MANILA -- Kite, Kian Kazemi’s kasbah of kebabs, flies high again in Makati's hip Poblacion district.
The new Kite sits right beside Lobo, Kazemi’s own Filipino restaurant on Durban Street, and is a stone’s throw away from the previous place on Ebro Street. As a matter of fact, Kazemi placed the Kite sign high above the new building so it can be seen from its old location.
The new interiors are inspired by Kazemi’s own Middle Eastern heritage. Lots of yellows and brass lamps adorn the ground floor, while cartoonish murals of kites inspired by the style of Filipino comics legend Larry Alcala add local color to the walls.
Going up the Moroccan red staircase is a smoking lounge that has a Santorini vibe with its white-and-blue color scheme. At the back is a private function room which will have a karaoke soon for sing-along parties. The lounge also has an exit to the second-floor balcony where guests can chill out the hustle and bustle of Poblacion down below.
Kite has always been known for its Arabic-Mediterranean food. The mezze platter – a collection of humus, tahini with pita -- is an appetite-whetting collection of appetizers. This is a friendly introduction to the Mediterranean flavors for people unfamiliar with the cuisine.
Poblacion foodies swear by Kite’s keema and kebabs, best accompanied by beer dispensed from a bar on the far corner of the ground floor. Engkanto is the craft beer of choice that shares the drinks menu with Kite’s sangrias and margaritas.
Some cocktails like the Kite highball are served in psychedelic tumblers that can double up as a measure of how much you’ve had to drink that evening. For the health-conscious, ask for the Kite Beer which is an in-house brew made up of Red Horse and kombucha.
Aside from being a favorite Poblacion watering hole, Kazemi also sees Kite as a venue to host events and small parties. The second-floor balconies of Kite and Lobo can be opened to make up one big al fresco space.
For these events, banquet entrees based off the Kazemi’s Persian heritage can be ordered from Shiraz Catering, Kite’s sister company. From Kazemi’s descriptions, these are specialty dishes that take longer to prepare and would not be practical to add to the regular Kite menu.
For example, the Morg E Anar is a baked whole chicken stuffed with pomegranate sauce and vegetables. The slightly sour fruity sauce seeps into the tender and juicy roast chicken giving the dish a unique tangy flavor profile.
For vegetarians, the Badjeman is a dish made with stewed eggplant and caramelized onions in olive oil. The onions’ sweetness was nicely balanced by a dollop or two of yogurt.
Then there’s the biryani-like Kalam Polo. Cabbage and turmeric add an exotic aroma to the already fragrant basmati rice used in this dish. This is topped with meatballs and served with a side of coleslaw made with cucumber, red onion, calamansi and mayo.
Kite is a haven to escape the noisy stress-inducing Poblacion traffic.
“Kite brings back memories of childhood. I remember I was a kid when I wanted to play with a kite. I was outdoors, running, free, no worries in the world. That’s what I want to share with people. That when you come here, you have no worries in the world and enjoy some food, some drinks, and good company,” shared Kazemi.
The Poblacion branch of Kite Kebab and Mediterranean bar is located at 4900 Durban Street and is open daily from 11 a.m. to 4 a.m.