Does Basty's hit the Spot?
An intimate bistro for the young happy-hour crowd opens at the Fort.
Adobo Paella, one of the bestsellers at Basty's
Yuppies and young families fill up most of the tables at Basty's, a small, casual bistro at the ground floor of the Net Quad Building at the Fort. Basty's opened in late May this year, with a menu with Spanish fusion favorites and Filipino breakfast meals using their home-made tapa, chorizo and longganisa which you can also buy at their deli display.
Brick-lined walls and cream hues dominate Basty's subdued interiors, with food and company meant to be the highlight of a fuss-free dining experience. The ground floor houses a well-stocked bar, with local beers, cocktails and a fair selection of wines for after-office happy hour sessions. The loft is Basty's main dining area with just six tables, lending an intimate and comfortable setting for diners looking out for a welcoming atmosphere.
What we ordered:
The Gambas al Ajillo (P175) is served in a small clay platter with sauteed shrimps, garlic, chili and smoked paprika. The shrimps were tender but despite the warning on the menu that the gambas were spicy, the sparse sprinkling of chili in the dish lent little flavor and bursts of spice.
The Croquettas de Jamon Serrano (P150 for 8 pieces), Basty's version of ham croquettes were average appetizers, with too-soft mashed potatoes and bland béchamel sauce inside the crispy balls.
The servers recommended that we try their paellas and upon their suggestion, we settled on the Adobo Paella (P250 for the personal size/ P675 for the family size), a novel take on the Spanish favorite. Pork and chicken adobo flakes, quail eggs and pepper were thrown together in a traditional clay pot, with a generous sprinkling of crispy chicharon on top. A filling choice to quickly quell a paella craving, the adobo paella is a tad oily but with a distinct salty-sour taste.
We wished the Salpicao (P285), which we ordered medium rare, were more consistent with its meat. Our order had both tender and not-so-tender chunks of beef. It came with steamed vegetables and a generous serving of garlic rice.
Out of all the dishes we tried, our favorite was the Chorizos Fritos (P220). Oily and salty just the right way, it made us want to ditch our diet and ask for more rice. The chorizo is homemade and it's one of Basty's frozen products you can buy at the store.
When to go:
The place gets crowded with patrons from neighboring office buildings during peak hours: 12 noon for lunch and 7: 30 p.m. for dinner. Parking is at the nearby parking lot around the block, in front of the adjacent Net Cube Building.
What we think:
While not an outstanding place to get your paella, Basty's seems like a good place to head to for happy hour (local beers at P50 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.). With mojitos and sangrias touted as bestsellers at the bar, you can also pick out notable menu favorites which can also double as appetizers and bar chow.
A friendly server is always on stand-by and ready to fill your glass with water or offer to change your plate after a round of appetizers. Service is brisk and efficient--but not during peak hours. We also went to Basty's during a lunch hour wherein the waitresses quarreled in front of us due to our seat mix-up. When we finally got to sit down, there were plates clanging and one server kept bumping into one of us without any apologies.
Price-friendly in a strip where the nearest gourmet meal can be had at Je Suis Gourmand and Chef Laudico's Bistro Filipino, Basty's offers a quick Spanish fix and a chill after-hours destination but not really a spot that we would go out of our way for.
Basty's is located at the Ground Floor, Net Quad Bldg, 30th Street corner 4th Avenue, Fort Global City, Taguig with telephone numbers 379-2197 and 856-9132.
Photos by Warren Espejo and Trixie Zabal.