Net Park Bldg., 5th Ave., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, Metro Manila
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I heard from my friend that everything served at Hey Handsome was phenomenal. Because she did recommended it so much, I couldn't ignore it. And God knows she's telling the truth.
Since it was a Saturday night, the place was jam packed. We reserved in advance but to our dismay, we were still wait listed. We got there at 8pm and the staff told us to come back at 830pm.
The place looked very chic and modern. It had high ceilings and a minimalistic style of drop down lights. They had a glass wall on one side to give the feeling of wider space. I liked how the place looked so monochromatic - it had a blend of black and white with a few pop of colors of yellow and blue.
The bar and kitchen resembled the interior design of Your Local. They had individual tables for groups of 4, bar tables, and big sharing tables. The place was actually small so I can see why it's always fully booked. But, of course, the great flavors of their dishes contributed the most for it. Although it can feel a bit crowded once all the seats are filled.
Service was okay. I was amazed that their menu was written on a chalkboard and how they brought it to every table (there were only 2 copies of it). The servers were very knowledgeable about the menu since there was only 12 items on it. But it's nice how they explained the dishes seeing as how some of the terms feel so unfamiliar. Although I have to comment that the servers do not have designated tables to serve because 4 different people came to us asking if we have already ordered
They only have four sections on their menu: Big Plates, Small Plates, Sweets, and Drinks. For big plates, they have only 5 - one for each protein. Small plates is another term for appetizers, sweets for desserts, and drinks, well, for drinks. Anyway, we ordered the following:
| FISH  ️️️️️
Seabass Otah • Nasi Lemak • Ikan Bilis • Brittle • Sambal • Pickled Egg
This dish was heaven for me. At first, I didn't know how to eat it because the elements of the dish were very distinct from one another. There was the Seabass, Dilis peanut brittle on top, and sambal and pickled egg on the side. I loved how the flavors balanced each other out. The Seabass was perfectly cooked. It had a sauce all over the top but I don't know what it was (I loved it A LOT) It had a sweet blend of salty and spicy altogether. The Dilis peanut brittle was the bomb while the picked egg was very soft and gooey on the inside. If you want a more spicy experience, mix the sambal in the rice. Although please be warned - it can get a bit too spicy for those who are not used to it. On the other hand, if you want to tone it down, have a bite of the pickled egg or cucumber. I think the elements were not mixed when served because the creator of the dish wanted to give free will to the customer which I think is very considerate. Really recommend ordering this 🏻
| LAMB [P640] ️️️️️
Braised Lamb • Buah Keluak • Nasi Ulam • Sambal Matah • Belachan
The braised lamb was perfectly looked. It was very tender to the point of breaking apart once your fork goes through it but still being able to hold it's shape. The sauce was incredible as well. It had a mix of different spices and flavors. At first, it tasted like curry with a hint of citrus flavor but as you continue eating it, you'll taste a lot different flavors. It really is a fusion of many different asian flavors and spices and I absolutely love it. The black thing on the photo is actually squid ink kropek and it is sensational as well. I could eat a whole plate of that kropek in one sitting. Love love love it. The only thing I didn't like was the ginger. It's not that it wasn't good but I just hate the taste of ginger. It's a personal pet peeve
All big plates are served with rice and it's very satisfying. You can definitely feel that you are full and happy I actually had a hard time choosing my favorite between the two because they were both so good. But if I had to choose one, it has to be the Seabass. The lamb sauce had a very lemony taste that I'm not used to (but still very good!) Overall, I am very satisfied and will be back to try the other dishes.
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This is the common colloquial phrase Filipinos use when trying to get someones attention. Commonly heard in flea markets and the friendly neighborhood talipapa. This is how the brilliant minds behind Hey Handsome came up with their name. It's a clever interpretation of the phrase.
The foodie universe got a lil giddy about the arrival of the dashing debonair. Yes, i was one of them. I was tortured with a lot of articles online showcasing how awesome the food is. So yeah, this made me uneasy for x number of weeks. It has become a habit to check all social media outlets to get the inside scoop as to when they would open their doors to the public. I waited and waited like the shameless fangirl that i am.
