Singing Cooks and Waiters is an icon – it is one of those restaurants where people usually bring their balikbayan relatives. It has been around for decades and people have started to take it for granted in favor of what’s “IN”. But recently, one of the next generation of Ongpaucos has taken over the management of Singing Cooks and Waiters – I expect the restaurant to be back in the limelight again, soon.
I saw this gem along one of their walls: It’s a picture of the Singing Cooks and Waiters with Ms. Pilita Corales. Ah, nostalgia for the good old days when local TV was classier, funny and wholesome.
For someone who has lived in Metro Manila her whole life, I don’t know how I managed to have never had a meal at Singing Cooks and Waiters before. I just assumed that the singing waiters bit was gimmicky, but I have totally changed my tune!
SINGING COOKS AND WAITERS
I am very happy to say that I totally recommend taking your balikbayan friends and relatives there. The food is delicious – there’s no modern “fusion-fusion” – it’s traditional, comforting Filipino food that’s really panlasang Pinoy (Filipino-preferred taste?).
Yesterday was my first time to dine at Singing Cooks and Waiters. I even got lost on my way there (bad Waze sent me to EDSA!). For your reference, Singing Cooks is located along Roxas Blvd. cor Buendia, across from the World Trade Center. There’s a Bakahan and Manukan downstairs.
I was in a bad mood when I arrived (because I got lost and endured traffic on that Mad Max-like stretch of Taft Ave from EDSA to Buendia) but the happy atmosphere cheered me up instantly! It was contagious! The singing was very good. I was blown away by how good they were. No headache-inducing karaoke wannabes here. I normally hate it when people sing in restaurants, but I found the Singing Cooks and Waiters to be more than pleasant to listen to!
I could tell that everyone was really happy when they were singing and cooking. Some of the waiters were singing while bussing tables! No mics, no fakes, just real singing, in tune. This is not some backyard production – they are really good singers. Someone told me that the cooks and waiters have to audition like in The Voice to get the job – I don’t know if she was joking or if it’s true
Like I said, the food is Filipino food cooked the way it was meant to be cooked – none of that east-meets-west, fusion-fusion, “modern take” thing. If you are missing Filipino food, Singing Cooks and Waiters is a good place to go to.
We started with this Sisig Boat (P740) – one side has diced pork sisig, the other side has bangus sisig.
Next was this Seafood sa Gata – Luto sa Buho (P680) – it has catfish, sea crab, escargot (snails), mussels and clams, in a thick coconut cream sauce, all cooked inside a big bamboo! My favorite thing about this dish is the coconut cream sauce. I love gata! The coconut cream sauce is delicious, creamy, sweet/salty, tastes of seafood, and is soooooooo yummy! Feel free to dig in to the seafood with your hands – they have sinks to wash your hands with near one of the doors of the restaurant.
This is Singing Cooks and Waiters’ Beef Kaldereta (P520) – at first, I thought it was some sort of corned beef – but after my first taste, I knew it was Kaldereta. The beef is fork tender and infused with flavor of the kaldereta sauce. I also love the addition cheese!
This Chicken Tinupig (P560) is a must-try! It is a whole chicken cooked in coconut milk and spices, wrapped in banana leaves, then grilled over live coals until tender! This was everybody’s favorite dish – the chicken is flavorful enough on its own, but there is also some liver sauce on the side.
Lumpiang Jalapeno (P280) – their version of the dynamite – I was happy to see that each lumpia was a big size – it is filled with ground pork and cheese, and a jalapeno pepper. I didn’t find it too spicy.
Ginataang Sitaw at Kalabasa (Vegetarian, P360) – again, love the creamy coconut sauce! I kept coming back for more of this dish even if it was just kalabasa and sitaw.
Our rice came in these little pots:
For dessert, we had the Suman sa Latik at Mangga (P230) and the Coco Loco Frost (P140) – the Suman sa Latik at Mangga is a must-try, too! The suman is really soft – I would compare it to a very soft pichi pichi in terms of how soft it is – you can’t feel the rice grains! They are also very generous with the thick and sweet latik, which made everyone very happy.
I don’t know what it is lately, maybe I’ve just been lucky, but I liked everything! All the food is well-seasoned and “gets” the Filipino palate – there is a hint of sweetness to every dish. I highly recommend this restaurant to anyone who misses traditional, comforting Filipino food. The happy, in-tune singing is also great entertainment and will instantly lift your mood.
You are welcome to sing with the cooks and waiters, too! Since it’s Singing Cooks and Waiters, At Iba Pa, puwede din daw ang singing customers
Forget your diet and just enjoy these delectable, comforting Filipino dishes in a happy mood.
Price is higher than average – but it is expected because aside from the good food, you also pay for the singing and the experience But it’s quite acceptable, especially if it’s a special occasion like a close friend/relative coming back home.
There is free parking available in front of the restaurant, but there is a bantay who asks for tips. Probably the only thing that troubled me was how run down that area of Pasay is – it’s not Singing Cooks and Waiters’ fault, but I do hope that they work with someone to spearhead some clean up of that area to make it feel safer.
Singing Cooks & Waiters
Ongpauco Bldg., Roxas Blvd near corner Sen Gil Puyat Avenue, Manila (across from World Trade Center)
Phone: +632 832-0658 / +632 832-0686
Mobile: +63 917 5202421
OPEN: 11 AM to 3 PM, 6 PM to 10 PM, Mon-Sun
Email: [email protected]
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The Barat Queen
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