Written by Deina Ida Blancaflor, Paula Cabildo, Christian Viñas
Photos by Mark Francis Anastacio
When passion for food, aesthetic, Filipino culture, and even their love for animals combine, four partners Rocky, Dimchee, Paolo, and Ida then come up with Empacho, a young yet already thriving restobar situated at the heart of Tomas Morato.
With brick-covered walls and wood-laden table sets and accents, everything about the place screams “home”. Couple that with the accommodating staff, it’s not hard to instantly feel cozy and welcomed at Empacho. Found on the second floor, it separates you from the hustle and bustle of the town below and gives you Instagrammable photos as a bonus. The best part? It’s pet-friendly! Rocky Lubrico, one of the co-owners, is a certified dog-lover and bringing in your furry friends is highly-encouraged.
Empacho: A twist, a truth, and a promise
Empacho, or more commonly known as impatso here in the Philippines, is actually a medical term for the pain experienced for indigestion. However, deviating from that, this value-for-money restobar wants you to focus on the fact that you’ll surely be filled with their delectable food without the dismay of breaking your bank accounts. The promise of coming in light and leaving heavy is something they always aim to deliver.
When the classics and modernity combine
Empacho is fearless in recreating our favorite Filipino classics and adding a modern twist to it. Paolo Barlis, one of the co-owners, lived in Papua New Guinea for a time and the idea came from his longing for home. “Come home today, come home to Empacho; it’s like reliving your childhood memories through food,” Rocky adds.
Luckily, we got to try some of their best-sellers:
Start off with these appetizers, quick bites, and some greens!
Triple Bypass Php 380
Let the name speak for itself, this appetizer is packed with three pulutan-faves: chicken skin, chicharong bulaklak, and isol inasal paired with Empacho’s special three sauces.
Crispy Tokwa’t Baboy Php 350
A night out with friends over a few bottles of beer is best complimented by Crispy Tokwa’t Baboy. These are spicy chicharong bagnet and fried tofu bathed with Empacho’s special sauces.
Spicy Tamarind Wings Php 370
Our favorite chicken wings just got better! These crispy wings are marinated in Tamarind sauce and chili and the result is a perfect blend of sweet, sour, and spicy wings that can be eaten as an appetizer or paired with rice.
Empacho’s Smoked Blood Sausage Php 350
A unique take on our native dinuguan, Empacho came up with smoked blood sausages instead of the usual meat swimming in the bloody sauce. It comes with fluffy homemade puto with coconut creme anglaise drizzled with calamansi.
Balut Tempura Php 350
Balut is a known delicacy in the country but not all people are brave enough to try it. Although it tastes good, it does not look presentable enough to stimulate our appetite. Empacho prepared their Balut Tempura to look more appealing and inviting. Balut is covered in Tempura batter and deep fried and served with miero arugula salad and sated egg aioli.
The Ultimate Empacho Salad Php 390
Who said that being healthy has to be boring? Empacho’s Ultimate Salad would make you want to eat salad more often. This salad consist of pickled red onion, cucumber, green mango, singkamas, carrots, tomato, and tom yao topped with roasted pork belly. It also comes with a calamansi dressing to complete its taste.
They also have a variety of pasta for the noodle-lovers out there.
Soft Shell Crab Aligue Pasta Php 420
For the pasta lover, this dish offers a creamy aligue sauce on the well-cooked pasta and topped it with crispy soft shell crabs.
The mains range from crispy pata to soups such as tinola and sinigang to sisig, pares, and kare-kare. You’ll surely find your favorite Filipino dish in their menu!
Sinigang na Lechon with Strawberry Php 490
Perfect for the rainy weather, cool down with their own take on sinigang which has a tamarind and taro broth thrown in with real strawberries. This is surely a palette cleanser from all the other fried or meaty mains.
Lechon Belly Php 790
Empacho’s pride didn’t fail our tastebuds. The crispy lechon pork belly is oven roasted but captures the taste of one that might be made over the fire. Stuffed with herbs and spices and served with sinamak (spiced vinegar), this is truly a bang for your buck.
Crispy Pork Kare Kare Php 395
Spicy deep fried pork belly with Empacho’s homemade peanut sauce and bagoong. This is sinful but too delicious to resist!
Aligue, Tinapa, Guinamas Kalkag, and Pandan Rice Php Php 55 – Php 75
Viands are made more sumptuous when paired with perfectly-cooked rice. You may choose from aligue, tinapa, guinamas kalkag, or their not-so-plain rice cooked in pandan leaves.
No matter how full you are, you’ll surely have room for dessert with these worth it treats!
Salted Egg Lava Cake Php 150
A sure entry in the salted egg trend, this dulce lava cake with salted egg custard filling will have you craving for more.
Kamias Cheesecake Php 180
This dessert perfectly balances the sweetness of a cheesecake and the sourness of a kamias. Drizzled with cashew praline, it’s the perfect dessert for the not-so-sweet tooths out there.
Fried Sorbetes Php 295
Three assorted flavors (chocolate, vanilla, ube) on a cone bowl fused with syrup and coconut tuille. Yum!
No meal is complete with a proper panulak. It’s interesting to note that their Filipino-with-a-twist branding extends to their wide range of beverages.
Empacho Bitters Php 95 per glass/Php 360 per carafe
Empacho’s mainstay drink that you have to try and to also start your gathering on a light note.
Paraiso, Bayani, and Tikas Php 150
Whether you’re into the chocolate-banana-peanut butter combo, or the classic cookies and cream, or the creamy strawberries and banana fusion, you’ll surely love their servings of shakes and smoothies.
After a filling meal, stick around until the wee hours of the night as Empacho turns into a bar perfect for chillnuman’s or just unwinding after a busy day.
Lunas Php 180
For the one that got away, chase it off with this delicious chocolatey drink fused with rum, whiskey, and brandy. A sure fire way to take control of your broken heart.
Tambalan Php 180
The go-to drink of couples because of the his-and-her offering, or if flying solo, Tambalan offers two drinks at the price of one.
Kamao Php 200
You’ll surely get a knock-out with this 1-2 combination of beer and tequila.
Check out their website for some pretty good deals and promotions, some of which are:
Ladies Night Wednesday – 50% off on all cocktails from 6:00PM-12MN
Crazy Beer Deal Thursday – 50% off on all draft and local beers between 7:00PM-10:00 PM
Friday Group Night – get a free Pilsen and Light for every bucket of 5 assorted beers from 8:00PM-10:00 PM
Ultimate #EmpachoSabado – unlimited cocktails, wine, draft or local beer for Php 499 and much more!
What are you waiting for? This is hands-down the perfect restaurant for that cheat day you’ve been dreaming about!
Empacho is located at 2nd Floor Unit 201, 170 Tomas Morato, Quezon City
Operating Hours: Sunday – Thursday, 11:00AM – 12:00MN
Friday – Saturday, 11:00AM – 2:00AM
You may call +639174671816 for reservations