Think of this as a sneak preview, a taste of things to come. Alicia Sy invited Mrs. MM and I to lunch at The Hungry Hound, which just opened a week or so ago and is definitely in very soft opening mode. Parts of the restaurant are still in the last stages of construction/finishing, and menu items are still being developed and finalized. I think there were schedules to be met (read perhaps nothing can open during ghost month…) so if you are going for a serious chunk of their menu, give them another month or so… but if you are one of those who have to be amongst the first to check a place out, here are some dishes we tried at lunch today. The bar next door, niner-ichi-nana (917, Globe Building, duh) is probably going to become one of the hottest pubs/bars in the Fort for a certain crowd of folks. With custom mixed drinks, consultants and mixologists, it promises to be the scene and be seen place in the weeks ahead. Up top, a small sized, properly made and authentic caesar salad. The hint of anchovy, the romaine lettuce and the generous sprinkling of parmesan was exactly how I like it. Don’t mess with my caesar salad. I would add a few constructive comments — go lighter on the dressing (ours was drowning in it) and taste the croutons which were a tad soft and chewy and only browned on one side. Otherwise, one of the better examples of a caesar salad I have had recently.
Next up, two sliders with battered and fried oysters, some bacon and soft white bread. Very good. Definitely liked this dish. Perfect with a cold beer or two.
“Good Morning Linguine” — except ours was made with fettucine. A sort of deconstructed carbonara meets alfredo. It came with a creamy and cheesy sauce, topped with poached egg and garnished with fresh lemon zest. I am a purist when it comes to carbonara, but I considered this a far enough version to stand on its own. I can say this, it was RICH. Three of us split this bowl, and I liked it, but I don’t think I could finish an entire bowl of it myself. It came with buttered slices of bread that were crisp and delicious. The lemon zest was a nice foil to the creaminess. Pinoys who like rich creamy pastas will love this dish.
Pan Roasted Salmon with Bernaise and Vegetables. The salmon was PERFECTLY cooked, with the center just warm enough to remain moist. Oddly, the salmon sat on a bed of mussels and other vegetables that were tepid, at best. It felt as though the dish was assembled in two distinct phases, first the non-fish components placed in the serving dish that sat there for an interminable amount of time, then topped by the freshly cooked salmon. When they manage to get this to the table consistently hot, and sufficiently integrated, it will probably become a favorite of diners. Dishes came out of the kitchen in fits and starts, gaps a bit longer than you would expect, and the place wasn’t full, so you just have to understand that they have been at this for just a few days and I am sure they are still working out the kinks…
Corned Beef Rillettes — nice idea, execution needs improvement. Corned beef done in-house was tasty but excessively salty, topped with a cheese or cream-based sauce and some caramelized onions and arugula microgreens. The killer on this one was bread that tasted a day old, chewy and totally off. They could have toasted this until it was dry and hard, or used other bread. The chef later told us they would be changing the bread. Again, with a few tweaks this will be a nice pica-pica to have with drinks.
Hot Chicks — deep-fried chicken wings that were neither hot nor spicy but glazed with a rather sweet sauce and served with blue cheese and a pickled relish. Not one of my favorites. A new take on buffalo wings, perhaps, but this didn’t make an impression on the first time out.
I don’t really order dessert at restaurants much, but we had a taste of their carrot cake.
And an apple tart that was served cold but which they may consider serving hot instead. Overall, an enjoyable lunch and we would definitely go back once they have their full menu on offer and the kitchen has had a month or more to get into its groove. With Chef Gilbert Gomez who worked at Daniel Boulud’s DB Bistro Moderne in New York and Chef Jerome Opriano of The Goose Station, the kitchen comes with serious wattage. It’ll be good to see what they pull off in the months ahead. There aren’t many seats in the restaurant, say 40 or so, and the bar next door looks like it would be a fun place to stand and mingle when the crowds get heavy. Plan on spending say PHP800-1,000 per head with softdrinks. Add more if you plan on beer, wine or liquor.
The Hungry Hound Pub & Kitchen
Ground Floor, Globe Telecom Tower
32nd Street corner 7th Avenue
(across from MC Home Depot)
Fort Bonifacio, Taguig (or is it Makati?)