Friday, March 2, 2018

Experience The New Taste of Comfort at Hops & Brews

The world's comforting flavors converge at Hops & Brews...

Hops & Brews redefines global gastropub cuisine with its innovative and flavorful dishes described as the new taste of comfort. From brunch, salads and sandwiches to savory mains, Hops & Brews is a welcome addition to Poblacion's emerging food scene.  

Located at the Ground Floor of I'M Hotel along Makati Avenue, Hops & Brews brings its own unique and inventive take on modern and progressive gastropub cuisine to Poblacion with its wide range of signature dishes. Drawing inspiration from popular global flavors, you'll find all your favorites in one place served with a creative spin. 

That day, we were served a refreshing concoction still to be named, almost like a shandy with beer and ginger ale and finished off like a mojito. Right off the bat, you just know that Hops & Brews is special, with a unique cocktail to kick off your dining experience. 

Chef Victor Joseph Manuel (L) is part of a dynamic culinary team behind the comfortingly familiar flavors with a playfully inventive spin for new flavor experiences. The extensive menu allow diners to experience what they describe as the new taste of comfort. Each dish is masterfully executed, from the sunny side-up to the freshly baked bread.

Our tasting preview began with the hearty Keso Fundido (P 380) from their Bar Chow menu, a rustic dish with shredded lamb ragout made even richer with creamy layers of bechamel, cheddar, and mozzarella topped with a sunny side-up and served with toasted crusty bread. The distinct flavors of the tender and melt-in-your-mouth shredded lamb line the palate with a savory richness followed by the creamy notes of the bechamel and cheese blend capped by the egg. Dip the crisp toast and scoop up the rich bechamel and cheese sauce with egg and shredded lamb, and repeat. It's breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner in one dish. It even goes well with a few rounds of cocktails. It's dishes like this that make Hops & Brews a must-try at I'M Hotel.

The Surf & Turf Salpicao (P 360) is another unique dish from their Bar Chow selection with cubes of  fork-tender beef and fresh tuna draped in a soy and garlic sauce served with crispy mushrooms and fresh vegetables. The combination of beef and tuna makes this salpicao version refreshingly different, coming together with sharp and nutty notes from the soy and garlic sauce. The contrasting savory flavors of the beef and the fresh and clean briny hints of the tuna pair well together for a taste of progressive gastropub cuisine at Hops & Brews. At Hops & Brews, you'll find many more tasty options like the Chicken Shish Kebab (P 180), Swedish Meatballs (P 180), Chimichurri Hummus, Longga Nachos (P 250) with ground longganisa, Chicken Karaage (P 320), Kim Cheese Fries (P 300), Gambas Al Ajillo (P 300) as well as savory flatbreads and cheese platters taking you on a culinary journey around the globe right at the heart of Makati's Poblacion. The Bar Chow menu is diverse and eclectic, with a mash-up of flavors from around the world. And it just works.

Hops & Brews also offers a refreshing selection of salads like the Artichoke, Bacon & Poached Egg Salad (P 355) with arugula and garden-fresh greens tossed in a sharp balsamic vinaigrette with smoked bacon, focaccia croutons, poached egg and grated parmigiano. And just like many of the dishes at Hops & Brews, the flavors are rich and comforting. The mild sweetness of the crisp greens, the bold notes of the balsamic vinaigrette, the smoky hints of bacon, and the intense flavors of the parmigiano deliver layers of flavors enriched even more by the delicately poached egg. Other salad options include the Grilled Chicken Salad (P 355) and Chi Bowl (P 405).

You can have the usual burger, or go for something different with a local twist. The Longganisa Burger (P 355) recreates the classic Filipino breakfast with a thick and juicy patty made from the local longganisa topped with coleslaw and egg on a soft brioche bun. The flavors may be familiar, but one bite immediately tells you this is refreshingly different...

The sweet and savory notes of the local sausage patty pair well with the creamy coleslaw and egg for contrasting yet balanced flavors coming together in a seamless blend. Served with crisp housemade potato chips and a side salad, it's a complete meal in itself. 

Craving for seafood? The Shrimp & Fish Burger (P 385) should do the trick. Plump and succulent shrimps, battered and deep-fried, and mahi-mahi glazed with thick soy combine for a taste of the day's fresh catch.

A light yet flavorful sandwich alternative, this seafood sandwich delivers a load of flavors for another satisfying meal at Hops & Brews. And that crisp grilled sourdough bread makes all the difference with its deep nutty and subtle tart notes to complete the flavors. Other sandwich options at Hops & Brews include the Smoked Salmon Bruschetta (P 465), Croque Madam (P 345), Grilled Cheese and Artichokes (P 325), and The Happy Burger (P 655) with a hefty quarter pound Angus and Wagyu beef patty.

