If it’s about quenching your thirst for alcohol, Poblacion has got you covered. This once-quiet neighborhood has been drawing people to its hip watering holes for a good range of libations—wine at Dr. Wine, tequila at A’Toda Madre, signature cocktails at Oto, craft beer at House of Joe, etc.—and for some action.
What used to be known for just midget boxing and street-side tacos (El Chupacabra) has evolved into one of the city’s prime locations for a promising F&B business.
Although top of mind for drinking, the bustling backstreets of Poblacion, Makati, also yield surprises when it comes to good eats.
Tucked in between the alleys is a handful of homegrown concept restaurants that has become reason enough for people to visit the crowded district.
Whether or not you’re craving for a drink, these new establishments are definitely making Poblacion an exciting and diverse hotspot in dining.
Agimat Foraging Bar
Agimat may be known to be the bar counterpart of a farm-to-table restaurant, but don’t typecast it simply as a place for crafty cocktails.
With Niño Laus heading the kitchen and using the same concept as that of the beverages, guests can expect to be treated to creative and playful bites that celebrate the ingredients of the featured province.
Batangas is now on the spotlight, and to match Demetrio’s drinks, Laus has an inspired menu that includes buro made from maliputo fish, kuhol with coconut and pumpkin puree, duck egg custard with balut and chicharon, braised trotters in bignay wine and bagnet, and tawilis with kesong puti and pipinito.
Agimat Foraging Bar, 2/F, 5972 Alfonso St. cor. Fermina St., Barangay Poblacion, Makati
Two Doors, on Fermina Street, used to house a carinderia, but now it has been transformed into a humble restaurant with two concepts: Pigeon Hole and Meating Room.
Opened in February, the shops may have familiar menus since the owner used to run and own Brazil, Brazil and Macau Pigeon House.
Now, the churrasco and Chinese restaurants have been moved to a smaller space, right beside each other, but offering the same delicious dishes we’ve always loved.
Apart from the usual sweet-and-sour pork and beef brisket noodle soup, Pigeon Hole has entrees such as Chinese-style fried chicken, pork with plum sauce and black beans, and the beloved fried pigeon that makes it worth the visit.
As for Brazilian barbecue, the lamb and beef rib fingers satisfy and satiate.
Two Doors, 5966 Fermina St., Barangay Poblacion, Makati
Fyre Rooftop Lounge
The oldest in this group, Fyre, which opened in December, refers to half of the menu, which is food cooked over open fire.
It is spelled to be hipster, according to chef Mikel Zaguirre of Locavore fame.
“The heart and soul of the restaurant menu are the coal roasts,” he says. “Pork belly, soy chicken, sambal wings, mojo chicken, red curry beef. It’s the type of food you look for before, during and after drinking. It’s straightforward, easy, ugly and delicious.”
The remaining items are typical bar chow that have been given a unique spin by the spirited chef.
Fyre’s sisig, for instance, has crispy chicken skin and chicharon, bound by aioli, ginger oil and pickled onions, then crowned with a soft-boiled egg.
The classic S’mores gets a major makeover with a chocolate biscuit enrobed with marshmallow and torched.
Fyre, rooftop of the building at 5060 P. Burgos cor. Guerrero Streets, Barangay Poblacion, Makati
Tonette Rosal is no amateur in the food industry. Her cupcake brand Sophie’s Mom has been around for many years. Now she has a new shop, barely two months old, serving not strictly French cuisine, as the name suggests, but comfort food with a dash of indulgence.
There’s slow-roasted pork belly with rice pilaf, sous vide chicken with gratinated potatoes, and beef tenderloin pepper steak in red wine sauce.
For appetizers, guests can enjoy the bone marrow fritters, petite cones with manchego mousse and jamon, and black olive tapenade with baguette.
Rosal intended to offer something different and new in the casual district, and with the introduction of items such as truffle and caviar, she definitely stands out among the usual bar grub-serving restaurants.
Estée, 5655 Don Pedro St., Barangay Poblacion, Makati
Japanese and Scandinavian are two cuisines that apparently wed really well, thanks to chefs Cris Villasor and Noma-trained Mikko Quimora who are showing people their perfect accord.
The hasty wall murals are a stark contrast to the refined flavors and plating the two churn out of the kitchen.
Mussels are matched with wild berry jam, Wagyu with a mushroom-wasabi paste, lamb ribs go with a seaweed glaze, and salmon is complemented with ikura yogurt and spinach uni rice.
The elegance and culinary eloquence the chefs display in this humble joint are making the industry take notice—and consider Yoi, like Quimora and Villasor, as a diamond in the rough.