After closing shop in 2005, Whistlestop is back to reclaim its 24 by 7 Comfort Food dominance and proclaim its culinary heritage since 1977.

For Gen X-ers like me, Whistlestop was like a second home, especially if you found yourself hungry at 1 in the morning. A lot of people cried when Tina Serna decided to migrate to the US and eventually shut down all the operations of Whistlestop in Manila. For 4 years, we were left at the mercy of 24×7 restos like Northpark chains (which I stopped going to) and more recently, 24×7 Jollibee and McDonalds chains (which cater to the call center crowds).

The memory of Whistlestop is like the memory of Ninoy Aquino — only those who are 25 years old and above can remember them. Both of their stories invoke nostalgia and we need to tell those stories for the new generation to experience them.

 

Armed with the promise to bring back Whistlestop to its glory days, Lex Ledesma (of Nami Boracay fame) and Dennis Gan (of Oyster Boy Fame), reopened the first branch of Whistlestop along Jupiter Street last Chinese New Year. They recruited back 3 of the original chefs of Whistlestop — one with 24 years, one with 14 years, and the last one with 11 years of experience cooking for Whistlestop. They are now the head chefs, with each one leading an 8-hour shift in Whistlestop.

They opened with a one-page menu list versus the original 8-page menu. On each table, there is a survey sheet, where you can request for your favorite dish if it is not included in the opening menu. If they get 5 independent requests for a dish, they will include it in the new menu. The most requested ones are the steamboat soup and the pork/chicken sates.

I was used to the “cowboy ambiance” of the former Whistlestop. This new branch is intended to be a train station stop in London (where the restaurant got its name), with an old world and nostalgic feel. Old bottles of softdrinks and milk are used as table centerpieces and accents in the PX store.

Monggo Soup with Chicharon (P195 + 10%SC).

My mom remarked that this monggo soup is just like the soup we cooked at home. Most of the food at Whistlestop are familiar and bring up nostalgic images of your childhood. Usually, they are on the oily side and border on the unhealthy end of the spectrum.

Goto Arroz Caldo (P110 + 10%SC).

We love this Arroz Caldo stall in SM Makati called Jose Goto. We would not be surprised if they just ordered take-out from that stall and served it in Whistlestop. This is what I like about Whistlestop — the food is familiar and yummy, without any pretensions.

Morning Heavyweight Corned Beef (P160 + 10%SC).

This should be called Morning Heavyweight Hashbrown because I can’t even taste the corned beef. I can’t remember what we used to order for breakfast in Whistlestop…

Chinese Broccoli with Oyster (P135 + 10%SC).

Even with this healthy attempt to serve vegetables, you can see the broccoli swimming in oil. But it is yummy, I’m not complaining…

After a drinking session, you would need the oil in your stomach to prevent a hangover in the morning. (This is a good justification to tell yourself…)

Hainanese Chicken Rice (P195 + 10%SC).

Absolutely yummy! I like the rice with the moist taste of the chicken broth, together with the chicken and a dash of soy sauce, ginger sauce and super hot sauce. In fact, we ordered two of these.

The serving size in Whistlestop is good for one person. It would feel bitin if you tried to enjoy the dishes in a family-sharing style.

Nasi Goreng (P165 + 10%SC).

This is more like the Bagoong Rice that we are familiar with. I’m not sure why it is called Nasi Goreng.

The Whistlestop PX Store was the first 24-hour convenience store in the Philippines in the ’70s. There is a mini-PX store inside the present restaurant to commemorate this heritage.

The dessert line of Whistlestop is boring (and not part of the original menu), so Aidan and I just feasted on the Curly Tops, Chocnut and gelatin available in the mini-PX store for free.

Whistlestop 24×7 Since 1977
28 Jupiter St. (Between Fiamma and Starbucks)
Telephone number: 8961989.

Note: It is easy to miss it because the signage is a bit hidden and the lighting is a bit dim. Just keep your eyes peeled for its easier-to-spot neighbors.

 

 

 

 Live an Awesome Life,

Anton