Welcome To The Grid, Power Plant Mall's New Food Hall Where Good Eats Reign Supreme, Great Company Abounds, And A Genuine Passion For Food Rings True
This new kid on the block is ready to whet appetites with its international array of tasty offerings created by the country's top chefs and restauranteurs.
The Grid might not catch the eye with neon signs or larger-than-life setups, but the chatter of excited diners and wafting aromas certainly arouses noses, taste buds, and imagination. One simply needs to step inside this shiny new venue built for gastronomic journeys and socializing to realize that it's a generously stocked corner of foodie heaven made available to all.
The person to thank for The Grid is none other than Charles Paw, a thriving entrepreneur and self-professed food lover. If his name rings bells (and gets tummies rumbling), it's because Charles is the man behind other food greats in the metro including Century City Mall's hip and happening Hole in the Wall, as well as restaurants like Le Petitt Souffle, Wrong Ramen, Poison Donuts, PizzaExpress, Kushitkatsu Daruma, and at least eight more brands. Collectively, they're the restaurants under the Tasteless Food Group that Charles founded and manages as its CEO.
Boasting of almost a decade in the food and beverage industry, this businessman walks us through the concept of his newest venture:
"Rockwell wanted something different, and so did we. When we did our first food hall, I think we became the group who popularized that style of each stall having individual branding, design, and space. For [The Grid], we wanted something really different— the total opposite. We decided to go with no branding. Each stall looks the same; it’s all about the food and the people behind the food," he explains.
And all about food The Grid truly is—quality food, that is. With a total of 15 food stalls serving up carefully curated international menus, even the pickiest palates can be satisfied and tempted to go for seconds, and yes, even thirds.
Designed by KM Design Interior Design Manila, The Grid is uncluttered and decorated with minimalist interiors of an earthy palette. Stalls are uniformly designed, simply identified by a number and cuisine served, with stall names printed in a much smaller typeface.
This approach to The Grid's design was deliberate. It was meant to nudge diners to explore all that's available, encouraging them to take their time in choosing what it is they want to eat. The focus, as it's made clear, is on the actual food served, rather than on over-the-top design or marketing.
And when it comes to The Grid's dining options, Charles let stall owners run their own shows with just one consideration to keep in mind: 70 percent of menu items must be familiar and comforting, while the remaining 30 percent can be used for new and exciting items.
"Ayaw namin ng gimmicks, ayaw namin ng food that you’ll just try once then you won’t come back for. Our food is food that you can keep coming back to," adds Charles.
The result is nothing short of hunger-inducing.
Some of the dining destinations housed in this enclave of lip-smacking finds are Spanish Tapas and Pintxos and deli Happy Barrels by the boys of Rambla and Las Flores, Workshop by Chefs Miko Aspiras and Kristine Lotilla to satisfy sugary cravings, Bun Appetit by Lawrence Cua and Iya Jimenez serving up delicious seafood creations, Happy Ongpauco-Tiu's Le Chon that lets diners build their own lechon platters, and Edsa BDG that's all about well-crafted sodas, cocktails, coffees, and beer—among so many others.
With an impressive roster of food experts breathing life into this food hall, Charles need not go into lengthy detail about how The Grid sets itself apart. It's clear that it's not definitely not a random mishmash of your run-of-the-mill food court players; The Grid is the newest home of some of Manila's finest eats, sips, and nibbles where everyone from discerning diners, curious passers-by, hungry shoppers, and all-encompassing food lovers are welcome to join in on the feast.
To get to know who and what you can find in this food hall, Metro.Style gives you a rundown of The Grid's tenants:
Flower Boy (Former Tankchop XL)
If you’ve been to Bangkok and are dying to go back for amazing Thai food, there’s finally a quick fix for your cravings at Flower Boy. Formerly Tankchop XL, Flower Boy is now The Grid’s go-to place for all things Thai. According to Lowbrow Casual Restaurants’ Dwight Co, who’s spearheading this Thai nook, he wants Flower Boy to plug in the hole that is the availability of authentic Thai restaurants in the metro.
Currently, still at two weeks’ old, Flower Boy is only offering four phenomenal items in their menu: Pad Thai, Pork Chop, Palm Sugar Wings, and Crispy Pork Fried Rice. Dwight says that those who are new to Thai cuisine will find these dishes as their “gateway” to the rich and bright Thai palette—essentially, Thai flavors incorporated into easy-to-understand dishes. As the weeks progress, Flower Boy is adding an array of curries that embody the flavor palette of the cuisine.
If you’re heading to Flower Boy, definitely get the pork chop. It’s so good they almost named their stall after it! The pork chop is something new, uses a lot of aromatics—but not too much—and is complemented by a bright and beautiful Thai sauce that elevates it into something reminiscent of Bangkok food.
And if you’re getting the wings, Dwight says to never forget to squeeze the lime into the wings before digging in.
So long to waiting for the weekend before getting to chomp on Iya Jimenez and Lawrence Cua's famed sandwiches!
This husband and wife team who made waves (or tsunamis) at Salcedo's weekend market with their phenomenal seafood sandwich recipes now have a permanent spot at The Grid. Serving up signatures like their warm lobster and crab rolls alongside newer offerings like thick, creamy, clam chowder and lobster mac and cheese that kids are bound to go crazy for, Iya and Lawrence couldn't be more excited to reach—and satiate—a larger audience.
