restaurants in Metro Manila

Locavore’s new Estancia-exclusive dishes include bistek pintxos, inasal tacos

Steph Arnaldo

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Locavore’s new Estancia-exclusive dishes include bistek pintxos, inasal tacos
Pulutan time! Locavore's new Bulalo Pintxos is also worth trying out.

MANILA, Philippines – Sizzling sinigang and oyster sisig aside, homegrown Filipino restaurant Locavore has more gastronomical tricks up its sleeve, and they’re only available at its newest branch in Estancia Mall, Pasig City so far!

LOCAVORE ESTANCIA. The Filipino restaurant opens its newest branch in the Pasig City mall. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Locavore opened its Estancia Mall branch in June this year, launching five new branch-exclusive pica-pica dishes and cocktails catering towards the bustling area’s after-work, nightlife crowd – call it fancy pulutan, if you will.

PRIVATE AREA. The new branch houses a closed-off outdoor area. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Locavore’s chefs conceptualized the new dishes with this target market in mind – it’s got to be bar chow that’s easy to eat, convenient to share, and yet still hearty and filling with its own Filipino-inspired spin.

More from Locavore

“Estancia’s vibrant community and diverse food scene align with our vision of celebrating the rich cuisine of the Philippines while also infusing it with a fresh twist. We have a commitment to sourcing locally and creating innovative dishes,” Locavore said, deciding to merge Filipino flavors with Spain’s traditional pintxos (small snack typically eaten in bars).

Crunchy upon first bite with juicy and moist chicken in the center, Locavore’s Inasalitos (P280) have minced inasal manok as its filling, topped with salsa and labuyo aioli, stuffed inside a delicately crispy lumpia taco shell.

INASALITOS. Bacolod’s chicken inasal is featured inside a lumpia taco shell. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Each miniature taco is easy to finish in two bites, since it’s also light in flavor and not so heavy on the tummy. The slightly smoky chicken works well with the creamy aioli (which isn’t as spicy as anticipated), brightened by the fresh veggies.

For carnivorous diners who love the Filipino Bistek Tagalog dish, the Bistek Pintxos (P450) is a must-try (and a newfound favorite). Imagine your home-cooked bistek, but elevated using juicy and tender beef tenderloin as the star (no chewiness here).

BISTEK PINTXOS. Beef tenderloin cooked “bistek” style. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Savory and slightly tangy tenderloin bistek is set atop grilled kesong puti, truffle aioli, and red onions on a crunchy crostini, resulting in one satisfying bite of different textures but familiar flavors.

Another indulgent option is the Bulalo Pintxos (P560), an interactive pulutan dish featuring roasted bone marrow, pickled labanos (radish), and a sticky, sweet-savory pares jam made from shredded beef short plate and caramelized onions.

BULALO PINTXOS. The best part of bulalo – the fatty bone marrow – is used as a spread here. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

It’s easy to enjoy – just scrape some of that gloriously fatty bone marrow and spread it on the buttery, crunchy crostini. The tart pickled radish on top helps cut through the richness, and the novel pares jam adds a caramelized sweetness to the unctuous appetizer.

READY-TO-EAT. The bulalo pintxos is meant to be enjoyed in one hefty bite. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Another favorite would have to be the BBM – Bagnet, Buro, Mustasa (P650), also a do-it-yourself platter that features thin-cut, crispy, golden-brown bagnet chips with burong hipon (fermented rice with shrimp), mustasa (mustard leaves), and pickled mango with gochujaru (Korean spice powder).

BBM. Bagnet, buro, and mustasa are enjoyed altogether with toyomansi and pickled mango. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

As a fan of Pampanga’s fermented delicacy, this dish tingled my tastebuds – the tangy-salty fermented rice worked well wrapped in the peppery mustasa leaf, accentuated by the crunch from the bagnet chips. The pickled mango adds some freshness, and the toyomansi on the side adds extra umami.

THAT’S A WRAP. Fresh mustasa is the vessel for all the works. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Locavore also offers a new Yakitori Platter (P580), made up of grilled chicken wings, chicken thigh meat, gizzard, liver, togarashi, nori, annato aioli, tocino butter, miso butter, and spiced suka.

Bottoms up

Locavore’s seven new gorgeous (and strong!) cocktails are crafted by veteran mixologist Lee Watson with food pairings in mind. According to Watson, a good cocktail can either stimulate appetite as an aperitif, complement a dish, cleanse the palate between dishes, or help settle your stomach as a digestif.

“The development of new cocktail recipes heavily relies on the food being served at the restaurant. By identifying specific ingredients and distinct flavors, we made cocktails that perfectly complement the taste of the meals,” Locavore said.

One is the Antibayotiko Penicillin Style (P350), packing a gingery punch with Benchmark Bourbon, zing ginger liqueur, honey, lemon juice, islay spray, angostura, and ginger candy.

HANDCRAFTED COCKTAILS. From left to right: Hardin, Antibayotiko, and Balakyot ni Paloma. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

If you can stand the heat, Balakyot ni Paloma (P390) is a fiery one, made with chili-infused cazadores reposado, sugar syrup, lemon juice, grapefruit juice soda, and smoked rock salt.

For something lighter, the beautifully purple Hardin (P390) has Bombay Sapphire, Giffard elder flower liqueur, dried butterfly pea syrup, lemon juice, sonic, and botanical.

Dedicated to serving the late-night crowd, Locavore Estancia will be open past midnight on certain days of the week. Here’s to hoping these branch-exclusive dishes reach Locavore’s other branches soon!

Locavore is located in Brixton Barrio Kapitolyo in Pasig; Forbestown in Taguig; Valero St. in Makati; S’Maison in the MOA Complex, Pasay; Eastwood Mall in Quezon City; SM City Bacoor; and Estancia Mall in Pasig. –

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Steph Arnaldo

If she’s not writing about food, she’s probably thinking about it. From advertising copywriter to freelance feature writer, Steph Arnaldo finally turned her part-time passion into a full-time career. She’s written about food, lifestyle, and wellness for Rappler since 2018.