A Place of Two Extremes – PINO and PIPINO

This culinary gem from Quezon City now thrills foodies from the Makati Area since they opened last month at Jupiter Street. I’ve wanted to try their food long before I started this blog. You see we have a little foodie group at the office and we usually go to places and try a bunch of restaurants, and whenever we go to the QC area PINO’s been on our list of go-to’s but unfortunately, for some reason it’s closed whenever we go at there. So imagine my excitement when they finally opened a branch at Jupiter Street, Makati. With some other exciting new restaurants budding at the area I believe it’s on its renaissance becoming one hot food destination once again.

As much as I want to stuff myself with the oh-so-awesome artery-clogging dishes of PINO, we can’t really pass on the chance to try its counterpart, PIPINO that’s a haven for all thing vegan; meaning no animal byproduct. Oh yeah, that night I was a traitor to my bacon-loving brethren and tried vegan dishes. 😀

Separated with some cool white pillars, even the interiors has some really noticeable distinction; PINO’s side has more whites, more on the modern design influences accented with interesting wall murals. PIPINO’s side on the other hand has more vibrant colors, warmer tones and stuff.

PINO Menu: Starters, Main Courses #1, Main Courses #2, Desserts

Spiced Sweet Potato Chips (P160)

Hand-cut and spiced fried sweet potatoes served with honey mustard mayo.

PINO’s take on mojos, they used sweet potatoes for this; fried to a beautiful golden brown, the chips had this nice crunchy outer layer that’s spiced; savory and a bit spicy then you hit the center with the sweet potatoes giving you a nice contrast in flavor. The honey mustard mayonnaise then further enhances those flavors, good stuff.

Crispy Hito Salad (P195)
Crispy Hito Salad (P195)

Crispy catfish, sliced Indian mangoes and cucumber, served with mixed greens and Thai vinaigrette.

Mixed greens with some crispy hito (catfish) flakes that make for this really interesting flavor and texture, with the vinaigrette balancing the taste of the fish-y bits, this is one nice salad that even I got to enjoy.

Mini Sisig Tacos (P225)
Mini Sisig Tacos (P225)

Mini tacos filled with pork sisig, lettuce, tomato salsa, and cheese.

This one’s a fun dish, their take on tacos; filled with pork sisig bits. It looks good, and it tastes good too. First you have the mini taco shells that are crispy to the bite then you hit the pork filling, with the tomato salsa and the cheese giving it this nice creamy and savory flavor, then there’s the spicy sauce on the side; just a bit at your tacos and that hint of spiciness will leave you wanting for more. This one’s really good, and is definitely good for sharing.

Buffalo Chicken Skin (P145)
Buffalo Chicken Skin (P145)

Crispy chicken skin coated with PINO’s special buffalo-style sauce, served with bleu cheese dressing and celery sticks.

When I saw PINO’s menu, I got really excited. Every page filled with sinful, artery clogging dishes that I’d love to try. This is one of them, their Buffalo Chicken Skin. Imagine buffalo wings with the meat stripped out and all that’s left are those crispy oh-so-good chicken skin. One bite and you’ll be delighted of how the bits are crispy and you get this nice hint of spiciness from their sauce. They said they adjusted the spiciness level of the said buffalo-style sauce, because if they used the regular one, the flavor would be too much. And I think they did a really good job at this one, the flavor is just right and this is one sinful appetizer dish that you should try!

Binusog na Pusit with Kesong Puti (P245)

Grilled giant squid stuffed with goat cheese and mango salsa, served with barbecue sauce.

This one’s quite interesting, one may think this is the typical grilled stuffed squid but it’s got a nice surprise when you hit the filling. Took a bite and I love how the squid bits went well with the creamy and savory kesong puti (goat cheese) stuffing. The barbecue sauce was definitely a good match for this one as it highlights the flavors more and giving this nice hint of spice.

For the main course, we got a lot! It was like the greatest hits of PINO’s dishes at our table. We also got an assortment of their mango rice, bagoong rice, and plain rice so we can mix and match and test which one goes well with the dishes that we got.

Binakol (P285)
Binakol (P285)

Chicken tinola soup with buko juice and papaya.

This hearty soup was a revelation! Though I don’t really like tinola, I absolutely loved their binakol. The soup had this slightly sweet and refreshing flavor, and then you get these faint notes of ginger-y taste that cleanses your palate. The chicken meat was cooked well, soft and with the flavor of the soup infused with the meat this was really good, got raves from almost all of us.

Kansi (P345)
Kansi (P345)

Tender beef cubes served in sour broth with a roasted bone marrow.

I really like the Ilonggo’s take on Bulalo, that being Kansi. I just love it’s sour citrus-y soup base that’s similar to sinigang. Took a bite and all I can think about was how amazingly succulent the meat was. Then I hit some of the bone marrow bits, with its rich melt-in-your-mouth goodness that’s just irresistible. What we did was we scraped all of the roasted bone marrow bits and mixed it with the soup, man it was really rich and really, really good! This one’s a must-try!

Seafood Kare-kare (Single P225 | Family P495)
Seafood Kare-kare (Single P225 | Family P495)

Mussels, tilapia, shrimp and squid, served with PINO’s signature kare-kare sauce.

