, and it’s so enticing that the thought of leaving the restaurant smelling like the grill doesn’t cross your mind until you’re halfway home.
What makes this place worth every visit is not just the food, but also the homey atmosphere that is encouraged by the small space Blé occupies. In fact, it is one of those restaurants where it doesn’t feel out of place to strike up a conversation with people from the next table. Yiannis, the Greek chef who co-owns the restaurant with his pastry chef wife Ayse, divides his time visiting tables and preparing orders just meters away from guests; he is more than happy to answer your questions (“How do you say loukoumades?”), give recommendations to those who ask, and even serve complimentary shots of strawberry yogurt and vodka if you happen to drop by on your birthday.
Despite being a newcomer in Aguirre, Blé seems ready to stay for the long haul. Yiannis and Ayse’s little slice of Greece, with its affordable Greek cuisine and warm hospitality, will definitely have you coming back for more.