In the midst of Bonifacio Global City's sprawling business district and standing proud side-by-side with looming skyscrapers and urban art installations, is a nook that transports diners into a comfortable gustatory sense. Entering the world of Bistro Filipino is like traveling through time, from modern city to a rustic locale in an instant as the space is fitted with old world fixtures and tokens that conjure up memories of home.
The mood of the place alone, in contrast with the outside world, exemplifies what Bistro Filipino is all about: local traditional food juxtaposed to an evolving modern lifestyle. By combining what is traditionally Filipino with elements inspired by modernity, the restaurant has carved a niche for fine local cuisine.
Owners Chef Jackie and Roland Laudico created Bistro Filipino as an avenue for people to enjoy Filipino comfort food with a pleasant twist. "We like to call it Modern Filipino because it's actually traditional food that we innovate with a little," Chef Jackie shares. "We really are advocates of our cuisine and we don't want to tamper so much on the taste. What we do is not a fusion of other flavors or ingredients, we just enhance it to make it more appealing to a global market," she adds.
Judging from the appetizers, it's clear that a meal in this restaurant wouldn't be like any other dine-out experience. For starters, Bistro Filipino offers Ubod Lumpia and Sisig Basket but served with attitude of course. The Ubod Lumpia is made of Smoked Etag Pork, which is the Cordillera's version of bacon or preserved meat, with ubod wrapped temaki style. Each bite is enjoyed with Spicy Vinegar Granite that adds tang to each bite. The Sisig Basket, on the other hand, is a stark contrast from the ubod dish because of the strong flavors from the meat nestled in a Crispy Rice Basket. The dish is served shooter style with a portion of quail egg at the bottom.
"What we normally do is we adjust portioning, presentation, as well as incorporate cooking techniques from foreign cuisines but still using the same ingredients of traditional Filipino cuisine," Chef Jackie explains. "If you want to promote Filipino cuisine, the essence of the cuisine is the taste and the flavor," she adds.
If local taste is the highlight of the restaurant, then the soup and salad courses certainly live up to the hype and more. The soup is a serving of Adobo Mushroom Cappucino which presents layers of flavors, from the Garlic Cream Foam on top to the Adobo Mushroom Sauté resting at the bottom. Each spoonful offers a clash as the calm garlic cream blends with aggressive notes from the adobo sauté.
The salad course of Three Kinds of Mangoes also presents an interesting mix of taste and texture. As the name suggests, three kinds of mangoes - green, ripe and dried - are added to a bed of greens and drizzled with Dijon bagoong vinaigrette making for a wild confluence of different sensation on the palate.
The main course offered at Bistro Filipino is as wide as you can imagine Filipino food can be. Breakfast-inspired dishes like the Bangus Belly with Paksiw Glaze served with ampalaya chutney and fried egg, as well as the Kitayama Wagyu Tapa with Garlic Rice Stuffed Tomato and fried egg served with Pinakurat Soy Glaze and atchara are exquisitely prepared all from scratch using local and organic ingredients.
Filipino classics like Kare-Kare and Grilled Pork are offered also with variations in presentation. The Kare-Kare is simply delightful as the Roasted Kitayama Wagyu stacked on top of Creamy Banana Heart wrapped in Pechay and adorned by deep fried Ox-Tripe on all sides are bathed in kare-kare sauce. Extra sauce that is infused with bagoong cream is served separately to suit each diner's preference. The kitchen simply nails how grilled pork should be served. The portion rests on top of a bed of grilled veggies and drizzled with Bistro onion gravy, leaving enough room for the palate to appreciate how well the pork is done.
For dessert, the restaurant has a Trio of Desserts to die for. The line-up consists of Maja Blanca Cheesecake, Suman and Coconut Panna Cotta Savarin, and Halo-Halo Sherbet. Like all other dishes on Bistro Filipino's menu, the delightful trio is served on handmade Bobby Castillo glass plates which just highlights how fun and playful these sweets are.
When the Laudicos started Bistro Filipino six years ago, it really was avant-garde to introduce local food to fine dining. Now that diners have warmed up to the idea of 'gourmet Pinoy,' the venture has certainly raised Filipino cuisine to the status it deserves - venerated and appreciated by all.
Bistro Filipino is located at the Ground Floor of the Net 2 Building, 3rd Avenue, Fort Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. For reservations or inquiries call telephone numbers 856-0634 or 856-0541 or mobile number 0917-800CHEF(2433).