Sunday, October 11, 2009

Pino Resto Bar: Unplugged and Remixed

REMEMBER when Frank Sinatra re-recorded his own classic tune, “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” with Bono? That newer version is not exactly a marked departure from the original yet the involvement of U2’s charismatic frontman somehow gives it a fresh, hip twist.

Well, dining at Pino Resto Bar has a similar feel. It’s like listening to new music you’re already familiar with. With gourmet style cuisine generally described as Pinoy Fusion, Pino’s resident chef and owner Ed Bugia takes favorite local dishes and gives them his own, yes, fresh, hip twist.

Adventurous but not too adventurous, Chef Ed gives his “greatest hits” just enough oomph to make them a cut above the rest. The offerings here are not exactly radical makeovers but are simply “remixes” of classic recipes that have already won our hearts and taste buds over the years.

And like that Sinatra and Bono duet, they do have a way of getting under your skin but in a very good way. Easily a must try here is the bestselling Kare-Kareng Bagnet, deep friend pork liempo cuts sourced directly from Ilocos bathed in delicious kare-kare peanut sauce and generously served with bagoong rice. It rawks! Another favorite, the Crispy Tenderloin is certainly not your typical street corner tapsilog. Drenched in gravy and served with sinangag rice topped with three fried quail eggs cooked sunny side-up, yummy simply doesn't begin to define it.

The specialty pasta dishes like the Sisig Carbonara and the guilty, guilty pleasure that is the Gambas and Squid Aligue Pasta are no mere complimentary menu items. During our visit, Chef Ed and partner PJ Lanot treated us to a sampling of a pasta dish the chef is working on, some sort of Pesto Marinara. Ed still hasn't decided on a Pinoy twist for this one so it’s not yet ready for prime time at Pino but it does taste like another winner.

Ditto with the equally rocking desserts like the Chunky Choco Tempura served with ice cream and the Pino Choco Turon (basically chocnut and banana turon), sweet treats that will keep you coming back for an encore.

Located in the Bohemian strip of Maginhawa Street in Teachers Village (think of it as Malate in Quezon City) which is also home to the similarly themed establishments like the Bookay-Ukay Libruhan, Cocina Juan, Tomato Kick, Good Burger and 55 Tinta, Pino Resto Bar, as its name suggests, also doubles as bar that serves its own array of signature cocktails and drinks like its popular Pinoka Margarita and flavored beers.

And yes, it’s easy to get comfy in the quirky, old world quaintness of a joint that has none of the intimidating feel of most fine dining places. In modern music parlance, Pino Resto Bar does exude an “unplugged” feel that one can immediately feel at home with.

Best of all, the prices won't burn a hole in your pocket. P400 to P500 should be more than enough budget for a dating couple or two to three buddies who just want to pass away the time with a few drinks and an appetizer.

Now, if only the owners would open another branch near my area down south.

Pino Resto Bar is located at 122 Maginhawa Street, Teachers Village in Quezon City. Visit

Here's Chef Ed talking about his specialties at the PINO Resto Bar Press Launch:


Aileen Apolo-de Jesus said...

You had me at sisig carbonara! Now I have to plan to go there soon!

Jugs said...

Go to their multiply site and leave a message to Chef Ed. Very nice guy and yes, that Sisig Carbonara will knock your socks off, Aileen. =)