Here’s where to get the best comfort food in the metro
“Number one elixir for anxiety? Comfort food.” Those are the words of American chef Katie Lee that we all could definitely agree with, especially now that we are about to close our second year in COVID-19. Comfort food is the ultimate vaccine. It not only arms the body with proper immunity but also uplifts the spirit in these times of crisis. And for some, good food is also a key to surviving the challenges of the pandemic.
After seven years in the business, Blake’s Wings and Steaks has cemented its name as one of the comfort food hotspots in the metro. With its delectable eats and treats, the family restaurant, named after their Siberian husky pet, was able to spread its mission of serving its “eat well, feel good” experience to many Filipinos.
“Ever since Blake’s opened in Marikina, it was never just about the food. We believe that providing equally good service is part of the entire experience,” owner Joana Manalo tells Manila Bulletin Lifestyle. “But because of the pandemic, we had to be more creative in thinking of ways to provide that excellent customer service as we don’t have as many face-to-face encounters with our customers.”
It is no longer news to anyone that the pandemic has greatly affected the food and restaurant industry, resulting in the closure of many food establishments. Much like other restaurants, Blake’s depended mostly on dine-in service to keep the business thriving in pre-pandemic times, with take-outs and deliveries as an additional means for income. But during the onset of the pandemic, the tables have been turned quickly. Plated dishes now come in uniquely designed boxes, customer services are taken to the digital realm with its e-commerce platform and Messenger Ordering Bot, and for its team, jobs and duties became broad and diverse.
“More than the shift in sales from dine-in to take-out, our staff also became more agile, flexible, and pro-multi-taskers,” Joana muses. “Servers became cashiers, dishwashers became line cooks, and managers became riders. Everybody did more than what they were used to doing and I believe this is what helped us most during the pandemic.”
But what truly helped them thrive during the pandemic is the core of their brand, good food. As the name entails, Blake’s is a mecca for Filipino carnivores with mouthwatering dishes that kept diners coming back for more. The restaurant’s chicken wings, in both classic and unique flavors, set taste buds aflutter. Fresh-off-the-grill steaks in herbed butter, hickory barbecue, and honey mustard bring a great gastronomic experience that won’t break the wallet. Not to miss as well are its fall-off-the-bone tender pork slabs grilled in our signature barbecue sauce.
“The reason diners love our food is simple: It’s because they get quality food in generous servings at a good price. Walang uuwing gutom pag galing sa Blake’s [laughs],” Joana gleefully exclaims. “Blake’s takes pride in the fact that every single item on our menu is made with love. We don’t scrimp on ingredients and quality of preparation just because it’s not our main item or not a Blake’s bestseller. We give just the same amount of love when preparing our wings or kinds of pasta and the simplest side dishes like mashed potatoes or java rice.”
Marking its success during the pandemic is its upcoming branch in SM Baguio, its first store outside Manila to be launched later in December. According to Joana, her team is a bit nervous since they are targeting an entirely different market in an entirely different area. But she believes that going out of their comfort zone will not only allow them to learn and grow but will also put Blake’s on the map with its “eat well, feel good” mantra.
“We don’t stop at ‘eat well’ here at Blake’s,” Joana says. “It is also about making sure we nourish our customers and make them ‘feel good’ in all ways possible. That’s exactly how we do what we do.”
Blake’s Wings and Steaks is present at Marikina, Katipunan, Makati, SM North EDSA, SM Fairview, Ayala Malls Feliz, and BGC, and also online at www.order.blakes.ph. For more information, visit @blakesph on Instagram and Facebook.