Nowadays, while we come to food parks simply to have a taste of everything, fusion restaurants are on the rise as well. In Balestier–inspired by Singapore’s hawker center Balestier Road–is where you can find yourself chowing down on plates that serve your palate.Chef Mikee Rodriguez and partner Mandy Diaz de Rivera built Balestier to introduce Filipinos to Singaporean food and teach them more about it–like how it’s a mix of cuisines and influences from Malaysia, Taiwan, and Indonesia, among other countries. But they don’t just serve the ordinary. Balestier offers modern Asian fusion comfort food without the hard-to-pronounce ingredients that make you ask yourself: What am I even eating? Because really, there’s no need to overcomplicate it.Unlike any normal laksa noodles and soup, their bestselling Laksa Tsukemen gives the Japanese-style experience where you dip the noodles in the broth. Mandy shares, “We want people to be familiar with our food but at the same time surprise them.” Made of laksa broth, egg noodles, prawns, fish cake, lemongrass, bean sprouts, and sou vide egg, it also has a spicy kick to it.The simpler the food is, the more people gravitate towards it. It’s when return customers pour in that they begin to try the more complex dishes–especially the ribs, which is a play on the famous Korean BBQ with cheese. Additionally, the Baowhiches are Balestier’s “sliders” –burgers served in Mantou buns (more commonly known as siopao) with crisp taro chips on the side. In three variants, they come in Pulled Shortrib, Chili Crab, and of course, Chicken. Meanwhile, their Bak Kut The Risotto is an Asian-European treat from the Chef himself. And if you’re up for it, their Salted Egg Wings are to die for–cholesterol and all.As former graphic designers, both Chef Mikee and Mandy were born perfectionists. For their restaurant, having a shortlisted menu allows for their full control to take over so that, as every customer arrives, they’re sure to be satisfied with the hug-in-a-bowl Laksa Tsukemen or the pick-me-up treat of Baowhiches.The place doesn’t scream Asian! upon entrance because Balestier’s design was inspired by Asia’s Euro-invasion history (hello, Spanish tiles). So for your next food destination, you’ll be sure to have something to post on Instagram too. And hearing it exclusively from us: Balestier is currently in the works of concocting bar drinks that are just begging to be revealed.
Produced by Alyssa Castillo
Sittings by Sam Potenciano
Photography by Renzo Navarro
BALESTIER IS IN 14 NICANOR ROXAS STREET, MARIKINA CITY. CHECK THEM OUT ON INSTAGRAM AT @BALESTIER.PH AND LIKE THEM ON FACEBOOK.COM/BALESTIER.PH.