Eat and sip Ilocos in Makati at Agimat Foraging Bar

Eat and sip Ilocos in Makati at Agimat Foraging Bar

Beginning this sunny month of April, Agimat Foraging Bar and Kitchen will take us all the way to the bountiful northern province of Ilocos for a tasteand sipof its wonderful exotic flavors.

If you live and/or work in Makati yet have never been to Agimat Foraging Bar and Kitchen, then you need to get to this place pronto. They’ve been a hit with Poblacion’s regulars thanks to the way they present flavors from Chefs Kalel Demetrio’s and Niño Laus’s foraging trips across the country.

Sit under this tree in Poblacion and you might just get the most interesting drink you’ve ever had.

Agimat carried the flavors of Batangas from the day they opened late in 2018, but we’ve got news for you: some of those are out starting this April. Where are they taking us? Ilocos. That’s where.

For the uninitiated, Agimat’s menu is nowhere near traditional. What Chef Kalel and Chef Niño do is present ingredients they foraged from a certain province (or, in this case, provinces) in a way that you will certainly remember.

Here’s a sneak peek of what’s in store for your tummy for the next four or five months at Agimat:

Start your meal with this. Or let it BE your meal. We won’t judge.

For your appetizer (and yes, it qualifies as an appetizer), a plate of savory alimasag (blue swimmer crab) with Alavar sauce from Zamboanga (yes, it’s not Ilocos, but it goes so well with crab), Patani hummus (see what we said about the menu not being traditional), Caramay foam, and rice wrapped in a Gamet (seaweed grown in Ilocos Norte) crust.

A duck leg on top of some delicious and healthy adlai and kinuday sausages. Good eats. Good eats.

A serving of itik (duck) a la pianggang (a Tausug classic, but not an exact recreation) on a bed of adlai (healthier rice substitute) with inuday (the Ibaloi version of smoked meat) sausages as your main dish.

There’s a short rib underneath all that beef floss and green, squiggly (yet delicious) alokon.

Alternatively, you can get their tender kitayama short ribs buried deep-ish beneath a pile of beef floss and alokon or Birch flower (though it’s not even related to the birch tree).

The drinks (the part menu that Agimat is well-known for) still follow their theme of “five elements:” fire, water, earth, air, and life, with a couple of mainstays making it over from the Batangas menu.

Diegong Bagsik. It lives up to its name if the ingredients are anything to go by.

Take this northern-inspired drink aptly called Diegong Bagsik. Imagine drinking something from inside a candle (no, you’re not using the candle as a glass) that has gin AND a cold brew liqueur.

Then there’s this beauty: Laban ni Gabriela.

The Laban ni Gabriela looks like something straight out of a fairy tale, making full use of everything local: blue pea gin from Liquido Maestro’s own distillery in Aklan, basi (a drink from Ilocos made with fermented sugarcane), and some good old mountain tea.

Yes, Agimat is tucked away in one of Poblacion’s hard-to-park streets, but a trip to this unique bar and kitchen (since we’re not willing to call it a restaurant) is a risk worth taking.

Verdict: 10/10

The Basics
About Php1,000 (USD 20) per person
Alfonso corner Fermina Streets, Poblacion, Makati
Fb.com/agimatbar

Words: Andronico Del Rosario
Photos: Daniel Soriano

Eat the city with love

Eat the city with love

If you are looking for a unique date night, why not try resto-hopping and taste these 10 recommended bites from foodies JJ Yulo and Mark Del Rosario? The adventure may just stir something up!

Oyster Sisig from Locavore

The restaurant is known for putting a twist on classic Filipino dishes, and while they are known for their famous Sizzling Sinigang, their Oyster Sisig is an underrated must-try. At Locavore, it comes in two versions: the fried Oyster Sisig (Php370), which is exactly what the name suggests, and the Lechon Oyster Sisig (Php380), which is the same thing, except with crunchy lechon bits.

Locavore.ph

Bibingka & Puto Bumbong from Via Mare

Something sticky and good for sharing like the bibingka of Via Mare, for sure, is a winner to dating couples. Photo by Jocas See

Filipinos love rice so much, they put it in every dish, including desserts. The bibingka and puto bumbong (Php80) are rice cakes that are particularly favored no matter what time of the year. At Via Mare, they are available all year round, and are best eaten as a snack. The bibingka comes in three versions: one with Laguna cheese and salted duck egg (Php130), one with Laguna cheese and edam cheese (Php160), and the last one made out of cassava (Php100).

Viamare.com.ph

Ube dirty ice cream from your friendly neighborhood ice cream man

It’s delicious, it’s cheap, and you can find them everywhere in Manila. Photo by Jocas See

It is not uncommon to see an ice cream vendor wheeling around a colorful ice cream cart on the streets of the metro. If you happen to encounter one, there is your golden opportunity to try the delicious cool purple treat flavored by purple yam and coconut milk. Most days, a scoop or two of ube ice cream is all you’ll need to cool down on a humid day. Don’t worry; it’s not really dirty.

