Never liked eating in a club? URBN Bar and Kitchen will definitely change your mind.
Located at the third level of Fort Pointe II at The Fort Complex, BGC
Even if its name suggests long VIP lines, rowdy ravers and recreational, erm, diversions—thou shall not judge. Sure, late at night, it’s a bar with dancing laser lights, synchronized TV screens and heart-thumping music. Before the chaos and the drink-a-thons, however, URBN is a proper restaurant armed with a kitchen that dishes out ridiculously good food. Who knew I’d find such a treasure trove of delicious eats in a club?
It’s wise to start off with a healthy dish, because their menu tends to skew towards the indulgent side.
URBN’s House Salad (P220) is a good starter. It is a simple but tasty mix of greens, poached pears, candied walnuts, shaved parmesan, and raspberry vinaigrette. The candied walnuts fare well with the tangy, fruity dressing.
URBN’s House Salad
Of course, there’s the usual bar fare, such as URBN’s Home Made Potato Chips (P250) with pesto and aioli dip. Served on a small silver bucket, the chips are thin and lightly salted. I favor the pesto dip more, which is light and simple, but aioli is perfect for those who want a rich, creamy sauce with their potato crisps.
Chef Benjo Tuason, the main man behind these indulgences, incorporated his family’s recipes into URBN’s menu. Bless him for not hogging these culinary masterpieces both worthy of Instagram and word-of-mouth press.
Not be missed are his favorite dishes: the Crispy Duck Leg (P560), Seared Scallops (P590), and Chicken Fried Steak (P390).
Crispy Duck Leg
Look at that delicate layer of golden brown skin covering the succulent duck meat. It’s crispy as they said it would be, and so good, it may induce cravings even days after. The tender duck leg sits atop a bed of mushroom risotto, braised carrots, and then drizzled with wine jus. Eating this while taking in the industrial look and feel of the place can transport you to a super hip night out, in say, Brookyln, New York. It’s that good.
Chicken Fried Steak
Not to be mistaken as chicken (which will probably happen many times, because it’s named “chicken”), this hunk of a dish is actually sirloin steak. Also called CFS, or country fried steak, this dish’s origin is actually hard to determine. Some say it is a descendant of the German schnitzel; nevertheless, it is very popular in Oklahoma and Texas, and often associated with Southern cuisine.
URBN’s Chicken Fried Steak is coated and deep-fried in buttermilk batter, then served with mushroom gravy and deliciously-comforting mashed potatoes that possess a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg. As much as every inch is calorie-laden, every bite of it utterly brings joy.
The Seared Scallops with cauliflower puree and jamon is an instant pleaser. As I savored the contrast of the browned parts of the scallop against its plump and succulent meat inside, I cannot help but marvel at the amount of care given to this dish to make it outstanding. Add the sweetness of the light cauliflower puree and the smoky flavor of the jamon crisp, and you get one of the best-tasting scallop dishes in Manila.
Decadence upon decadence, that’s how to best describe URBN’s menu, as you delve in and study it more. Here’s one of their proudest creations: the Double Baked Manchego Souffle (P395). If the name gives you shivers, wait until you’ve tried it.
Double Baked Manchego Souffle
The yellow fluff that resembles mashed potato is a mound of buttery Manchego cheese, which is aged between 60 days and two years. Of course, a piece of crispy jamon Serrano sits on top of the cheese souffle, while it bathes in the warmth of the Béchamel sauce. Sinful. Orgasmic. Resort to name-calling, if you will. This dish will make cheese lovers weak in the knees.
Mac and Choreese
Another cheese creation is the Mac and Choreese (P290), which is a hot bowl of macaroni, chorizo and cheese. When poked, the crusty cheese will reveal a steam of lovely-smelling cheese, and al dente macaroni baked with smoky chorizo bits. It is very good comfort food—delicious on its own—but can also equally complement the other meat dishes as a side dish.
Australian Rack of Lamb
To end the debauchery, the grand finale was brought out. Unanimously voted as the star of the night, the Australian Rack of Lamb (P960) is a whole rack of tender lamb covered in herb and horseradish crust, and then served with roasted pumpkin and garlic yogurt sauce.
The roasted squash is sweet, offering a refreshing break from the lamb. I didn’t detect any gamey aftertaste, which is testament to how well-prepared it was.
The meat glistened and beckoned in its reddish-pink glory as the herb crust provided balance to the meat’s flavor. The yogurt sauce lent a tangy touch to an utterly satisfying carnivorous treat.
If you happen to eat at URBN on a Monday, take advantage of their buy one take one promo on flavored mojitos and San Miguel Light beer. Nothing like good alcohol as you feast on meat.
If gluttony is a sin, skipping dessert at URBN is being on all levels of “Dante’s Inferno.” How can one say no to these?
Salted Caramel Cheesecake
An interesting twist to a famous classic, the Salted Caramel Cheesecake is literally flecked with rock salt. It is very creamy, akin to egg custard, and is actually mildly sweet despite the overload drizzle of caramel sauce.
Every dessert aficionado knows making a soufflé is hard. Try URBN’s Mango Souffle (P300) or Chocolate Souffle (P300) to experience how a real soufflé should be.
Chocolate Love-Ah Cake
Lastly, thou shall not miss the Chocolate Love-Ah Cake (P250)—which is dark chocolate cake with olive oil and sea salt. Crack it open and watch hot chocolate fudge ooze out of it and eventually join the pool of green olive oil and the layer of chopped walnuts underneath. Get a forkful of cake—with fudge, a bit of salt, and a dab of oil; add a bit of vanilla ice cream and let everything make sweet love in your mouth.
At the rate their going, URBN Bar and Kitchen is rapidly changing the game and proving to be a real contender on the bar and restaurant scene. It won’t be long until people will actually go there to dine, and not just drink. After all, another good reason to dine in a club? Dancing the calories away.