Mario and I, together with other food bloggers, have been invited to have dinner at Tribu Express (Commonwealth branch). The restaurant is located conveniently near the supermarket inside Ever Gotesco. Incase you haven’t been to Ever Gotesco, it’s the structure/mall that looks like a castle from outside. ^_^ Yes, just like Chocolate Lover in Cubao. Mario and I don’t always take the trail north of Metro Manila so we don’t always discover new foodie finds that I know I’m missing that’s why when we were invited to this dinner, we both made an effort to attend.
SIDE STORY: “My rush hour Friday MRT experience (the gruesome and detailed account of that sorry Friday)”
Introduction: We live in Paranaque, and because of a shortcut we know to Makati, I planned to meet Mario there (after his errand) 3 hours before the event thinking that was enough time to make it to Commonwealth, QC at 7PM (so that means we were at Makati around 4PM). After a quick errand in Makati, we got stuck in traffic. Because we value time and appointments, we decided to ditch the car (park it at Park Square 1) and take the MRT to Q. Ave. Smart, right? Well, I don’t know…
At AYALA MRT Station: We arrived at AYALA MRT station (via the connecting “bridge” or hallway from SM Makati) and we positioned ourselves, along with 20 or so men, at one of the expected places where one of MRT’s door should be when it stops at the station. The idea was to push the people in front so that they would get inside the train, and that would have at least gotten some people off the cluster and then we, the people at the back, could have gotten nearer the door for the next train. But every one of the 4-5 trains that stopped at our station was jam packed! I can’t go to the women’s cart because I didn’t want to leave Mario behind. And, even in the women’s cart, ladies were pushing and shoving each other just to get in, but there’s always several more who are left behind because the train just couldn’t take even 1 more passenger. After 30 minutes of that, we decided to go to the opposite side and head to the last station south (Taft Station) and we’ll just hitch a ride to North from there (thinking there are fewer people there being the very first station before a train leaves for the north route.
At TAFT MRT Station: We were very wrong in thinking we have finally escaped the sardine can situation of Ayala Station. Apparently, 3/4 of the passengers going to Taft were also just hitching a ride so that they’d be sure to get a seat or at least be in the train when it leaves to take the route to north. And as luck would have it, we had to transfer trains twice because one of the trains’ doors couldn’t close anymore (tech issue) and on the other train, we were at the women’s cart – I was with Mario (we didn’t know because there weren’t any signs). The moment we got out of the women’s cart, the rest of the other carts are full. To make this very long story short, we were an hour and 5 or 10 minutes late for our appointment. But the owner, Steffi, PerCX’s Bless, and the other bloggers, were sooo kind to wait for us for a quick chat before the mall closed.
About the Restaurant
While our dinner was at Ever Gotesco, Commonwealth, QC, the first branch of Tribu Express (Tribu Grill) is actually in California, USA and it was a hit there that they decided to put up branches here in the Philippines. The concept is community or family dining that’s why the very name of the restaurant is a play on the term “Tribo” (tribe) which is a group of people, or also same as a clan. The term “tribo” is usually used to define ethnic communities that’s probably why their logo is like a hut where most of the Philippine ethnic groups live. I actually think it’s a very good name for a restaurant especially if we consider that tribes have very strong family/community bonds and Tribu Express would like to focus on being a type of restaurant where families, friends, and groups can bond over good food. The place didn’t feel “finish” to me but it was clean and, for some reason, made me felt like I was eating at home, perhaps because it had a very casual vibe to it.
Mario, being an iced-tea person, the first thing he noticed was how affordable their bottomless iced tea was! At P35, it’s a steal! And yes, if the drinks are affordable, then expect that everything else on the menu is priced good enough so that not one, not two, but a whole “tribu” can enjoy. (Cheesy moment! I’ve probably watched way too much Home Shopping Network shows.)
What We Were Served
We were served 2pcs TFC (Tribu Fried Chicken) and UNLI Rice for P99, Bagoong Rice for P135, and something that didn’t look like anything on the menu, but was probably the XL Liempo BBQ/Orig with UNLI Rice for P99. We were also served a couple of glasses of iced tea which Mario really liked.
The chicken skin was unbelievably crunchy! It reminded Mario of chicharon. The meat was not as salty as the Mini-Stop chicken I love (because I really like salty food), but I guess for other folks, it was flavorful enough. It was a pleasure sampling this dish.
I’ve never had bagoong rice served with pork, mangoes and tomatoes (ensalada style but the bagoong is mixed in with the rice), and scrambled egg. Although anything with preceded or followed by the word “bagoong” to me is delicious, this was exceptional. It’s like a full meal on its own! You could just order this and you’re done with your lunch or dinner! It’s definitely meant to share between 2 or 3 people (depending on how hungry you are). In my best day, I can probably take on the whole thing, and a TFC on the side. ^_^
That’s what it tasted exactly, a BBQ Liempo. The sweet marinate caramelized in the burnt edges are my favorite but really, I couldn’t play favorites in any of its parts because the whole thing tasted great! The diet deity must be carefully guarding me from these temptation (unli rice with delicious barbecued pork in sweet marinate) because if Tribu Express had a branch near Paranaque, my hopes of losing a few lbs would be done for!
I needed to include this in the review just because Mario kept talking about how good it tasted and how affordable it was compared to other similar restaurants. I don’t have a picture though, but I’m sure you know how iced tea looks like. ^_^; But between Mario’s fave iced tea from Wendy’s and Tribu Express’, he still likes Wendy’s more. Still, for affordability, this earns a high score in his card.
The effort (going through all that MRT drama) was well worth it. If I lived in QC and happen to be doing my weekly grocery at Ever Gotesco Commonwealth, I would definitely eat at Tribu Express. But if you’re the person who only eats half orders of rice in all meal times, then you may not be able to get the most of your peso here or you can order from their FISH & CHIX menu which has solo priced orders. Next time, I would probably try their inasal as it’s one of the restaurant’s specialties aside from the Tribu Fried Chicken, and the vanilla sundae cone for P10 because I’m a sucker for vanilla ice cream.
The meal was provided by Tribu Express for blogging purposes.
The contents of this review is 100% my honest opinion.