There was a time, a few years back, when open lots in many cities in the metro were turned into venues for small food outlets or food parks.
Unfortunately, the fad didn’t last long. Along with the inexperience of start-up entrepreneurs came a pile of problems—from flawed inventory to poor food quality and inconsistency.
Though reasonably priced, the food of the one-off brands also tended to be gimmicky (over-the-top milkshakes), redundant (Mexican-Japanese fusion again?), and not worth going back for. The lack of parking space, as well as improper ventilation, eventually turned off diners.
But someone experienced and updated with dining trends is showing how it’s done.
Eric Dee, president and chief operating officer of Foodee Global Concepts, has opened Food District Signatures on 5th—inside One Bonifacio High Street Mall.
“We want to breathe new life to the concept of a food hall, and how to do that is to curate it,” says Dee. “We handpicked every single tenant and met with each one personally to make sure no brand is in conflict with the others [in terms of concept and offering].”
Spread over 2,500 sq m are 10 restaurants, food stalls, kiosks, and a dry-goods area for grab-and-go food items. The common area can host 250 guests in a single seating. There are two entry points, one inside and another outside the mall (by the fountain), which will eventually allow the place to operate beyond mall hours.
Elegant but inexpensive
Bright, spacious and minimal in design, the food hall looks elegant. But the food isn’t at all expensive, says Dee, as he made sure the average spend is P300.
To guarantee foot traffic and sustainability, Dee signed up already established and well-run brands, including favorites like Zark’s Burger, Hawker Chan and Le Chon by Happy Ongpauco-Tiu, all three of which have made Food District Signatures their first branch in Bonifacio Global City.
There are familiar snack brands like Famous Belgian Waffles, Kettle Korn and Llaollao; future hits such as Banh Mi Kitchen, Avocadoria and Mama Empanada; as well as consistent crowd drawers Serenitea, Macao Imperial Tea and Potato Corner.
There are 35 brands to choose from, including Nolita for New York-style pizza, Hobing for bingsu, Pepper Lunch Express for steak rice, Inihaw X for grilled meats, Turk’s for shawarma and Aburi for a selection of sushi.
Chef Gilbert Pangilinan offers yakitori, Justin Golangco has his signature Sidekick fried chicken, and Bakmi Nyonya has Indonesian dishes like satay and gado gado.
There’s also an 80-sq-m space housing food carts that offer Korean and Japanese food items. Diners in search of healthy fare have Ono Poke and Pure Nectar cold-pressed juices. —CONTRIBUTED
Food District Signatures on 5th, L/G, One Bonifacio High Street Mall, PSE Tower, 5th Avenue corner 28th Street, Bonifacio High Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig