Chuck's Grub Fish and Chips is one of those stalls in Mercato that emerged from being just a mere food stall into a full blown restaurant. Rightfully so, since their courage to give highlights to this British food fare and further introduce it to Filipino palate is remarkably unprecedented.
With several branches to boot, located at Rockwell, Trinoma, Fontera Verde in Pasig, SM North, SM Megamall, and SM Mall of Asia, it's upward mobility in Manila's food scene proves that Chuck's Grub must be doing something right. And I agree.
Recent visit started with one of Chuck's Grub Nibbles, the Shrimp Popcorn (Php170). This grub is basically beer battered shrimp served with fries and lemon slices. For a supporting dish, I would have to say that this popcorn shared the same light with the mains. As good as the fish and chips that I found myself popping one after another. Gone in no time, of all the goodies we devoured during the visit, it was definitely one of my favorites.
Menu of Chuck's Grub gave off that illusion of bare minimum, even more so, its appearance. But behind the crisp golden brown goodness of the beer batter, five kinds of meat fishes are bound to fight for one's attention - Dory, Cobbler, Snapper, Cod, and Halibut. These kick ass grubs served with fries are available in three serving portions; regular (2pcs), grub up (4pcs), and large it (6pcs). Diners may opt in to add extra piece or more by adding a little amount on top of the price. Choices for the dips includes the traditional vinegar, tartare, and garlic mayo.
Given these choices, I had quite a hard time deciding what to go for so it's a good thing that Chuck's Grub has this sampler called The Full Monty (Php300) wherein one can enjoy cobbler, snapper, cod, and halibut, one piece each. So unless you plan to stuff yourselves silly, I suggest to go for The Full Monty to have a taste of each meat except for the dory (which is quite common anyway.)
Of the four fish meats I have tried, I would have to say that the Halibut favored my palate more. Its creamy texture and rich flavor stood out that I didn't have a hard time distinguishing it from the rest. It also helped that the distinct crisp of the beer batter was very apparent. One thing I noticed with Chuck's Grub rendition of this Brits' favorite was that no fishy taste assaulted my palate as compared to the others I have tried before. Purist may hate but I found that no squeeze of lemon was needed to cut through the offensive fishy taste because it's non-existent to begin with. For that, Chuck's Grub had my respect.
As a self-confessed meat lover, passing up the glaring Dry Aged Beef Burger (Php155/single patty, Php200/double patty) on the menu may mean mortal sin. So, despite the fact that I was in a house where fish and chips are the stars, I did not pushed my luck and go for the beef as well
Good thing though that despite the appearance, the taste wasn't as bad as I thought. It wasn't the best I have tasted but it wasn't the worst either. Perhaps good execution on cooking could do the trick since the distinct taste of the beef was already there, albeit a tad assaulted. But seriously, who would go to a restaurant specializing in fish if one is craving for meaty burger. So, I deem this little slip is forgivable but a little tweak and improvement wouldn't hurt either.
Given the less than stellar experience I had with the beef burger, I enjoyed the Fish Burger (Php170) more. Favoring fish over meat, that rarely happens to me, but there's always a first time I guess. It only goes to show that Chuck's Grub has a full grasp of the goodies they are known for. Made with Alaskan fish, although it is already good sandwiched between the big sesame buns and the usual lettuce, onion, and tomato, I think that this burger is best enjoyed with generous serving of tartare sauce. So go ahead and smother good, and smother generously because it's good
Since we are a rice-loving country, Chuck's Grub also offers rice meals wherein one can enjoy their favorite beer battered fish with rice. But let's not be predictable and talk about Chuck's Grub Surf & Turf (Php99) instead. The beer battered dory fish was good as expected. What came as a surprise was how good and moist the beer battered chicken was. We were told that they used chicken thigh fillet that time, hence, it didn't dried up the way breast fillet would when fried. Food attendants were kind enough to notify us which is which (the one with the lemon on top was the fish) to avoid confusion since everything fried looked basically identical to each other.
Since it's deep fried all the way feast, it only made sense to opt for their Deep Fried Fudge Bar (Php60) as the meal ender. It is essentially a fudge bar (Snickers? I am not sure since I am not a fan of that bar) deep fried and served with whipped cream on the side. The name was a dead giveaway really. While I am never a fan of gooey chocolate bars with nougat and caramel (I know right? hate me now.) I found this dessert pleasing to the palate. I guess it's because the frying made the texture manageable that it didn't called for mighty chewing powers since it just melted in my mouth.
The location of Chuck's Grub Fish & Chips at SM Megamall is decent enough to house numbers of diners. I love how quirky the floor plan is, not to mention the minimalist style of the interior. The fish and chips were good, the quality was as good as I remembered it to be since I first tried it at Mercato. Kudos for the consistency, I must say. Save for the beef burger ( I still have high hopes for you dear beef patty), I enjoyed everything we feasted on and I don't mind going back again.
Chuck's Grub Fish and Chips
SM Megamall, Building A
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