Rob's makes case for best gumbo in town 2
Food & Drink

Rob's makes case for best gumbo in town

Where can you get great gumbo in Metro Manila? The answer is at Rob’s in Newport Mall at Pasay.

MANILA -- Where can you get great gumbo in Metro Manila? The answer is at Rob’s in Newport Mall at Pasay. 

Conceptualized by chef Robby Goco of CYMA and Souv!, the beautifully appointed restaurant, with interiors done in teal, leather, different shades of wood and generous touches of gold, serves Southern American dishes and cocktails. 

Their specialties are what the acronym Rob’s stands for: ribs, oysters, and bourbon. While this trifecta does get served in the restaurant in delicious ways that will be further described below, one can’t discount the other dishes in its menu like the aforementioned gumbo, seafood pan roast, or the Awwww Shucks, among other things. 

Chef Robby Goco is also behind the restaurants CYMA and Souv!
Chef Robby Goco is also behind the restaurants CYMA and Souv!

“Every time there’s an event or a party, what they ask for is this kind of food. This is the kind of food that I serve to my friends and family. This is very unpretentious, very straightforward. You can just roll yours sleeves and be very casual. Enjoy your bourbon and the freshest seafood that this side of town offers,” said Goco. 

Whether you’re a family wanting to enjoy some surf and turf or an individual coming in from a long flight, Rob’s offers various dishes and cocktails designed to give hearty comfort. 

Read on and find out what we enjoyed in Rob’s.

1. Crab & Shrimp Louise Salad. 

It’s the most straightforward of salads with fresh crab, shrimp, and lettuce, dressed with Louise dressing, which is like a tangier thousand island dressing with some heat.

2. Rob’s Sashimi.

This platter was a gorgeous plate of raw seafood. Slices of fresh tuna, hamachi, snapper, and salmon enveloped with extra virgin olive oil citrus dressing and topped with raw shallots and capers. A delicious starter for a group or a full meal for a hungry one or two.

3. Seafood and Andouille Sausage Gumbo. 

Where have you been all my life? Served in individual portions, you get a bowl of this flavorful brown stew with the top of a mound of rice just barely peeking through. Mix it all in, put in a dash or three of their bespoke hot sauce, and you’re in for comfort in bowl. Must-try.

4. Diablo Oysters.

While at Rob’s, you can have oysters six ways — diablo, four cheese, chipotle bourbon, Rockefeller, herbed, and fresh. I quite liked the simplicity and the verve of the diablo oysters — just broiled with butter, chilies, and a dash of paprika. Surprisingly with a squeeze of lemon, it wasn’t as demonically hot as I feared, which was a good thing. This was great with any of the cocktails. If you’re into a bit of heat but with more creamy/tangy flavors, the chipotle bourbon oysters is a good option.

5. Awwww Shucks. 

Part of the sharing plates portion of the menu, this dish is surf and turf but make it extra sinful with roasted bone marrow and six pieces of garlic herb butter oysters. It comes with sourdough toasts and chef Goco told us that the best way to eat this is by putting everything on a toast (marrow, an oyster) and squeezing a little bit of lemon over. It was a glorious bite of contrasting rich surf and turf flavors that just worked! Must-try.

6. Seafood Pan Roast. 

This is one of the specialties of the house. Seafood lovers may find their new favorite way to enjoy their seafood with this dish — a rich creamy tomato-based stew with your option of seafood (shrimp/lobster, crab, and scallop) that tastes like a cross between a seafood chowder sans potatoes and tomato soup that’s served with rice!

7. Bourbon Baby Back Ribs. 

When you talk about deep American south, you have to talk about BBQ. At Rob’s, they have about five options: smoked chicken inasal, pork bell BBQ, 16-hour beef brisket, giant beef shortribs, and the bourbon baby back ribs. This author particularly liked the unctuousness of the baby back ribs, which was thanks to a coffee rub, and being basted by that deep and tangy house BBQ sauce. For sides, we kept going back to red beans and rice, and also finished the potato salad that was topped with bacon. Also, something different, one of the sauces included was a vinegar-based sauce, which I preferred.

8. Rob’s Hot BBQ Sour and Strawberry Tea Smash. We were served five bourbon-based cocktails during the launch, but this author’s favorite was these two. The former being a fun take on the bourbon sour — tangy and spicy. The latter is the fruity cocktail you drink after a long day (or flight) to refresh your palate and your mood. It’s strawberry, Campari, bourbon and Sagada tea—think fruit tea but with bourbon. And the good news is that both drinks go well with everything on this list. 

Rob’s is open on weekdays from 11 a.m. to 12 midnight, Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.

Photos by Jeeves de Veyra