Il Ponticello Cucina Italiana – rediscover this old favorite in Makati, with a gorgeous looking bar that sets a focal point of the restaurant and then there’s the spacious dining room with tasteful interiors and cozy booths, giving this right balance of comfort and classy vibe that I really like. But what impressed me the most was their food – simple Italian Cuisine done right and some dishes given a new spin and I’d say the execution was very much on point. We had a leisurely weekend brunch here that turned out to be a 4-hour feast – good food a lot of it and quality time with some amazing people.
Happiness is when you see a gorgeous log of slow roasted pochetta / pork belly that’s generously seasoned with fennel and garlic, a nice crackle as you cut into it that’s good enough to have as your smartphone’s alert tone. That brunch was definitely a feast and all of the stuff we tried, I really liked.
Started with an aperitif of their Ponti Spritz of aperol, grapefruit juice, lemon juice, passionfruit syrup and sparkling wine, a nice and refreshing way to start a lovely brunch with bright flavors and a nice bit of bubbly to it. After a number of spritz and some olives the proper appetizers were served.
PORTOBELLO ALLA GRIGLIA – grilled portobello, mozarella di bufala, smoked ricotta, poached cherry tomatoes and evoo
I really liked this appetizer dish! Between the grilled portobello mushrooms that’s ever so succulent and the smoky ricotta and the creamy mozarella di bufala it’s everything you’d want for a starter, packed with much flavor from the umami goodness of the mushrooms and the cheese just elevates things further whetting your appetite.
MOZARELLA IN CARROZZA – mozzarella bites pan fried in buttter and balsamic reduction
Another fantastic starter dish, I would gladly finish a platter of this! Soft bread bites that’s really buttery and stuffed with creamy, gooey mozzarella cheese and then to cut through all that rich and creamy goodness is a nice bit of balsamic, balances the whole thing. simple = good.
LASAGNA CARBONARA – two favorites in one; homemade lasagna, mozzarella cream, pancetta tesa strips, grana padano, egg yolk
I was a bit skeptical about this pasta hybrid, but it’s two of my favorite pasta dishes in one dish so I can’t pass on it. Layers of delightfully chewy lasagna sheets laid in creamy, gooey mozzarella cream and then topped with grated grana padano and salty pancetta strips. It was so good! First bite was pure bliss, everything your lasagna and carbonara should be – creamy, cheesy with these spikes in savory flavor and the added creamy goodness of the egg yolk as you break it and it adheres to the sauce – GOOD STUFF – a must try!
CREMA DI TARTUFO – serious love affair of truffle and mushrooms; papardelle, cream, truffle paste, truffle oil, porcini mushrooms
Al dente flat pasta noodles brought to life with some earthy flavor from the classic combination of mushrooms, truffle and cream. It’s really simple the sauce was creamy enough to beautifully adhere to the pasta but not so much to be cloying. An abundance of earthy aroma and umami flavor, for those that are a fun of truffle and pasta, then this is your go-to dish.
GNOCCHI AMATRICIANA – homemade potato and semolina gnocchi, tomato sauce, thick cut pancetta, and grana padano cheese
One of the best gnocchi dish I had in recent memory, chewy cubes of potato and semolina based pasta a nice vibrant tomato sauce as base and then into your mouth with some of that thick cut pancetta bits for that spike of savory flavor and the cheesy goodness of the slivers of the grana padano as topping. It’s simple and good – a gnocchi dish done right – really good comfort food.
ROTOLO – rolled pizza stuffed with mortadella, ricotta cheese, tomato cream sauce topped with pesto
This Rotolo is a new dish, pockets of happiness that is rolled pizza stuffed with a medley of creamy cheese. When I first saw it I thought the pink bits were salmon pieces but as i had a mouthful of this rolled pizza treat, I was treated to a nice combination of the creamy goodness of the cheese and then a meaty surprise from the bits of parma ham and then a bit of freshness with a dollop of pesto – GOOD!!!
VALDOSTANA – parma ham, gorgonzola cream, mozzarella, baby arugula
This pizza has a nice rustic feel to it, and I love the toasted up bits specially on the sides with the bed of cheese + a classic combination of parma ham and arugula. Found ourselves scouring for the middle part where most of the parma ham was of cheesy and savory goodness this is one simple pizza with a classic flavor combination that just works well.
SEABASS IN BOTTIGLIA – pan roasted chilean seabass, prawn broth, mussels, clams, napoletana piccante sausage finished and served in a mason jar
A nice and comforting dish of perfectly roasted seabass with the skin giving a nice crisp, it’s bathed with a rich shrimp-base sauce. Got myself mopping every last bit of that rich and flavorful broth with the bread. The piece of fish was cooked perfectly, crispy skin for some crackle while yielding a nice soft and delicate texture as you slide through the fish with a fork. Then you hit the other components that brings a layer or two of both flavor and texture to the dish. This is really good! A bowl of comfort and joy.
