(No, I am not the hungry ape.)
It’s the new year and the first thing I post about is food, so I’m taking this as a really good omen! Last week, I was very lucky to have been invited by my friend, Duane, to visit one of Davao’s newest foodie destination and try out the dishes that they are offering. I was so glad he invited me because the food was amazing and the owners were such a delight to talk to!
Let me take you through the ‘food coma‘-inducing Southern American inspired dinner we had at the Hungry Ape last Friday. And don’t skim-read because there’s a giveaway somewhere in this post!
As soon as we were complete, the ever entertaining hosts, Miss Bianca and Miss Jamaica, had the food served one by one. We were informed that some of the dishes we would be eating that night were brand new and that even they haven’t had the chance to taste them! It was very exciting!
We were first served two of the new items. The Seared Tuna Salad with Wasabi Vinaigrette and Mango Mint Puree, and the Bacon Cream Cheese Rice Balls with Pomodoro Sauce. The cook on the tuna was spot on, and the rice balls were a delight to eat with the sauce! Then came their best-selling Dirty Fries. They can call it dirty all they want but those fries were delicious! Three perfect options to start your meal or to munch on as snacks!
I’m more of a hungry lion than a hungry ape because I will always, ALWAYS, order the meat dishes at any restaurant. I’m a carnivore, so I was very glad to know that the owner and chef, Sir Morris, was a huge carnivore as well! My smile reached from ear to ear as I saw the Pork Belly ala Moe, the Smoked Barbeque Brisket, and the Baby Back Ribs being served. All three best sellers come with a bowl of Hungry Ape’s Dirty Rice. The brisket and the ribs also come with two side dishes, beans and pasta, that go really well with the meats. Then they served a small wooden crate that contained the Smoked Barbecue Brisket Mac Sandwich, another best seller! This was my first time to try a burger with pasta inside! Try it to believe it!
These savoury dishes had a touch of sweetness to them which my palette found very welcome. Aside from being a carnivore, I also have a sweet tooth, so Sir Morris’ recipes were huge hits with me. We asked him what gave his dishes that signature sweetness and he told us he used brandy in his sauces, and he also added that he dabbles in Dry Ageing. He’s the first one I know in Davao who does that! (But probably just because I don’t know that many chefs.) But it’s such an exciting process and it gives the meat a whole different level of flavour!
Next up were two new dishes that instantly became crowd favourites! The Cheesy Mushroom Stuffed Chicken and the Mushroom Salpicao Pasta.
The chicken was surprisingly tender and juicy. Hand to heart, it was perfectly cooked. Sir Morris explained that he used a sous vide to cook some of his dishes to achieve a perfect and balanced cook. The oozing melted cheese and the earthy mushroom stuffing makes this sinfully addictive dish an instant favourite.
The pasta, just from the photo, looks earthy and savoury. And it is! The flavours gave us a pasta experience you can hardly find at other restaurants. The balance in flavours and the cook on the pasta itself were utterly perfect. Another crowd favourite! It’s such a nice vacation from all the usual aglio olio and carbonara that most food estabs offer.
Hoping these dishes get added to menu, ASAP!
And, of course, comes the dessert. Hungry Ape served us two unusual yet brilliant desserts that night: their best selling, and honestly quite intriguing, Salted Caramel Apple Nachos, and a churro-base Banana Tart.
I couldn’t stop myself from munching on the nachos. My brain just wasn’t wired to expect cinnamon, salted caramel apples, and vanilla ice cream on top my nacho chips! It was an apple pie experience but on another kind of level.
The Banana Tart recipe that Sir Morris devised mixed churros and the Filipino minatamis together into one perfect dessert cup. The banana filling has the minatamis flavour that most Filipinos know and love, and the churro holds all this goodness in as the ‘tart’ part of this dessert. The chocolate adds an extra layer of flavour that works really well here. This is served chilled so the banana chunks aren’t as soft as traditional minatamis.
Aside from these two innovative desserts, the Hungry Ape also carries cakes done by Tagum’s very own YuYu Café. If you’re not feeling adventurous and just want a nice slice of cake, then don’t worry, they’ve got your back. We were served YuYu’s Mochanana Cake and Sikwate Cake slices that night as well.
I told you it was a ‘food coma’-inducing dinner! And you can have one, too, when you visit the Hungry Ape!
Location : ATU Plaza, Gov. Duterte Street, Davao City
Business Hours : 11 AM to 10 PM, Tuesdays to Sundays
P.S. Visit my Facebook page and join my Hungry Ape giveaway! I’m releasing two (2) Hungry Ape gift certificates to two lucky winners so they can enjoy the same flavours I did! Best of luck! 🙈🍌