Hey Handsome is the brainchild of Nico Santos (Your Local) and Charlie Paw (The Tasteless Group). Their names sound familiar eh? I'm not surprised as I consider them as the Mavericks of the culinary x restaurant world. Nico is the purveyor of eclectic mix of flavors. The innovator who isn't afraid in dabbling with the unfamiliar and the obscure. Charles is the Megamind behind the best restaurants in the city, the rebel who brought the baddest bird on the planet. #TastelessGroupie
August 22nd is the day i was waiting for - Dinner at Hey Handsome. #TheUsualSuspects meets Hey Handsome. I arrived first as this is one elevator ride x 15 steps away from where i work. I was greeted by warm smiles from the wait staff.
The Interior. Modern and industrial. The perfect marriage in the design universe. Let's talk modernity, i am referring to the lovely lighting fixtures. There are couple of tube like structures with light bulbs that keeps the dining area easy on the eyes. Industrial, why? Oh i am referring to the steel door of the loo! Reminds of Felix' artsy loft in Orphan Black. The fluorescent lamp-ish fixture on the communal table is reminiscent of a Science Laboratory. Smart as it creates an excellent juxtaposition with the teal tiles and the steel door. It looks mighty fine from where i was seated. And before i forget, their playlist is wicked good - old school hip hop, world music and a lil indie!
Food. A mix of Malaysian, Penarakan and Thai Cuisine. Be warned, the dishes is not something you always see in Asian Bistros. Pray to have good data connection for Google Usage.
Note: I will use my cheat sheet for pseudonyms i used for their dishes.
| Streetname: Red, also known as Beetroot Paneer. Php 480. This comprises of beetroot paneer, quinoa tabbouleh, house yogurt and pappadum.
This is a modern, vegan interpretation of a popular vegetarian cuisines from different continents. Paneer and Papadum is a staple in Indian fare, whilst Tabbouleh hails from the Middle East. Instead of using milk as the main ingredient for the paneer, they used beets. Quinoa was used instead of tomatoes for the tabbouleh making this plate a dream come true for Vegetarians. I ain't a fan of beets but this plate is an exception, the strong nutty after taste is not noticeable. The quinoa adds a lovely contrast of flavour to the dish while the papadum takes care of the crunch.
| Streetname: Dark Knight (not familial ties with Bruce) also known as Buah Keluak. Php 560. A lovely concoction of goat, buah keluak, nasi ulam, sambal matah and kerupek.
Pangium edule (Keluak in Indonesian and Kepayang in Malay) is a tall tree native to the Mangrove swamps of Southeast Asia. It produces a large poisonous fruit (the "football fruit") which can be made edible by fermentation.
Why the science lesson, you ask? The main ingredient of this dish is the fresh fruit and seeds from the tree that contains hydrogen cyanide. This is deadly when consumed sans fermentation. I personally like this dish as it has an element of danger in it. The meat is very tender. I didn't know that they used goat meat until Charles mentioned it, it tastes like beef shortribs. The flavor is something that i can't describe (Penarakam Cuisine neophyte), all i know is that my tastebuds gave their nod of approval. I like the fact that they paired this with fragrant rice as it complements the beef stew perfectly. And oh, the black crunch thingy is squid ink infused kropek! Gah! I can eat this by the bucket.
Streetname: Bananarama (no affiliation with the musical group), also known as Nam Tok. Php 560. Barbecue beef shortribs x khao man and som tam. Nam Tok is of Thai descent, this is either a soup of a meat salad. This delicacy is commonly found in streetside stalls in Bangkok. Handsome's version is neither in soup nor salad from. Theirs is a complete meal, it comprises of juicy, flavorful and tender shortribs barbecued to perfection. The som tam adds a beautiful contast to the tender meat. It adds a lil zest and tang. What ive noticed is that they always pair their savory meat dishes with refreshing rice dishes. Cohesive, in my opinion as it balances things out.
| Streetname: Phil Dunphy (not the character in Modern Family), also known as Laap Phet. Php 300. A beautiful combination of minced duck, deep fried egg, herbs and khao man. A crowd favourite. This is probably the only dish they have with light flavors. Not as strong as Buah Keluak but has enough flavor to entice your tastebuds. The minced duck is divide, perfect balance of seasoning and goes well with the jasmine rice (khao man). I would recommend this dish for those who hasn't dabbled in uncharted cuisines.
