Opening Hours: 6:00 A.M. – 10:00 P.M. (Monday – Friday), 6:00 – 2:00 P.M (Saturday)
Telephone: (02) 886-7329, (02) 881-4181
Delivery Hotline: (02) 212-1212, minimum Php500
If there's one Manila-based restaurant that fits the term "hole-in-the-wall" to a T, it's this one. Has only one branch? Check. Located just a few meters outside the Makati CBD? Check. Has zero trappings of hipster-ism and/or luxury? Check and check.
Granted, the restaurant has been around for a while now. Open since 2010, 101 Hawker Food House aims to make Singapore's famous hawker food accessible to Filipinos. Unlike the real thing, though, 101 Hawker Food House feels more like a cross between a fine dining restaurant and a canteen than a food court.
Not that it's a bad thing. When you eat in a place that doesn't make you feel like you have to be in formal/hipster attire, it's a refreshing experience. Let's peek into the place under the sign pictured above.
To get to 101 Hawker Food House, find the corner of Gil Puyat (a.k.a. Buendia) Avenue and Ayala Avenue. There, you'll see the RCBC Plaza Yuchengco Tower and the Makati Central Post Office. Walk along the block opposite the Post Office and Philippine AXA Life, until you see the Mercury Drug Store. Finally, walk behind the Drug Store along Urban Avenue until you see the 101 Hawker Food House.
At the entrance, you'll be greeted by signs asking you to "review us on Zomato/Munchpunch!" (or something like that), as well as the ubiquitous "We Deliver Twoanyone (212-1212)." It's probably better if those signs face inward, rather than outward, because most hungry customers won't give them a second look. But we digress.
The place is small by restaurant standards, and — as we mentioned earlier — has an almost canteen-like feel to it. But the overall cleanliness, as well as the mouthwatering pictures of food mounted on the walls, more than make up for this, so it's just a matter of waiting whether the food in those photos meet expectations.
Their most famous offerings are the Nasi Goreng, Hainanese Chicken, Braised Pork Belly and Char Kway Teow (stir-fried rice noodles). However, we decided to go off the beaten track, and order one Beef with Broccoli (Topping) instead.
If you order a Topping meal, you'll get a scoop of rice for one person, a bowl of soup and a glass of dalandan juice (shown below). Priced at Php130, that's already a good deal for the budget-conscious. No need to order drinks separately anymore — unless you don't like dalandan juice.
After five minutes tops, we received this.
Anyway, their Beef with Broccoli is all right. The meat is tender yet juicy, and the vegetables are cooked just right. We imagine there's a reason this isn't one of their signature dishes, though.
We also ordered one Lechon Kawali (deep-friend pork belly) to go. Since we didn't take pictures of it — because "take-out" food doesn't look as good in pictures as "dine in" food — we'll just describe it here: It's fit for two to three people, and worth Php190. At that price, it already comes with wasabi and a special sauce, enhancing the taste of an already flavorful dish.
By the way, if you like spicy food, you can order the waiters to "heat up" your meal, regardless of what you ordered. That's another thing that makes this restaurant different from other Asian outlets.
In terms of "speed when serving meals," the waiters were good. We received the soup-and-juice combo almost immediately after we placed our orders, and the main course arrived just a few minutes later. Considering that it was lunchtime and they had other patrons, we grant them bonus points for this.
However, we'll dock a few points too, because there were times when the waiters just stood by and seemed oblivious to the body language of customers. ("I've been staring at you from over here; don't you think it's a sign to ask if I need anything else?") If you didn't raise your hand and/or call them, you would've been ignored.
Overall, we'd still recommend 101 Hawker Food House for those who haven't been there before. They offer quality food at affordable prices, which makes them perfect for professionals who are always on-the-go but sick of fast-food. To this restaurant, we give 9.0/10.