Poblacion Dining Room will remind you of your lola’s cooking
Her adobo is still the best, but the Pork Adobo here is a close second.
Poblacion Dining Room
36 Polaris Street, Poblacion, Makati City
Open daily from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
(SPOT.ph) Hidden inside Commune, Poblacion Dining Room looks and feels like your lola’s dining room. The wooden tables are covered in the familiar embroidered table cloths of your childhood. Large wooden spoons and other carved figures adorn the walls and mismatched chairs give the restaurant a rustic feel.
Poblacion Dining Room, after all, is a celebration of grandma’s cooking. The menu is no-frills Filipino food, something the owners observed was sorely lacking from Poblacion's food scene.
It helps that the team behind the restaurant is composed of OFWs who’ve just recently moved back to the Philippines. Co-owner Ros Juan shares that the nostalgia they felt while living abroad inspired them to rediscover the food they grew up with. This meant digging up recipes from their childhood, as well as meals they created when they were longing for a taste of home. The tapa for example is from Ros’ maternal grandmother—though it was her dad who decided to recreate the dish.
Something the team has in common is their families’ collective love for cooking and eating. They started with a rich repository of recipes and food memories that they then trimmed down to what Poblacion Dining Room now has to offer—which is still pretty extensive, ranging from Pika-Pika (appetizers) to Sabaw (soup), Gulay (vegetables), Kanin at Ulam (rice and viand), and more.
The Lumpiang Shanghai (P185) has a strong lip-smacking saltiness from the minced pork and shrimp, the wrapper fried thin and crisp without getting too greasy. The classic flavor will remind you of family reunions spent munching on these pika-pika.
The soups are subject to availability, as fresh ingredients can be seasonal. One of the soups on offer is the Chicken Tinola (P245). One sip is enough to get the heady flavor of poultry, with notes of spiciness from the ginger cutting through the richness. Served with crisp green papaya, this soup is perfect with steaming hot white rice.
The Gising Gising (P150) has an enjoyable heat from chopped green chili that will wake up your palate, with the creamy coconut milk balancing out the spiciness.
Everyone credits their mom’s adobo as a favorite, but Poblacion Dining Room’s Pork Adobo (P240) could be a close second. The adobo here is on the dry side, the tangy sauce having a hint of sweetness that sticks to the pork cubes, with layers of fat to make each cut more succulent. The meal comes with garlic rice, salted egg, and a fresh tomato and onion relish for the perfect comfort food.
If your go-to breakfast is tapa, then Poblacion Dining Room’s Beef Tapa (P300) is a must-try. Thinly sliced tender beef is marinated in a sticky sweet-salty glaze and served with garlic rice, fried egg, and fresh tomatoes.
Aligue Rice and Fried Dilis
The Aligue Rice and Fried Dilis (P285) has the right amount of indulgent fatty flavor from the aligue without causing umay, and the topping of crisp fried dilis or anchovies further help in cutting through the richness. Squeeze the sliced calamansi over your rice, the zesty flavor adding depth to the dish.
While comfort food is a term that is constantly thrown around, there’s really no other way to describe what Poblacion Dining Room has to offer. Their traditional Filipino flavors will remind you of home.
Photos by Majoy Siason