At Ricksha’s New Greenhills Iteration, Expect a Personal Celebration of Indian Cuisine | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Whether you’re a fan or you’re intimidated by Indian food, Ricksha is a great starting point for a colorful take on the cuisine



Much like Indian culture, Indian cuisine is multifaceted, diverse, and colorful. It’s a joyous cuisine with a long history that Ricksha celebrates in spades.

Ricksha is the latest iteration of the Kapitolyo mainstay Ricksha Streetside Tandoor. Its new, larger space and shortened name has breathed new life into the restaurant, along with an expanded menu and a full bar.

Its Kapitolyo space was a more casual spot. A minimalist and rustic approach to Indian cuisine that served dishes quickly. So this move, according to Ricksha owners Cyril and Pierre Addison, was a long time coming.

“As we move to this bigger space, we want guests to enjoy not just the delicious food but also the ambiance, the drinks, and the wine list and relax and stay for a while during their meal,” the Addisons explain.


“As we move to this bigger space, we want guests to enjoy not just the delicious food but also the ambiance, the drinks, and the wine list and relax and stay for a while during their meal,” the Addisons explain.


As sommeliers with nearly 25 years of hospitality experience between them, the Addisons wanted a space where they could combine their passion for food and wine as well as a full dining experience for customers. The larger space means they could expand their offerings and make room for their pandemic baby Love, Pierre—an at-home sommelier service.

The restaurant’s exterior gives a colorful preview of what you can find inside. There’s a painted logo on the wall next to the entrance with blues, yellows, and greens that show just how colorful the dishes and the experience are.

The rangoli design on the glass doors is reflective of the colorful expression customers can expect at Ricksha

Walking into the restaurant, you are greeted with even more radiant murals depicting scenes related to India’s food culture (“subtly Indian without screaming traditional”). It’s a refined space, reflective of the growth Ricksha has experienced over the years. There’s also a more private dining area draped in purple velvet curtains for the larger parties they want to attract.

The motif? “Subtly Indian without screaming traditional”
With 70 seats in total, these are possibly the best ones in the house, thanks to its plush and pleasurable atmosphere

A testament to home cooking

The Addisons drew inspiration for their menu from Cyril’s mother Rebecca “Amma” Addison who is a Bangalore native. This means most of the dishes are what Cyril grew up with eating. But Pierre was also a driving force for Ricksha.

“This whole thing really got started because of how much Pierre took to [Indian cuisine] when we visited India back in 2016,” Cyril says.

Pierre and Cyril Addison

It would be a misnomer to call the restaurant’s food traditional Indian cuisine, although that’s where their roots originated. Instead of using the typical Indian cooking methods, Ricksha uses simple techniques to bring out all the hearty, rustic flavors of the dishes.

Indian cuisine, as it’s more commonly perceived, has a lot of spice and naturally associates it with heat. But Ricksha subverts this. “Ricksha’s food isn’t spicy,” explains Cyril. “It contains spices, which may have heat, but all of our food isn’t spicy.”

Limitless options for ‘wine-ing’ (and dining)

Another misconception is that Indian food is intimidating. There’s none of that at Ricksha. The servers are trained to make the appropriate recommendations based on your preferences and suggest what wine pairs best with each dish. “As with any food and wine pairing, the key is balance,” says Cyril.

Dhaba-style egg curry, butter naan, and rogan gosht

When developing the menu, the Addisons focused on how each dish’s components balanced each other out instead of having just one flavor standing out.

Same goes for the wine selection. They look for well-balanced wines, no matter the color, and try to match it with the appropriate dish. The process of matching wines with dishes made the couple realize that the options are limitless. This trial and error led to the adventurous wine list curated by Love, Pierre.

Fish in banana leaf, biryani rice, and marina beach sundal salad
House blend masala chai

For the first time diner, Cyril suggests the marina beach sundal salad. It’s made with chickpeas tossed with mustard oil, seeds, green mango, and coconut. For the mains, dhaba-style egg curry (made with whole boiled eggs with turmeric, tomatoes, and spices) is something close to his heart. “It was my comfort food in college. My grandmother used to make it and I ate it with chapati.”

The beef vindaloo is another standout. It’s a dish of beef chuck steaks marinated in ginger and vinegar, then slow cooked with masala spices until tender. He also suggests the rogan gosht, a bone-in goat leg curry, slow cooked with chili and spices.

Big offerings

Impressive is the right word to describe a meal at Ricksha. From the ambiance to the delectable dishes, everything is made well and with lots of love. For the drinks, don’t miss out on the chai. The recipe they use is Cyril’s father’s favorite, utilizing traditional spices for what could possibly be the best chai in Manila (in my humble opinion, of course).

For the appetizers, the pani puri is a must. Pani puri is a staple Indian street food of puffed puri (a type of flatbread) stuffed with potatoes and peas. It’s served with tamarind water, which you are supposed to pour into the puri cup and eat in one bite. It’s a bright, fresh dish with a hint of sourness from the cold tamarind flavor.

Pani puri
Ricksha’s famous butter chicken

For the curry, the butter chicken is their most popular. It’s marinated and slow cooked in a sauce made with tomatoes, butter, cream, and various spices that give it a bit of a kick.

Another highlight is the palak paneer made with homemade cheese in a coconut, cumin, and spinach curry with a sprinkle of garam masala. The cheese is light and crumbly, with a texture similar to feta. The curry is a rich explosion of flavor that’s best sopped up with one of three different breads from the bread platter.

Ordering biryani is another must at any Indian restaurant. Ricksha follows Cyril’s mother’s recipe, so it’s as close to the real deal as it gets. All of the biryani gets the same treatment: cooked in clay pots, covered with naan (which puffs up into a balloon after cooking), and baked in the tandoor.


All of the biryani at Ricksha gets the same treatment: cooked in clay pots, covered with naan (which puffs up into a balloon after cooking), and baked in the tandoor. Which, as Cyril says, was used to its full potential in the new space.


Which, as Cyril says, was used to its full potential in the new space. “I have always dreamed of making full use of our tandoor. And I believe we have done that by introducing whole fish marinated and wrapped in banana leaf and cooked in tandoor. Ribeye steaks roasted in tandoor and topped with gunpowder potatoes. The approach is still very Indian.”

The tiger shrimp biryani is a showstopper. It’s made with tiger shrimp marinated in Ricksha’s signature biryani masala. The server carves around the puffed naan to reveal a steaming pot of bright yellow rice with large pieces of shrimp, whole cinnamon bark, and star anise. It’s not a spicy dish in terms of heat, but the flavors of the spices used to cook the dish come alive with every bite.

Roses and Thorns (rose petal-infused vodka and jackfruit shrub)

Though stuffed to (nearly) the brim, it would be a crime to skip out on dessert. Two of the standouts on the menu are the gulab jamun and the royal saffron kheer. Gulab jamun is a dessert of fried dough balls soaked in cardamom syrup. The resulting dish is a cakey, sweet, syrupy confection that’ll make you want more.

The royal saffron kheer meanwhile is a rice pudding made with basmati rice, rose water, toasted almonds, and a pinch of saffron. It’s a silky, smooth meal ender that isn’t too sweet.

Many reasons to return to Ricksha

With only one stomach and a plethora of different dishes, there’s always a reason to return to Ricksha. All of the dishes we sampled that evening exceeded expectations—and we weren’t even able to try their big plates or their signature cocktails.

Be it with family, friends, or even just yourself, Ricksha is a venue conducive to celebrations. The food is delicious, the atmosphere is exciting, and it’s an honest expression of the beauty of Indian cuisine.

Story originally from FNBREPORT.PH

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