PRESTO – grilled prawns, cherry tomatoes, fried basil, garlic confit, and tofie pesto
This one’s a thing of beauty between the beautifully grilled prawns that’s ever so succulent, took a bite and I was treated to its naturally sweet flavor with a nice tinge of galic and smoky goodness running through the background. The shrimp with its nice garlic-y taste went really well with the trofie pesto that it’s served with – pieces of short twisted pasta with a delightful texture and a refreshing flavor from the pesto paired with the rich goodness from the seafood bits.
Flat iron steak that’s flavorful and is seasoned well, though the piece of meat is naturally flavorful, I suggest you get this prepared medium rare since it’s a bit tougher, this way you get to enjoy tender slices of meat and its wonderful flavor. The garlic mashed potato and the summer salad on the side was quite good. Paired it with a nice glass of red and nearly finished the whole serving, the only thing that stopped me was the arrival of the much awaited pork belly.
SIGNATURE PORCHETTA ALLA ROMANA – slow roasted pork belly seasoned with fennel and garlic served with pommery mustard sauce.
Piece de resistance of slow roasted pork belly, meat that’s so very tender and the halo of fat on the outer bits brings so much flavor and a really tender and almost buttery texture that almost melts in your mouth, then you hit the leaner parts ever so flavorful with the fennel and garlic stuffing and then there’s the crispy outer bits – that crackle! This is really good! A definite must-try! Do try the sauce as well, though the meat was very flavorful as it is, the pommery mustard sauce just gives it a nice kick of extra goodness.
When you dine at Il Ponticello, you MUST save room for their lovely desserts.
BUDINO AL CIOCCOLATO – chocolate lava pudding pot, vanilla cream, amarena cherries, and caramel sauce
Another cure for my never-ending obsession with warm-and-cold dessert combinations. And this one is just fantastic! A rich, chocolaty almost fudge like pudding served in a pot – nice crumbly outer bits yielding a richer base as you dive in with a spoon, the sides had this nice texture similar to half-baked cakes and the center, oh that chocolate heaven of warm, sticky and rich consistency then you pour in some of that caramel and some of the vanilla cream. Heaven in your mouth!
CHEESECAKE PANNA COTTA – vanilla panna cotta, cheesecake crumble, caramel sauce
I like the concept on this one – think of it as a deconstructed cheesecake, on the center is a well made vanilla panna cotta delightfully wobbly with texture that’s silky and creamy and then you hit it with the cheesecake crumble for more creamy goodness and then pair it with the graham crumbs and caramel for added sweetness and some contrast in texture.
TIRAMISU – savoiardi, zabaglione, amaretto, ristretto, cocoa powder
I love the presentation on this one! It’s just really beautifully plated with the strokes of chocolate, the cocoa powder and that amazing piece of tiramisu made with lady fingers and layers of sabayon, they nailed the flavor and texture on this one it’s really good! And it’s served with a nutella based liquor shot too!
CANNOLI – crispy cinnamon pastry shell, ricotta cream, dark chocolate morsels, nuts, powdered sugar
Their cannoli was damn addicting! The pastry shells had a nice thin layer of crisp to it into your mouth with the creamy ricotta cream and the bitersweet chocolate bits and with the nuts and the cinnamon base, it really brightens up your mood and fell all Christmas-y. Have this with a nice cup of coffee and you’re good to go. Something so simple but very, very good!
DARK CHOCOLATE PANNA COTTA WITH SALTED CARAMEL – 72% dark chocolate panna cotta, chocolate soil, caramel cream, sea salt
Another favorite from the desserts we tried, perhaps only next to the chocolate lava pudding that you all know I’m obsessed with. They make really, really good panna cotta there, as the smooth and silky texture was always spot on, this time it’s of a chocolate base. Its velvety texture with the coarse chocolate soil and that SALTED CARAMEL!!!! Between the rich chocolate base and the bittersweet goodness from the chocolate soil and the panna cotta and that sweet and salty finish – it’s a definite must-try!
We had a lovely, lovely brunch at Il Ponticello. We feasted on some really good food everything from the ambiance, service, and the quality of the food was fantastic. It’s been a while since I visited a restaurant and liked everything that we tried from the menu. Do give this place a revisit, rediscover an old favorite. May it be for drinks, romantic dinner, or just a casual dine out with friends when you’re in a look out for some good Italian food. Will definitely go back to this lovely place.
Il Ponticello Cucina Italiana
2/F Antel 2000 Bldg., 121
Valero St. Salcedo Village, Makati