BORACAY -- Los Indios Bravos, one of Boracay’s top-rated restaurants, has moved from its old location on Bulabog Beach to its new home in front of the White House Beach Resort on Station 1.
The restaurant’s old location became a casualty of the recent widespread rehabilitation of Boracay. When the easement on the beach was increased, it took a portion of the building with it.
The old partners led by Tantan Rosales and Chef Norbert Gandler, former executive chef of the Mandarin Oriental Manila, had to look for people who would take over the reins of Los Indios Bravos. Rosales was going back to Canada for good, while Gandler was based in Manila and could not be around to oversee the restaurant full time. They wanted partners who lived on Boracay as they believed that only dedicated people who were from the island could take care of the restaurant for the long run.
Los Indios Bravos was eventually rescued by Martin Jickain and Bong Tirol, who were super fans of the original Los Indios. They ended up acquiring Los Indios Bravos -- lock, stock and barrel. From the recipes to the furniture, to the chef, to the waitstaff, it’s as if Los Indios Bravos was cut and pasted from what it used to be on Bulabog Beach to its new home on the other side of the Boracay in front of White House Beach Resort on Station 1.
While the look and interiors have been preserved, the new Indios Bravos has its little touches that make the restaurant its own. In one corner right beside the bar is an antique picture of what Jickain and Tirol reverently call a portrait of the original Indios Bravos -- the Tirols who practically owned all of the hotels on Boracay’s Station 1 once upon a time.
During the day, Los Indios Bravos is an ideal place to chill offering refreshing drinks to accompany its extensive menu. Fruit shakes and smoothies are ideal to pair with wholesome fare fit for family and kids.
The salads are great starters. The Cobb Salad has Cajun chicken, smoked salmon and bacon, while the Nicoise has pan-seared tuna, and anchovy flavored roasted potatoes. Tossed with Los Indios homemade dressing, the salads are substantial enough to be meals unto themselves.
The Salt and Pepper Beef is like Chinese beef stew, only this one is made with tender US Angus beef riblets topped with stir-fried vegetables with side of rice. For people who aren’t adventurous with their food, this is familiar fare done right.
Brazilian “Zebu” beef is featured in Los Indios Bravos’ burger. It’s a fully loaded burger though the horseradish mustard aioli may turn off some kids.
When the sun sets, the lights dim and Los Indios Bravos puts on its pub persona where locals mingle with visiting tourists. On a good night, guests can catch the island’s best jazz musicians playing up a storm.
The pub prides itself in having the most extensive collection of Filipino craft beers on tap on the island. From low alchohol blondes to strong Double IPAs, the taps of Los Indios will have something for the consummate beer drinker. Finding it hard to decide which one to drink? You can get a beer flight to sample three different brews.
The highlight of the Los Indios Bravos menu is Gandler’s pub food. At first, the prices may look intimidating. However, when the food gets to you, you’ll understand why. The servings are enormous, some good for three or more. One nibble and you get some of the tastiest pub food found anywhere in the country.
While French fries, onion rings, nachos and chicken fingers are to be expected on a bar chow and appetizer menu, it’s the surprises like the samosa and bitterballen, Dutch croquettes of beef hash and gravy served with ketchup and mustard, that stand out. Order the Indios platter to sample its greatest appetizer hits.
Los Indios Bravos makes a fluffy and crunchy beer batter. The beer batter is so good it is used as a coating all throughout the menu starting with the Crispy Chicken Goujons, and the Ultra Crispy Full Chicken Wings.
Any English pub worth its salt would have a selection of Indian selection. Aside from the samosas in the appetizer section, the Golden Paratha, in particular, a spicy Indian chicken curry encased in a rich buttery crispy flaky shell, is a must-order for Indian food lovers looking for something a little different.
Besides the paratha, Los Indios Bravos has an authentic version of Chicken Tikka Masala which may be a tad spicy for normal palates. Ask for dollop of yogurt too cool things down a bit.
Restaurants in Boracay have a sea-to-table philosophy when it comes to their seafood. Because of the lack of cold storage facilities, freshly caught seafood are served to diners as soon as possible.
Los Indios Bravos’ Fruits De Mer Seafood Platter is a sight to behold as this as prawns, smoked salmon, mussels, freshy oysters from nearby Roxas City, and kilawin shooters are served on a mound of shaved ice inside a bowl that takes half the table.
Gandler’s interpretations of pub food put Los Indios Bravos on the Boracay must-eat map.
One of the favorites carried over from Bulabog Beach is Gandler’s Sausage and Mash. Bratwurst, cheese bockwurst, Hungarian sausage and Polish kielbasa are served on a brazier keeping the sausages warm and toasty served with mash potatoes and pickles with a dipping sauce of curry ketchup or Dijon mustard.
One cannot have a pub and not have fish and chips. Los Indios Bravos’ beer batter coats white fish with a side of mashed peas and malt vinegar. These are served hot and crispy and is recommended to be eaten as soon possible.
The meat selections are top notch and not to be missed.
Los Indios Bravos’ velvety soft veal cheeks in red wine are topped with crispy shallots for a contrast in texture and flavor.
Braised lamb shanks are normally already rich but Los Indios Bravos serves them with on top of a risotto with Grana Padano shavings to make it even more indulgent.
The pub’s Dino Bones can satisfy several cavemen’s hungry appetites. This massive serving of hickory smoked beef back ribs comes with Cajun corn and is nicely washed down with a pint of two of beer.
US Angus steaks are a specialty at the pub. With 12 oz ribeye or New York cuts, or a heftier 21 oz. bone-in cowboy steak that come with cream spinach, buttered corn and crispy onion. With a choice of sauces and a choice of sides, guests can tailor their steaks however way they want.
Don’t leave without dessert. The pub takes the a Mars bar, coats it with beer batter, deep-fries it, and serves it with ice cream to make the Fried Mars Bar, one of the stars of the dessert selections.
It would have been the island’s loss if Los Indios Bravos closed for good. It’s still a haven for amazing pub food and is still a cozy place to chill after a day of sun and sand. Thanks to the White House, Jickain, and Tirol, Los Indios Bravos lives on!
Los Indios Bravos is now located in front of the White House on Station 1 and is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Current promos are Wings Wednesday, a wings-all-you-can promo, for P440+, and Thirsty Thursdays, offering buy-one-take-one on craft beers on tap.