Kettle, Shangri-La Mall Review: Southern Comfort

January 25, 2019

Where do you go for a truly great sandwich in Manila? In a country where rice is king, it’s difficult for me to give a proper answer to that question. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of a place that serves a great Reuben, or an awesome Cuban, or a stunning po’boy. There are a few standalone sandwich places that serve decent grub, but with the truly special offerings buried deep in their menus, they often get overlooked. In the end, I, along with most other people, just never think to order one.

I often forget how good a really well-made sandwich can be. Sandwiches, I believe, are some of the trickiest things to master. They need to have that elusive perfect bite—either with something juicy and tender between two toasted pieces of bread or something crisp nestled in a soft bun that matches it perfectly. My constant search for that truly great sandwich in Manila has led me to Kettle. In this unassuming restaurant, sandwiches, amongst many standout dishes, are king.

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There are so many new places in the new Eastwing of Shangri-La that Kettle runs the risk of being overlooked. It’s hidden behind the escalator, an unfortunate location. In addition, it has to compete with the buzz and endless lines at Goco’s Green Pastures. With the competition it’s up against, you might be tempted to call it the underdog, but with the dishes coming out of their kitchen, Kettle is definitely far more than that.

Their Buttermilk Fried Chicken is so good, you’ll forget about all the other fried chicken you’ve had in the past.

They serve comfort food classics done well. Sometimes simple is best, and their dishes are no-fuss, no-frills, and just taste good. One of the best examples of what Kettle is all about is their Buttermilk Fried Chicken. It is so good that it makes you forget most of the fried chicken you’ve ever had. The spices on the breading are so tasty. The bird is fried to a golden brown, and is—quite miraculously—hardly oily. Even if it is deboned, it still manages to be so juicy. One poke of the fork and all that great chicken juice comes running out. Served with cornbread muffins, and just a little bit of Cajun honey, this is the kind of food that would make just about anyone shake their head in disbelief.

Kettle Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Cornbread Muffins (PHP 519)

I hadn’t even finished my po’boy when I found myself texting people to visit Kettle.

But let’s get to the sandwiches. The Reuben has become a fast favorite, and rightly so, with its always winning combination of corned beef, sauerkraut, and melted cheese. However, it’s their Shrimp Po’boy that really hits the mark. Sandwiches with crunch aren’t usually my thing, but this Shrimp Po’boy is an exception. The textures are great, with the shrimp plump, and not so heavily breaded that it becomes cloying and heavy. The sauce is just piquant enough that it cuts through all the fried stuff, with the pickles adding an extra sour note. I can’t stress enough how much I enjoyed this po’boy. I hadn’t even finished mine when I found myself sending photos and texting messages to friends telling them they needed to find their way to Kettle, if just for this sandwich.

Reuben: Honey Oat Bread, House-made Corned Beef, Braised Cabbage, Emmental (PHP 489)

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Shrimp Po’Boy: Ciabatta Roll, Cajun Breaded Shrimps, Remoulade (PHP 419)

Lamb Adobo: Tzatziki, Truffled Mushroom Brown Rice (PHP 449)

Some desserts were lacking in flavor.

On other parts of their menu, Kettle’s simplicity makes their food stumble. The House Salad’s bacon and walnuts were almost absent, and the Clam Chowder tasted too rich with the serving too miniscule. Some desserts were lacking in flavor and needed improvement, like the Banana Cream Pie with custard that was more akin to Bavarian, and a Peach Trifle that wouldn’t be missed if left off the menu.

Banana Cream Pie and Peach Trifle

Yes, the prices may be a little steep as well, but most servings are good for 2-3 people, so don’t make the mistake of ordering one main per person. In spite of a few missteps, overall, Kettle makes a delicious impression.

The Verdict

The quality dishes show that they’re on the right track.

This is some pretty decent cooking for a place that’s just about comfort food. It doesn’t get too wild, but instead focuses on Southern recipes that would translate well to the Filipino palate. They had decent service even though all our visits were made during the soft opening, and the quality dishes mean that they’re definitely on the right track. I can’t wait to get my hands on their chicken and po’boy again.

kettle

Kettle
5th Level, East Wing,
Shangri-la Plaza Mall
(02) 654 7077

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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5 comments in this post SHOW

5 responses to “Kettle, Shangri-La Mall Review: Southern Comfort”

  1. Katrina says:

    That buttermilk fried chicken is calling my name. *drool*

  2. TM says:

    too bad the picture of the Reuben is not that good (meaning, the meat is not seen properly). I love Reuben. Thats one of my favorite sandwiches when i was in New York and in the States, the “meat” is massive. It’s a bit pricey for a sandwich but i hope it’s worth the price

  3. disqus_vU1klyrdjb says:

    Things seem way overpriced, especially for mostly deep-fried food. Also, corned beef is easy to make, it just takes some time in the brine and a long time for cooking.

  4. […] 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. […]

  5. TheFatKidMD says:

    I think Kettle may be one of the new “surefire” restaurants where you’re safe to eat and enjoy. Their dishes are well-prepared and adequately proportioned. I haven’t had a bad meal from their menu yet!

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