You know how so many people like to say, “This is comfort food with a twist,” or, “This dish is a classic but has a twist”—and then of course you look forward to the twist but then it never comes? Well, that's certainly not the case in this quaint food joint tucked in the quiet, but burgeoning area of The Row at The Grove by Rockwell. With their carefully crafted, freshly made (in house, no less) sandwiches, appetizers, main dishes, and desserts, Alley couldn’t have lived up more to their promise of a menu with a twist.
Just one look at their sandwiches and you’ll know they mean business: The bread and pretty much everything else on the plate is made from scratch by their team headed by 24-year-old chef Thirdy Dolatre. Each serving of these classics with a twist is remarkable because of 1. the unique pairings of flavors and ingredients, and 2. how perfectly the bread and the filling go with each other (for instance, in their version of a burger, the Patty Crunch, the flavorful Angus patty is paired with potato bread, and made even more exciting with crispy fried onion strings, Russian dressing, and cheese, while in their Reuben sandwich, the six-day-cured corned beef belly sits beautifully between molasses bread and honey mustard dressing).
The twist of the Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Sandwich? It's got a layer of strawberry jam which lends a distinct aftertaste.
They’ve also got notable main dishes, which include a Chicken Soy Rice recommended to cure hangovers, but will also make you happy even in your sober state, and mouthwatering striploin steak with potato gratin, and housemade steak sauce. Only two dessert items are on the menu at the moment, but you really won’t be seeking for more because the financiers (light, buttery almond cakes) served piping hot with whipped maple cream and the caramelized banana bread with cashew ice cream, will end your meal on a high note (then again, you’ll enjoy them even on their own).
Once you pop, you just can't stop when it comes to the Financiers and its accompanying maple cream.
The inside-outside feel of Alley (piazza lights, wooden tables, plants, high seating, faux windows) complements the unpretentious menu and we can’t help but imagine how fitting the place is for not just barkada or family hangouts but dates as well (especially because it’s away from the busyness of the metro which makes it an ideal venue for getting closer to someone you like) so we asked part-owners, siblings Bernice and Butz Tenchavez, for their food recos for various date scenarios:
When you’re on your first date… “Get the whole shebang. Fried Oyster & Squid (since oysters are aphrodisiacs), the Bacon, Egg, and Cheese since it's a classic, so it shows that you're an easy to please kind of guy, and the carbonara, a ‘safe’ order, since you guys are still getting to know each other.”
You'll never go wrong with carbonara, and theirs have got guanciale (cured pork jowls).
When your date is maarte… “Get the Spinach and Pimiento Fonduta, Multigrain Pistolet for appetizer, the Panzanella Salad and New York Striploin with Potato Gratin [pictured on the banner photo]. These are the pricey items on the menu, and you'd be sure that you'll get quality ingredients.”
When you and your date like going on food trips and are on the look out for the most unique food items… “Get the queso de bola beignets, and while the pork chicharon is common, the orange and star anise vinegar is not. The Fresh Tagliatele with uni butter, blue crab, and Manila clams will impress the foodie in you, as well as the farfalle, crumbled goat and pork sausage would also impress the foodies. For dessert, get the Financier, it's simple, yet so classic.”
This is far from your ordinary chicharon—the orange and star anise vinegar is so refreshing you'd want to take some home.
If you’re health conscious… “Get the Tuna Melt (on olive oil poached tuna salad, white cheddar on multigrain bread) and Market Beetroot Salad. Can't go wrong!”
When you want to step up your foodie game on Instagram… “Everyone has a sweet tooth, but people like to Instagram our Caramelized Banana Bread with house-churned cashew ice cream, and for mains, the Grilled Pork Chops.”
Banana bread you won't be able to resist.
Alley is also a supporter of local producers so you’ll find craft brews and teas from Tsaa Laya in Laguna, plus a unique coffee blend created for them by Coffee Swell, called Breaking Bad (so yes, it’s strong and addictive, says Bernice).
Alley is located at The Retail Row at The Grove By Rockwell, E. Rodriguez Jr. Avenue, Pasig. They’re open from 11 AM to 11 pm; for reservations and inquiries you may contact +63916-4933136
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