New eats: Bistro Group debuts new pizza and chicken concept ChowCiao

Joko Magalong-De Veyra

Posted at Aug 15 2020 10:01 AM

MANILA -- It’s buy-one-get-one at ChowCiao, the newly opened pizza and chicken concept from The Bistro Group. Based in Bonifacio Global City, ChowCiao is the brainchild of the group's executive corporate chef Josh Boutwood.

“'Chow' symbolizes the act of eating and 'ciao' is the well-known Italian greeting for ‘hello.’ Italian-American cuisine has always been a favorite of the local market and I, myself, love this iconic combination,” Boutwood explained.

ChowCiao debuts on the quarantine food scene with 10 pizza offerings, five chicken flavors, and two options for sides. It’s a straightforward menu with both well-known and unique flavors.

For the pizzas, we tasted four — the Prosciutto, the Campagna, the Four Cheese, and the Spicy Pepperoni. The pepperoni had the slightest bit of heat, while the four cheese didn’t scrimp on the bleu cheese.

The Campagna isn’t a flavor you see often in Philippine pizza menus, but this white pizza is deceptively simple but addicting. Boutwood’s favorite, the pizza is topped with cheese, delicious fennel sausage (I would love this tossed with some pasta and tomatoes), spinach, and the barest wisp of chili. It’s perfect paired with a cold beer.

The Campagna pizza. Handout

The Proscuitto is another straightforward pizza with tomato, oregano, arugula, and generous slivers of the prized Italian ham. It’s this author’s flavor as it’s the flavor that I most enjoyed the crust with.

The crust, by the way, is a triumph by any delivery pizza standard. Still crispy after travelling from BGC to the outskirts of Makati (and reheats/crisps up beautifully the day after). It's rolled thin but still holds up the generous toppings. Munching on the end crust was so akin to eating sourdough bread that I almost wanted to get some butter to enjoy it with.

Now onto the chicken tenders. Available in half or whole orders, there’s the original -- the non-sauced just breaded and fried variant -- while the other four flavors are breaded, fried, and tossed in sauce and with some even topped with more ingredients.

Spicy chicken fans have two options: the Buffalo and the Chipotle & Queso Fresco. The Buffalo comes covered in its trademark orange sauce with that unmistakable piquancy of hot sauce. A bleu cheese dip is available as a saucy add-on that goes well with it, although a light and creamy Ranch Dip is also available if you’re looking for something tangier.

The Chipotle & Queso Fresco, on the other hand, has more smokey flavor than spice (although it’s still there). It’s the queso fresco topping that brings it all together for this chicken — creamy and salty, like a Latino party in your mouth.

Honey-Miso & Furikake Chicken. Handout

The last two flavors are kid and kids-at-heart friendly. The Sweet BBQ is smokey and sweet with a nice grounding back note of tang. This author’s pick is the Honey-Miso & Furikake, a Japanese-inspired flavor that had me going back for seconds. It’s sweet and reminded me of sticky Korean chicken but with lip-smacking umami and earthy flavors of miso and furikake.

For your sides, it’s a choice between a mac and cheese option (you can also have this with chicken), or wedges (we recommend getting the finger-lickin’ good loaded wedges with bacon, cheese and the works).

Potato wedges. Handout

With all these options, ChowCiao’s opening promo makes it easier to try them all! For every order of a whole pizza from their promo menu (Truffle, Three Meat, Hawaiian, Prosciutto), customers automatically get a half order of chicken (Original, Honey Miso, Barbecue, Buffalo, Chipotle).

ChowCiao is available via GrabFood, direct delivery and pick-up from The Plaza at Arya Residences in BGC, Taguig City.