One noteworthy casual dining concept that has opened recently at the 3rd floor of SM Megamall’s spanking new Fashion Hall is Fireside by Kettle, a new take to comfort food opened by the same guys behind Kettle located just next door at Shangri-la Plaza Mall. Compared to Kettle, Fireside offers heavier and meatier comfort food. Scroll down and you’ll see just what I mean.
I tried Fireside by Kettle for lunch during a weekday. I was surprised to find a sizable crowd even though the mall itself was quite empty.
Normally, I skip appetizers in favor of the mains but I was able to sample some of Fireside’s starters. Do note that portions are huge so pace accordingly!
First came the Crab & Artichoke Dip (Php 279). I’ve never kept a secret my inclination for seafood and the name of this accompaniment to the nachos immediately piqued my interest. A departure from the usual types of dips, this makes for a mean starter with the crab fat + crab meat quite noticeable despite the strong odor of the melted cheese that is mixed with it.
One appetizer is the most I usually have to prepare myself for the mains but I made an exception for the one-of-a-kind Sweet Corn Cappucino (Php 129). The popcorn salt sprinkled on the top of the cup is an immediate giveaway that this is not same type of beverage one sips in a cafe. This is actually corn soup cleverly placed in a cup. The corn flavor was not too sweet and more importantly tasted authentic, a good departure from the canned version that seemed to have found its way in many restaurants elsewhere.
To start off with the mains, I had some Sweet, Spicy and Salty Wings (Php 249 for 3pcs). I loved the glaze on this one, with the sweet, spicy and salty all in equal measure and seemingly competing for attention in my taste bud. The sweet potato chips beside it was a worthy side, and served as a counterbalance to the stronger flavors of the wings.
I then proceeded to something heavier. The Double Cut Pork Chop (Php 519) was surprisingly soft given the thickness of the meat. Pork chop is not easy to prepare and making sure the meat doesn’t come out tough is often a challenge. I must say the team did an excellent job on this. Meat was very tender and juicy, with the apple and cream sauce flavor offering a welcome departure from the typical grilled chops. This was my favorite dish during the meal.
The Apricot-Chipotle Glazed Ribs (Php 889) came next. This was another highlight. The tangy apricot flavor was unmistakeable as I easily de-boned the ribs which were roasted until the meat was chewy and almost no longer stuck to the bone. The ribs here were slightly more vinegary than most, which I personally preferred.
I ended the meal with the Buttermilk Fried Chicken Fingers (Php 489), a dish that’s very popular in Kettle. I’ve not tried the one in Kettle before so there’s no point of comparison for me. But I can see why this dish stands out. Chicken breast is used here but due to 24-hour brining, the meat came out succulent and not too dry. The serving was again huge, and I thought the size of the chicken merited more than just a “finger” designation. Best to dip it in gravy which comes with the dish. There were also bits of cornbread doughnuts alternating with the chicken fingers. That’s a must-try as well and can be ordered separately (Php 109).
Overall, I enjoyed my dining experience at Fireside by Kettle and its not so straightforward interpretation of American favorites. Of all that I’ve tried, the Double Cut Pork Chop and Buttermilk Fried Chicken Fingers really stand out and together these two dishes alone merit a visit to this casual dining restaurant.
Value for money: 4/5
Fireside by Kettle
3/F Mega Fashion Hall
# +63 2 532 1807