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A Flavorful Experience at Bricks and Copper, Turkish Restaurant in Mandaluyong City

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Manila has definitely gone global gustatory wise. The world's popular and even not-so well-known cuisines are now well represented and they come in all sorts of places, ambiance, and budget range.

Having found lodging in the area of Addition Hills, Mandaluyong, we braved the narrow pedestrian lanes of Shaw Boulevard in search of something to good to eat. We came upon Shaw 500 Zentrum, a new commercial and office complex on Shaw Boulevard and promptly gave in to the invitation of the bright lights of its roadside restaurants. Eschewing the usual food chains, we opted to go for something we have not tried before -- that turned out to be a place called Bricks and Copper, a restaurant serving Turkish cuisine prepared by no less than a Turkish chef imported all the way from Turkey via Singapore. Its unique wood fired doner (shawarma)grill is religiously tended by no less than the Chef who makes a good show of romancing the block of beef on a vertical spit, as he slices off thin shavings to the rhythm of the dancing flames beneath.

We had the following dishes:

Tomato soup made from fresh tomatoes and laced with mozzarella cheese
Spicy lentil soup
Doner on pita bread
Tavuk pilav (chicken with quaint Turkish sauce and yogurt on the side)
Sweet ayran (similar to sweet yogurt lassi of India)
A coke, and
Sutlac, a Turkish rice pudding sprinkled with cinnamon

The meal was delicious, evoking images of Istanbul and the mystical wonders of Turkish culture. One remark we had was that the actual servings of the restaurant are a lot bigger than the counterpart pictures seen in the menu and on the wall -- proof that they do not stint on the value they give to their patrons. Plus, the bill given to us was impressively reasonable.

We met Chef Ibrahim Keskin and it was no surprise that he comes from a long line of chefs in Turkey. The trade was handed down from one generation to the next and Chef Ibrahim's turn came in 1992. In 2010, a doctor friend of his moved to Singapore and encouraged him to settle there as well. Good he did, because there he met his wife Lourdes, a Filipina from Paranaque City. Chef Ibrahim not only fell in love with a Filipina, he fell in love with the Philippines as well and they did not need much prodding when the Bricks and Copper opportunity was offered to them just last year. The newly opened restaurant lends variety and authenticity to Manila's food landscape and is a welcome treat for Filipinos and travelers who long for authentic Turkish/Middle Eastern style cuisine.

The warm hospitality of Lourdes,who runs the front of the house, and cashier Louisa is topped off by the charm of Chef Ibrahim who takes the time to come out and meet his guests. And Bricks and Copper keeps such long hours: 9:00 a.m.(yes they serve breakfast!) up to 2:00 a.m. -- that is true dedication. No wonder their food tastes so good.

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