One afternoon, two biker friends were riding along the Sierra Madre mountains when suddenly one of them thought to himself, “I want to open a steak place.” Perhaps it was the craving to dig into something big and juicy that usually comes after hours of exertion (which I think most bikers are very familiar with). But since most steak places are expensive, these friends thought of offering something that the average person could afford.
Within months, this random thought became a reality. The result is Brickfire, a casual dining steakhouse in Katipunan, owned by Tadi Diaz and Aaron Macalinao, along with business associate and marketing officer, Jowie Maulawin. Brickfire feels very cozy with its ranch/cowboy/mountain feel, brick walls, and great comfort food.
The restaurant gets its name from their unique cooking process. Instead of the grilling or deep-frying, they serve prime meats like steak, pork chops and tenderloin marinated and roasted in a 400-degree heated oven. According to Tadi, who serves as chef of the restaurant, this process results in the meat locking in its own juices and flavors, that would have otherwise been lost if cooked over an open flame.
The steaks are really tender and oozing with flavor and they’re reasonably priced too. Their “Cowgirl Annie” T-bone steak costs only P120, while their all-day breakfast meals cost less than P100, which is perfect for students studying in the Katipunan/UP area and those working nearby. Cowgirl Annie comes in two flavors – original and honey mustard, a blend of sweet and tangy flavors. Other budget offerings include oven-baked pork chop The Chopper (P99), salpicao (P120) and roasted liempo (P120).
The serving size for the steaks are larger than those served in your average restaurants. Aaron, whose family has been in the meat supplying business for more than 20 years, makes sure that everything is made from quality choice cuts that come from locally sourced fresh beef.
I was lucky enough to sample a lot of their dishes during the Writer’s Block Philippines Bloggers’ Steak Blowout in Brickfire, and I’m already planing to return for more steak goodness.
Of all the dishes served, my favorite was The Duke (P250) which is a generous serving of juicy beef tenderloin with mashed potatoes, vegetables, and home-made gravy. The meat was very easy to slice and was just bursting with flavor. It went really well with the mashed potatoes, though rice-eaters can request for the meal to be served with rice instead. The Beef Baby Back (P190) ribs also sounds interesting.
Brickfire opens as early as 6am and their all-day breakfast meals are superior to what you can buy from fast food joints (which is great for students). I really like the tapa in their tapsilog, because of its crispy texture and subtle vinegar sauce, while the home-made corned beef is much more chunkier and filling than any corned beef I’ve tried.
The Los Indios is another interesting and playfully presented dish. This adobo meal is wrapped in a leaf ala binalot with a bowl of salad-type sawsawan and hard-boiled egg on the side. This meal costs just P89 for the chicken and pork variant and you can also order it spicy (P95) or sisig (P150).
For non-meat eaters, there’s a range of pasta and vegetable dishes like the Broccoli Tex-Mex and Tofu Tempura. The Baked Fish (P250), dory fish baked inside an aluminum foil, topped with aromatic lemongrass and a perfect blend of herbs, was pretty good. The cheesy fries and nachos are also great to munch on.
Brickfire. 2/F Xavier Residence Building, E. Abada corner R. Alvero Streets, (the street behind Katipunan) Loyola Heights, Quezon City. Tel. (02) 426-2254; (0917) 777-7034. Operating hours from 6AM to 10:45PM. Visit their Facebook page by clicking their logo below.