Yielding to the behest of our intense craving for chicken isaw (barbecued intestines), we decided to have dinner at Charaptor one late Friday evening. A trip to UP for isaw would have provided a welcome change in atmosphere but it was unrealistic because of the Edsa traffic. Plus, of course, we wanted to try a buffet restaurant specializing in grilled goodies.
All plans set, we were more than ready to have our fill for the night. We didn’t know how to get to Charaptor; good thing most cab drivers knew where it was. Perhaps because it had grown very popular of late among Makati yuppies. It was situated at the farthest end of Kamagong St., a place equally popular among bar and restaurant habitués.
When we arrived at Charaptor, it was exactly how we pictured it. Smoky (because of all the barbecues on the grill) and with a bar-like ambiance. The tables are installed with grills, similar to that in Yakimix, but these are charcoal-fired. An exhaust pipe is placed directly above the grills but these are not adequate enough to suck away all the smoke.
So how does one begin his food adventure in Charaptor? You may opt to get appetizers first. There is crunchy, crispy and sinful Chicharong Bulaklak (deep fried pork large intestines) dipped in spicy vinegar. For those who would want to “limit” their cholesterol intake, there are also French fries available.
But waste no time, line up in the buffet selection already to get meat, fish and veggies then put these on the grill so that you are already cooking your food as you nibble on your appetizers.
At the buffet selection, there is a good spread of chicken thigh and wings, pork barbecue on skewers, beef strips, tuna chunks, salmon belly slices, pork liempo, bacon-wrapped tofu, and pork and chicken isaw. There are also vegetables available like corn on a cob, sliced bell peppers and eggplants. These are all marinated and ready for grilling.
Rice and pasta are also served for those who want a heavy meal. Dipping sauces are also ready like vinegar, toyo-mansi, gravy, barbecue and cheese.
We got several sticks of chicken and pork isaw, bacon-wrapped tofu, salmon slices and tuna chunks, pork barbecue and liempo.
A basting sauce was available which we constantly brushed on our barbecue to keep it moist and flavorful. The pork and chicken isaw did not disappoint. It was very good especially when grilled to a crunch and then dipped in spicy vinegar. It did not have any off aftertaste and took on the sauces really well. The bacon-wrapped tofu is another favorite. It was seasoned well and the bacon provided richness and depth of flavor to the tofu chunks. We overcooked our fish but it was still delicious nonetheless; best-dipped in toyo-mansi sauce.
We also ordered drinks — all refillable. Just go to the bar to refill your glasses with a choice of lemon iced tea, orange and pineapple juices, red iced tea, blue lemonade and regular lemonade. Beer is definitely available for those who want an alcoholic drink. We made several trips back to the buffet area until we were stuffed and almost couldn’t breathe.
Cravings satisfied, we got our bill and were a little surprised that our hugely-satisfying meal was less than Php1,000 at around Php845.
Charaptor is definitely worth a visit. It’s a nice place to hang out on a Friday evening and get a few drinks. It had good music but not too loud so that customers can still talk without having to shout. This restaurant is also ideal for once-in-a-while visits, especially if you are suddenly craving for smoky, char-grilled treats.