Words by Katherine Liu
Photos by Jeanne Dizon
Video by John Paulo Obia
I’m very much a homebody. While most people might enjoy going out to shop or dine or party, I prefer to stay in my living room with a good book in hand, or maybe with some work that needs finishing. My reasons are simple, really: going out is just so stressful sometimes! You need to keep up appearances, and it can get so noisy and chaotic among the crowds…while eating out is certainly tempting, the hassle of actually being out often deters me from going at all!
However, this restaurant in Mandaluyong—Hammock Kitchenette—might just be an exception to that.
Hammock Kitchenette is a tiny hole-in-the-wall located in Barangay Malamig, Mandaluyong. And I’m not kidding about tiny! The place is one room, with only four tables with two to six seats each. Somehow, though, Hammock makes the small space work. Instead of feeling crowded, it feels cozy and comfortable—like home. No wonder it appeals to me!
The establishment really wants their customers to feel as at home and at ease as possible. There are coloring pages and colored pencils on every table for guests to pass the time with and unwind. Some of the best works get posted on their wall, too! If that isn’t your cup of tea, there’s a small shelf of books you can choose from. They also have sungka and a box of dominos you can play with, as well as checkers and scrabble.
As for the food, Hammock is best known for its bagnet menu, which is an entire page of their menu dedicated to crispy pork and bagnet dishes! I swear it must have come from heaven. We got to try the pakbet ala bagnet and bagnet kare kare, and we loved it! Even after almost a half hour of sitting untouched and getting kind of cold while we took pictures (yes, it looked that good), it was still wonderfully crispy. It wasn’t oily either! Most crispy pork you’ll find elsewhere is dripping in oil when you get it, or else, you’ll bite into it and… surprise! You’ve got what must be a whole teaspoon of oil alone spilling into your mouth and dribbling down your chin. Ick, I know. Thankfully, at Hammock, we didn’t have that problem. There was no excess oil to wipe off or sop up with a napkin for either dish. It was perfect!
Bagnet Kare-Kare – Php 150
Pakbet ala Bagnet – Php 120
Don’t they look mouthwatering-ly delicious?
The other dishes we got to try were: the salmon head miso soup, the beef Cajun quesadilla, and the chicken and garlic sausage pasta. The salmon was delicious, soft and relatively easy to scoop out, and the soup complemented it perfectly. It tasted homemade, and if we hadn’t finished it all, I would have taken some home to warm me up for the next rainy day! The quesadillas tasted fantastic too, especially with the mayonnaise. I didn’t try it with the salsa, but that was mostly a matter of personal preference. I’m not much of a pasta person, but I liked Hammock’s take on it relatively well. I enjoyed the sausage and chicken in combination with the noodles, but I liked them even better when I stole some to eat with rice!
Beef Cajun Quesadilla – Php 150
Salmon Head Miso Soup – Php 160
Chicken and Garlic Sausage Pasta – Php 130
I also got to taste the Hammockjito—Hammock Kitchenette’s alcohol-free version of a mojito. To those of you who, like me, are uninitiated into the world of alcohol, a mojito is typically made with white rum, sugar, lime juice, soda water, and mint. I liked the taste of the drink because it was mild, but not entirely bland. It was tangy and a little sweet, and of course, delightfully cool. My companions also got to try the fresh melon shake and the sea breeze—another mocktail of cranberry and grapefruit juice combined with soda water.
Melon Shake, Hammockjito, Sea Breeze – Php 60 each
All in all, Hammock Kitchenette’s food is lovely, and the atmosphere is the very definition of calm. I can’t wait for my next trip there! For my fellow students or for you working adults, if you were hoping to find a new spot to chill after a tiring day or to feel unpressured while you work, this is the place for you. If you’re a writer like I am, you’ll love this restaurant all the more for the great ambiance that gets your ideas and your words flowing! Next time you’re in the area, this is a must-visit!
40B Basilan Street, Barangay Malamig, Mandaluyong
Open Monday to Thursday from 11 AM-10 PM, Friday to Saturday 11 AM-11 PM