As hands-on business owners, they assure all their customers that their ingredients are a hundred percent fresh and generously given. Playing on Filipinos' long-standing love affair with seafood, Bun Appetit gives local diners more to love about bounties from the sea with their original recipes that let them enjoy their favorite seafood picks in completely new ways.
From the makers of Barrio Fiesta comes this brand new Filipino cuisine concept that will make you look at lechon in a different light.
Le Chon (pronounced as leh-shon), is the comfortable, very familiar corner at The Grid by Happy Ongpauco-Tiu, who comes from the family that brought and raised up Barrio Fiesta. And the stall is already drawing lines at the newly opened food court because of their meaty offerings. At the core of Le Chon are the porchetta, beef angus belly, and gourmet lechong manok, which Happy says are slow-cooked to perfection. The flavors and execution of the meat and the other elements in the platter are infused with French flavors and technique, elevating the tradition lechon into something new and fun. Thus, the name.
Essentially, it’s a build-your-own lechon platter: choose your lechon (pork, beef, or chicken), choose the rub (original, truffle and bawang, tanglad and butter, or sugarcane and gata), choose your side (camote fritz, banana cue chips, or grilled talong with baba ganoush), and then choose your rice (butter rice or sexy brown rice).
If you’re really hungry and looking for something filling, you’ll be delighted by Le Chon’s huge portions, true to the Filipino way of eating at fiestas. It’s your own fiesta platter in a snap.
Tapas and Pintxos by Rambla
Ole! Tapas and pintxos have arrived!
Thanks to Dani Aliaga and his partners who brought us places like Rambla, Las Flores, and Tomatito, Filipinos can enjoy Spanish delicacies in this delicious, yet relatively unfamiliar, way.
Considerably one of the stalls that offer lighter offerings as opposed to full meals, this mini tapas and pintxos bar is a gateway to experiencing Spain's massive array of flavors. To those who have yet to discover the magic of tapas (small plates of appetizers, some heartier than others) and pintxos (finger food often served as a combo of sliced bread and a topping, or other bites in small skewers), this is the perfect place to start as their menu is not only extensive, but also gentle on the pocket.
Don't be deceived by the size of their servings; each and every one packs a punch! For first-timers, Dani suggests to start with their salmon pintxo that's mild enough to allow the flavors of your next bites to shine through. Go for a tortilla and jamon and chipirones pintxo next during this first visit, and it'll definitely make you more adventurous in your second tapas and pintxos round with them.
You never end a meal without something sweet—and that’s the role that Workshop plays in the beautiful orchestra that is The Grid. Workshop is pastry off-shoot from Le Petit Soufflé, born from the love for desserts of chefs Miko Aspiras and Kristine Lotilla. Workshop is home to your usual cheesecakes, cakes, brownies, and breads, but elevated and brought to a whole new flavor level. According to Chef Kristine, their pastries and desserts are inspired from their overseas trips and creative experimentations, and will satisfy all kinds and levels of sweet cravings.
One of their iconic desserts is the 17-layer chocolate cake, a favorite at Le Petit Soufflé branches. For Workshop, they are offering two more flavors: strawberries and cream, and chocolate caramel. Chef Kristine says that the concept behind the 17-layer cake is that you’ll get a bite of everything—the sponge, the cream, and the filling—whichever side you dig in to. No more trying to slice strategically to get a fair share of all the elements. Just grab your fork, pierce through anywhere in the cake, and enjoy.
Don’t skip on the life-changing brownies, as well. They are guaranteed to change your life.
If you want sodas, cocktails, or spiked coffee, then this is the place you should be dropping by. Right smack dab in the middle of The Grid is the bar-like stall of Edsa Beverage Design Group (BDG). Working by their mantra, “We help people drink better,” Edsa BDG offers mixes and crafts drinks that go beyond the usual flavors and dispense with the fanfare. According to Edsa BDG’s Jericson Co, it’s all about using the best ingredients in the market and making no compromises when it comes to creating their drinks.
If you’re looking for something fresh to complement your meal, they have natural sodas that are made with real fruits and sugars extracted through special equipment located at their Edsa brewery. They also have a quirky Turon Ginger Beer for those who want something fun, but our favorite was the Sangria Passionfruit which was very bright and light. Jericson says that soon, they will be putting up a create-your-own-gin menu, where guests can craft their own gin and tonics.
For a quick pick-me-upper, ditch your usual coffee shops and try out their Irish coffee, a blend of Irish whiskey, sweetened cream, and their specialty beans for the month. It’s hot, it’s smooth, it gives you that instant jolt that you need before you head to work. And what’s nice about their coffee is that you’ll get to taste something new every month because they’re changing their blends every time.
The Grid is open from Monday to Friday at 11:00am to 10:00pm, and Saturday to Sunday 11:00am to 11:00pm. More food stalls are expected to open in the coming months to complete The Grid's lineup.
Produced by Christina N. Lopez and Grace Libero-Cruz
Written by Sara de los Reyes and Jovi Figueroa
Art direction by Butchie Peña
Photography by Daniel Soriano
Videography and video editing by Vanessa Lumaque
Special thanks to Sab Lee
Shot on location at The Grid, 2F Level Expansion, Power Plant Mall, Makati