August 8, 2019

JT's Manukan Grille - BGC

We have foreigner guest in our office and she’ll be here for a few weeks and unlike the expats I’ve met before, she’s one of the adventurous ones. She is excited to try just about any Filipino food that we offer her. During her first week, we even brought her to Mercato and you wouldn’t believe that we made her eat Betamax, isaw, fishballs etc. And she was all for it! It was like we were easing her in, so the following week, one of us brought her “balut” and guess what, she was able to brave that one! We told her it was a story she would tell her future grand kids.

photo c/o

So as the weeks passed, she was eating just like us, going to the office cafeteria with us or to Jollibee or Chowking, wherever the whole team would have their lunch, she’ll be with us and eat like a local. One of those lunch outs, we decided to bring her to JT’s Manukan Grille as we were all craving for some barbecued stuff. And we all have tried JTs and can vouched for the taste that she’ll like it. Plus, there’s just one across our office building so we can go back quickly after our allocated lunch duration.

Bacolod’s Burgos public market circa 1952 is said to be the inasal’s Ground Zero, where a young fish vendor surnamed Velez accidentally invented the marinated chicken as an appetizer for his drinking buddies. But it was his mother Sabel who opened the very first inasal stall beside Floredith Theater along Araneta Street, next to the Bacolod City Hall and across from the Central Market. This was in the 1960s when Bacolodnons became movie lovers. Sabel moved her stall to Cuadra Street near the Bacolod Public Plaza and adjacent to the city’s most popular cinema, State Theater. Her daughters Elisa and Nena helped her in running the thriving business, which attracted other inasal sellers to set up shop at the “Chicken Alley.”

As the inasal’s popularity grew in the 1970s, Nena and other stallholders transferred to a bigger site at the reclamation area known as “Manokan Country.” Meanwhile, Elisa and her business partners put up the original Chicken House on San Sebastian Street in the downtown area, which they later sold to architect-businessman Joe Cajili, who opened several branches and eventually expanded to Metro Manila in the 1980s.

JT’s Manukan Grille is a Negrense restaurant serving Chicken Inasal, Batchoy, Kansi and other dishes from Bacolod City. It is the brainchild of famous actor Joel Torre and his wife, Cristy. Started in 2003 as a small stall on Ortigas Avenue Extension in Quezon City, JT’s Manukan Grille currently has 20 stores nationwide and growing. In 2017, JT’s started going nationwide with the opening of its first branches in Boracay And Davao City. Over the years, JT’s Manukan Grille has consistently gained a following in its various locations, making it to the top of SPOT.PH’s list as the No. 1 chicken inasal restaurant since 2015.

The usage of charcoal in grilling the chicken results in a crusty, caramelized texture and a smoky flavor that has truly enticed the palate of Filipinos. The slow, continuous cooking liquefies the fat so its also beneficial for the health conscious. Aside from chicken, pork dishes are available. We made duplicate orders of the following menu entries:

Inasal Paa – char-grilled chicken leg and thigh marinated in vinegar, lime, herbs and spices. The chicken was juicy and savoury and very filling with its big size. The skin had a good smoky and sweet flavor too so it’s really good.

Inasal Atay - char-grilled chicken liver also with the same marinade perhaps. I love the sweet-bitter taste of chicken liver. This tasted really fresh and even our foreign visitor loved it.

Inasal Spareribs – char grilled slab of pork belly. This was my order and I loved that the part that was served to me had a balanced amount of fat and meat. It was smoky, sweet and salty and may I just say the serving was large and can actually feed two people.

Kansi - Ilonggo version of bulalo. This is beef shank with bone arrow with non-ripe jackfruit cooked until tender in a tangy soup almost similar to sinigang. We all loved it especially that a second serving of the soup was free.

Ilonggo Atchara - Ilonggo appetizer made of pickled beans and carrots. Almost all the grilled meats served to us came with this. I’m not fond of atchara actually but my officemates actually loved it.

The place is no frills, there are some wall decorations which the most prominent is the huge painting depicting a portrait ala the Last Supper instead it shows Joel Torre at the center and other Filipino daily scenes. I've seen that in their other branches. Most of the JT's branches looks like a local neighborhood eatery, IMO. Somewhere you would just come, eat and leave. But that doesn't matter.

JT’s Manukan Grille caters to everyone and anyone! Even our foreign friend approves of it. Meals are affordable too and start at PHP 150 upwards, definitely affordable for the yuppies like us. Also the JT’s Mnaukan at MC Home Depot is open until 1:00am. If you’re looking for good food with an affordable price JT’s Manukan Grille is definitely your go to place.

32nd Street, Justice Drive,
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City
Contact Nos: 02 8315787
+63 9436846891

For more information, complete menu and restaurant reviews, check out their Zomato profile: 
JT's Manukan Grille Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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** cover photo c/o JT's Manukan Facebook page

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