Desiderata, a restaurant and bar in Bonifacio Global City, has been open for several months now but is still under the radar. But that’s not a predicament for its owners and their friends who want their own place to unwind after work, with cocktails and inspired dishes.
Built with a high ceiling, Desiderata has a dining area and bar on the first level, and a listening/function room on the second—where a collection of vinyl records may be enjoyed by guests.
Unconventional but tasteful teal walls lend a classy vibe, while brass wall sconces provide mood lighting. Circular chandeliers with taper-like details add to the place’s modern sensibility.
Desiderata co-owner and general manager Francis Anton N. Zamora says he had been wanting to open a new restaurant after Basilio—the bar he and his siblings operated several years ago in Burgos Circle—closed down.
Zamora has a solid background in the hospitality industry; his grandparents put up the Oasis Hotel in Clark decades ago. Although the hotel is now managed by his cousins, he remembers spending time there to observe its daily operations.
“With Desiderata, we wanted a place that offers good food and a selection of interesting cocktails,” he says. “Guests also must be able to talk, not shout, over the music. We chose to name it Desiderata or ‘desired things,’ because we want to offer that to guests.”
In charge of the menu is Spanish chef Borja Duran Cid, who has worked at Barcino, Donosti and Green Sun, and counts stints at several Michelin-starred restaurants in Spain.
A chunk of Desiderata’s budget went to acquiring a good sound system for the music.
On a recent visit, we sampled some of the house specialties including Fried Ox Clouds (P380), Breaded and Fried Ox Brain served with Black Lumpfish Caviar and Poached Egg Dip; Octopus Mojo Verde (P720), a nicely plated octopus tentacle seasoned with cumin, cilantro and capers; and a constructed (as opposed to deconstructed) Grilled Caesar Salad (P360) served in lettuce cups.
The Braised Wagyu Lengua (P900) was slow-cooked and paired with Homemade Beetroot Cream, Mustard Emulsion, Pickled Capers and Shallots. It was arranged in a grid inspired by the color-blocked paintings of Piet Mondrian.
To cap the meal, poached pears in red wine were served with blue cheese, candied walnuts and Chantilly cream.
“We want Desiderata to be a place where people can hang out, enjoy good music with good company,” says Zamora.
Desiderata Lounge is at Unit 106, The Infinity Tower, 236th St., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. Tel. 9834212. Follow on Instagram, @desiderata_lounge.