THERE ARE two ways the human mind perceives nature. One makes us seek balance and tranquility, while the other allows us to unleash ourselves and become truly wild. A restaurant in Quezon City allows you to do both: to be tranquil on the weekdays and, for the young ones, go wild on the weekends.
Wyld Kitchen x Bar is a young concept — just four months old — by chef Kenn Gonzales, similarly young at 26. Mr. Gonzales graduated with a degree in International Studies from De La Salle University, but decided that the wildness of international relations wasn’t for him. Instead, he enrolled in a culinary course at Enderun, through which he got an internship in Colorado. “It’s really up in the mountains… away from the city,” he said of the experience. It forced him to be closer to nature, and he now brings that bond with nature to his restaurant.
BusinessWorld took a walk on the wild side and tried out Wyld’s offerings.
The meal started with Ale Cheddar soup. The flavor was a bit confusing at first, with a hint of pepper at the beginning, and with a note of beer at the end. It takes about four spoonfuls of the thick, creamy soup to get the concept that it’s supposed to transport you to an old-fashioned English tavern.
Next came the Wyld Burger, Mr. Gonzales’ pride and joy. The burger sits inside a butter-toasted brioche bun, with a poached egg, tomatoes, onions, and cheese, and topped off with a mulberry steak sauce. The burger patty was juicy and powerful, and the mulberry steak sauce, like jam, added a new dimension to the flavor, and taken as a whole, is lively and exciting.
Next came Flank Steak which had been marinated for hours in herbs, sliced fan-like across-the- board. It begins with a tastebud-opening note of black pepper, allowing one to feel the composition of the rest of the flavors. While the steak had a good texture, it had a bit of a rough edge to its chew. The flavor is great, and if the beef had a better texture, it could rival those from the city’s more expensive steak joints.
Now it was time to really get wild with the alcohol — but alas, there were worms in my drink.
Not to worry, it’s all part of the show. The drink is called the Flora x Fauna, made with gin, grapefruit, lemon juice, rose foam, basil, butterfly pea flowers, and about three fried mealworms sitting on top of basil leaves. It seems to be a hit, because three people on this writer’s Instagram feed immediately identified it as a drink from Wyld. Anyway, the drink was very clean, had a sharp edge from the grapefruit juice, and the worms, which you can bite into before taking a sip, lend the drink a nutty (yep) edge.
Titas and titos be warned: on weekends, DJs play sets here, and the 80-seat restaurant is hopping with teens and 20-somethings.
Now, Mr. Gonzales takes his inspiration from nature quite seriously. Most of the fixtures and the furniture in the restaurant are made from recycled wood and metal. They use minimal amounts of plastic, and when they can, they source from local farmers (for example, the mulberries in the steak sauce come from Laguna).
“What I wanted to do with the concept and the business itself is to be eco-conscious,” he said. — Joseph L. Garcia
Wyld Kitchen x Bar is located at The Grandia Place, 143 Mo. Ignacia Ave., Diliman, Quezon City.