As someone who likes to eat good food on a regular basis, there are only two things I look for a restaurant/food establishment:
- They make ordinary food extraordinary.
- They make risks and deliver somethings that is truly unique.
I am grateful to God that I often find myself in restaurants that does such. Meanwhile, for restaurant bars, unless a top Filipino chef runs the kitchen or created the recipes, the dishes are usually average. So we were surprised in a good way that Botong’s Bistro is among the restaurant bars that aren’t only good for drinking or socializing. The restaurant serves Filipino dishes with a twist in the heart of Makati Ave. that can be enjoyed by both locals and foreigners alike.
Ambiance & Interior
The first question that popped Me-An’s mind was why is Botong’s Bistro named such. Mr. Jek, the operational manager of Botong’s Bistro, stated that it was named after the “Botong” Francisco. This is because it previously housed the artworks of the “Botong” who is the second Filipino to receive the National Artist in Painting.
Indeed, the restaurant exhibits artworks then until now. The difference is that the artworks that now hung all over the place is created by Mr. Jek’s father who is an artist himself. Such paintings categorized as modern abstract fit well the dark industrial interior and are actually for sale.
We will let you discover for yourself the other art pieces displayed when you visit Botong’s Bistro. At night, the place
Large groups, who are seeking privacy, may opt to stay in their KTV area priced at PHP 3000 (or USD 58) for the first (2) two hours. Additional PHP 1000 (or USD 19.44) for exceeding hour. The rates are fully consummable on food and drinks.
On the top most level of Botong’s Bistro is an actual bar place that is dimly lit and has strobe lights. People start hanging out here around 10 PM.
CHICHARON BULAKLAK, PHP 230 (or 4.47 USD)
This is a street food appetizer that is made up of pig mesentery, the sheet of tissue that supports the internal organs. When deep fried, it looks like a flower.
Botong’s Bistro’s chicharon bulaklak is standard as it can be with a matching spiced vinegar. What I liked about their version is that, even though it is fried to a crisp, it is not tough to munch. If you’re going to court me, this is my preferred choice of flowers.
ADOBO QUESADILLA, PHP 180 (or 3.5 USD)
From its name, adobo was also used to fill the tortilla. I honestly think that the adobo filling lacked the balanced blend of soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic that adobo is known for. This maybe because the cheese and sweet mango salsa overpowered it. They can perhaps improve on the adobo recipe itself by intensifying its taste or they can serve the mango salsa as a dip on the side to rectify it for those who are particular with food. Nevertheless, this easily became Me-An’s favorite as it is a refreshing take.
BALUT ALA POBRE, PHP 275 (or USD 5.35)
Balut or fertilized duck egg is certainly an acquired taste. I’m a bit fan of Balut not just because it’s delicious but because my dad told me that eating Balut makes you smart. I have yet to prove that theory twenty five years and counting though.
Anyway, the deshelled balut, slathered with a spicy and garlicky sauce and garnished with spring onions and chilis, is served on a hot plate. I enjoyed the sauce mixture as it complemented the texture of the balut. No wonder this has been Botong Bistro’s bestseller for nine years since it opened its doors.
Those who aren’t adventurous enough to try it on its own or want to let their foreign friends to unknowingly try the bizarre food should definitely order this. We shared this to the Japanese customers who were taking a peek at the dishes we have on the table and they ended up liking it. Of course, they were just surprised after they asked what it was.
SEAFOOD KARE-KARE, PHP 470 (or USD 9.14)
A mainstay in the Filipino menu is the Kare-Kare. Instead of the usual Beef or Ox Stripe for its meat, they went with an assortment of Seafood like mussels, shrimps and squid. It may look a bit weird for me at first but I’ve quickly learned to love it because the quality and freshness of the seafood that they included is really good. All of that is swimming in a good nutty and tasty peanut soup base.
Kare-Kare is usually eaten with bagoong, a condiment made from fermented fish or shrimp and salt. Botong’s Bistro’s Seafood Kare-Kare itself is delicious on its own. However, those who can’t eat Kare-Kare without it will find Botong’s homemade version to their liking. It has the great mixture of slightly sweet and salty that can bring back excitement to the palate when needed.
Be sure to give this a go and smother its rich sauce on your rice.
CRISPY PATA, PHP 530 (or USD 10.3)
This a sinful way to eat pork as it is a pork knuckle that has been deep fried to perfection and it looks great. I can’t review this pretty well because I ate it cold. So far I don’t see anything out of the ordinary with it. At least, it stays true to the formula which in most cases is a good thing.
BOM- E, PHP 350 (or USD 6.8)
This Filipino pasta is something my mom would love to try. It has a mixture of glass and thick noodle strands tossed in a generous serving of assorted vegetables, seafood tidbits, and kikiam. The combination of the ingredients, sauce, and noodles is generally satisfying. Serving size is easily good for a group of 4-5 people which should be considering its price.
CRISPY BINANGOONGAN, PHP 310 (or USD 6.03)
I’m choosing between the Seafood Kare-Kare or this on which my favorite dish at Botong’s Bistro is. But I might go with this.
This is a simple deep fried crispy pork belly lavishly dressed in their bagoong and served with crispy water spinach leaves. I already mentioned how good their bagoong is and it is nice to know that it goes well with other dishes as well. It fit the crispy pork like a glove. If you don’t a high blood pressure nor heart problems, I encourage you to splurge yourself in this.
KALDERETANG KAMBING, PHP 405 (or USD 7.87)
Kaldereta is a tomato based stew with meat combined with potatoes, carrots, and bell peppers. It is often cooked with beef but Botong’s Bistro used chevron (or goat meat) for their version. The sauce is real thick for this one and decreased the gamey taste of the goat. I appreciate that they cooked the potatoes, carrots, and bell peppers separately so it didn’t become soggy to eat. Finally, the melted cheese on top of the stew itself is a welcome addition. Eaten together it is truly unique.
BROCCOLI WITH TUYO, PHP 270 (or USD 5.25)
This is probably the only dish that I thought doesn’t belong in the restaurant as this reminds me of a Chinese dish. Plus, this is a healthy dish which you don’t normally find in restaurant bar. The sauce from the gourmet tuyo (or dried herring) took away the crisp tender texture of the broccoli. Nevertheless, in terms of flavor, it surprisingly worked well especially that the tuyo isn’t too salty.
TURON ALA MODE, PHP 250 (or USD 4.86)
Ending our dining experience on a sweet note is the Filipino version of wicked Oreo. Instead of this deep fried cookies, what we have is banana slices covered in wrapper which is deep fried. They topped it with vanilla ice cream and drizzled it with strawberry and chocolate syrup. I found the banana roll to be fried too long as it lost its delicate crispiness that makes it enjoyable to eat. Hoping they fry it right next time.
Love Botong’s Bistro
When you’re looking for a hang out spot in Makati, be sure to check out Botong’s Bistro. They not only have interesting artworks that stir emotions upon scrutiny. The Filipino dishes they offer has twists that are still in the realms of comfort. Additionally, the food are good which is essential in fostering a good conversation with family and/or friends. We really like Botong’s Bistro and we don’t mind going back again to try those delicious food.
Eat here with a discount using Yalla Book of Coupons Choose Manila 2018. For more info, click here.
Ground Floor, A.Venue Mall, 7829 Makati Avenue, Poblacion, Makati City.
Operating hours: 11 AM to 3 AM daily.