Reviews

Is Army Navy’s Coco Hut Fried Chicken and Fish Set to Be the Next Big Chain?

August 23, 2019

As far as local fast food joints in Manila go, Army Navy has managed to maintain the consistency of it’s quality. Maybe it’s because in spite of being a chain, its expansion has remained somewhat limited; rather than expanding too much too quickly, the chain insists on maintaining its standard. The latest concept from the innovative group, which opened not too long ago in Commercenter, Filinvest, is the new Coco Hut Fried Chicken and Fish, which in its infancy, has all the potential to become just as successful as Army Navy has been.

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Decorated like an island hut, the branding is a little confusing. At first glance, it seems like this place could be dedicated to Hawaiian food, a cross-cultural concept just like Army Navy. Instead, the eponymous Coco Hut is more likely to be the native nipa hut, as the menu has Filipino influences all over it. The Filipino influence, instead of being incredibly in your face, is definitely subtler—no straightforward Red Ribbon palabok or Goldilocks dinuguan. Instead, it sticks to the tried and tested formula of good old fried stuff, then lending it just enough of a Filipino kick.

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Coco Hut serves up two types of chicken, the Hut signature, tossed in a spicy sauce, and their classic, which is their answer to the stuff we love from Jollibee, KFC and other chicken joints. I’ve always been a fan of Army Navy’s fried chicken, which I preferred over their burgers and burritos. It had pepperiness similar to that of KFC, but with a crunchiness closer to that of Jollibee. Coco Hut’s classic chicken is exactly the same recipe, and with a bigger starring role on the menu, it will definitely gain more attention. The Hut special is the classic chicken tossed in a spicy sauce more Cajun than Buffalo, rendering the already tasty chicken even more delicious. I love my spice, but the kick provides just enough heat to please even those who are not a fan of it.

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The Poor Man’s Fish is more distinctly Filipino, a trussed-up deep-fried galunggong that is so crisp, turning the heads and tails into the best part. Their version has leeks and chili, which combats the natural greasiness that comes from cooking galunggong this way. A spicy soy vinegar sauce makes this taste of home, begging you to eat this with rice. The vegetables on the menu aren’t bad either, all cooked ginataan style, with the jackfruit being an instant favorite. Even the drinks and the dessert keep things consistent. A tamarind ice tea and coconut shake feel very Filipino indeed, and the incredibly ube yogurt served with chunks of cheese is the kind of current, genius combination that makes you wonder why it hasn’t been done before. The only minor quip I do have is that the salt level was tuned up just a little too much on some of the dishes, but this stuff can easily be corrected.

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The prices are slightly more expensive, but with the quality of the food, it is easily justified. Does Coco Hut bring anything entirely new to the table? Maybe not, but what they serve is delicious enough to turn it into a hit.

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Rating 7/10*

This review was conducted solely by the author, who did not accept any form of cash advertising, invitation, sponsorship or payment. It was paid for by the author or Pepper.ph, and the views represented are purely the writer’s own. It is based on one anonymous visit to the restaurant.

*We gave this restaurant a 7 based on its own merits as a fast food joint  and not as an establishment operating as a sit-down restaurant.

Pamela Cortez Pamela Cortez

Pamela Cortez writes about food full-time, and has honed her craft while writing for publications such as Rogue, Town and Country, and The Philippine Star. She once rode on a mule for a mile just to eat mint tea and lamb in Morocco, and has eaten a block of Quickmelt in one sitting. Her attempt at food photography can be viewed online @meyarrr.

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8 comments in this post SHOW

8 responses to “Is Army Navy’s Coco Hut Fried Chicken and Fish Set to Be the Next Big Chain?”

  1. helerp says:

    where is this located? 🙂

  2. Victoria Castillo says:

    Yes, reppin’ the South! I must give that ube and cheese yogurt a try.

  3. Volts Sanchez says:

    Heh. I stare at this place every time I walk from Festival to Town, wondering if it was worth the hassle of crossing the road. Ok, so now I know that it just might be.

  4. Fan says:

    Thanks for the review. I’ve eaten there and this is an accurate review of the place. I agree it is ‘slightly’ more expensive than Army Navy yet has nothing really new to offer that you can say ‘wow’ this is different and I’ll come back again. You can’t help but compare with Army Navy next door. If you are craving for chicken, then walk a few steps across for the Army Navy Chicken and save a few bucks. Not sure why the Hut even bothered to compete with another fried chicken dish. What was Army Navy thinking? And Galungong can’t be called a Poor Man’s Fish if you were to pay so much. Sorry, been there, and won’t be going back. Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying it ain’t good. There are just other better places to have a fish dish – North Park / Contis to name a few. And one wouldn’t have to cross the street. Ha ha ha . Maybe if they offered a longer line up of seafood dishes then this would definitely be more of a hit.

  5. Jonathan Choi says:

    How can there be no mention of their amazing amazing chilli garlic sauce?! (I’m kidding. It’s a well-written article.) Also, the establishment being open 24 hours, to me, justifies the slightly higher prices.

  6. Corrine Dollanganger says:

    I’ve seen this Army Navy place from time to time passing by whenever I see them on the road. I’m surprised it’s not a clothing store because the name doesn’t sound food-ish so I didn’t bother checking it out.

    What a big mistake that was.

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