Part of the fun of New York is the sheer volume and diversity of dining options. This does mean that it can be hit and miss, but when you have as excellent a guide as the lovely Helen, chances are that more hits are likely to follow.

On my first evening in town, we headed down to East Village for some Filipino delights at Maharlika. The cuisine of the Philippines is not one I know well nor one I’ve seen widely represented on travels so I was keen see what was what.

We found the place packed out with a lively Friday night crowd. As we sipped some fruity cocktails, I turned the decision making over to Helen as I would have been ordering in almost complete ignorance.

She suggested a shared starter of pork belly sisig then mains of goat shank and the fish of the day which was a whole seabass. We swapped out one of their regular rice accompaniments for a bowl of excellent garlic rice, too.

Sisig soon arrived and was reminiscent of Korean hot stone bibimbap. Our friendly waitress mixed in the whole egg with the other elements with considerable sizzle. We then tucked in with gusto.

It was a flavour-packed dish, simple but with deft balance. We enjoyed it muchly.

The seabass was really nicely prepared with a good char on the skin and firmly moist flesh. The goat was as hearty and nourishing as expected.

We had further stops on our itinerary so left the digestifs aside, paid our bill and wandered on with a high level of contentment.

Overall, Maharlika served us an impressive dinner in a really vibrant local spot. I’d recommend it to you as a high quality place to start adventures on the Lower East Side. I’d happily return for more of their delicious grub.

Blythe scores Maharlika
4/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
4/5 for setting
4/5 for service
giving an overall 15.5/20

Today’s questers were: Helen, Blythe

We ate: pork belly sisig, goat shank, whole seabass

We drank: cocktails

We wore: spangly, Fernet pin

Total bill: $82.74

Address: 111 1st Avenue, New York, 10003

Written by BKR