| Streetname: Duffy D, also known as Bebek Penyet. Pho 680. Deep fried white pekin duck, duck egg, nasi ulam and achar. This is my favourite! First time to eat duck and i was blown away. The meat is succulent and oozing with flavors. The nasi ulam (Malaysian Mixed Herb Rice) goes well with the meat. As previously mentioned, they know how to pair the other elements of dish for an excellent flavor combination. Nothing too rich that will overpower the duck. If we are talking Chemistry, all of the dishes have the perfect PH level.
| Streetname: P. Sherman, also known as Nasi Lemak. Php 645. Seabass otah, nasi lemak, ikan bilis brittle, sambal and pickled egg. I've always liked seabass, it is the kind of fish that possess sophisticated flavor. A certain level of expertise is required to cook this. If you add too much, the fish gets lost in translation. If you add less, you might end up with something bland. Handsome's version is perfect as the sambal and the brittle is served on the side. You get to taste the unadulterated flavor of the fish. If you want heat, add some sambal, if you want crunch add some brittle. The dish is carefully designed to cater to specific flavor combinations.
| Yogurt (php 200). House yogurt, black sesame and beetroot. I love yogurt! The marriage of yogurt and black sesame paste is a match made in dessert heaven! The yogurt has the right amount of tang and the black sesame adds a lil bit of sweetness that elevates the yogurt to superstar status. And the black thingy, that's black sesame wafer. Paper thin and extremely addicting.
| Kueh Dadar (php 180). Rose crepe, gula melaka, coconut milk and galangal cream. This was just okay, the coconut filling reminded me of chunks of desiccated coconut. Frankly speaking, i dunno how to describe this dish. I'm loss for words. If you want to stay inside your comfort zone, stick with the yogurt.
| Cream Puff (php 190). Durian, pate a choux, gula melaka and brown butter powder. I'll be honest in saying that this is not for everyone. This is not the usual cream puff you meet at the bakery. They use durian infused cream filling! The pastry is soft and fluffy but they went a lil overboard with the filling. The flavor is too strong, i suddenly found myself drinking lots of water hoping to wash away the pungent durian flavor. I meant no offence, personal preference, i guess. I appreciate the effort of using an unpopular fruit. It goes to show that they are not afraid to use unconventional ingredients.
| Magic Milk (php 180).
| Donkey Punch (php 130)
| Cherry Pop (php 150)
I tried Magic Milk and i absolutely love it. This is made of yuzu yogurt, passionfruit, thai chili and butter. I love the tang of the yogurt mixed with the creamy butter. No spice at all, i ain't complaining as i taste magic in every sip.
Dinner was fantastic. The staff is knowledgeable with the food they serve. They are always on their feet to attend to customers needs. All food related questions are responded to with warm smiles. One particular server stood out he was the friendliest of them all. I was the instigator, i noticed his ink and the intricate lines. Then we ended up chatting with him for a couple of minutes. Don't you just love it when there is friendly interaction? We also had the chance to meet Chef Nico! This got me giddy as i recently visited Your Local and I'm still in awe of the salmon.
I think it would be better to add "familiar" Asian Dishes on the menu as not all Filipinos are not that accustomed to Penarakan, Malay and Thai Cuisine. When i say, familiar, i dont mean conventional. Deconstructed Nasi Goreng or Mee Goreng perhaps?
Thank you for having us, Pogi. We had a grand time! My first brush with Penarakan Cuisine is memorable.
Thank you, Charles for your generosity.
Thank you, Chef Nico for letting us taste your wonderful culinary creations.
Thank you, Mary Love S You know what i mean.
Fun times with #TheUsualSuspects Abe C Ruth S as always and nice to see you again, Denise A
Sorry, it took me a while to finish this review. I guess if you are reading this sentence, you probably know why.
