At this popular D'mall restaurant, Piri-Piri takes center stage, along with well-seasoned grills. And don't ever skip the signature sauces at SpiceBird, because a taste of them will leave you hungrier for more–and ordering bottles to bring back home.
SpiceBird Piri-Piri Grill opened in Boracay earlier this year but since then has been an instant favorite, with foodies easily declaring the restaurant as having the best chicken in the island. Piri-Piri (also known as African bird's eye chili) chicken is the highlight at SpiceBird, a dish with roots from Portugal. It literally means 'pepper-pepper' in English and this is the key ingredient to the sauce used to marinade meats, most commonly chicken, before grilling. SpiceBird creates its own Piri-Piri Sauce, along with three other signature sauces, to let each customer taste test, mix and match, and create their own perfect sauce.
To highlight the savory goodness of their homemade piri-piri sauce, SpiceBird's Chef Natalia Moran incorporates it in almost everything on their menu — and it works wonders, bringing in flavor bombs from appetizers to mains. Their Piri-Piri Wings (P230), for example, are grilled chicken wings marinated in the sauce and are just great lipsmacking grub to eat with your hands, and they pair well with beer (lots of craft beer options in SpiceBird). What was even more memorable was the Piri-Piri Chicken Skin (P95), a plate of gloriously crispy and golden fried chicken skin dressed with Piri-Piri Sauce. The thunderous crunch of the deep fried chunks of happiness were amazing when dunked into a combination of sauces! In between bites, my order of Mango & Mint Shake (P120) refreshes, a blend of sweet and cool to cleanse the palate of the spices and heat.
Not only are the starters and main meats laced with piri-piri sauces — their lineup of sandwiches features this awesome sauce, too. All sandwiches are served with side salad and veggie chips, and currently there are three sandwiches to choose from: a version of cubano with roasted chicken, an albondigas (meatball) sandwich, and the Piri-Piri Pulled Pork Sandwich (P295). The tender flakes of slow-cooked pulled pork (braised for 12 hours) are coated with Piri-Piri sauce and sandwiched on a soft homemade brioche bun, and topped with cilantro and pickled onions. The sweet and savory flavor profile of this sandwich matches well with the signature hot sauce of Spice Bird.
All dishes at SpiceBird are served with the four signature sauces, and to skip them all will be such a mistake on your tastebuds — each sauce places added twists and turns in every bite of your food, and each one has its own personality that you'll surely find one that suits your palate, or you can mix a combination of two or three that just's right for your taste.
The Piri-Piri Sauce is the classic sauce that SpiceBird uses for all of its meaty offerings — it's the people pleaser that goes well with everything, spiceful yet with minimal to moderate heat (depending on your tolerance). For those who love the hot hot heat, the Hotbird Sauce is what will keep your mouth on fire, "it burns like seeing your ex with someone else," its bottle label reads. If it's too hot, tame it with equal parts of the Piri-Piri Sauce. My personal favorite is the Garlic & Lime Sauce, loaded with potent garlic goodness with waves of citrusy lime, you'll be rendered quite unkissable (or a vampire-free zone). Think of it as a shawarma sauce, only made better. The killer sauce combo for me was equal parts of the Garlic & Lime and Piri-Piri. This particular formulation made a monster out of me, dunking everything savory I could grab my hands on, from chicken skin to wings to seafood to pork and chicken. The Salsa Verde is refreshing and reminds one of chimichurri– refreshing, rustic, herby. Just like the Piri-Piri, it goes well with any grilled meat, and I found it the best partner for the grilled pork at SpiceBird. If you also transform into a sauce monster while taste testing these four, you'll be pleased to know that the restaurant sells these by the bottle.
A visit to SpiceBird is not complete without experiencing the main event: Grilled Piri-Pri Boards, with three different meats to choose from, all marinated with their piri-piri sauce for 24 hours. All boards come with Spice Rice, Side Salad, Milky Roll, and Veggie Chips. The most popular choice of protein is the Piri-Piri Chicken Board (P295 – 1/4 Chicken, P495 – 1/2 Chicken), with its smoky meat so tender and flavorful. With the chicken grilled and flavored perfectly, all one needs to do is to get playful with the four signature sauces to find a blend that's perfect for their tastebuds.
The Piri-Piri Pork Board (P320/Pork Belly, P275/Pork Chop) does not disappoint, either. I tasted this set meal, with a mouthwatring chunk of pork belly, jiggling with its luscious layer of fat, and found that the Salsa Verde was the best choice of sauce with every forkful of meat, chased with a spoonful of rice. Don't forget to dunk the veggie chips into some sauce — Garlic & Lime, recommended — to add more magic in every mouthful. The third piri-piri meat is the Piri-Piri Shrimp Board (P320) and it was also another palate-pleasing experience to have the sauce on seafood–more spice-ful than spicy, the gambas-style shrimp delivered even more flavor bombs with a slathering of the HotBird homemade hot sauce.
Desserts at SpiceBird are kept simple, but still pleasantly unique with flavors just as how the starters and mains delivered excitement on tastebuds. There's a Home-made Calamansi Cheesecake (P245) that delighted the citrus lover in me, a compact and moist cake with enough fruity tartness to brighten up your meal. Chocolate lovers wanting something different should end their feast with an order of Double Happiness Sundae (P245). It coats two scoops of dark chocolate ice cream with bergamot-infused olive oil, then tops it with Malagos chocolate shards and sea salt. It's a double scoop of chocolate goodness armed with a simple yet unusual combination to keep your sweet tooth surprised, and also does a great job of properly cleaning up your palate of the earlier servings of fully sauced-up dishes.
Visit SpiceBird Piri-Piri Grill at Unit 108 of D’Mall Plaza, Station 2, Boracay (right behind the ferris wheel). Call +63 36 288 1002, visit their website (www.spicebirdgrill.com), Like SpiceBird on Facebook (/spicebirdgrill), and follow on Instagram (@spicebirdgrill).