When I hear KOMRAD in my time it'll be something that a Russian would probably say but I got schooled a few days ago with a restaurant with the same name nearby my place in Quezon City. This hustling, bustling side of town located at the northern end of Tomas Morato is just promising. Il Terrazzo, aside from being a great party venue has a lot of restaurants on its belt and on the second floor you can find a regional Chinese restaurant that visibly sparks ideology with Mao Tse-tung and the whole cultural revolution. We won't tackle Anhui, Cantonese, Fujian, Jiangsu, Shandong, Zhejiang or every region in China but we will probably get to experience Hunan and Sichuan in this spot. This is Komrad Mao's Hunan & Sichuan Kitchen. Are you ready?
The interior is quite reminiscent of a revolution memorabilia store since all the picture frames, artworks like this one and the wall treatments depict that particular era where Mao reigned. I saw their branch in Eastwood and this particular one in Il Terrazzo felt a little bigger than the latter. Maybe it's because of some glass panels on the front and the table placements that they had in this store that made the difference. I like the fact that they are keeping within their theme and not making this a hodgepodge of anything Chinese that it becomes plain eclectic.
If you see on the photos above they also got mirrors lining the back wall which made the view wider. It looks like they painstakingly invested in the interiors so the food goes along with this theme.
Murals of the last emperor, some random old man eating a bow of rice, some revolutionary soldiers and an old couple had their photos setup on a large wall without them putting too much on it because they hold back and it won't look cluttered. Minimum effort but quite a grand look right?
The ceiling had it's own share of Mao memorabilia too. This happened all throughout the store and it looked like popart. The lights also added that old Chinese restaurant vibe. Although some of the walls looked bare (not painted) the overall feel was presented well. It wouldn't be a place you'd be ashamed to take your family to on Sundays and everyday lunch/dinner. This isn't fine dining but the place sticked to its theme and worked it!
Hunan Steamed Fish Head (P 455.00) - It was a light and not that spicy even if there's actually chili on the ingredients. I guess they had the bell pepper kind but this was something good to share.
Stir Fried Fookien Noodles (P 255.00) - Savory noodles loaded with a variety of seafood hand tossed in a wok cooked "stir fry" style. It was something I'd like to have with the other fried items in the menu. I couldn't help eat this even if I was allergic to seafood. The noodles still had some bite to it and a little chewy which I absolutely adore!
Sichuan Pata Tim (P 225.00) - Totally different from what we have in the Philippines, their version of Pata Tim is more close to braised pork and is actually not sweet/tangy. This one had that soft pork falling off the bone and is almost like they meant to have it with just plain bell pepper to flavor the small amount of broth on the bottom. If you are the adventurous type then this is perfect for you!
Sauteed Kenya Beans with Minced Pork and Tofu (P 198.00) - Now I don't know why this particular country came into the mix but this dish was quite a stunner if taken as an appetizer. The spicy kick and crunchy string beans just made me happy to have it with steaming white rice. The minced pork and tofu added volume and made this an even better pair for beer and everything else in between!
Sichuan Mixed Seafood with Pig's Blood (P 385.00) - Glistening in red shiny oil is this mixed seafood dish that's got small pigs blood blocks hand tossed over a wok in high heat. I thought it was going to be super spicy since there were a lot of seeds seen on top but it wasn't that spicy for me. There's a slight kick that you can only feel later on but it wasn't that overwhelming enough to judge this as too spicy, it was just right! :)
Birthday Noodles (P 225.00) - Well as you can see they were not able to hold back on tasting this one even before we took a photo of it. I love my birthday noodles, it symbolizes long life. Their version though didn't have quail eggs on it but it was good nonetheless.
Sichuan Fried Eggplant with Pork Strips (P 198.00) - if you love something crunchy and have more texture in your meal this is definitely a must buy. I think I loved this even more than the mains. This is one of my favorites on the menu because its tasty, not too salty and very crunchy. Don't order this for takeout though because you might lose the crunch.
Xiao Long Bao (P 164.00) - They've got one of the best dimsum on their menu and if you say Xiao Long Bao, I'm there. That hot broth oozing out of the soft dimsum covering must have been meticulously hand made and the taste is just absolutely yummy, its got that tangy oriental bite from the black vinegar and shards of ginger. I'll definitely come back for more of that!
Mango Sago - I didn't get to see the price of this on the menu and they probably have this just on recommendations but this thick, creamy concoction of the fruit, sago and whole cream just made it the perfect dessert to end the meal. This is a must try item so make sure you ask for it!
Buchi - Served fresh and hot off the oil is this sesame seed laden balls of crunchy, chewy flour and sweet mung bean dessert item that is a staple in almost every Chinese restaurant. It's so different when you get it hot like this so try it on if you still have space left in your stomach after all that yummy food!
KOMRAD's Signature Red Iced Tea - It's a little sour from that hint of lime that came with this iced tea. You'll probably see people order this with their meals quite often because its served cold and fresh plus its perfect for the hot items on the menu.
There's more to Chinese food that we'll ever know. KOMRAD is the best authentic regional Chinese food you'll ever have in the Philippines so if you're up to it, check out their branches at the Eastwood Mall and I'll Terrazzo. Food is well researched and prepared, surely it's something you'd wanna have other than plain chop suey. :)
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