Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pino: Playful Pinoy Food

I'd been wanting to try an absolutely sinful dessert: a deep-fried chocolate bar which, I was told, was available at Pino Resto Bar. Deep-fried chocolate bars are nothing new; I first heard about Snickers bars dipped in batter being one of the most unhealthy snacks available in the US, and read about Scotland's notorious deep-fried Mars bars. Fortunately (or unfortunately), this shamelessly rich creation has made it onto our shores.

Doodle art on one wall.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. The menu shows some Filipino favorites used in inventive ways. Some Pino standbys are bagnet (used in kare-kare, for example) and sisig (on...wait for it...carbonara!). H and I started off with one of their newer offerings: mini sisig tacos. At P185, I thought it was a bit pricey for an appetizer at a neighborhood cafe--that's more than an entree at Banapple! But when it was set down in front us, I understood why.

There were eight little tacos in all, filling enough for two! Each little shell was stuffed with sisig, lettuce, salsa, aioli, and cheese. Extra yummy with the surprisingly spicy Jufran hot sauce!

Next up, our entrees. H opted for the red wine adobong tadyang (P210), described as "adobo-style short ribs slow cooked in red wine, served with steamed rice and mango salsa." The ribs were fairly tender, and the adobo was a bit unusual in that it had a very strong flavor of anise.

I was craving for something crispy, so I went for the bagnet and tofu stack-o with mushroom rice (P225).

The bagnet and tofu stack-o is Pino's version of tokwa't baboy, with the soy sauce and vinegar served on the side; the bagnet thus maintains its crunchiness. The bagnet, in thin strips, didn't come close to the divine ones we had in Ilocos, but they hit the spot. The rice was very flavorful, with shitake mushrooms dotting it here and there.

The food might seem a bit expensive, but I think they're reasonable given the servings. I barely had room for the grand finale, but I sucked it up in the name of research (riiight). I ordered what I had gone there for: the chunky choco tempura (P125).

It's a chocolate wafer bar covered in tempura batter and deep fried. As if that weren't bad enough, it's served with some vanilla ice cream and some strawberry syrup! Once you slice into the bar, the melted chocolate oozes out of the tempura coating. There's a play of textures, with the light batter, sticky melted chocolate, and crunchy wafer bar, and the warmth is tempered by the cool ice cream. It's the very definition of evil. I didn't finish it out of guilt.

Now I have to run every day for the rest of the week.

Pino Resto Bar is located at 122 Maginhawa St., Teachers Village, Quezon City. Contact them through (02) 441-1773. Open daily from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm and 5:00 pm onwards.

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Anonymous Zach said...

Very nice review! I think we'll make the trip down to Pino one of these days. I've never been a huge fan of Filipino fusion cuisine, but these look appetizing enough to drive down to Teacher's Village for. Even if only for the evil-looking dessert.

November 15, 2009 at 9:52 AM  
Blogger Tisha said...

They've got a lot of stuff on the menu, had a hard time choosing. Have fun!:)

November 15, 2009 at 5:29 PM  
Anonymous Chef Edward Bugia, Pino said...

Thanks for the review and hope to see you at Pino again soon! We'll give you free dessert ;)

December 18, 2009 at 2:37 AM  
Blogger Tisha said...

Oh wow. I should write about you guys more often! Kidding.

December 18, 2009 at 8:40 AM  

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