Let me just start this off by saying that commuting during rush hour is not one of my favorite things to do. I get tense, angry and aggressive because, well, let's face it. An elbow to the chest isn't the best feeling when you're trying to get on the MRT. I usually tend to listen to music that reflects my mood on the train, and this particular song is often on repeat:
(Disclaimer: Do not click if you don't like fake blood and heavy metal. Hey, I told you I become a monster when I commute, didn't I?)
Little did I know that the title of this particular Deftones song would be very appropriate for the way my night was going to unfold.
That aside, I got back to Katipunan in one piece, but finding myself craving a big, fat, juicy steak. A proliferation of new restaurants have been cropping up on Esteban Abada street - practically a minute away from my house. So when I decided to walk over to Brickfire, I was practically salivating in anticipation of the meaty goodness that would greet me.
"We were classmates in college!"
These are the first words that Aaron Macalinao, one of the owners of Brickfire, says to me as I say hello. Try as I might to remember, a lot of my college life is a massive blur. Aaron has better memory, though. He tells me that his family, being in the meat business, used to be my lola's supplier back when she owned a restaurant! Small world, huh?
I also find out that Brickfire, having been open for about two months now, was his collaboration with former bike mate, Tadi Diaz. Both men enjoy a mutual fondness for steak, and with Aaron being a butcher himself (I HAVE A BUTCHER FRIEND NOW! ISN'T THAT SO COOL?), putting up a steakhouse seemed like a very natural course of action. Thus, Brickfire was born.
Cowgirl Annie, (P120).
This is their T-Bone steak, which, for 120 pesos, is a steal, considering its size. It's fork-tender, and comes in two variants: Honey Mustard, and Original flavor. I suggest you try both!
So, why Brickfire? "Because all our steaks are roasted in a brick oven," explains Aaron. "Oven-roasted steaks are different, in the sense that they're juicier than regular pan-fried steaks you can get elsewhere. The temperature is just right, and the steaks retain their juices much better, as well."
When the Cowgirl Annie is laid in front of me, I can barely believe that I can get a steak that's THIS good, at this price. When I ask Aaron how this is possible, he smirks at me. "Because I'm the butcher," he replies, knowingly. "There's no middleman to go through, so the meat comes from me. I know what's good when it comes to meat. Every day, I handle over 20,000 kilos of beef."
With that, I put my faith (and my dinner) in Aaron's hands.
The Duke (P250), is probably my favorite offering from Brickfire. I don't often have steak, but when I do, it's usually a special occasion - D and I usually celebrate our anniversary at Mamou. The fact that there is affordable tenderloin steak so near my house makes it a little bit difficult for me not to give into temptation.
Basically, The Duke is two thick slabs of meat, cooked according to your desired doneness, complete with chunky mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables. You can even share this with a friend, but I prefer being indulgent and having it all to myself.
To add a bit of color to your meals, try their Broccoli Tex-Mex (P160). It's a big serving of steamed broccoli with a huge dollop of cream sauce swimming in the middle. I highly suggest you order this along with any of the meat dishes at Brickfire.
The Los Indios (P95) is adobo, Brickfire-style. Part of the thrill is in the presentation, which requires a little bit of DIY.
First you lift the bowl, remove the bamboo husk, unwrap the banana leaf, and voila! Steaming hot chicken or pork adobo on rice with a hard-boiled egg and a bowl of their house vinegar to go with it. For those of you who like it hot, there's a spicy variant, as well as a sisig dish, too!
Who knew that cheese and lemongrass could go so well together?
I sure didn't, until I tried Brickfire's Tanigue Steak (P160). The tanigue fillet is baked in their brick oven, with a sprig of fresh tanglad, cheese, a dollop of mayo and chopped veggies to go along with it. D loved this dish so much that he even brought some home! Next to eating it, the best part is unwrapping the foil and allowing the fresh scent of lemongrass to overtake your senses.
Did I mention that they do dessert as well?
On the counter, you'll find freshly baked chocolate, red velvet and banana cupcakes to end your meal. Pro-tip: The chocolate flavor is the best. Order about a dozen to take home, as gifts for your family or friends.
Our Brickfire experience was so great, that D and I returned for another round the following night. If you happen to be in Katipunan and are looking for something different but fulfilling, head on down to Brickfire for tasty steaks and an all-around excellent experience.
Thanks for the excellent service and goodvibes, Aaron!
Brickfire is located at 2/F E. Abada Street corner R. Alvero Street,
Loyola Heights, Quezon City.
(0917) 777-7034, (02) 426-2254