Powerplant Mall in Rockwell, Makati

Halo-halo at Milky Way Cafe

It may still be cold, but you’ll be wishing for one of these soon enough. By Jocas See

Described by food writer JJ Yulo as “Manila in a bowl,” this dish is a hodgepodge of shaved ice, evaporated milk, sweet beans, tapioca pearls, coconut slices, flan—and yes, ube ice cream again. Many restaurants serve this dish, but the one at Milky Way Cafe is considered by many to be the best.

Cafe.milkywayrestaurant.com

Buko pie by Little Flour

The Filipino version of apple pie, Little Flour’s buko or coconut pie (Php220/slice), with its perfectly flaky crust, is a cult favorite.

Wildflour.com.ph/littleflour

Boneless Crispy Pata by Pamana

Sharing stories over ice-cold beer paired with the right food is distinctly Filipino. In most cases, it’s crispy pata–deep-fried pork knuckles served with soy sauce and vinegar. The one served at Pamana (Php650) is a favorite because it’s boneless and oh-so-tender.

Pamanarestaurant.com

Watermelon & beef short rib sinigang by Manam

Manam has managed to find a new way of giving this staple Filipino dish its signature sour flavor. This warm bowl is perfect to be shared by a loved up couple.

If you really want to get a handle on Filipino cuisine, sinigang is a dish you just have to try. To make the experience more memorable, try Manam’s unconventional take on the beloved Pinoy sour soup (Php245/small serving).

Facebook.com/ManamPh

Isaw by Sarsa Kitchen

Yes, those are chicken intestines; and they taste bloody brilliant.

Filipino street food is always intriguing, but very few visitors and even locals are willing to take the plunge and actually try them straight from the streets. That’s where Sarsa’s isaw (grilled intestines) comes in. This version is cleaned out and flavored to perfection. You can try the chicken or spicy chicken isaw (Php185), pork isaw (Php195), or beef isaw (Php210).

Sarsa.ph

Mutton adobo by Abe

Another unbeatable Filipino favorite, adobo, comes in as many versions as there are cooks. This dish from Abe (Php545) is particularly delectable, and unique in its use of mutton as the main meat.

Ljcrestaurants.com.ph/abe

Toyo Eatery’s tasting menu

There’s always something new at Toyo Eatery, but it’s not so new that it’s not familiar.

Toyo Eatery’s food has gotten much praise for its creativity in using local produce. Their food is not no-nonsense fare for people who just want to fill their bellies. Every dish comes with a complex story that is inspired by a facet of Filipino culture. Their tasting menu (Php2,900) includes dishes such as burnt squash soup, Aklan oysters, and garden vegetables served in unique way, and is the best way to sample what this exciting restaurant has to offer.

Facebook.com/toyoeatery

Who are JJ Yolo and Mark Del Rosario?

  • JJ Yulo, a popular food writer, published in the likes of Esquire and Spot.ph, and the founder of the blog Pinoy Eats World.
  • Mark Del Rosario, founder of Let’s Eat Pare, a top online food community.

Words by Amelie Llaga

A beach bar in the middle of high rises

A beach bar in the middle of high rises

Craving the beach but stuck in the city? Tropical themed Coconut Club at the heart of trendy Bonifacio Global City in Taguig might help cure your woes.

This would have been a seaside bar if BGC had a beach.

With the Coconut Club’s tropical interiors and a bit of imagination, you can easily pretend that the ocean is right outside the door–even for just a few hours.

The Piña col piña, a house specialty.

The bar serves up several fruity cocktails to go with the tropical theme. There are mai tais and piña coladas that are given a Coconut Club twist, but even better, there are liquor-laced slushies at just Php120 that are as refreshing as they are buzz-inducing. With fun drinks, a pop playlist, and tables that are set very close to each other, don’t be surprised if you end a night here with a few new friends. Head there from 2pm to 7pm to catch their Happy Hour, where the slushies are available for only Php95.

Average cost per person: Php300 for drinks; Facebook.com/raintreecoconutclubph

Words by Amelie Llaga

Back to cocktail basics

Back to cocktail basics

If you’re a classics lover and are dying to find a place for it, Three Little Pigs in Ortigas is it.

Cocktails taste awesome at some of the metro’s most popular (think bars in BGC, Tomas Morato, and Poblacion), but there’s a hitch: not every bar will serve the classics only.

Three Little Pigs in Brgy. Kapitolyo, Pasig City, a swanky place specializing in classic–martini, old fashioned, mojito, it’s a long list–is the place to go if you’re a fan of good old basics or merely starting to learn the cocktails game.

It’s your uncle’s basement bar done right

The bar will remind you of your quirky uncle’s man-cave. Think of a room filled with eccentric paintings of pigs, war memorabilia, things from as far back as post Second World War, and a three-stack cabinet full of some of the best spirits you can find in the country.