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Hey Handsome has been receiving praises from notable influencers from the foodie community for a month now. Actually, just knowing that the minds behind this concept are the ones who brought Your Local already convinced me that I have to visit this place ASAP. I really respect these young talents as they are not afraid of the insanely crazy restaurant industry we have now. And to use unconventional raw ingredients such as keluak,a big poisonous fruit found in Indonesia, among others, proves how passionate they are in their craft and in bringing new flavors to Manila. The restaurant was scheduled to open last Friday but since the owners want to make sure that everything is perfect, they had to delay the opening and moved it to August 17 instead. (Thank you, Charlie Paw for the heads up!) And finally, Hey Handsome is open!!!
Hello, Hey Handsome!
I was greeted by lovely interiors that reminded me of Your Local, only brighter and more Instagram friendly (given the abundance of light). The modern mixed with industrial feel, high stools and white and green tiles turn every corner of this restaurant perfect for shoots. I guess Nicco Santos, one of the owners, head chef and a photographer himself, considered how foodies love to take snapshots of food and restaurant interiors.
The restaurant aims to infuse more “real” Asian flavors such as Peranakan, Thai and Malaysian. Though some of the ingredients are sourced in other Asian countries for more authentic flavors, some are sourced locally. I honestly could not really tell which ones are authentic tasting or not. As long as the dish tastes good, I’m a-okay with it!
I have read several positive reviews about the Beetroot Paneer (PHP480), Nam Tok (PHP580), Bebek Penyet (PHP680) and Nasi Lemak (PHP645). I decided to go with last one knowing that is considered as a complete meal in Malaysia and Singapore.
Quite unfamiliar with the dishes, I did a quick research and found out that Nasi Lemak is usually composed of meat, salted peanuts, coconut rice, hardboiled egg and dilis. But it is wrong to expect “usual” when dining at Chef Nicco’s restaurant. Instead of serving nasi lemak (coconut rice) with meat, Hey Handsome paired it with sea bass otah infused with spices that is wrapped and grilled in banana leaves served with sambal, pickled soft boiled egg and peanut brittle with dilis.
I loved every bit of my heavy plate! The sea bass otah was so soft, juicy and had a nice light taste that went well with the sambal and cucumber bits. The peanut brittle with dilis added crunch and balanced the salty and spicy flavor of the sambal and sea bass otah. I didn’t get the pickled taste of the soft boiled egg but the silky texture of the egg sure complemented the whole dish. (I had to lessen my sambal intake after a few mouthfuls as it was a bit too spicy for me.)
Slightly sweaty (or rather glowing), I had a sip of my Donkey Punch (PHP130) to help get rid of the spicy taste of the sambal. And oh boy, it didn’t do much as one sip gave me a strong kick of ginger. It was a lovely blend of lemongrass, galangal, Elderflower liquor and passionfruit puree though and it was spectacular when enjoyed alone or with other non-spicy dishes. It also made me feel that it made my voice nicer and worthy to be part of The Voice… audition.
As for dessert, I decided to go with Cream Puff (PHP190) after hearing the word “durian filling”. And they were not kidding when they say durian!
It would take a severe flu for one not to be able to taste the durian flavor in this dessert. Served chilled, the delightful puff had a slight chewy texture and each forkful would result in the durian filling oozing out of the pastry. The durian itself had a strong taste and I had to eat it slowly to avoid being overwhelmed by it.
While finishing my first cream puff, Charlie asked me if I would like to try Yogurt (PHP200). I promptly said yes and soon, a glass bowl of yogurt with black sesame jam base and black sesame lace wafer was served.
It was love at first bite. The yogurt was creamy and tangy just the way I like it. The black sesame paste added a bit of rough texture and sweetness to the dish. I also loved the black sesame wafer which created crunch. This Hey Handsome homemade yogurt is an absolute must order dish, especially after devouring a heavy lunch!
Overall, it was a pleasant lunch! The meal was a bit on the expensive side but you’d definitely get your money’s worth! I headed out with a happy tummy and a smile on my face.
For those who are not based in BGC, fret not as Hey Handsome might be open for brunch and dinner soon! Just keep on checking their Instagram account for updates. For now, Hey Handsome is open Mondays to Saturdays at 11 am to 2:30 pm. Come early as the place gets full fast!
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