Vamos Amigos Grille

19Jan09

Monday had never been my favorite day but today I had to get out early for some much needed to do errands. I found myself spending the entire morning at the northern part of the city and as I was driving along Cabaguio avenue, I chanced upon a new restaurant: Vamos Amigos Grille.

It was close to noon. I decided to stop by and check out their grub.

I went inside and was quickly greeted by one of the wait staff. I asked to see the menu. Before he gave me the menu though he enthusiastically informed me they had turo-turo and pointed at the table across the room.

Before going into the restaurant, I already have decided that I was going to try out their barbecued chicken. Out of curiosity, however, I ambled over to the table and peeked into each casserole. They had kare-kare, tinolang isda and two other viands.

The kare-kare looked kind of funny but I decided to order a serving anyway. After a second glance into the casseroles, I took my seat and looked over their menu. They have a lot to choose from but I just stuck with one order of barbecued chicken and one serving of rice. The waiter repeated my order back to me and then walked away.

The place was pleasant enough; it had a nice overall ambiance albeit the brown and yellow motiff. It reminded me of Merco. The high ceiling, as well as the ceiling fans and wall fans, helped cool the place down especially since it was a tad hot and humid today. For music, they were playing OPM over the speakers, titles from the Apo Hiking Society as well as songs like “Manila” and “Ang Boyfriend Kong Baduy”.

Lunch was served 10 to 15 minutes later.

The portion of barbecued chicken thigh (53.00 pesos) was bigger as compared to those served by other restaurants. It looked nicely cooked, hardly any trace of burnt skin. A good portion of atchara came along with it.

The kare-kare (55.00 pesos) had an unusual hue; it was redder than what I normally would expect. Serving size was good for one person. I was given two pieces of ox tails and more than equal amount of vegetables.

Plain rice was at 12 pesos and garlic rice at 20 pesos. They had a their own specialty rice at 80 pesos. No unlimited rice here.

I tried out the kare-kare first.

The sauce was sweet, and it was a level of sweetness I wasn’t used. It also had just a tad bit of peanut-y flavor to it. It was served cold, unfortunately, and the piece of ox tail I got didn’t have enough meat to it. On the upside, at least the meat and skin had flavor and wasn’t gamy at all, and the vegetables were fresh and crispy. The bagoong was good; it wasn’t too sweet, it wasn’t too salty and not overpowering at all. It was just right.

The barbecued chicken thigh was next. I teased a bit of skin and meat with my fork.  The meat was tender but the first bite tasted a little too salty. I didn’t have the same saltiness afterwards. I think it was just a part of the chicken that had too much salt on it. As a matter of fact, though the meat was well-cooked (no hint of blood) and tender, it was a tad bland and there was a hint of rawness. The chicken was probably lightly brushed during barbecuing and nothing more. It’s okay if you are the kind who prefers to get much of the flavor from your dipping sauce.

After finishing one cup of rice, one piece barbecued chicken thigh and a serving of kare-kare, I was full but not completely satisfied.

I’d recommend Vamos if you’re somewhere near the area but it’s not enough to make me go out of my way just to have lunch or dinner there.

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