Last week, Ron Cantiveros, a writer for the Filipino Journal, among other activities, posted on Facebook about the opening of a new Filipino restaurant named Jeepney. I’ve gotten to know Ron a little bit from various food events, so when he suggested Jeepney as a place to try out, I decided I didn’t want to wait long.
Aside from that, the arrival of the Pimp my Rice food truck on Winnipeg’s streets last summer had given me a taste for Filipino cuisine. On top of that, Jeepney is located about five blocks from where I live. All in all it’s a place screaming to be tried out
I don’t normally make disclaimers regarding restaurants, but there are a couple worth noting here. Jeepney’s is having its soft opening. So, you need to bring cash when you come since there is no Interac or Credit Cards yet. Also, as it’s opening has been low key, there haven’t been large crowds, so I can only judge service based on attentiveness, knowledge and friendliness, not on how they handle a big crowd.
That said, let’s get on with the food. The restaurant features an all day breakfast, and while I like that, I had breakfast at the typical early a.m. time. I went for one of the Filipino options, choosing the Tosilog. This dish proved that you don’t need you rice to be Krispie to make for an enjoyable breakfast. The dish came with a small container of vinegar on the side, which I alternately dipped my Tocino in, or added to the rice. I also ordered a potato pancake on the side which was nice and crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside with the addition of corn and grated carrot adding a pleasant sweet taste. On the whole, I’ve noticed a good balance of sweet and acidic in several of the dishes. Coffee is available either as a single cup for $1.50 or refillable for $2.50.
Jeepney offers a wide variety of dinner options along with the all-day breakfast. This is definitely a place you want to come if you like your dinner dishes served with meat, especially pork. Four of the five dishes I tried had pork as one of the featured ingredients. Also, it helps to like meat with the fat included if you want to eat here. Fortunately I grew up on meat dishes where all the meat was used and felt right at home.
I tired the Molo Soup, which is similar to a wonton soup, but with a pork broth in which you can really taste the pork. The wontons were stuffed with a pork sausage that was slightly spiced. The garlic in the soup came through quite strong but not over powering. I found it a little too salty for my liking, but I don’t use much salt in my cooking, so others quite possible wouldn’t think so.
I ordered the lumpia(spring rolls) which came with a sweet chili dipping sauce. There were 10 rolls in the order. Each of the ten was crammed full with sausage. The deep-fried wrappers were crisp on the outside and just soft enough inside that they didn’t shatter all over the place when you bit into them.
Finally on the appetizer side of things I tried the Tokwa at Baboy. The tofu had a nice, light, crispy coating on the outside, and retained it’s firmness very well on the inside. The pork, which appeared to be side pork, *From Albert one of the owners, I have been corrected that the meat is pork cheek, was cooked thoroughly with the fat rendered down to the point where it didn’t feel overly fatty. The sauce was another one where the sweet and acidic came together really well.
On the entree end of things, I tried the Char Siu Beef Ribs. These are beef ribs slow-cooked in a tamarind glaze. The meat was fall off the bone tender, and the tamarind sauce has it’s own built in form of sweet and sour. These ribs make a great change from your typical BBQ beef ribs. I also had the Filipino Bihon Pancit. This dish came with pork and shrimp mixed into rice vermicelli, with a number of different vegetables throughout. This dish looks deceptively simple, but the chicken, shrimp and vegetables combine to give it a variety of flavours in each mouthful.
I didn’t try dessert because I had eaten my fill. I did have a beverage, a Sago’t Gulaman, which struck me as cross between ice tea and bubble tea. This was caramel flavoured, yet didn’t taste of the artificial caramel flavouring that gets added to various coffee beverages.
Final Thought on Jeepney
I said you’ll need to bring cash. I’ll also say you’ll need to bring your appetite. Along with being very tasty, the portions are also generous. Finally,. I’ll say, get here soon. Come early to beat the rush that is sure to develop once the soft opening turns into business as usual. Come early, come often.