Usually, D and I make it a point to discover new places to eat as often as we can. But when we're in the mood for comfort food (read: lazy), we usually end up at Komoro Soba in Megamall to eat our favorite noodle soup, because we are creatures of mostly unshakeable habit. Last night, we decided to go straight home to Katipunan to try our luck at a new restaurant, and we chanced upon a kebab place along Esteban Abada that had recently opened its doors to the public.
Usually, when one thinks of Persian food, what comes to mind are cheap joints that scrimp on ambiance and (sometimes) on the quality of the food. Not to say that this is a bad thing. In my opinion, the grittiness and dirt of a typical Persian joint is what makes it charming; one of my Persian guilty pleasures happens to be Ababu. This is not so at Q-Kebab. In fact, its interiors call to mind a more minimalist Japanese inspired cafe like Yabu more than anything else, and this was initially something that confused me for awhile.
Upon entering, you can see the chefs working on your order, which you pay for fast-food style at the counter. Two rotating spits of perfectly-seasoned beef and chicken greet you, and the smell alone is enough to get you excited.
D opted for Q-Kebab's Beef Basmati Bowl (P175). A bountiful serving of shawarma beef, served alongside slivers of fresh tomato, red onions and cucumber, lays atop a bed of basmati rice. We thought the black plastic bowls were a nice touch, and luckily, the owner of Q-Kebab, Dom Hernandez, with Chef RJ Ungco, were there to answer our questions.
Dom explains that while gritty Persian places are still good, he wanted to create a Persian restaurant that was clean, where you can actually see the food being handled properly. I have to agree on this point, because most budget Persian restaurants aren't very nice looking, and the food would probably not pass most stringent sanitary measures - yet we still come back to get our fix.
The packaging of the food, on the other hand, called to mind Halal food trucks in New York, where you eat the food out of similar containers.
(photo borrowed from jag9889 on flickr.)
I chose the Chicken Basmati Bowl (P160), which was a similar iteration of D's dish. This dish took the cake for me, because the chicken was tender and juicy, and required very little garlic or chili sauce to flavor it. Surprisingly, I found myself getting full even before I finished the meal! For those of you who doubt the size of these dishes, please don't. Q-Kebab's servings are deceptively filling.
We also had the opportunity to try items that weren't on the menu yet, like this amazing Curry Chicken Bowl. Hopefully, this becomes a mainstay on Q-Kebab's menu, because it's pretty damn good!
We also got to try their Felafels (deep-fried garbanzo nuggets) with Tzatziki (cucumber and yogurt dip with mint), which, sadly, were not photographed, but were eagerly gobbled up by both D and I.
You can't imagine how happy I am that there's a Persian place so near my house that serves affordable Persian food, as well as not-so-common menu items like felafel and tzatziki! Plus, it's clean. I can't stress enough how grateful I am that my kebabs and shawarma are being prepared without car exhaust and urban detritus flying on to the food before it's served to me!
We wrapped up our meal at Q-Kebab with high spirits and happy bellies. Before we left, we had to ask: Why Q-Kebab?
"Because we serve quick and quality kebabs," says Dom, with a smile.
I'm not ashamed to say that Q-Kebab has quickly become my new favorite go-to kebab place on Katipunan, and if I could teleport there from Ortigas right now, trust that I'd be stuffing my face with another bowl of their chicken basmati rice, because that's the way I roll, folks.
Good vibes and good afternoon, everyone!
Q-Kebab is located at 41 E. Abada Street, Loyola Heights, Quezon City.
PS: The good people at Q-Kebab are coming out with their own food truck sometime soon! Watch out for it.