Tomorrow marks my 3rd official week as part of the corporate crowd in Pioneer. Day in and out, I still get excited exploring my new environment be it inside the confines of my big (and I must say hip and trendy looking) office or outside with a mall that (ok, fine) barely matches up to that giant shopping complex along EDSA. However, still miraculously provides the basic necessities such as books and office supplies, a big hardware store, a number of restaurants and fast food chains and yes! even a bingo bonanza station.
One discovery that I am very happy about happened over an impromptu lunch out last week. It was supposed to be a lunch meeting that got cancelled at the last minute when two out of three of my groupmates suddenly couldn't make it. With no food for lunch, my colleague and I decided to try this new restaurant called Chili Willy's.
To be honest, I was excited to visit this restaurant after reading Anton's wonderful (and as always, very convincing) review. I'm glad that my colleague was very game to go with my suggestion.
After being presented with the menu, I really had a hard time choosing because everything looks and sounds so good. It doesnt really help that my stomach is starting to growl as well. I gave up. I just closed the menu and asked the server to give me his recommendation. He told me to try the Blackened Catfish with Mango Salsa (Php. 170+). Since I'm a fan of seafood, I went with his suggestion and prayed that it is good.
My colleague and I talked about work and our lives, before we knew it, our orders have arrived. I instantly brought out my camera to take a photo however, the place was quite dim and the quality of the photo didn't come out to be that great. Ok, so enough with the photo op. I took a bite of the catfish and gave my approving nod. It IS good! I love the salty, spice-y rub on the fish and the mango salsa was a true delight! Being a Tex-Mex restaurant, the catfish came with a generous serving of refried beans and cilantro rice. What I did was I mixed the mango salsa into the rice together with the beans and paired this with a slice of the catfish. Ohhh, it was sooo good! Definitely a perfect lunch for this harassed and a lil bit overwhelmed lady.
I instantly fell in love with Chili Willy's Blackened Catfish that I found myself back there barely a week after. This time with a former colleague whom I miss so much! Wanting to try more dishes, we agreed to just share and get an appetizer, a pasta and a main dish.
Drawn by the appealing photos on the menu, we ordered the Nachos with 9-layer Dip as starters, the Southwestern Chicken Pasta and of course, my new found favorite, the Blacked Catfish with Mango Salsa.
The Nachos with 9 layer Dip (Php. 210) is a stack of tortilla chips topped with (count em all!) Guacamole, Salsa, Ground Beef, Sour Cream, Cheddar Cheese, Olives, Jalapeño, Refried beans and Cilantro. Being one who loves nachos, this has passed my standards however still lacks in flavor as compared to those being served in other Mexican restaurants. I also do not like the fact that I get to bite into those fiery hot jalapeños which were sliced up into tiny, barely visible pieces.
The Southwestern Chicken Pasta (Php. 165) gives a different twist to the usual Italian penne dish. I love biting into the al dente Penne pasta that is mixed into with the thick cheese sauce. My friend Z feels that they have added a few orange zest which has helped perk up the taste. Lastly, to complete the mexican feel, the pasta is topped with grilled bite-sized chicken cubes, refried beans and juicy sweet tomatoes!
The ambiance has a cozy, laid back feel which is the perfect place to unwind after a crazy day at the office. Just be sure to make a reservation because the restaurant can quickly get filled up especially on a Friday night.
Chili Willy's is located at The Forum, Robinsons Pioneer, EDSA corner Pioneer in Mandaluyong.