I was invited to attend and cover TOMS Give Fair in Alabang last Saturday, and since the event was scheduled in the afternoon, I thought it was a nice opportunity to have lunch nearby: at Neil’s Kitchen. 🙂 I’ve read lots of positive reviews about this place, and most agree you get your money’s worth. Thankfully, high expectations were met! This is a cool spot where there’s no loud music and no flashing lights but rather a peaceful, perfectly executed dining setup. Neil’s Kitchen is one of the most talked about restaurants in Westgate Center, and there’s no wonder that it’s a top choice when it comes to Filipino food in Alabang.
Review of Neil’s Kitchen (Westgate Center, Alabang)
Often in other places, decorations on staircases get overlooked, and what a pity–they’re one of the most high-traffic areas where people go up and down. Neil’s Kitchen’s interior designer must be wise to have made good use of this space. A gallery of 3D decorations along the staircase wall can instantly draw in the eye. They were the first to get my attention, and these were quickly followed by the mason-jars lighting fixtures hanging down from the white ceiling. Love them all! 🙂
Adding to the wow factor and making the restaurant look more interesting are the memorable quotes that tell so much about the nature of foodies. “Count the memories and not the calories,” the tick mark on the Hungry check box, and “People who love to eat are always the best people” are fine examples.
The black and white theme is a popular choice for eating areas, and Neil’s Kitchen mixes it with yellow for a good pop of color. Seating is a bit tight with tables and chairs packed in at maximum density. However, bright ambiance and clean lines still make it a go-to venue for everything from big family lunches, reunions, business meals, to special occasions you won’t forget. There’s also a bookstore at the back where you can find inspiring book titles that can help live your best life.
Neil’s Kitchen’s staff showcased flawless service and they were so accommodating we felt that anything was possible. Staff here gave a good example of Filipino hospitality. In an industry where most restaurants face the challenge of manpower crunch, it is a blessing indeed. I give two thumbs up for friendliness, attentiveness, and efficiency of customer service.
Crab cakes are always a wonderful treat, and Neil Kitchen’s Crab Cake Torta with Aligue Pasta (PhP 495) did not disappoint. The crab cake torta had that delicious and slightly sweet aroma of the ocean and a tenderness that lobsters only aspire to. I love that we did not have to poke through our utensils or eat the crab with our hands. In cake form, the jumbo lump crab meat had a somewhat crisp exterior and inside, there was no extra starchy binders at all.
Complementing well to the taste of the crab meat, the Aligue Pasta was flavorful and fantastic. Aligue is the crab’s roe so you can just imagine how “sinful” this pasta is. But like what the quote said, don’t mind the calories but the memories. Whisper that a few times and any guilt will dissipate on your first bite. 😛
While deciding what to order, my mom looked at the table next to us and saw the Boneless Chicken Barbecue with Java Rice (PhP 395). The plating looked appetizing for sure and the macaroni salad on the side made it even more tempting. I thought there was nothing special about the chicken barbecue, but I was wrong. It was one of the best versions I’ve ever tried! The smoky barbecue chicken was cut in bite-size portions. It had perfectly juicy and moist meat and a sweet, sticky glaze. The nutty sauce did not seem to be a critical component to enhance the flavor, as the sweet-and-tangy chicken was richly seasoned. Tart atchara (pickled papaya) came in as a good accompaniment to the dish.
Ending our indulgent meal, the signature dessert at the restaurant, Fried Suman, Mangga, and Chocnut (PhP 295), was pretty glorious. It was a very tropical dessert that was elegantly plated and not overly sweet, so you can be sure that it will not satiate your appetite.
Price for Value: ★★★★☆
Neil’s Kitchen in Alabang is quite a buzzy gem that earns raves for its excellent renditions of Filipino food. Price for value is fair. With chic ambiance and charming service without pretentiousness, it’s a restaurant that should be noted in everyone’s short list.