When breakfast is served all-day long, that's already a pretty good sign. The Eggs Benny is offered in two tasty variants, the Classic (P 395), a traditional eggs benedict with country ham, bacon, poached egg, and asparagus covered in hollandaise; and the Smoked Salmon (P 445) with premium smoked salmon, chives, poached egg, asparagus and hollandaise. Served with grilled vegetables, it's perfection on a plate. The flavors just hits home. Ham and bacon or salmon, whatever you choose, the Eggs Benny at Hops & Brews guarantees a perfect start to your day. Any time of day.

Pasta? Hops & Brews has that covered too. The Asari Butter Clams (P 345) features clams flavored with a soy-mirin reduction and tossed in soft yet firm spaghetti. Think of it as classic Italian with a Japanese spin. The delicate briny notes of the succulent clams are kicked up by the soy-mirin reduction pairing well with the noodles for a new take on the Italian vongole. That delectable salty hint from the soy-mirin reduction adds that flavorful punch to the dish. But Hops & Brews has even more surprises up their sleeves...

The Chashu Alfredo (P 365) brings that east-west connection to a tasty fruition with this creative ramen-inspired pasta. Slabs of pork belly chashu laid on linguine coated in a rich cream sauce with bokchoy and topped with a poached egg...just can't get better than that. Just think of it. A rich cream sauce with pork belly and poached egg, that's a flavorful one-two-three punch of richness in one dish. This is just one of many favorites at Hops & Brews. Other sumptuous pasta dishes include the Lamb Bucatini (P 505), Sardinas Aglio Oglio (P 365), Mac & Cheese (P 355) and Spaghetti Pomodoro (P 325).

For the mains, Hops & Brews offers an equally extensive selection of seafood, chicken, lamb and beef courses to satisfy any appetite or craving. The Torched Mahi-Mahi (P 525) features a tender slab of mahi-mahi fillet delicately torched for that light smoky hint topped with a cheesy pimiento crust for even more flavor and served with spring vegetables and couscous. The subtle notes of the mahi-mahi still comes through without being overpowered by the other components of the dish. Hops & Brews plays with a wide repertoire of rich flavors, all finely balanced in their dishes. This is one of them.

But there's more. Hops & Brews takes a cue from Korean flavors with their Galbi Shortribs (P 655), with premium Australian beef slow-cooked and simmered for 24 hours for that fall-of-the-bone tenderness. The short ribs are laid on kimchi fried rice topped with a sunny side-up, spring onions and bean sprouts.

The rich beefy notes of the short ribs are followed by a hint of sweetness from the Korean-style bbq glaze with just a whisper of heat from the kimchi fried rice. The poached egg and the fresh vegetables complete the flavors for another winning dish at Hops & Brews. I'm told this dish is their house favorite. And I'm not surprised at all.

But Hops & Brews has one more tasty surprise. Hops & Brews reinvents the iconic Hainanese Chicken (P 485) with their own version for a delightfully new flavor experience. Sous-vide then fried, the juicy chicken with its crisp outer layer best defines Hops & Brews' new taste of comfort. Served with ginger fried rice as well as the traditional sweet, chili and ginger sauce, this is not your usual Hainanese Chicken.

But it works. Here's a tip, have a taste of the chicken without the three sauces to enjoy the juicy flavors of the chicken along with the light crispness of the skin. That's going to lead to even more bites. Then have it with the three sauces and a spoonful of ginger fried rice. It's Hainanese Chicken expressed in a fresh new way. And this dish is just one of many reasons to drive to I'M Hotel in Makati's Poblacion. Other savory mains include the Chickpea Tikka Masala (P 325), Fish and Shrimp Nasi Goreng (P 365), Butter Chicken (P 475), Lamb Tajine (P 585), All-American Pork Chops (P 655) and Rib Eye Steak (P 1,505).

For dessert, indulge in a decadent Pudding topped with a sweet compote of fruits and whipped cream...

...or go for an Affogato with Butterscotch Ice Cream, milk and espresso. Hops & Brews also offers a wide selection of premium coffee for that perfect cup of joe.

Cap your dining experience at Hops & Brews with freshly brewed coffee or a soothing cup of Hot Chocolate (P 175)...

...or go for another round of the still to be named cocktail for that cool weekend vibe.

Fresh, inventive, modern yet comforting, Hops & Brews' take on gastropub cuisine with a global spin opens up your palate to a world of flavors. Embark on a tasty culinary journey for the new taste of comfort, and it all begins at Hops & Brews...

Hops & Brews is located at the Ground Floor of I'M Hotel, 7682 Makati corner Kalayaan Avenue, Poblacion, Makati or call 0916-785-0568 for inquiries and more information. You can also visit their FB Page for more updates at

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