Brasserie opens in Makati to executives’ delight
It’s always comforting to find a good brasserie. A place with the elegance of a fine dining restaurant yet not as stuffy. Where you can hold a business meeting over steak or chomp a burger with a pint of beer after a long day.
All while wearing your blue jacket without feeling overdressed; at the same time, come in shorts for a quick bite outside and not feel like a trespasser. A place with food that is excellent without the drama or flair. And with a chef dedicated to good food and service without the need to impress guests.
In fact, on all four visits to Bondi & Bourke, an Australian restaurant in the Makati business district, Chef Wade Watson, whom I have never met, was always present. Which explains the success of this restaurant, which opened in July last year, to much hype.
Every blogger/Instagram “influencer,” it seemed, raved about it, which instantly sent a caveat emptor—buyer beware. If the PR groupies raved about it (and you will notice who they are because they all flock to the same restaurants and repeatedly rave about the restaurant pre-opening, take awesome photos that you realize later don’t match the taste of the food) then maybe it would be wise to let the dust settle a bit before visiting the scene.
But when the chef is always present, the result is usually success. Nothing like diligence to reap the best results.
Lucky for customers, these are results that you can taste. On all four visits, I am happy to report that the food was consistently comforting, delicious and excellently executed.
Most impressive—and much talked about—is its Australian burger. On the menu, it is simply described as “EVERYTHING the Australian way”—whatever that means! If that means done BIG, with the beef pounding with flavor, with the addition of eggs and bacon, and a surprise slab of steak, then hail Australia because this is one fine burger. It may just be the best burger in Metro Manila today.
Businessmen heading over for a power lunch will be pleased with the steaks, which are excellently executed as well. Patriotism begone, though. The steaks here are notably US prime, with the restaurant carrying Australian steaks either only on occasion or at least not on a daily basis.
The brasserie also serves steak pies, with varieties such as steak and bacon, steak and mushroom, or steak and cheese. This is great news for those of us who won’t have to travel all the way to Bag of Beans in Tagaytay just for a fix.
Weight watchers will be happy to know that the fish and chips here are also recommendable. It uses halibut, the sizes are generous, the batter is light and slightly crispy—just right.
For big groups, share a Parma. It is essentially chicken parmigiana but here served really flat, almost like a pizza. There are several varieties again, like the pies. The Classic Australian parma, with tomato sauce, forest ham, Mozzarella and Padano cheeses (Grana Padano, granted DOP in 1996, is one of the few cheeses that can possibly compete with Parmigiano-Reggiano), is especially addictive.
Even other staples on the menu are recommendable. The seafood chowder is creamy and comforting, and it did not scrimp on the seafood. Salads are offered as an alternative to fries on most items. But if you are after salad, don’t just settle for a side. The salads here are on the pricey side at P400 to P500, but it’s a heaping plate of greens.
At the beginning of the meal, while waiting for your orders, you can skip the focaccia bread (an extra P165) because it offers good ciabatta as house bread—even better than the focaccia!—enjoyable even without the dips. At the end of your meal, you can skip the chocolate tart, which is not its strong point. But that’s OK as you will already be stuffed, anyway.
Service is attentive but beware of the bottled water that waitresses are quick to offer. You might be shocked when the bill comes that this bottle of water is almost P400. Also pleased to note that the doorman and waiters treat handicapped guests with TLC (tender loving care!) so while it is closed on Sundays, you might also consider this restaurant for a Saturday or weekday family gathering with the lolos and lolas. It has a chef’s table/private room that can seat 24.
After six months in the business, Bondi (pronounced: bon-die) & Bourke is proving that it is not just about the hype. It is reliable, enjoyable, a bit on the pricey side, but that is justifiable … a great addition to the roster of Makati recommendable eateries. And evidently here to stay.
Bondi & Bourke. G/F Cattleya Condominium, Salcedo St., Legazpi Village, Makati. Reservations recommended. Call mobile +63998-8406268. Wheelchair accessible. Open daily 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. except Sundays. Major credit cards accepted.
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