New Restaurant Alert: Puñta Manila at Liberty Center, Mandaluyong
You might end up blurting out cuss words in gustatory delight.
Liberty Center, Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong City
Contact: 941-2870; email@example.com
Open from 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. (Monday to Sunday)
(SPOT.ph) You read that right. A new restaurant just opened in town and it’s pronounced exactly like the curse word. "It's a play on words. We use the term as an expression of amazement-not necessarily negative," explains owner Paolo Bediones. "Seeing our signage from afar, it can mean punta (to go). So we want people to easily go and consider the restaurant as their new favorite hangout place."
That goal is not impossible-Puñta stands as the lone restaurant-lounge in the area offering Latin American fare, paired with a faultless experience. The attention given to every detail, especially by Bediones himself, is visible in the spacious restaurant-from the overall industrial interiors to the fabric and cushions that soften the masculine effect of the place. As a lounge, the music is also their strength: You get Spanish music playing softly in the background; a live acoustic band to set the mood on some nights; and a DJ to get the crowd going during the weekend.
The actual bar where you have all your cocktail and drinking essentials...and a little more.
Every section in Puñta can be curtained off for a more private affair.
The bar area with pen lights meticulously centered on each table.
From the second-floor lounge
There's barely any subtlety to be said about the food. Bold flavors take center stage here. "It's like an attack on your taste buds!" exclaims Chef Anj Valencerina, who put together the extensive menu, together with Chef EA Tejada and their small group of kitchen warriors. "Latin American food is similar to Filipino-the technique we use is very Pinoy. We do a lot of grilling and the dishes are very festive," she adds.
Ready your senses for a gratifying meal by starting with anticuchos-tender morsels of skewered meats and innards, traditionally offered in the streets of Peru. Get the Piel de Pollo (P165), chicken skin that balances chewy and crunchy textures, or the Chinchulines (P165), so well prepared-and cleaned-you'd forget that you're actually eating pork intestines. To amp up the flavors, these skewers are served with chimichurri, crema de ajo, salsa roja, and pico de gallo. Make sure to ask for extra Puñta oil on your table to spice things up!
Vientre de Cerdo with Maiz Asado and Frijoles Charros
Barbacoa takes prominence in the list of dishes, too. Take for example the Pierna de Pollo (P220), a quarter chicken leg with its beautifully charred skin enrobing soft, tender meat. There's also the Vientre de Cerdo (P220), a generous slab of pork belly, which is best paired with the Maiz Asado (P55), Frijoles Charros (P110), and a glass of house-blend iced tea for a meal that'll transport you straight to the vibrant streets of Latin America.
Pierna de Pollo
If you want "the best" on the menu, zero in on nothing but the Lo Mejor (P495), which, translated, means just that. The slow-cooked hearty stew is a beautiful combination of tender tripe, ox tongue, and gelatinous ox tail in a sauce of cumin, tomatoes, chorizo, and olives. The Ropa Vieja (P440) is another good option: shredded brisket in a stew of tomatoes and black beans with bell peppers and fried plantains. Best eaten with the buttery, flavor-loaded Spanish rice!
There are options aplenty, and there's something for the whole gang here. If you choose to stay for post-meal libations, take advantage of the well-stocked bar or the freezer full of below-zero cervesa. Or ask for a shot of chupito, a smooth tequila shooter served with a cinnamon-sprinkled orange wedge. The combination is surprisingly so good, you'd realize how the place got its name. As Bediones proudly puts it: "mapapa-Puñta ka sa sarap!"