Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Restaurant Review: Twenty Two Jupiter in Makati City, Philippines

When we are invited to a bar, we'd usually think of alcoholic drinks.  As to bistro bars, I get the impression that they'd most probably be serving just cocktail food along with alcoholic drinks. Thus, it was a pleasant and most welcome surprise to discover that Twenty Two Jupiter Bistro Bar in Makati actually has a menu filled with good food and drinks at reasonable prices!

According to Twenty Two Jupiter's President, Vince Tanjutco, the 12 businessmen behind the concept were looking for a place they can go to after work. "We wanted a place where people can talk, where they serve good food, have good drinks, and a little entertainment," he described. "People can come here for lunch and dinner. Then, at around 9:30PM, we dim the lights and become a bar with live entertainment. But it's a bar with good food!"

I had lunch there the other day and experienced for myself what he was talking about. Honestly, the appetizers alone were already very filling and tasted really great! 

The Four Cheese Croquetas (P300) are best eaten warm because the cheese are still melted. It's great to partner with the Seared Tuna (P350) that combines Mediterranean and Asian flavors. I found the inclusion of aromatic herbs fascinating and Chef Marco Legasto told me they used fennel, caraway, and other spices to come up with that unique flavor.

Appetizers in sampler portions
Nachos (top), Shrimp and Chorizo Gambas (bottom)
(L-R middle) Croqueta, Scallop, Tuna, Jalapeño Popper
"Everything here is from scratch. No shortcuts, no preservatives, nothing bottled or powdered. No cubes," enumerated Chef Marco. "We use fresh herbs, boil bones, and make all the sauces, even our own chorizos and longganisa. Watch out coz we'll be serving Chorizo Cheesesteak Sandwiches soon!" 

Paella Negra
The Nachos with Chorizo Cheese (P290) are likewise great to munch on. Imagine, chorizo with nachos?! It was like eating a delicious taco without the shell. I didn't touch the Jalapeño Poppers (P290) though. My table mates said they were too hot on the tongue and I don't want to take chances as I have a low tolerance to spicy food.

Stuffed Squid
A new favorite would also have to be the Shrimp Saffron and Chorizo Gambas (P350). It was tempting to ask for rice to go with it. The Scallops with Foie Gras and Mushroom (P550) is equally divine! I could probably eat a dozen in one sitting if I won't be eating anything else.

Lamb Rendang
For those who want heavier meals, there are a lot of choices at Twenty Two Jupiter, too! The Paella Negra (P650) with aoili is highly recommended! It's really, really good! Pair it with the Stuffed Squid (P400), filled with indulgent bacon and cheese, that is cooked to tender perfection. It's soft and not difficult to chew unlike squid served in other places where overcooking makes it rubbery.

I was pleased that the Lamb Rendang (P485) didn't have the strong aftertaste that most lamb dishes leave in one's mouth. Lovers of Malaysian food would enjoy this!

Of course, the meat lover in me found a soft spot for the Tenderloin with Spiced Taro (P670) and the crispylicious Bagnet with Thai Sauce (P400). Both are bombshells I'd love to order again next time I visit this bistro bar!

The Wild Mushroom Truffle Pasta (P420) is creamy, yummy, and has that smoky flavor I loved. No wonder it's one of their bestsellers! Similarly so was the Slow Cooked Ox Tripe and Tail or what we're more familiar with as Callos. Again, I was tempted to ask for extra rice but refrained myself because I felt I should simply enjoy the variety of flavors that were dancing inside my mouth.

Ox Tripe and Tail
The ultimate indulgence of the day though, I think, would have to be the close-your-eyes-on-first-bite-because-its-that-good Bone Marrow and Foie Gras Burger (P500). The patty is moist and scrumptiously tasty. 

Bone Marrow and Foie Gras Burger
We wrapped off lunch with a slice each of Rum Cake (P230) with butter dulce gatas sauce and Carrot Cake (P200) with cream cheese and icing. It's a sweet treat to end a gastronomic adventure.

Rum Cake (sampler size)
Now I no longer wonder why people are talking about Twenty Two Jupiter being not just any other bistro bar. The atmosphere is cozy and the interior design is fascinating. If you want to eat there while listening to music, catch live performances from 9:30PM onwards every day. You'll get to hear acoustic bands of different genre. Fridays are for 80s music while Saturdays have a DJ or R&B musicians. Brazilian and jazz bands have also played there recently. 

Carrot Cake (sampler size)
So, if you're someone who enjoys dining on dishes inspired by international cuisine, this is a place for you and your friends and family. Twenty Two Jupiter, with a 60 pax seating capacity, even accommodates private events. They have parking slots in front of the establishment and across the street in Buendia Car Exchange. In the evenings, street parking is also allowed.

Twenty Two Jupiter is located at 22 Jupiter St. Bel-Air, Makati. It's open Monday to Saturday 11AM to 2PM and 5PM onwards. For more information, call (02) 556-7097, like/follow 22Jupiter on Facebook and Instagram and 22_jupiter on Twitter.  

* photos without watermark are owned by Twenty Two Jupiter

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