The Grill Boy at Spark Place (just across SM Cubao) is now open! What’s interesting about this branch is that it’s a new food business venture of Richie, The Pickiest Eater in the World, and his family. 🙂 How great is the food then, if it has got the nod of approval of the pickiest eater himself? The answer can be quite intriguing!
Together with the KTG, I had lunch here last Sunday and thought that The Grill Boy’s winning formula to make customers happy must be the product of “hearty entrees fully loaded with flavor” and “super affordable and reasonable prices.” In addition, this fast-food restaurant serves recognizable classic meals infused with an appealing offer that’s best for those who have a huge appetite: UNLIMITED RICE! Prepare as The Grill Boy satisfies your rice addiction—or in other case, soon to be addiction. 😛
Review of The Grill Boy (Spark Place, Cubao, Quezon City)
Coupled with crisp white and brown, orange as the main color theme of the interior design is an instant pick-me-up, making this restaurant look bright and vibrant. Simple yet functional pieces of dining furniture filled out the space, and chairs can be moved or rearranged to accommodate bigger groups.
While it’s not totally the perfect ambiance that will make you feel cozy and want to soak in the atmosphere, it’s the kind that wraps you up in the meal. You won’t be busy checking out decors that stimulate discussion; the main focus is the food.
The menu can be conveniently found at the top behind the counter, and this fast-food / cafeteria-style setup makes it quick and easy for customers to order. I like that there are pictures of food posted as well to help in decision-making.
Overall, service is remarkable and the crew is friendly. I hope they remain as efficient when more people discover this place and grab their meals here. What to do when you want more rice? Just raise your hand and ask for it. We were honored to have Richie serve us half/full servings of rice as we desired—with a smile. 🙂
As a starter or a viand on its own, the Crispy Pork and Mango Salad (PhP 66) was an awesome contrast of sweet and tangy chunks of mangoes and tomatoes and pork. I love how the crispy pork rinds (chicharon) wound up with a tad salty bite, bright acidity, and a little earthiness. This dish turned out to be a combination of flavors and textures all over in the best possible way.
Anything with coconut milk (gata) is always welcome to my palate. The Grill Boy’s Laing (PhP 53) was no exception. Emerging supple and succulent, it primarily melded taro leaves and chilies steeped in a rich and sweet coconut milk sauce. Spiciness level was bearable. If you’re a fan of a tongue-numbing effect, simply bite into the chili and extinguish fire on your tongue with a cold drink. 🙂
Brimming with wondrous barbecue flavor, Pork Bbq on Stick (PhP 95) was firm, tender, and appropriately fatty. Eating it the old-fashioned way with vinegar sauce will do it a lot of good.
Luis’ Boneless Chicken Inasal (PhP 99) will melt your Filipino food-loving heart. It was not sweet like the pork barbecue. What’s noteworthy was that the marinade did not overpower the grilled chicken. Basted with spices, the flesh was juicy and soft.
The Grilled Tuna Belly (PhP 125, with rice) was hands-down my favorite. 🙂 It was smooth, delicate, and quite clean in execution since I didn’t sense the fishy aftertaste and over-smokiness. Brush the top with soy sauce for a spectacular bite, but thanks to the seasoning, it’s already fine even without.
While the Dennis Grilled Liempo (PhP 99) wasn’t insanely good as the other dishes we had, this entree was also one grilled treat that’s hard to beat. The layering of fat and meat was spot on, and with the use of light soy sauce, you’ll be happy with the result.
Served with the “Mang Tomas” dipping sauce, Annie’s Lechon Kawali (PhP 99) was another cardiac delight that’s tasty and tender. The skin was chewy-crisp, and the layer of subcutaneous fat was intact enough that each morsel burst with porky juice. Mmmm…this plate of crispy fried pork belly was really as scrumptious as it looked.
The Crispy Pork Sisig (PhP 165) consisted of chopped deep-fried pig’s facial parts and onions, topped by a sunny-side-up egg, and served on a sizzling hot cast iron plate. We mixed everything up, squeezed the calamansi, and got pretty excited with its deep umami intensity. This crispy pork sisig is by far the best version I have ever tasted. 🙂 If I were to choose one thing that sets it apart from others, it would be the crunch factor.
Topped with sliced onions and tomatoes, Pinaputok na Bangus Meal (PhP 99) was no novelty, but it was particularly memorable because the belly was so fatty and I wondered where they get their supply of the bangus. Order it with confidence. 😀
Swimming in the tad salty broth, bouncy noodles in the Batchoy Supreme (PhP 82) were joined by tender shreds of various pork organs. The soup wasn’t as rich as I expected though. (From 2PM-5PM, customers can get the junior batchoy with one piece of pork bbq or fried lumpiang ubod for only PhP 49.)
Far from the wriggly instant noodles type, Pancit Canton (PhP 42-Solo, PhP 142-Platter) tasted okay. Cooked with shrimps and blanched vegetables, it’s a great go-to comfort food, and it must be a big hit during merienda time for employees working in office buildings nearby. (From 2PM-5PM, customers can get the solo portion of pancit canton with one piece of pork bbq or fried lumpiang ubod for only PhP 49.)
A choice of Garlic Rice / Java Rice / Plain Rice completes every entree in meals. I went for a cup of garlic rice and also sampled a spoonful of java rice. Both were delicious and you can’t go wrong with anything here. Plain rice is available for unlimited refills. 🙂
For desserts, we shared the glistening Buko Pandan Delight (PhP 39), Halo-Halo Regular (PhP 59), and Leche Flan (PhP 25). Everything was a party in the mouth. The pretty mystifying ingredient in halo halo and buko pandan was the cheese sprinkled on top. It was surprisingly good as a salty component and definitely a savory element to these quintessential Filipino desserts.
Price for Value: ★★★★★
The Grill Boy at SPARKS (previously prominent as “Dennis the Grill Boy”) is one thrilling foodie destination that won’t dent your budget. Price for value scores high, with good combos and meals that come with unli rice. It’s a must-stop for those who like Filipino food and simple digs that won’t make you go like “meh.”
Operation hours: 10AM to 10PM daily
Follow The Grill Boy on Instagram (@TheGrillBoyPH) or search for the hash tag #TheGrillBoySparkPlace.
I’m lucky that I don’t need to make pilgrimages to Cubao since The Grill Boy has a branch in SM Mall of Asia, just 10 minutes of walking distance away from my office. 🙂 Another branch is in SM Pampanga.
More about Spark Place in Cubao:
Spark Place has quickly stamped its claim as one of Cubao’s trendiest hot spots by housing other integral establishments needed for every day living. Located within Spark Place is Robinson’s Supermarket, Robinson’s Appliance Center, and Handy Man Hardware store, making for hassle-free shopping without having to deal with the hustle and bustle of a packed mall. Spark Place also provides basement parking for their customers.