In recent years kebabs, just like shawarmas, have been rising from their reputation as quickly grilled street foods, to more upscale fare in casual dining restaurants. One place that exemplifies this change is a cozy bar known as Kite Kebab Bar, located in Poblacion, Makati City. We might have bypassed this place altogether if not for its charming outdoor dining area with its wide cushy seats and a wide window decorated with small colourful lights. Much to our delight when we finally dined here, the restaurant’s interior was just as artfully decorated as its facade. The walls were covered with bright murals, which made a great backdrop to the bar’s comfortable seating and well finished tables.
At first we were impressed by the menu, which featured various kinds of beef, chicken, lamb, and seafood kebabs, as well as a selection of salads and side dishes. In fact the menu enjoins customers to make their own platters by mixing and matching kebabs with side dishes, rice, or pita breads. However, we were informed that some of the kebab meats, as well as side dishes such as the smoked eggplant yogurt were not available that evening. Perhaps this had to do with the fact that the long weekend had just finished and the kitchen was not yet fully restocked. After a while we decided on these combinations:
For Lee: chicken kebab, biryani rice, and ox brain
For Kat: tenderloin chipotle, basmati rice, and mojos.
To wash this all down, we paired our food with calamansi juice sweetened with honey, and a classic yogurt drink.
The chicken kebab was more akin to chicken tandoori in terms of taste, while the biryani rice lacked some of the characteristic aromas and flavour imparted by spices such as star anise; however both these dishes were still rather delicious. The highlight of this plate was the ox brain, which was lightly sautéed and minimally seasoned. The result was a smooth, silky side dish that would be tempting for adventurous diners as well as the more squeamish newcomers. We would definitely recommend this. Likewise, the tenderloin kebab was well seasoned with just enough of the chipotle spice blend to complement the beef’s natural hearty flavour. The mojos were served hot and crisp, with a mild garlic dip. All in all, this was a simple but tasty plate.
Unfortunately most of the desserts were out of stock too this evening, so we simply capped our meal with a small pot of tea to cleanse our palates. At the very least it allowed us to linger and enjoy the bar’s coziness a bit longer before heading out into an unusually cool summer night.
The Food Score: 3.5/5: Aside from the bugaboos with the flavours, we found the servings to be rather small for the price. However the selection is friendly for first-time diners, but also features dishes touted to be for the adventurous or more discerning diner such as kombutsa tea.
Ambiance/Service Score: 3.5/5. As beautiful as the bar’s interior is, one thing that marred it for us was the presence of large beer crates right in the main room. And while it’s definitely sad that many food items are not available, at least the staff are conscientious enough to immediately inform diners if there are any shortages on the menu.
GERD Score: 3.5/5. As far as selection and our experience here is concerned, there’s still some heartburn-friendly items that will still whet one’s appetite, because alongside the spicy and oily are subtle choices like hummus, and with regard to alcoholic and caffeine-filled beverages, there are also fruit juices and yogurt drinks available. We suggest cutting back on the butter a bit.
Epilepsy Score: 4/5: At the very least the foods are not too heavily spiced, thus making them friendly for sensitive diners. The drinks menu features a large non alcoholic beverages list, which is a boon for patrons who may worry about interactions with medications
Team Glasses Score: 3.5/5. The Kite Kebab Bar is worth including on one’s itinerary for an evening bar-hopping throughout Poblacion. It may not be the place to get a full meal, but it is certainly a location to stop and catch one’s breath for a little while.