G/F Venice Grand Canal Mall, McKinley Hill, Taguig City
Open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Monday to Thursday) and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Friday to Sunday)
(SPOT.ph) Cobalabamba sounds like a song or a rhyme you can’t help but murmur under your breath, taking joy in how nice the syllables sound together. “Coba is a place in Mexico,” shares owner Aris Carino. “And ‘labamba’ are just syllables we added kasi it sounds fun.”
This colorful restaurant does spell fun in every corner. As cliché as it sounds, there’s no other way to describe the space but as a feast for the eyes. Neon signs feature their name as well as other Mexican icons, while vibrant murals adorn every bit of the colorful yellow-blue-and-red space. Its hip vibe makes us imagine they’d be an easy fit in a cool district like Bali, for example.
Though they do get their name and a lot of their decor from Mexico, Carino is reluctant to label Cobalabamba as a Mexican restaurant. “'Yong flavors
Like Pizzadillas, or pizzas that trade the usual dough for a flour tortilla. The switch is genius; the thin tortilla is sturdy enough to hold a variety of toppings without giving way, and its thinness lets the toppings shine through. The Coba Pizza Supreme (P305) comes loaded with tomato sauce, corn salsa, bell peppers, onions mozzarella, cheddar sausage, and chili con carne. The familiar, sharp savory-spiciness of Mexican food is present, but it comes in a new form—and the handy size of this dish makes this so easy to scarf down, too.
The Chili Cheese Taco Dog (P225) is another new vessel for familiar Mexican flavors. Even when smothered in the usual Mexican fixings of chili con carne, corn salsa, olives, jalapeño peppers, cheese sauce, mozzarella, and cheddar, the cheese sausage retains that delightful snap that lets you know you’ve got yourself a great dog.
While Cobalabamba executes the usuals—like the overloaded Doble Nachos (P285) or the Garlic and Shrimp Quesadilla (P295) stuffed with fresh and tender shrimp and aromatic garlic—excellently enough, they shine best in the rice meals, Mexican rice paired with grilled meat full of punchy flavors.
The Tipsy Pork (P205) is tender and lip-smacking from a sharp, sweet-smoky tequila-based marinade, with caramelized peanut sauce to balance things out. Though if there were one dish you’d come back for again and again, the Chipotle Chicken (P185) would be the strongest contender.
Photos by Majoy Siason