Fireside by Kettle Serves Up More, Possibly Even Better, Comfort FoodJanuary 29, 2015
Since Kettle opened, it has become one of the most popular names in comfort food. In its first few weeks, I waxed lyrical about its now-famous Buttermilk Fried Chicken, and the quality of its sandwiches that made me come back for a po boy within a few days. The team behind Kettle has since opened many more restaurants that have diverted from the concept, but their latest venture, Fireside, sees them returning to familiar territory once more. Located in Mega Fashion Hall, which has become a haute destination for dining, it is comfort food but done with a more Asian twist, with flavor profiles and dishes that might be more familiar to our palates. It may be too early to say, but this version of Kettle might just be better—it’s a little more grown-up, a lot more polished, and sometimes, even more delicious.
“Fireside is Kettle’s older sister—the more mature one, the hotter one,” laughs Bernice Tenchavez. The result is a more put-together menu, and comfort food that has much more finesse than what the huge portions makes it appear. The item most indicative of this more grown-up transition is the chicken wing starter. It’s instantly recognisable and comforting, but has a sophisticated inspiration. Chef Chiloy was inspired by Andy Ricker’s James Beard award winning Pok-Pok, which is a sticky, Thai caramel chicken wing. This is the closest as we can get to that New York staple, and it does it justice—spicy, sweet, umami-tasting, and addicting, I could finish a plate of my own and polish off the crispy sweet potato sticks, too.
Mains come in sizes that are appropriate for at least 2-3 people, making the slightly steep prices here more than justifiable. Quality accounts for much of it, too, with Chiloy crafting recipes with good produce in mind. A halibut dish will easily entice those looking for something less indulgent on the menu, but don’t be fooled: the quinoa is greased up with a bacon vinaigrette, adding a smoky depth to both the fish and its accompanying grains.
Elsewhere, hedonism is the key, with one of my favorite dishes going to a pork chop that is as massive as my appetite. I hardly order big slabs of pork because they often tend to be overcooked, dry, and mealy in the mouth, with strings of meat struggling to pull away from one another. But all hats are off to their version, which is so pink and juicy that you’re inclined to forget whatever sides and sauce it comes with. Meatloaf, which is a sorely underrated dish that tends to incite rolled eyes, is made up of 50% ground beef and 50% bacon. It will make any one who ever glossed over the dish filled with delight. It is so fatty that you’ll be clutching at your chair.
There are inevitable missteps (I believe in that old adage that things can be too good to be true). If you hold Kettle’s Buttermilk Fried Chicken in high regard, Fireside’s much drier chicken fingers will disappoint. It is neither interesting or tasty, and the fried cornbread is much better in thought than in execution. Desserts are overthought, with a platter of donuts dense and boring, and a checkerboard cake weirdly gluey. I couldn’t care less though, because I was still reeling in the gluttonous happiness of our meal. The guys behind Kettle know how to do indulgent comfort food well, crazy concoctions that are the equivalent of a culinary middle finger to diets and health food trends. It’s okay to let go once in a while. And if you plan to, might as well do it at Fireside.
Have you tried Fireside by Kettle yet? What was your verdict on their take on Asian comfort food? Tell us below!
Pepper.ph was invited to feature the above establishment. Therefore, the feature includes no rating whatsoever, which can be influenced or biased.
Fireside by Kettle
Address: 3rd Floor, SM Mega Fashion Hall, Mandaluyong
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