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Let’s go Krazy |


Let’s go Krazy

ARTMAGEDDON - Igan D’Bayan - The Philippine Star
Letâs go Krazy
Krazy for you: The well-stacked bar of Krazy Garlik boasts friendly servers and garlic-infused cocktails and mockt
STAR / File

Let’s start in medias res like in a Homeric saga. But this story involves garlic, lots and lots of it.

As I bite into a piece of 40 Kloves Chicken at Krazy Garlik, which has reopened at Level 3 of One Ayala Mall in Makati City, I ask the director for operations, Brian Peck, how come no other restaurant has tried copying this hit of a dish. His answer: someone probably tried copying it. “Pero nagkulang sila ng garlic,” he jokes. Stopped at 39 cloves, probably.

Katrin de Lara, The Bistro Group bar training manager.

But the people in the Krazy Garlik kitchen are giving their all, doing their best, leaving no garlic unearned. The chicken is deep-fried with just the right boldness of herbs and garlic. The sauce of the 40 Kloves Chicken goes well with Hara Kiri Rice, a very spicy rice variant with chopped bacon. The Jules Man, who is dining with us, calls it “kamikaze” rice.

Krazy Garlik, one of The Bistro Group’s homegrown concepts, serves Filipino and Western-inspired menu offerings with garlic as the leading culinary character. In its first run, it brought forth a motley-hued “Alice in Garlic Land” design vibe; now, in its comeback, the aesthetic focuses on a younger, more contemporary ambience with the color of garlic figuring strongly in its palette.

Jean Paul Manuud, The Bistro Group president.

When partaking of the dishes, one kind of forgets which ones were originally on the menu and which ones are brand-new offerings because each dish makes sense in being a part of the garlicky lineup. The Bistro Group even held a MasterChef-like session where the Bistro culinary captains reimagined new dishes with garlic as the centerpiece. Ah, what a blessing to be a taster in that tilt for a day.

The Amazing Krazy Garlik Salad with its topping of fried wonton strips makes the best prelude to an hour or so of dining. You remember how good the Garlicky Crispy Pata, Crema Catalana as well as the oxtail and chorizo stew were (and still are) in the past incarnation of the restaurant. You can taste the garlic in, say, the must-try Raving Ribs (soft, saucy, garlicky), but the garlic’s not too overpowering; the flavors of the meat and sauce still surface in the gustatory mix. It’s an enhancement.

Lisa Ronquillo- Along, chief marketing officer of The Bistro Group

Garlic brings balance to the Force, so to speak.

“Garlic is part of our culture, a staple in the kitchen,” explains Peck, whose favorite is the kaldereta. “It creates authentic flavors, nostalgic flavors, flavors that can bring back memories. When you eat adobo with garlic, it brings back childhood memories. There are also health benefits that we can get from garlic.”

Marketing manager Thea Evangelista adds, “Garlic definitely makes every dish better.”

Peck interjects, “A garlic a day keeps the vampire away (laughs).” But the Dark Prince probably couldn’t keep away from the drinks — even if the bartender adds a splash of garlic or a few bits of (I kid you not!) anchovies into the concoction.

Brian was not only responsible for picking the unique-looking glassware and gradient-colored cups as well as design element suggestions for the restaurant, but he also collaborated with Thea in coming up with the crazy-sounding names of the dishes, as well as the cocktails.

“For the cocktails, our thrust was to come up with drinks that are not usually found in other restaurants,” explains Brian. “Something new, something fresh, something young — so we can attract the younger set — but the main ingredient should be something ‘krazy.’” Blueberry mojito, anyone?

It’s a case of thinking outside the box, according to Katrin de Lara, Bistro Group bar training manager. She explains, “We have eight garlic-infused cocktails — created by soaking garlic in liquor for at least a week. For our mocktails, we use honey-garlic as a sweetener. Our Missing You Like Candy drink — garlic-infused vodka with pink gin and cranberry juice — has bits of anchovies in it.”

To top it off is a cloud of cotton candy. Submerge the fluff; drink it like crazy.

Lots of people were asking why Krazy Garlik, which was so in tune with the Pinoy palate, had to bow out a few years back. Lisa Ronquillo-Along, chief marketing officer of The Bistro Group, answers, “We were growing the franchise brands at that time, so it didn’t get that much focus. But we believe in the brand and we’re ready for it now. The food here is rooted in our culture and the flavors are so rich.”

Jean Paul Manuud, The Bistro Group president, agrees. “It took us some time to re-visualize this. We didn’t rush. Sometimes, good food may not be enough. It has to be a total experience. So, we focused on people and training. But we’re very confident with what we have at Krazy Garlik. You can have a lot of flexibility with the menu. It transcends, cuts across so many cuisines. It’s not purely American or Asian, it’s unique. It’s comfort food at its best.”

With that, coffee and dessert are served. Of course, even the crème brulée has garlic. Now, that’s bonkers.

We dig in. Only Dracula would abstain.

* * *

Krazy Garlik is at Level 3, One Ayala Mall, Makati City. Follow the brand on social media via @KrazyGarlikPh.

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