Latest Stories


Okay, so what’s the concept?


RESTAURANT interiors

I’m feeling a bit silly for having discovered this restaurant after everyone else. Everybody seems to have been to or knows about 2nds, or knows someone who’s been to 2nds, or, in the case of one of my friends, has been to 2nds but didn’t know he had been there.

I think that everyone who hasn’t been should go, if only because you’ll get to know your date, your spouse, or your friends a little better in the perfectly modulated lighting and velvety quiet of the second-floor dining room.

Main thing

One of the constant raves about 2nds is how conducive to conversation it is, and I don’t want to spend too much time on that because it’s the main thing people rave about when talking about this restaurant—which is unfortunate for the food, which doesn’t get mentioned much. This is a pity.

It may be because the place doesn’t have a concept. If you say “Japanese-Brazilian fusion food served by robots,” then mall managers, restaurant rating websites and geolocation-based review apps would know where to categorize the establishment, and diners would pretty much know what to expect in the four weeks they trip over themselves to try it before relegating it to been-there-done-that status.

But the best openings of the last few years, and the ones I am  most likely to go back to, have been those without a single defining concept—for instance, Stockton Place or Wildflour, restaurants which manage to be eclectic yet coherent without resorting to gimmickry.

First-rate bar

The second best thing about 2nds after the wonderfully hushed interiors, which I realize I’m still talking about, are the drinks: a first-rate bar, with enough options for teetotalers to make us not feel like an unwanted species, and genuinely imaginative and well-thought-out cocktails.

There’s a selection of craft beers, about which I’m not qualified to comment other than that it’s an unfamiliar but intriguing list. But closer to home, there’s a short but well-rounded list

HALF-PORTION rib eye steak

of single malts at reasonable prices.

This pushes food to third on the list of why one should go to 2nds, which sounds like bad news, but actually isn’t. It’s just that the first two are exceptional and impeccable, whereas the food falls into what statisticians would call a Gaussian, or normal distribution, with the top-of-the-bell curve hovering around the area of Pretty Damn Good, sloping on one side into Must Come Back For, and on the other, alas, into Hello! What Is The Chef On?


Into the second category go the bacon chicharon (though not one with buffalo sauce), the Brutus (actually Caesar) salad, the three-cheese truffled macaroni and cheese, and the baked biscuit with ice cream.

The most enticing item on the dessert menu, the tablea-chocolate profiteroles, must regrettably be relegated to the last category, with the tinapa salad Niçoise.

Into the Pretty Good category I would place the prime rib, the risotto and the beef adobo.

The general tenor of the food is classics-with-a-twist, which unfortunately is the pitch of every other homegrown restaurant these days: Take something everyone likes, then make one of the ingredients Filipino, or the converse, take a Filipino dish and make it with foreign ingredients.

What differentiates these restaurants from one another is how outré the twist is, and how well the legerdemain is pulled off; and here, for the most part, I feel that the creative team behind 2nds pulls it off with just the right amount of unorthodoxy to make fairly conventional dishes interesting.

One underwhelmed critic, writing about the elaborately set-designed musical “Sunday in the Park with George,” said that one came out humming the scenery.

2nds has an analogous problem: One tends to remember the place more than the food. Or if people remember the food, they remember one or two dishes they liked, rather than the full experience of a meal.

Which brings us back to concept and how I generally dislike reducing restaurants to concepts, because it too often means gimmick or hook. But an establishment should have a concept—a coherent idea behind it.

BACON chicharon

What 2nds has instead is lots of flavors and experiments that are individually good, but seem to have something of a mad scientist’s whimsy about them, while lacking a coalescent pivot-point behind the various creations.

They have the option of either uglifying the interiors or improving the food, and I would much rather the second, because it’s so close to being excellent. They need to trim the more bizarre attempts at creativity from the menu while keeping the favorites people come back for.

I also feel that the desserts are something of a letdown, but because the place has been open a while and the online guides haven’t updated their menus, they seem to be aware of the problem, to the extent that they seem to have revamped most of the desserts.

Now that I’ve finally been there, I know why everyone likes it here. What a wonderful 2nd incarnation it would be for it to evolve into the restaurant everyone loves.

2nds is at 2/F, Quadrant 3, Wumaco Bldg. 1, 9th Ave., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig; tel. 8465293

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: 2nds , dining , Lifestyle , Restaurants

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. 12 other things you can do at Pico de Loro Cove
  2. Lover’s quarrel linked to hunger – study
  3. Encounter with a ‘Mangkukulam’
  4. ‘Kamias’ for fever, ‘siling labuyo’ for headache–first aid in the kitchen
  5. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  6. Summer treat for your aspiring astronomers
  7. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  8. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  9. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  10. ‘Heaven is for Real’: Nonfiction book on life after death reaches screen
  1. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  2. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  3. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  4. France makes work beyond 6 p.m. illegal
  5. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  6. South Koreans crave Asia’s smelliest fish
  7. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  8. Ever heard of HydroBob?
  9. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  10. Boots Anson-Roa to wed in Eddie Baddeo
  1. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  2. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  3. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  4. Manila in shock over model Helena Belmonte’s death
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer
  10. Ex-Givenchy model fights for ‘Yolanda’ survivors


  • UN warns banana fungus spreading from Southeast Asia
  • Massive infra spending set
  • ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  • Cardinal Tagle to faithful: Join politics to clean it
  • Our Lady of Piat: Centerpiece of Cagayan’s gifts to Christianity
  • Sports

  • Federer would skip tennis to be with wife, newborn
  • Manny Pacquiao in PBA? If so, he’ll wear No. 17
  • PSC sets Blu Girls US training
  • Power Pinoys settle for 7th place
  • Successful coaches to get raise
  • Lifestyle

  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  • The truffled mac ‘n’ cheese, eggs benedict, chicken leg confit are excellent
  • Entertainment

  • Why Lucky has not bought an engagement ring for Angel
  • Derek more private with new girlfriend
  • ‘Community’ star happy with return of show’s creator
  • Jealousy is kid stuff
  • Mommy-daughter adventure continues
  • Business

  • PH presses bid to keep rice import controls
  • PSEi continues to gain
  • Number of retrenched workers rose by 42% in ’13
  • PH seen to sustain rise in FDIs
  • Gov’t subsidies to state firms fell in first 2 months
  • Technology

  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Tech company: Change passwords or suffer ‘Heartbleed’
  • Filling the digital talent gap
  • SSS to shut down website for Holy Week
  • Another reason to quit social media this Holy Week: your safety
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • First Fil-Am elected to Sierra Madre, Calif. city council
  • UC Irvine cultural night to dramatize clash of values in immigrant family
  • Filipino sweets and info served at UC Berkeley Spring Fest
  • Milpitas, California kids wrap up a successful run of ‘The Wiz’
  • Netizens welcome Japan’s visa-free travel plan