Gastronomic Goodness in the North: PUBLIKO Eat + Drink
Due to the influx of foreigners, expats and gastronomy-loving Manila folk, the draft beer business has successfully carved its niche into the dining and drinking culture of the Philippines. Establishments such as Draft and Borough have been able to boast of full houses and long lines thanks to their glorious grub and their by-the-pint European beers. This new establishment, PUBLIKO Eat + Drink, is brought to us by the owners of Draft, Beso Cucina Vinoteka and Opus, who felt the need to introduce the concept of the gastropub to Eastwood City. It gives off a casual, laid-back vibe, which is highly suitable for people who are looking to partake of Chef Carlo Miguel’s mouth-watering dishes. “We don’t believe in dress codes here at PUBLIKO,” managing partner Lord Luke Polintau shares. “People can show up in shorts, t-shirts and other variants of casual wear, and they’d still be welcome. PUBLIKO really is a place for people to enjoy great food and imported beers.”
Experience the pub life at Eastwood CityThe gastropub’s interiors are spacious yet warm, making it an excellent venue for just about any occasion. Families, groups of friends, sports fanatics and even partygoers will feel welcome at PUBLIKO. Design-wise, the establishment channels a delightful quirkiness. The writings on the chalkboard walls and the vintage beer posters are a treat for roving eyes, while the wood and brick walls and pillars project a laid-back atmosphere.
Bacon and Cheddar CroquettesMom’s Meatloaf (P285) is a terrific made-by-mom type of dish that boasts of all the comfort in the world. The meatloaf is wrapped in bacon and drizzled with onion gravy, and can be served with mashed potatoes (my recommendation!), fries or steamed rice. This is an excellent main course to have as the meat is tender and flavourful. The same can be said of the much lauded Beef Pot Roast (P295) in mushroom gravy, another excellent selection for fans of comfort food.
Beef Pot RoastA gastropub wouldn’t be a gastropub without a selection of carbohydrate loaded menu items such as pizzas, pastas and sandwiches. The Spaghetti and Meatball (P285) redefines our ideas of this classic pasta dish by serving the tomato-based pasta with a half-pound meatball so big that it can serve as an additional meal all on its own. The taste is commendable as far as spaghetti goes, but the giant meatball—icing on the cake, really—makes all the difference. The Publiko Supreme Pizza (P385) is described on the menu as “everything but the kitchen sink”. This, in essence, is the truth. There are so many toppings on this pizza that it is easy to get lost in its mix of flavours, which all come together nicely as a result. The Chili Cheese Dog (P175) is fantastic for a hotdog dish. Not only is the hotdog made from pure beef, its taste is also enhanced by US Angus chili, ketchup, mustard, onions and relish cheddar. “This is my favourite dish to have here at PUBLIKO,” Ponlintau shares. “Coupled with the potato wedges, this makes for a great meal.”
Spaghetti and Meatball Pasta
Publiko Supreme Pizza
Chili Cheese DogPUBLIKO is not one to scrimp on desserts. We were able to try a slice of their sought-after Publiko S’Mores Cake (P195), which is horribly, terribly, absolutely addicting. This is almost always sold out in the restaurant; Polintau claims that there are customers who come in just to have a bit of this cake and nothing else. It’s sweet, but not too sweet, and is most likely the best thing in the world when you eat it. I’m not even exaggerating! Moving on, the Bread and Butter Pudding (P175) is also pretty fantastic. This dessert is served with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream, making a good companion for PUBLIKO’s main dishes. Of course, we had a steady stream of Hoegaarden (P150 – 250ml; P210 – pint) to keep up jolly the whole time.
Publiko S’Mores Cake
Bread and Butter Pudding
HoegaardenWith PUBLIKO Eat + Drink around, people of the North have a reason to celebrate. They no longer have to travel all the way to Ortigas or Makati to get their dose of gastronomic goodness. In its prime location within the confines of Eastwood City, PUBLIKO’s gastronomic fare is easily accessible to Northerners living in Manila.
Additional images courtesy of PUBLIKO Eat + Drink.