The foodie scene in Manila is steadily on the rise, with new restaurants and bars popping out like mushrooms in the summertime. A local diner could be spoilt for choice, yet how does one navigate through the daunting and endless array of dining and drinking places to choose from?
While various spots have resorted to sporting all kinds of outlandish gimmicks to stand out from the crowd, sometimes all it takes is falling back on tried-and-tested favorites and a plush yet comfortable atmosphere. And with a name that literally translates to fat lady, one would expect a menu that reflects earnest and soulful dishes.
Gorda at Uptown Parade in BGC is quickly poised to become one of the Metro’s food and beverage hot spots — their menu spells out Filipino-Mexican fare that strikes between comfortable and modern, as well as some pretty inventive concoctions to please the local foodie’s palate. This concept also carries over to their impressive interiors, with the place decked out to resemble an actual cantina, like you’d stumble across it on the street sides of Mexico City. The most interesting feature? The mural of a woman holding a taco.
At the helm of Gorda are the Angeles brothers, each of them with different roles to play. Executive chef John Angeles heads the kitchen and the creative direction of the menu, while Joseph Angeles is in charge of the marketing and overall management.
We headed to Gorda with every intention of getting heady on their cocktails and gorging on their Fil-Mex bar chow, just as one should on a Friday night off. Here are some of the fare we tried:
To start off, we had the Mama’s Nachos, a hearty mix of beef estofado, triple local keso sauce, ensalada and jalapeño atchara. The cheese sauce plays off the richness of the estofado well, with the classic ensalada providing a refreshing balance. The jalapeño atchara brings a nice kick without being overly spicy.
Gorda’s Calamari is a pretty well-elevated iteration of a well-loved Filipino street food dish. The deep-fried squid was coated in light batter, which allowed for a perfectly crispy texture. The local spices dusted on top provided a nice sweet-spicy contrast, hitting home with the local pinakurat vinegar as dipping sauce.
The Breakfast Taquito Sampler shows an interesting twist on classic Pinoy breakfast fare: beef tapa, pork tocino, and Vigan longganisa, dressed in shredded cabbage and alfalfa sprouts to give a nice contrast in texture.
Our favorite dish of the night, the Trio Fajitas, presents a sampler of beef, chicken, and shrimp, beautifully seasoned and cooked just right — the beef cooked at medium, the chicken moist and the shrimp succulent. With just a squeeze of lime for a touch of acidity, it was basically spot on.
After dinner, we went straight for the libations. As Gorda serves some pretty straight-up Mexican cocktails, the most interesting concoction on the menu was the Horchata Morena, with homemade rice milk, made dirty by whiskey and rum, and finished off with a cinnamon stick.
Meanwhile, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to drink off an actual watermelon: the El Ecuador de Margarita is the behemoth of Latin drinks, with tequila, fresh watermelon, citrus, and a hint of rosemary that could serve 4-6 people.
Conveniently located above the hottest clubs in the metro, look no further than Gorda for the perfect pre-game venue for a mix of interesting Fil-Mex dishes and cocktails. Or if you’re tired of the whole superclub schtick, stay late for some cool beats and more tequila. Que chilero!
Retail 6, 2nd Floor, Uptown Parade, Bonifacio Global City