Located along Magiting Street, Chilli & Ink was born out of a group of friends' love for mixed martial arts, eating out, and tattoos. And while I don't really do any kind of martial arts, I'm definitely into dining, and believe it or not, tats too. So when I received an invitation to try out this one-of-a-kind resto and tattoo shop, I jumped at the opportunity.
As a restaurant and a tattoo shop in the same roof, Chilli & Ink gives clients (especially first-timers) a comfortable space that breaks away from the common perception of (read: intimidating) tattoo parlors, making it easier for those interested to walk in and inquire. The restaurant on the other hand, can serve as a waiting and dining area for the moral support-providing companions. BUT WAIT! Even if you or your friend won't be getting a tat, Chilli & Ink is worth the trip, especially if you love wings and spicy foods.
If you haven't guessed it yet, Chilli & Ink specializes in spicy chicken wings. And while I believe I have a pretty high tolerance for spicy foods, this bright red and chilli-bearing eatery sure got my taste buds challenged... Which is actually a good thing.
As excited as we are for the wings, we first had the Chilli Fingers -- 10 pieces of chilli cheese rolls a.k.a dynamites. Every roll was fried to a crisp, and every bite was enjoyable with some hint of chilli bitterness. However, I find these treats very mild on the spice spectrum, which somehow makes it a good preamble for what's to come.
|Chilli Fingers (P100)|
After a slow start, we had the Chilli Con Carne with Nachos which kicked off our Chilli & Ink experience to an official run. This stew made from chilli peppers, meat, tomatoes and beans may have just been a dip to our nachos, but it definitely gave our palates their much-needed spice. Every mouthful comes with a kick that gradually builds up.
|Chilli Con Carne with Nachos (P180)|
We were served with a variety of chicken wings next, but my friend Stacy and I decided to start with the Garlic Parmesan Chicken first, something less overwhelming, before we gradually go to the most flavorful. This variant has been one of my default orders when going to a chicken wing place, and as expected, Chilli & Ink's didn't disappoint. The skin was quite crispy, with salty and savory notes, while the meat was soft and juicy.
|Garlic Parmesan Chicken (P220 for 5-6pcs.)|
We then had the Spicy Mango Chicken which we found very unique. The glaze was rich and bold, with sweet mango notes and a light hint of spice. While the skin isn't as crispy anymore, it was really no big deal as the flavor very well made up for it.
|✓ Spicy Mango Chicken (P150 for 5-6pcs.)|
Next, we had the previous variant's sibling, the Bagoong-Mango Chicken. Inspired by very Pinoy flavors, these chicken wings are coated with a bagoong-mango glaze. However, as promising as I've thought it was, this variant was not really a perfect fit for me. I like both mangoes and bagoong, but this tasted predominantly of bagoong which was a little too overwhelming. Unless of course, if you're a crazy big fan of it.
|Bagoong-Mango Chicken (P220 for 5-6pcs.)|
Now, here's my most-awaited part, trying the spicy chicken wings. Bearing the namesake and even a logo of a chilli, Chilli & Ink doesn't take things lightly and carries not just one, two or three, but 4 different heat levels:
|✓ Spicy ng Ina Niyong Lahat (P150 for 5-6pcs.)|
- Hot ng Ina Mo (Level 1)
- Hot ng Ina Mo Rin (Level 2)
- Hot ng Ina Nyong Lahat (Level 3)
- Hot ng Ina Nyong Lahat Challenge (Level 4)
Since Stacy and I both love spicy foods, we were given the Spicy ng Ina Niyong Lahat to try. We thought we can easily conquer it, but a few tears and drops of sweat were shed. THIS IS SERIOUSLY THE SPICIEST DISH I'VE EVER HAD!!! However, it was also so good! We were told that Chilli & Ink only uses siling labuyo to spike up the heat, but it was insanely spicy. Something crazy spicy food lovers will fall in love with.
If you're not much into chicken and would want something healthier, Chilli & Ink also offers all the wing flavors but in fish fillet form. We got to try 2 starting with the Wasabi Fish Fillet. As a Japanese food lover, wasabi is also something that I indulge in. And thankfully, Chilli & Ink didn't scrimp on it. With every bite from the moist, tender and crispy fillets, you can enjoy the wasabi pleasurably wafting and clearing your sinuses.
|✓ Wasabi Fish Fillet (P180 for 6pcs.)|
Another variant I really loved is the California Fish Fillet. This is another Japanese-inspired flavor combining wasabi with mango for a cool, sweet and slightly tangy taste. And since the sauce is quite thick, it's served separately unlike with the other variants to ensure the fish fillet pieces don't get too soggy. Truth be told, this is my ultimate favorite!
|✓ California Fish Fillet (P220 for 6pcs.)|
At the moment, there's only one dessert item on the menu, the Caramel Cupcake. Usually, I'd feel sad to find less variety on all things sweet. However, in this case, I was actually pleased 'cause even if Chilli & Ink offers just one, it's pretty damn good. The base case itself was soft and moist, while the (I think) cream cheese-caramel frosting was creamy and had just the right level of sweetness. This is my kind of cupcake. Yum!
|✓ Caramel Cupcake (1-pc P50; 6-pc P280; 12-pc P500)|
This visit to Chilli & Ink has surely left me a very good impression. While portion sizes of the chicken aren't exactly the biggest, they sure know how to make great wings with ingenious flavors. Normally, wings don't make me go gaga, but Chilli & Ink has made a convert out of me. So far, they're the only wing place I've been to that capitalizes on Pinoy flavors. They're also the only resto I know that offers insanely hot wings. So friends, Chilli & Ink is one shop I highly recommend. And to Chilli & Ink, thank you for the wonderful dining experience. See you again soon!
Taste - 4.5/5
Ambiance - 3/5
Service - 3.5/5
Price - 4.5/5
Overall Value - 4/5
Ambiance - 3/5
Service - 3.5/5
Price - 4.5/5
Overall Value - 4/5
Chilli & Ink, Teachers Village
51-B Magiting St., Teachers Village
Quezon City , Metro Manila, Philippines
(02) 434-5517; (0943) 270-5875