Forbeswood Heights, 109 Rizal Drive, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, Metro ManilaSorry! We're closed for good.
- 2 Reviews
- 12 Recommend
- 2 Reviewers
- Business Hours
- Reopens: 6:00p - 3:00a
- 5:00p - 2:00a
- 5:00p - 2:00a
- 5:00p - 2:00a
- 5:00p - 2:00a
- 6:00p - 3:00a
- 6:00p - 3:00a
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Most Recent Reviews
Another foodie invite makes a typical night more interesting. Trying a new place and being offered almost endless free servings of their dishes is always a great combination. Welcome to one of the newest spots in BGC, a restaurant slash bar that offers Modern Asian cuisine match with Caribbean flavors.
I was greeted at the door by celebrity Borgy Manotoc. The former model was his usual outgoing self, going around entertaining us and a number of guests that were mostly his friends.
The Asian mix is more towards Japanese and the integration of Caribbean is seen in a number of dishes we had. These of course matches with their alcohol which they also serve a lot of. Makes sense since the word loa means spirit.
Filipino-Australian Chef Iñigo Castillo who has extensive experience in the kitchen here and abroad came up with really distinct flavors. Spikes of extreme flavors abound. It was almost like they were wild experiments in the kitchen. Am sure am making you curious already. Here are some of the ones that ‘stood’ out.
Poke (PHP 220) has sesame-glazed tuna sashimi, avocado and crispy wontons. It was the simplest form they served that night. I loved the combinations of soft and crunchy feel. I had this with their individual welcome drink, Little Grass Skirt. It had Tito’s gluten-free vodka, apple cider, orange, cucumber and an unusual dose of sesame oil. It had a sweet tangy taste with a lingering taste of Japanese.
I say solo drinks because there was a giant fish bowl for everyone to share. Woozy Waters Bowl cocktail had Captain Morgan spiced rum, Havana rum, Jack Daniels, fresh lime & Giffard Orgeat. Personally not a drinker, so I found this way strong. The taste were both extremely sweet and sour as well.
Kakuni, a cuapao like dish with braised pork belly & banana blossom was my favorite that night. It had a marvelous connection of really fatty and tender pork and sweet elements of fruity banana blossom. This is definitely not for the health conscious! One bite adds you a pound, I think.
Who would’ve though that fried eggplant will be remembered. The Eggplant Skewer (PHP 75/piece in a stick) was a hit on our table. Generous pieces of eggplant, beer-battered deep fried with Stella Artois with miso dressing were memorable. Forget rice, have this instead.
Perhaps the biggest definition of experimentation were felt with Coconut and Miso Pudding (PHP 150). This one is made with saltwater streusel, caramel and citrus grinata. When one combines saltiness, citrus and super sweetness, one asks the question why? I leave you to dwell on this dessert. For now, I say, shocking but worth your taste buds to experience.
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I get so giddy whenever I see new restaurants opening soon and I go crazy when these restaurants invite me to sample their dishes. However, there are times when I had to painfully decline these generous offers because of the grumpy weather, my unpredictable tummy or other plans that were set earlier. Having to turn down Papa Loa’s private dinner invite was so hard especially after reading its mouthwatering list of dishes. I kept on dreaming about salmon aburi and the talked about eggplant skewer. And seeing all the posts of the other attendees made me regret not going. But it was just not meant to be as I already had dinner plan that same night. But food gods love me as Papa Loa got in touch with me again and invited me to its grand opening last night! I was feeling feverish that night but I didn't want to miss another opportunity to try their salmon aburi and eggplant!
Hello, Papa Loa!
It’s hard to miss this new tiki bar with its bright orange signage. Located at the old Distillery (or half of the old Distillery to be exact), this new drinking place also has two floors for dining.
The bright and warm interiors further emphasize the tiki bar feel. I was mesmerized by the adorable wall paintings on the second floor.
We were immediately given menu and we were told that it is best to order the dishes one at a time just like in most izakaya restaurants. We were also warned that the serving sizes are small but are guaranteed to be delectable in each bite.
However, we were famished and ended up ordering four dishes in one go— Aburi (PHP260), Tempura (PHP185), Eggplant (PHP75) and Beef (PHP115). For drinks, we ordered Little Grass Skirt (PHP250) and Kooky Coconut Margarita (PHP290).
First served were our drinks.
I absolutely loved my Little Grass Skirt; a blend of Tito’s gluten-free vodka, apple cider, sesame oil, orange and cucumber. It was quite light and had a pronounced taste of cucumber making it perfect with any cold dish on the menu. If you are iffy by the fact that it has sesame oil, fret not as the drink’s not oily or taste odd in any way.
R’s drink was a unique blend of tequila, coconut milk and triple sec with the rim of the margarita glass covered in sweet coconut sauce.
It sounded sweet but you could definitely taste the alcohol in every sip. The trick here though is to lick some coco jam off the rim while taking small gulps.
The dishes were soon served and everything looked spectacular.
The Aburi or torched salmon ceviche topped with crispy corn, coriander and coconut dressing was delightful. I loved the slightly salty flavor of the soft salmon and its contrast against the crunchiness of the corn. The coriander added a refreshing taste to the dish diversifying the dish’s flavors.
The Beef or soy glazed U.S. beef belly with plantain mash and crispy rice was also good but not as good as aburi. The beef cubes were not as succulent though still flavorful. I enjoyed it with the banana base adding a bit of sweetness to the meat.
I have been seeing a handful of posts raving about the eggplant which is basically Stella-battered with miso dressing and topped with sesame seeds. I couldn’t understand why it was the crowd favorite till I took my first bite. It was indeed great as the crispy and sweet batter complemented the fresh eggplant really well. R and I enjoyed it so much that we had to order another one!
Tempura was another hit that night. It was another lovely play of textures among the soft-shell crab, mango salsa and bun. The harmonious blend of sweet and salty flavors of the fillings were beautifully balanced by the bun.
We tried our best to dine izakaya style but we just keep on failing when we ordered Poke (PHP220), Noodles (PHP180) and Beignet (PHP190) in one go. I guess we simply could not resist ordering more than one dish at a time. Service though was impeccable as our dishes were served in less than 5 minutes!
The poke (fresh tuna with avocado and crispy wontons drizzled with sesame dressing and topped with chili) was delicious! The tuna and avocado were absolutely fresh and it had a lovely light flavor making it a divine appetizer. The crispy wontons were just a tad too thin to scoop the tuna and avocado. We had to use our forks for that.
Just when I was getting used to the izakaya serving, the plate of noodles was served. Unlike the other dishes served that night, this one was definitely for sharing. The heavy rice noodles topped with cabbage, pickled ginger, pork belly and katsuboshi was something I would call bang for the buck. You’d get a full tummy with just one order of this. Taste-wise, it was sweet and reminded me a bit of phad thai minus the nuts. It wasn’t my favorite dish that night though. (I’m still all for eggplant skewers!)
Our dessert was the perfect dish to end our late dinner.
The combination of don papa caramelized bananas, chocolate, green tea ice cream and puffed rice (or karioka) was a winner! The caramelized bananas were very sweet especially with shaved chocolate but it was balanced by the strong matcha ice cream and puffed rice. I would definitely go back here for more of this one!
Overall, I had a wonderful time dining at Papa Loa. Food was awesome and service was great. Despite the dim lights, servers were alert and kept refilling our glasses with water. The only downside for “titas of Manila” would be the size of the place. It is a bit cramped and you could easily overhear the next table’s conversation. But if want good drinks and awesome food, then this is the place for you.
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