Hong Kong's CHINO Opens First Branch in Manila
The Mexican-Japanese restaurant has finally arrived on our shores.
G/F One Bonifacio High, 28th Street corner 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City.
Open from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m. (Tuesday to Sunday)
(SPOT.ph) It seems that Bonifacio Global City never runs out of new things to offer. CHINO MNL is one such thing; while it doesn't quite jump out at you from the outside, it's pretty shining, shimmering, splendid on the inside.
In their first Manila branch, the Mexican restaurant from Hong Kong combines cold concrete with the warmth of a good ol' wood finish, plus the promise of some carefully curated booze and fresh ingredients—three guesses which one we'll prioritize—this foray into fusion food is definitely something to try at least once. Even if just to say that you did it.
Market Fish Ceviche
Fusing Japanese ingredients and cooking techniques with Mexican recipes, CHINO MNL offers street-style tacos with a bit of flair and sophistication. The Market Fish Ceviche (P545) is a happy, little solo plate if we ever saw one, with its just-this-side-of-sharp citrus dayap and toasted cashews. The contrast of textures work together as well as the flavors do. Plus, you can be sure it's made out of the catch of the day.
Blue Corn Chips and Chorizo Queso Fundido
A plate of Blue Corn Chips (P175) might not have you singing all the wrong lyrics to Colors of the Wind, but the Chorizo Queso Fundido (P445) probably could. Mostly because chorizo and gooey melted cheese can't ever not be good.
Crispy Fish Taco
Wagyu Beef Taco
All the Tacos have the most obvious Japanese elements to them. The Crispy Fish (P245), for example, has a light and crunchy exterior that will remind you of a really good tempura. Topped with their homemade salsa fresca and a drizzle of Chipotle-Kewpie dressing, the seafood taco makes for a great beer match. Meanwhile, the Wagyu Beef (P285) is just as tasty, only it uses melt-in-your mouth Wagyu beef strips, pickled jalapeño for a punch of acidity, and some creamy guacamole. The latter also has a touch of Chipotle and Japanese mayo, as well as a layer of salsa fresca just to confuse you a little bit. But in a good way.
Chicken & Egg Tostada
For a little more adventure (and ooze and crunch), the Chicken & Egg Tostada (P245) is your best bet, with a scoop of guac and a tangy tomato-based chicken stew served like a classic pulled-pork filling. It's also probably the most fun to post on Instagram—poke that yolk, y’all.
The next time you want a chill nightout over plates of street-style tacos, nachos, and some booze, head over to CHINO MNL. Looks like you have another place to add to your checklist.
Photos by Vincent Coscolluela