Wednesday, August 21, 2013

New Pizzas & Bar Chow at URBN Bar & Kitchen

If there is one bar I'd frequent on a regular basis, it would definitely be URBN Bar & Kitchen. Not only do they make killer cocktails and sick beats, they make pretty meant bar chow as well, thanks to chef extraordinaire, Chef Benjo Tuason. So whether you're there to see and be seen or you just want to get a happy buzz after work with your girlfriends, URBN is the place to be!

Lately, I've discovered another great reason to visit URBN, and that's to enjoy the bar chow that comes out from 12 midnight 'til 2 o'clock in the morning, which is the perfect excuse to walk on over there after a night of moderate debauchery.

I had never been to URBN when the place isn't packed with people. I was stunned at just how big the place was! I like the idea of not having to wade across a sea of people to your table. And not having to wait 30 minutes for a cocktail ain't so bad either.

Cocktails aside (I had my fill of strawberry mojitos and margaritas that night), dinner started off with a bucket of crispy Home Made Potato Chips (P250) that came with an Aioli and Pesto dipping sauce. It was simple, not greasy, and highly addicting.

Next came the Caramelized Onion and Bacon Tartlets (P260 for 6 pieces) topped with a splodge of with Pesto Cream Cheese. It's a bit too small for my liking, and I found the pesto cream cheese had overpowered the smokiness of the bacon and the sweetness of the caramelized onions. I'd probably order this sans the cream cheese the next time around.

A hit at the table was the Country Fried Bacon (P250) - you can never really go wrong with anything made out of bacon. This can be described in one word: Rich! The bacon strips were thick and smokey, covered in golden batter. I could only get through two pieces, it was just way too rich and the gravy gave it that umay factor.

One of my favorite bar chow dishes that night was the The Blackbenny Fries (P300). The hand cut fries are topped with sliced rashers of smoked bacon and cheese before getting smothered in gravy, like a decadent poutine platter! I could eat this all day.

Chef Benjo also introduced a few URBN Pizzas to the menu:

I liked the Seafood Pizza (P380) the most.Topped with bits of shrimp, white fish and scallops, the anchovies gave the dish a bit of salt and the pesto left a hum of basil. It was ever so light and cut small enough for pika pika.

The Four Cheese (P370) was simply executed and sprinkled with Mozzarella, Manchego, Cheddar and Parmesan. This was pretty good. If this had a teensy bit of truffle oil, it would be spectacular!

I didn't get to taste the All Meat with BBQ Sauce Pizza (P410) that had bits of chorizo, roast beef, salami with URBN's homemade bbq sauce. It must've been really good, since it was the first to disappear from the table.

I liked the Vegetarian (P320) pizza, with the caramelized onions lending the pizza a bit of sweetness and the olives a bit of salt.Overall it was a well balanced pizza, sans the meat. Going vegetarian never tasted so good!

Going back to the bar chow that's a bit more heavier on the tummy, I liked the Lamb Hash (P320) a lot - it is such an English pub kind of dish. The gamey flavor of the well seasoned lamb is evident in every bite, with the diced potatoes giving you the carb load I needed to absorb all the alcohol I ingested over the past few hours I was there.

The mini burgers looked très chic! There were Mini Blackbenny Angus Burgers (P260 for 3 pieces, P520 for 6 pieces) - medium rare baby burgers that were topped with small squares of mild cheddar, a bit of bacon, some onion jam, and a little splodge of aioli; and Mini Curried Shrimp Burgers (P260 for 3 pieces, P520 for 6 pieces) that was simply dressed with curry mayonnaise and romaine lettuce.

My favorite? The curried shrimp! The meat was firm with the taste of the shrimp coming through nicely.

The Sticky BBQ Chicken Pops (P350) were quite spicy, but not really my thing as I'm not a fan of dark meat. They are quite big for chicken pops, and the Roquefort dip mellows down the chili considerably. I'd say this would be nicely paired with a cold brewskie.

A whole lot of cheesecake started parading out for dessert. My favorite of the night was the Nutella and Candied Hazelnut Cheesecakce (P250). The Nutella was whipped in with the cheesecake, covered by a layer of chocolate and chopped hazelnuts on top. The servings are pretty big, too, which made me extra happy!

Jericho took to the White Chocolate and Cookie Butter Love-Ah Cake (P270) more. I like how we never fight over dessert. He can have his white chocolate and fruits and I can enjoy my chocolate and nuts in peace. Filled with a cookie butter center, this made for a very sweet ending to our night and best paired with a steaming hot cappuccino.

The Chocolate Brownie Cheesecake (P250) was underwhelming. I think because I tried the Nutella Cheesecake first, this just didn't leave me with the warm and fuzzies like it's Nutella counterpart.

A first for me was URBN's Maple Bacon Cheesecake (P250)! Yes, you read it right - a cheesecake that is topped with bacon bits and maple syrup. It tasted a lot like pancakes and bacon, except a lot more decadent. This isn't something I'd have too much of though.

Now, where did that Nutella cheesecake go...

When mucking around The Fort and looking to unwind with excellent cocktails, good company, and great food, URBN Bar & Kitchen is definitely the way to go. With a pretty bar that's as fully stocked as theirs and a chef as talented as Benjo Tuason, you're in for a surprise every time you visit this bar and kitchen!

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Images taken by Jericho San Miguel of The Pixel Project Manila

URBN Bar & Kitchen
+63 2 966 9118; +63 917 564 9333
3rd Floor, Fort Pointe II Building,
28th St. Bonifacio Global City,
(Formerly Pier One)
Open Daily 6pm - 2am