Sunday, August 30, 2015

Taking It To The Next Level: A Peek at Burgers & Brewskies' New Dishes

Chef Francis Balbarin's been busy at the kitchen of Burgers & Brewskies...

...with a full line of new dishes to supplement the growing list of signature bestsellers. The range of flavors are as wide and extensive as the number of new dishes, infusing unique flavors with fresh and new ingredients, recreating and reinventing familiar yet new combinations. Here's a sneak peek at the possible new and exciting dishes from Burgers & Brewskies' busy kitchens...

Chef Francis Balbarin unleashes a whole new set of flavorful dishes, from salads and starters to hefty burgers, each one reflecting a creative spin for new flavor experiences. Based in New York, Chef Francis brings with him a diverse palette of colorful flavors and influences, and new ways of using local produce in the mix.   

Our official tasting at Burgers & Brewskies' began with a pair of refreshing greens, the Grilled Steak Salad with Feta and Watermelon drizzled with Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette for a unique salad with a beefy punch, and the Grilled Chicken Salad with Grilled Oranges and Apples with sweet Calamansi Vinaigrette.  

Fresh fruits and flavorful dressings combined for rich flavors. Next up, Chef Francis shared his inventive Chicken Skin Wrapped Peppers Stuffed with Jalapeno Cream Cheese served with Cilantro Lime Dip (L), the Boneless Buffalo Balls with Bleu Cheese Dip and the Carribean Jerk Chicken Meatballs with Mango Mint Chutney (R).

The Chicken Skin Wrapped Stuffed Peppers looked and tasted like a real winner, with the crisp chicken skin weaving its own distinct notes to the flavorful mix. But Chef Francis has even more up his sleeves, like the Mini-Peruvuan Tenderloin Tacos with Pickled Shallots and Aji, small bites packed with big flavors. The richness of the tender beef is perfectly balanced by the pickled shallots for sharp and clean flavors. And it's a combination I enjoyed.

Chef Francis then served another flavorful option with the light and more delicate Mini Soy Ginger Tuna Loin Tacos with Wasabi Avocado Cream, combining the briny sweetness of premium tuna with the creamy avocado, and the mild sharpness of wasabi and ginger for rich Asian notes.

In contrast, the Mini Beef Bulgogi Tacos with Sweet and Sour Slaw drizzled with Red Pepper Sour Cream delivers bold and upfront flavors. The subtle smoky hint of the roasted peppers in the sour cream paired well with the sweet and tender beef bulgogi, with fresh slaw adding both flavor and texture to cap the new dish.

Chef Francis Balbarin's refreshing take on South American flavors comes through with the Barbaro! 2.0, tender and juicy chimichurri marinated tenderloin steak served with a side of crispy salt and pepper plantains.

Perfectly grilled with a juicy pink center, the flavors come through at the very first bite followed by the nutty notes of the chimichurri. It's a great starter, even better when paired with a cold brew.

What can be more comforting than a BLT and tomato soup combo? Chef Francis Balbarin explores new flavors to this comforting combo with his own version of BLT, with lettuce, chicharon-crusted tomatoes, chicken skin bacon, cheddar cheese and bacon aioli on triple decker toast with a rich yet smooth and smoky Tomato Zucchini Soup. The different layers of bold notes and textures, from the chicharon-crusted tomatoes and the richness of the chicken skin bacon to the hearty and flavorful tomato zucchini soup combine for familiar yet new and refreshing flavors.

Need some pork love? Chef Francis Balbarin's Drunken Cuban Sandwich has everything you need for that comforting pork fix, with beer-brined pulled pork, Swiss cheese, beer cheese sauce, sliced pickled green mangoes, sweet pickles, sour dill pickles draped with sharp Dijon mustard. The refreshing sharpness of the pickled green mangoes, the sweet and sour pickles, and the Dijon mustard cuts through the richness of the pork and cheese, with intense flavors bursting with every bite.

Then, Chef Francis Balbarin shared some possible seasonal burgers, like this "TNT" Topped Burger with Garlic Wasabi Sour Cream. Topped with crisp chicken skin wrapped peppers stuffed with jalapeno cream cheese delivering the first salvo of flavors, followed by rich beefy notes of the thick patty, and capped by a layer of creamy yet sharp wasabi sour cream. The medley of flavors just keep coming with this one, but Chef Francis has more...

Chef Francis offers a flavorful alternative to the usual beef patty with his Buffalo Chicken Burger topped with Shredded Carrot and Celery Slaw. The delicate notes of the chicken patty are punctuated by the contrasting flavors and texture of the fresh carrot and celery slaw. Crispy chicken and slaw always works. Different and refreshing, with loads of flavor.

And the bold flavors continue with Chef Francis Balbarin's inventive fusion of Thai flavors with his Pad Thai Burger, topped with fresh veggies with sweet and sour notes. The bold blend of flavors reflects the innovative approach of Burgers & Brewskies, constantly pushing the boundaries with its playful and inventive burgers.

And this approach is once again evident in Chef Francis Balbarin's homage to Dr. Seuss and Green Eggs and Ham, with the colorful Sam I Am Burger, topped with sunny side-up egg draped with salsa verde and ham. The egg, salsa verde and ham not only add color to the burger, but flavor as well. The burger and combo really works with this one, and the egg and salsa verde adds the perfect finishing touch.

The Eggplant Parm Burger, topped with breaded fried eggplant, beer marinara sauce, and white cheese includes traditional Italian flavors for a refreshingly new and different variant. The white cheese and marinara combo adds a flavorful twist, with the crunchy breaded eggplant completing the flavors.

Crispy breaded kesong puti, now that's an idea. The Caprese Burger, topped with breaded white cheese, pesto, roasted tomatoes, and crispy basil leaves covered in a tangy balsamic dressing, is yet another creative variant with its playful blend of flavors. The kesong puti adds its own distinct flavors, along with the crispy basil leaves, for another flavorful variant.

The wittingly named Game Over, a thick and juicy pork patty laced with bacon bits, beer cheese sauce, beer-brined slow cooked pulled pork tossed in peanut BBQ sauce topped with spicy apple and papaya slaw and crispy pork skin, rounds out the proposed new seasonal burgers. This is pure pork love, with bacon bits blended in the pork patty, topped with pulled pork and crispy pork skin. What else could I say, the ingredient listing simply says it all...

For dessert, Chef Francis Balbarin capped our tasting session with the Chocolate Covered Crispy Bacon, with cumin dusted almonds and orange infused sea salt. The crispness of the bacon, and its distinct smoky hint play well with the deep chocolate notes, combining both salty and sweet with each crunchy bite. Perfect.

Impressive. The range of dishes, from salads and starters to burgers, and its diverse flavors, is simply impressive. Which dish will make the final cut and be part of Burgers & Brewskies' growing menu is still an on-going process, but one thing's for sure, the kitchens at Burgers & Brewskies will continue to fire up more new and exciting dishes...

B&B Burgers & Brewskies is located at the Ground Floor, Estancia Mall, Capitol Commons, Pasig City or call 246-9069 extension 410 for inquiries and reservations.

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