One weekend, we were at my parents’ house in Navotas for Sunday lunch. My kuya (elder brother) kept talking about this new place they’ve ‘discovered’ in BF Homes, Paranaque.
The story goes that he saw a sign that said POUTINE and a delivery motorcycle outside an establishment. The small letters under the sign said FRIES • GRAVY • CHEESE.
“Outside, it looked like a meat shop,” he said of the unassuming, underwhelming place, and thought that maybe they’re a supplier of pre-cut fries, frozen gravy, and some cheese. Oh bless his heart, he had no idea what poutine was!
Poutine is a Canadian delicacy of fries with gravy and cheese. Like, all of them together. It’s meant to make a gooey, messy, carb-induced goodness. Most poutine places nowadays offer various toppings ranging from meats and sausages, to even foie gras and truffle, if you’re feeling fancy.
To be honest, I wasn’t too excited about these things because I hate mushy food. (I’m already considering writing a post about me vs mushy food, in my defense.) Why can’t fried food–like fries–be served hot and crunchy? Why must it lose its crisp by drowning in everything that you want to add?
Anyway, guess my kuya is a good storyteller describing all the food he tried, that I decided we should go visit. If not for the potato, then for the other things. The husband can enjoy the poutine.
The place was not on Google Maps, nor Waze (which pulls stuff from GMaps or wherever), nor Zomato. Based on its instagram account, the address was at 144 Elizalde Street, BF Homes. I set our location on Waze for 144 Elizalde, and drove.
(Note: Links of approximate location of Poutine PH is on the footer of this post. Google Maps and Waze for driving directions.)
After an hour into it, we turned left on Elizalde (from Aguirre) and excitedly counted down the house numbers. We got to a 144 Elizalde, but it was a house.
It was a small yet busy street, yet we needed to stop and think of how to find the place. We turned back and drove the other way, but the house numbers kept getting farther (I mean, of course), and we reached another gate. So we made another U-turn. OK, now what?
I suggested we just go down the road (original direction) until we reach the end of the Elizalde street to see if it’s out there somewhere. If it wasn’t, I was ready to find a different place to try down south.
After some hundred meters past the 144 Elizalde house, the house numbers changed its sequence. Yes, on the same street! Who would number lots like this? Soon enough, we got to the place, which was across a lot that sells huge jars and pots.
Well, my kuya was right about the meat shop-y look from the outside.
Outside and inside were very utilitarian. About five tables, and could sit no more than 15 people at a time, I think. Save for one wall installed with the lit logo signage inside, nothing else was quite notable. I mean, even if the idea was to get more delivery or takeaway customers, it still lacks thought.
Alright, alright. We didn’t drive all the way down there to get cozy in sofas, I know.
My husband, like me, also loves short menus. He’s the kind who gets overwhelmed and can take up to ten minutes if you give him more than two pages of food choices, so we really loved that there were only four food items you can order. Basically it’s just:
- Poutine + your choice of toppings and add-ons
- Raptor, the cheese-stuffed crispy chicken fillet
- Chili dog + your choice of add-ons
- Fried Ice Cream
First one to arrive was the Chili Dog (P120). We added jalapeno (P15) initially and this came:
Dear sir, how could we have forgotten to add cheese? I asked A to take it back to the counter and pay for additional cheese (P20). So here’s the cheesed version:
We thought the chili dog was good. I really liked the hotdogs they use, it’s very meaty, a little gritty and not too finely processed like most red hotdogs in the market. We agree that it’s more like the S&R quality of sausages.
I’m not a chili person, but the chili+cheese+jalapeno combo worked really well with this sandwich. The hotdog bun was pretty basic; I wish it had more character to it, either fluffier or a little toasty. Halfway through it, this came next:
The Raptor (P120) arrived on a metal plate lined with paper, smack in the middle, with nothing else on it. No garnish, no sauces, no sides. Just fried breaded chicken fillet. I mean, sure, it’s very inexpensive for a cheese-stuffed piece of meat, but that kind of felt too empty.
The breading was very crunchy, but we found this item to be missing something. Like, if you only ordered this thing, you’d go out feeling meh. Apart from the cheese, we thought it needed a little bit more seasoning, plus another element (I dare say, chives? Or another herb, maybe), A suggests marinara sauce–like when you order fried mozarella sticks.
When our regular sized Poutine (P100) came, topped with steak and caramelized onions (P65), I thought it looked nice. I smelled it and it was very inviting!
Now, again, I don’t like mushy things but I was actually going to try it. After all, you don’t name your restaurant after ONE dish if you can’t be really good at it.
It was so good! I loved that the potato were cut in semi-thick wedges so it didn’t get all soggy when they added the gravy and cheese. The skin was on, too, which helped it retain its shape instead of blending into a version of mashed potato.
The steak gives you a tad bit of saltiness and a little to chew on, while the caramelized onions are there in the background giving you a sweet yet slightly tangy taste. I would have thought this would be too icky for my life (thinking of gravy, cheese and mushy potatoes together) but it turned out very delectable. The textures were awesomely tolerable for a mush-hating person like myself.
At that point we were feeling quite full, but my husband looked at me and asked if I wanted to have dessert. It wasn’t a question; it’s his polite way of saying: Woman, you know we gotta get ice cream! LOL
I remember kuya being so amazed by the Fried Ice Cream (P55) because it didn’t melt. Also, he couldn’t figure out what shell was made of. All he knew was that there was chocolate syrup, the shell and vanilla ice cream inside.
Presentation wise, the fried ice cream looked way more gorgeous than that Raptor. It was a good way to end our meal. A said he likes that there’s no other choice but vanilla because there’d be a good chance he’d pick some flavor that will not complement the outer part well.
We scrutinized the ‘shell’ a bit more; at first I felt it was oatmeal. Then he said rice puffs. I said it couldn’t be corn flakes. And later on we decided it was crushed ice cream cones plus maybe something else. If you ever figure it out, let me know!
Poutine serves food that they know how to make, no doubt about it. It converted the mush-hating person in me to a poutine-appreciating one.
The food is good for snack time, or if you’re having your friends over. The place makes me feel like I’m a college student hanging out after class. It’s very cheap, too, for the quality of its food. If we lived nearby, we’d probably drop by once in a while to bring some mushy things home to watch Netflix with.
Obviously, Poutine has some more business-y things to do like getting itself out there, and not relying on just literal foot traffic. I honestly believe a good branding + marketing approach can boost its business, maybe even branch out elsewhere. (I already added you on Zomato, ya’ welcome.) Part of why I got convinced to go there is because nobody is talking about it, and if kuya says it’s good, it probably is.
If you’re a poutine-loving, potato gobbling person, or if you’re near the area, I highly recommend trying it out.
* We paid for our food and dined as regular customers. You can read full disclaimer / disclosures here.