Grille It Congo Style
By Nathalie Santos Dayo
I love organizing events, big or small theres just no difference. I used to work as a Marketing Communications Officer for a printing business and part of my responsibilities was to organize events, especially product launches.
I did my part, sealed the deal with the venue and food provider, printed the materials and contacted the participants. I left the company and started on another career in another company where in I also helped in organizing parties and events.
The real test for me how ever was planning and organizing my own wedding. There were too many details to get right, too many places to go to. With the help of my then boy friend, we were able to finalize everything and all went smoothly on the day of the wedding.
So when the time came for me to organize a get together for a group of forum posters, I didnt think twice about taking on the challenge. We all met up in Starbucks, SM Megamall branch and waited for the others to arrive. When those who confirmed were there, we proceeded to Congo Grille for a late dinner.
I asked the manager for an indoor table for a group of twenty people. She led us to our spot and all of us took our seats. We waited for the menu to be handed to us, we placed our orders and here is what we had.
Forum Posters with a Tower of Iced Tea
Some of the posters decided to order a whole set meal, which included the Iced Tea Tower.
Bulalo Soup Half Empty or Half Full
It was served in a tall container with a tripod stand and a spigot at the bottom of the tower. The serving was good for 5 to 6 people, with a refill for each person.
Part of the meal is this lovely serving of Bulalo (a soup where in the main ingredient is bone marrow).
Everyone dug in to their hearts content. It was great as evidenced by the photo of the almost empty bowl.
My doctor friend and I werent so hungry that night so we did not join in the feasting on the Bulalo, instead we just ordered Pica food, a serving of Nachos.
Tempted by Nachos
The chips were not soggy though there were so many things on top of it. The tomatoes and the onions were fresh, as well as the meat on top of it, which smelled good.
After that night, my resolve to go back to Congo Grille was made. I need to go back to try out their other dishes.
My next visit was in the newly opened branch in the Araneta Center. This time it was a lunch date with my husband.
For drinks, my husband ordered a refillable iced tea and I ordered this deliciously beautiful red Congo Iced Tea (their own blend). It had a touch of raspberry and the presentation was delightful.
On the first sip, I fell in love with it. The next time I go back to this African Safari inspired restaurant, I will make sure to order the same drink.
It was quite a late lunch, so there were just a few people inside.
We stayed at their smoking section, which has a big open window, enough ventilation and indoor-outdoor feel to it.
We waited for a few minutes, finally, the food was set on our table.
The Winning Pork Sisig
I never knew that there was a contest for the best sisig in town and Congo Grille boasts of winning the said competition last 2009.
Sisig, a Kapampangan (those who hail from the province of Pampanga) term meaning to snack on something sour. It also refers to the Sizzling Sisig, a Filipino dish made mainly from parts of a pigs head, especially the jowls. Today though, some restaurants serve sisig from the meat part of the pig.
It was served with kalamansi (a small sour fruit, which some say is a cross between a lemon and a lime), chopped fresh onions and cayenne pepper.
You may want to put some extra hot sauce and liquid seasoning to it to make it tastier.
Sisig is sometimes eaten on its own as pica food which goes well with any beverage, but most especially with a chilled bottle of beer.
We chose to eat ours with a cup or garlic fried rice.
Tortang Talong with Tinapa
The last food item on our table was Tortang Talong with Tinapa Flakes (eggplant omelet with smoked fish). This one was not as enjoyable as the other dishes Ive tried in this restaurant. It was a little bit on the salty side.
To cap off my dining experience, Congo Grille deserves the award that they got SISIG KING from the province of Pampanga (Sisig capital of the Philippines). All the food items that I had were prepared fresh from the kitchen the moment you place your order (thats the reason for the wait) and I cant wait to go back to this restaurant to sample their other dishes. The branches that I prefer to visit are the ones in Araneta Center, Cubao and the other one in El Pueblo Real De Manila, in Ortigas Center, Pasig City.
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