The fashionable Mr. Porker
One of his “friends” at Three Little Pigs. Trust us, there’s a lot of them
Imagine eating on this table, which is actually an old WWII army crate

Eat

The food at Three Little Pigs is nothing to rave about (yet), though it is something that they offer. Their focus on the cocktails means bar chow isn’t as high of a priority. You can expect classic Filipino bar chows like sisig for now, but a promise to add and/or tweak their grub is enough to keep us interested.

Drink

Do not expect specialty cocktails for the goal is to teach what goes into a good cocktail to the good people of Ortigas and beyond. No crazy names and mixes can be found on the menu. No favorites as of yet, but we were able to try out two of the classics.

The Clover Club. It’s a lady’s drink that anyone can pick-up. Sweet with citrus notes and a bit of “foam”

First on the list was the Clover Club, a consummate lady’s drink that is a mix of gin, raspberry syrup, lemon, dry vermouth, and an egg white. Its sweetness is heightened by the citrusy flavors from the lemon, while the foam from the egg white gives it a texture that is not unlike beer foam. Really good.

The Negroni. A true classic cocktail that’s been modified over and over. Dead simple to make, yet the flavor is incredible if done right

We also got a taste of their Negroni, an Italian cocktail that makes full use of the flavors from the Campari, a bitter-spicy-sweet liqueur from Italy. These three flavors are brought out to their fullest in the Negroni, which takes its name from an Italian count who asked to switch out the soda of an Americano (the cocktail, not the coffee) with gin.

The Basics

About Php400 (USD7.5) per person
2/F, 12 East Capitol Drive, Brgy. Kapitolyo, Pasig City
Facebook.com/ThreeLittlePigsPH, @threelittlepigsph on Instagram

Words and photos by Andronico Del Rosario

Heaven in a waffle

Heaven in a waffle

We’ve found Bean & Yolk in Alabang’s Westgate Hub, a place that sets the bar for all-day-breakfast places. Cozy interiors you’d want to hang out in for hours; check; healthy and delicious dishes; check; and the best cuppa made farm to table coffee beans; check.

This unassuming exterior will welcome you to brunch heaven.

Bean & Yolk, in case you haven’t caught on from reading the name, is a place that serves coffee and eggs—the kind of food that you’re certain to find at any breakfast table.

It’s the kind of place that serves food for people who aren’t too keen on being tied down to office desks. It’s a feast for the eyes for someone who loves minimalism, with its Scandinavian-inspired design dominated by whites and browns with a touch of blue from the low-hanging lamps.

Stay hungry, be humble. Wise words to live by.

Quotes adorning walls combined with the colors turn this place into a mini-haven for those with a curated Instagram feed. Seating options are as varied as a lady’s closet: long tables, a long couch on the far wall, bar stools by the entrance, and your standard table-and-chair.

The ambiance makes you want to sit down and chat—or work—they have outlets for those with laptops and mobile phones—all while you enjoy a cup of premium roast, a sandwich, a rice bowl, or even a full meal.

Eat

This is probably the HEALTHIEST tocino you will ever find in Metro Manila.

Healthy eats is the name of the game at Bean & Yolk. They’re proud of serving dishes with all-natural ingredients, like their B&Y Chicken Tocino. It’s a filling bowl of rice topped with tender, homemade, nitrate-free chicken tocino, fresh atsara (pickled vegetable), mango salsa, spinach, roasted cherry tomatoes, and a perfectly poached egg.

We wouldn’t blame you for being eager to devour this bowl, especially if you like your meat sweet and savory.

There’s also the sweet, fluffy and crunchy Cereal Waffle. No, the waffles do not have cereal in them but are served with a healthy sprinkling of Froot Loops, mixed berries, and two scoops of vanilla ice cream. It’s a good way to end a meal or start your day, especially when you drizzle their waffle syrup onto the waffles. It’s almost like eating a cloud that’s had a bit of sweet rainwater left on top.

It’s called Cara’s Fave for a reason: it’s beyond delicious.

A definite favorite is the aptly-named Cara’s Fave. It’s their interpretation of what a grilled cheese sandwich ought to be: a creamy, gooey, delicious mess. 

We won’t mind if you drool.

Picture this: a medium-fried egg with a slice of mozzarella on top and cheddar cheese on the bottom, sandwiched between two slices of buttered brioche. Add a bit of honey and you have yourself a sandwich you can’t resist.

Drink

As a cafe/brunch place, coffee pretty much dominates their menu. They’ve got milkshakes, lattes, and teas, but we still recommend their coffee. They get their beans from Common Man Coffee Roasters, a specialty roaster based in Singapore, which procures beans straight from farmers—a perfect partner for Bean & Yolk’s push towards high quality, all-natural ingredients.

A flat white goes well with Cara’s Fave.

Ask for their flat white if you’re looking for something to enjoy, or get them to brew one of their uncommon beans for a different flavor.

The basics
About Php400 (USD7.5) per person
Westgate Hub, Alabang, Muntinlupa City
Facebook.com/beanandyolkph, @beanandyolkph on Instagram

Words and photos by Andronico Del Rosario

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