With the overwhelming number of restaurants and cafes to try along Session Road, it’s sometimes easy to miss the jackpots hiding in plain sight. Recently, we’ve discovered one of these jackpots, called Zax’s Home of Chicken and Waffles.
Zax’s can be found on the floor above Swiss Baker, along the exterior of Puso ng Baguio. The restaurant is owned and managed by Chef Carlo de Vera, whose family owns the Swiss Baker line, one of the favorite go-to places of Baguio locals for baked goods. In contrast, Chef Carlo, who has refined his culinary skills in New York’s finest culinary institute, serves American or Western style dishes that surely hit the spot.
While rice is a staple in any Filipino meal, Zax’s diverts from the norm by introducing different types of carbs that have the same fulfilling effect. That’s not to say that rice isn’t part of the menu, but we went all out with rice-less meals to perhaps have a taste of a classic Western meal. They served us different varieties of their “Signature Creations”, and just by looking at them, we couldn’t wait to dig in.
For starters, nachos are always a good way to go and get the palate going. Their Nachos El Grande can bring everyone to the table for finger loads of chips with shredded cheese, greens, and ground meat.
The Salted Egg Wings are a perfect example of the layers of flavor that Chef Carlo brings to his dishes. Initially tart and salty, its flavor can be enhanced with a dip in vinegar. Each bite is different in taste and texture.
Not your ordinary kind of tacos, Zax’s Fish Tacos brings in a color that you wouldn’t expect… purple! For a Filipino twist, sayote is mixed in with purple cabbage to accompany the cream dory. Plop in some mashed beans and roll up the soft taco shell. There’s one thing left to do, take a bite!
One of our most pleasant surprises was the Fried Chicken and Waffles. A match made in heaven, this dish proves that you don’t always need rice for a hefty meal. Best eaten fresh off the frying pan, the chicken is crisp with just the right amount of subtle saltiness, and to complement it, the waffles are chewy and sweet. Alternating bites between the two makes for a harmonious experience. This is our favorite among the dishes. No wonder the restaurant is named after it.
Mashed potatoes as a rice substitute comes into play with their Bacon-wrapped Seafood Kebabs. Shrimps and Fish are blanketed with bacon. These smokey sticks of pork and seafood had us watering at the mouths, and is one of the dishes we would come back for.
The Bacon Cheeseburger is Chef Carlo’s proudest achievement in the menu. It took him months to perfect the recipe for the beef patties, which are always newly made and never frozen, leaving it juicy and relishing. Inside are greens and slices of bacon to add another layer of smokiness.
For a boneless variant of a chicken dish, the Country Fried Chicken Steak is another hefty meal. Lying on a bed of mashed potatoes, these slivers of chicken are drizzled with a creamy sauce. Its country twist comes from the grilled corn and buttered carrots on the side.
Did you know, the Brits have an interesting name for sausages. They call them “bangers”. Bangers and Mash is a plate of mashed potatoes and two whopping bockwurst sausages. The sausages are somewhat salty, so the potatoes balance out the taste.
To help with the umay, a tall glass of something cold and sweet would hit just the spot. We loved their Green Apple Mojito and House Special Italian sodas. The sodas were refreshing and had a mix of minty, cool flavors.
If you love having coffee after a sumptuous meal as much as we do, the Cappuccino and Caffe Latte make fine choices. These hot drinks come unsweetened with sugar on the side to suit your taste. Surprisingly, we enjoyed them even without an sugar added.
All the dishes we have tried have one thing in common – they are soul food. Chef Carlo says that he simply wants to give his customers plate-fulls of feel good food to satisfy any craving. And we could testify, that after this food-scapade, we were patting our bellies, belts loosened, cravings satisfied.
See for yourself what makes Zax’s Home of Chicken and Waffles special. Visit them at Session Road, open from 7 AM to 10:30 PM