JULY 15, 2019

On tacos and tequila

Are we talking about Chino enough?

A year into operations and it seems that the incredibly cool Hong Kong transfer in One Bonifacio is finally easing into a comfortable pace, slinging katsu sandos and soft shell crab tacos at diners, all of them incredibly well-dressed and only slightly drunk on a combination of mirth and mezcal.

A Mexican-Japanase fusion restaurant at its core, CHINO MNL served Japanese favorites during its first anniversary celebration, such as this hefty katsu sando.

Even on the day of their birthday festivities, there was an easy air to the space, the laughter — boisterous and slick with alcohol — bouncing off the concrete walls with such freedom and abandon that it seemed almost as much part of the place as was the restaurant’s impressive array of Mexican liquor stowed behind the bar.

So it makes an awful lot of sense that Chino is steadily inching its way to be the talk of the town.

CHINO MNL celebrates its first anniversary in the Philippines.

It is that rare place that understands exactly what makes for terrific drinking food without having to revert to the gastropub clichés from ten years ago.

Here, in place of German craft beer served with house-made nachos you will find slinky glasses topped up with incredibly drinkable Japanese ales or herbaceous mezcal tinctures matched with scallop tostadas draped with briny uni, and golden crisp corn fritters dusted with a snow of cotija cheese.

And as soon as the Cazadores Highballs begin to kick in, diners here find themselves presented with tortas and tacos so heavily laden with flavor it might just knock some sense back into them.

Libations play a big part in the CHINO MNL experience.

Who, in their right mind, would not talk about the unrelenting joys of a lobster taco laced with chilies or an absurdly crisp chicken cutlet doused in kewpie mayo and squished between slices of tender milk bread? And who would deny themselves the pleasure of having a slice of some of the best tres leches cake (doused in milk tea, just barely sweetened) that this city has ever seen?

The dimly-lit joint is a favorite secret spot among discerning urbanites.

After a night of such incredible food and merrymaking, though, all you might want to do is bring a couple of friends over to Chino to help them see what all the ruckus is really all about.

CHINO MNL is located at the ground floor of One Bonifacio High in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.