Fort Bonifacio Unit C, The Fort Entertainment Center, 5th Avenue corner 26th Street, Bonifacio Global City
Contact: 519-6815, 0917-874-7738, 0917-861-2702
Open from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. (Monday to Saturday)
(SPOT.ph) The bright neon sign at the door is hard to miss as you step into Early Night?, where a big chunk of Aracama used to be. Instead of an upscale Filipino restaurant and bar, you’ll be transported to a more casual concept that attracts the nearby crowd of office-goers who want to de-stress from the demands of their nine-to-five jobs.
The same management team runs both establishments, but “Early Night? is a place where people can just go for a drink without the need to dress up or pay for door charge. It's a place where you can come as you are and have one drink and an early night,” says Managing Partner Pamela Solilapsi.
You’ll find many conversation starters at Early Night?—from the bold calligraphy statements painted on the walls and vertical garden with potted plants, to the multi-colored ceiling fans and the color-blocked walls. It adds to the charm of the place and gives it a trendier vibe.
“We were inspired by the success of Poblacion [Makati] and thought it would be cool to bring that carefree, laidback vibe here in Bonifacio Global City. At the same time, infuse it with our vision of what a watering hole type place in 2017 should be. Change is always good. In our case, it’s good, colorful, fun, young and eclectic,” shares Chef Fernando Aracama, who's also the brains behind Aracama and a long-time advocate of Filipino cuisine.
Early Night? keeps to its Filipino roots and guests can cross-order from Aracama restaurant. “We serve delicious, affordable, Pinoy street food. Most of which are still made from scratch and everything is cooked to order,” revealed the chef. Rice bowls are available for those who want a full meal, and there’s also an assortment of appetizers to complement your drinks. “You can just go up to the bar where we have big jars of garlic peanuts, spicy dilis, and shing-a-ling. It’s a sari-sari store meets beer garden menu. Fun, campy, and familiar.”
Chili Chippy Pie
Probably the most unique item on the menu is the Chili Chippy Pie (P90) that is served inside a small Chippy bag. Inside is a mishmash of chili con carne, tomato concasse, chives, spring onion, sour cream, a pinch of togarashi, and of course, the corn chips. Similar to a typical beef taco, it brings back childhood memories and, at the same time, delivers something new and different.
If there’s one thing we’d go back for again and again, it’s the Sisig Fries (P180), which is like the local version of Canada’s poutine. But instead of cheese curds, it has shredded pork sisig, slices of red onion, chopped green chilis, minced green onion, and a mayo-based sauce. It’s salty, tangy, and spicy all at once. It’s so addicting that you can’t stop at just one bite! Best when paired with a cold beer (Early Night? will soon release its beer bucket promos).
Lechon Kawali & Mang Tomas Sarsa
Those far from being health-conscious would enjoy the Lechon Kawali & Mang Tomas Sarsa (P195). On top of the beautiful mound of Java rice are chunks of liempo fried to a crisp and a serving of pickled carrots to cut all the richness. On the other hand, the pork rind remains crunchy even after some minutes have passed while the thick lechon sauce is the perfect pairing for the pork because it adds flavor and depth to the deep-fried dish.
Another rice bowl that’s worth a try is the traditional Tapsilog (P195) that comes with garlic rice, slices of beef tapa, a sunny-side-up egg, and pickled carrots. When hunger strikes at 12 midnight, this will surely satisfy your cravings.
Whatever your age, Early Night? would be the ideal venue to share drinks with your colleagues after work, or make it a pit stop as you wait out rush-hour traffic. There are beers, standard drinks, and wines, but the must-tries are the cocktails that come in pitchers, too.
Their Sangria (P450) is served with citrus slices and fresh fruit
The Cosmopolitan (P140) is a cherry-topped cocktail made famous by Sex and The City
The cool blue hue of Kamikaze (P100) makes it appear harmless
The Long Island (P100) is a potent mixture of rum, tequila, vodka, and gin
With their budget-friendly meals and funky vibe, there's no such thing as too late at Early Night? Where else can you get quality street food by the terrace and enjoy no-frills Filipino favorites? After all, it’s happy hour all night—until around two a.m. anyway.
Photos by Ian Santos