There are a lot of restaurants back home which offer authentic Filipino food, but I guess one of the brands that has redefined the Filipino Cuisine for today's discerning food crowd would be Max's Restaurant.
Good thing Max's Restaurant is also in Dubai! It opened some time in 2011 and has brought to Dubai a selection of world famous Filipino dishes that will satisfy your cravings for Filipino food and will surely resonate in the hearts of local diners too. It's food delivery service is actually one of my life-savers whenever I get lazy to cook. :p
And did I tell you that it's just a 5-minute walk from where I live? Uh huh! So when I got an invite to have it reviewed, I certainly obliged and tagged Mark along. :p We had our fix for Filipino food last Friday at Max's Restaurant.
With the long queue of diners waiting for their seats, the crowd, the ambience, and the vibe, I really felt like I was immediately transported back to the Philippines when we got to the restaurant. I even kept telling Mark that it's as if we're not in Dubai. :D
Seeing the diners and hearing them enjoy as they devour the food on their tables suddenly brought back a lot fond memories. Max's has become one of my family's favorite picks, well Jaoey's especially, whenever we dine out. It has also become a witness to almost every celebrations that we have back home. And it was nostalgic to somehow be "back home" here at Max's.
Mark was the more eager one when he knew that we'd be dining at Max's, so I wasn't surprised when he took charge of the orders without even looking at the menu. :p
He of course ordered his forever favorite Kare-Kare and as always, it was a hit! If he has one comment though, it would be the meat being quite few. I on the other hand, being someone who could cook a variety of dishes (delicious dishes if I may brag :p), have somehow become more meticulous when it comes to food.
Max's Kare-Kare never really appealed to me mainly because I don't like bland-tasting peanut sauce, otherwise, everything would be okay. And it has been the same with every branch that I've been to, including here in Dubai.The peanut taste was there, it wasn't sweet too, but I thought a little saltiness would make it good. I loved that the vegetables were cooked just right and still maintained that crunch, though.
Of course Kare-Kare wouldn't be complete without the alamang (shrimp paste). It usually makes the Kare-Kare a lot delectable. But I guess luck was not on my side that time because even the alamang (shrimp paste) was a let down, well for me. It didn't taste fresh and seems like the oil used wasn't fresh as well.
But then, again, Mark enjoyed eating the Kare-Kare, so who am I to complain? I just had a couple of veggies and gave everything for him to devour. :p
I was supposed to get the Sizzling Tofu, but Mark talked me out from the idea because we just had tokwa't baboy (tofu and pork) plus arroz caldo for our breakfast, so he just ordered Beef Sisig instead.
Looking at the dish, those red and green chili slices were a nice addition as it added a play of color. The dish is definitely an eye candy. But I immediately removed them after I took a photo of the dish. Haha! I'm not a fan of spicy dishes, the pungent taste from spices I can take but I just have a low tolerance when it comes to the heat.
If I remember it right, we have Chicken Sisig in Max's Restaurants in the Philippines, so this one is new to me. Good thing it didn't disappoint. It's not a show-stopper, but at least it's not a let down as well. I love the combination of sweetness from the sauce, which as my palate suggests is seasoned mayo, plus the tangy kick from the lemon juice.
I prefer crunchy sisig over the usual soft ones, so I was glad that the pork rinds were there. Not sure if they were pork rinds really since pork is not allowed in restaurants in the UAE, but I just loved it! The crispy pork rinds plus the chunky onions added texture to the dish and worked well with the tender beef slices.
Max's Spring Chicken™ is our usual order because of it's distinctive characteristic which is the tenderness of its meat, since the chicken is harvested at a young age. My photos may not give justice but this one is definitely a hit, as always! Aside from the tender meat, I love that it wasn't oily at all and the skin was so crispy.
Up until now, I just can't distinguish what spices were in but it's definitely what I love and what I grew up with and is definitely what made Max's world famous and a Filipino institution.
We also had Iced Tea for our drinks, lemon for Mark and strawberry for me. And for our desserts, we opted for the Dessert Sampler which includes, from left to right, Ube Creme Decadence, Buko Pandan, Leche Flan, and Chocolate Cream Cheese Brownie à la mode.
I've become uninterested with sweets in general when I actually started making cakes and cupcakes as we would always have a piece or two of the left over cupcakes and cake trimmings at home every time I get an order. And I would just usually have cravings for sweets just when it's the time of the month, if you know what I mean. :)
So I wasn't really up for desserts during our lunch. And although the plate was an eye candy, I just had Mark finish it all. If there's one thing in the plate that I liked though, it's the Ube Creme Decadence. I'm not a fan of ube so it really didn't appeal to me at first. Mark also said it was just so-so when he first took a spoonful. So I gave it a try to check and fell in love with my first spoonful. I think I scooped too much that I got to dig into the ube halaya (purple yam) at the center of the cooked cream!
It was so good that it instantly became a favorite! Even Mark who was at first turned down just couldn't stop digging in. The mild sweetness from the cream was just right and brings out the natural sweetness from the ube halaya (purple yam). I also love the play of texture from the smooth cream, chunky ube, and ube cake crumbs.
Over-all dining experience was good. Although there were a few misses in the food, well at least for the ones we got, service was commendable. Joy, the staff who was assigned to us, was very attentive and always checked on us and made sure that we are having a great time. The restaurant manager, Marinel Lacida, was also very hands-on. And I must say that it's not just because they knew that I'll be doing a review because every staff in the restaurant is also doing the same for the rest of the diners. I guess it's the Filipino hospitality which is very evident from the staff that sets Max's apart from all other restaurants in Dubai.
So if you want to know what made this restaurant world-famous or if you just simply need a quick fix for your Filipino food cravings, do drop by and try it out at Max's Restaurant!
For updates about Max's Restaurant, Dubai, you can visit and like them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/MaxsRestaurantME or follow them on Instagram: @maxschickenuae and Twitter: @MaxsChickenUAE. You can also visit their website: www.maxschicken.com.
MAX'S RESTAURANT, Dubai
Spinneys Bldg, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Road (Trade Centre Road)
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
+971 04 325 7797
Nearest Metro Station: Burjuman (Red Line)
We were guests at Max's Restaurant and our meal was complimentary, but as always, this post is sincerely written and all views and opinions are my own.