A seafood lover’s go-to dish, you basically get almost all of the good stuff. I really enjoyed how the seafood bits went well with the rich and nutty flavored sauce, paired it with their bagoong rice and man it was really good! I really liked how the saltiness from the rice cutting off the richness of the sauce and the seafood bits.

Adobong Sarsi Chicken Egg (P225)
Adobong Sarsi Chicken Egg (P225)

Chicken cooked adobo style with sarsi, servd with slow cooked egg.

This one’s really interesting, I love how the sarsi brought this sweet and distinct flavor to the dish, the chicken meat was tender and was infused with the flavor from the sauce. But what I really liked about this dish are the slow cooked eggs. Influenced by how the Japanese cook their eggs for ramen, I just love that rich and creamy melt-in-your-mouth egg yolk part, it’s really good!

Coffee Crusted Beef Belly (P265)
Coffee Crusted Beef Belly (P265)

Sun-roasted U.S. Beef Belly with coffee spice rub served with marble potatoes, bistek gravy and red wine onion marmalade.

The beef belly meat was so tender the fatty bit almost melts in your mouth! Then you get this interesting flavor from the spice rub, primarily because of its coffee content then you get some sour flavor from the bistek gravy. Some really good stuff that made me go; more rice, more fun!

Kare-kareng Bagnet (Single P255 | Family P565)
Kare-kareng Bagnet (Single P255 | Family P565)

Authentic Ilocano crispy pork belly served with annatto-peanut sauce.

If you’d ask me for a single dish that you shouldn’t miss when you’re at PINO then this would be it, their Kare-kareng Bagnet. The well-loved local dish made even more awesome with the inclusion of Bagnet. You’ll love how this amazing piece of golden brown awesomeness is really crispy to the bite and is a bit chewy with the fatty bits almost being chicharon-like. (deep fried pork rind) Then you get the rich flavor of the kare-kare sauce, it’s just lovely. This dish alone would make me say that all those unfortunate visits at their branch in QC (because for some reason, it’s always closed when we do food trips there) are okay and is definitely worth the wait. Oh you’ll love how sinfully good this pampabata dish is. This one’s a must-try!

With us gorging with all these pampabata dishes, we thought that a dish or two from PIPINO wouldn’t hurt. Well, you know, just to balance it off and eat some healthy stuff for a change.

Portobello Inasal with Red Beet Puree, Ensaladang Talong and Brown Rice (P260)

This one’s actually quite nice, the mushroom bits give this really nice ma-umami taste that I really liked, then there’s the brown rice base and the salsa, good stuff.

Watermelon Steak (P220)

This was a big shock for all of us, it probably got the biggest WOW moment of the dinner because this was surprisingly good! Sweet watermelon bits made even more awesome with the grilled parts giving this distinct smoky flavor that got raves from all of us.

As for our sweet ending, we also tried a lot of stuff! 😀

Mango Sansrival (P165)

Sweet butter coated meringue cake studded with dried mango bits.

This one’s a bit sweet but light and refreshing. I love the chewy meringue bits then you hit the cream part and the dried mango bits, it’s really nice!

Choco Turon (P125)

Sliced banana and choco-nut in spring roll wrappers, served with ice cream and chocolate sauce.

How do you make banana turon interesting? Add Choc-nut! – this is PINO’s take on this famous sweet treat. Took a bite and I got the usual crispy wrapper this time drenched in some chocolate sauce, then there’s the filling with the bananas then comes this nice surprise with the chocolate-y, nutty bits from the choc-nut. Then I top it off with a spoonful of the ice cream, good stuff!

Chunky Choco Tempura (P125)

Chocolate wafer bar dipped in tempura batter, deep fried and served with ice cream and chocolate and strawberry sauces.

This one I just love a Kit-kat bar prepared tempura style resulting to this slightly hot filling.

Took a bite and got some crispy bits from the tempura-like outer layer then I hit the filling with the warm chocolate melting in my mouth, the strawberry and chocolate sauces then further heightens the flavor. Then I got a spoonful of the cold vanilla ice cream and it brought me utter bliss. Oh the nice combination of sweet and mild flavors, and of hot and cold.

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake (Slice P150 | Whole P1200)
Dulce de Leche Cheesecake (Slice P150 | Whole P1200)

Cheesecake recipe with dulce de leche, topped with chocolate covered cherries, chopped nuts, chocolate shards.

This one absolutely blew my mind! Took a bite and I loved how the cheesecake base was delicately smooth and creamy, then I got this sweet and sticky dulce de leche topping the whole thing melts in my mouth giving this wonderful medley of flavors. Then there’s the chocolate shard for some contrast in texture, this is really, really good stuff! A must-try.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

VERDICT: Good inventive takes on Filipino food, PINO takes pride with their array of sinful and yummy dishes, when you see the menu it’s as if there’s always something that you have to try in every page. Food was really good, and we’re definitely going back for more!

VALUE FOR MONEY: Reasonably priced menu items that are good for sharing, good value for money.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

PINO Resto Bar, Jupiter

38 Jupiter St., Bel-Air
Makati City
(02)550-1781
Facebook

 

2 thoughts on “A Place of Two Extremes – PINO and PIPINO”

Leave a Reply