The Filipino palate is generally easy to please. Any dish served with hot, steaming rice can be considered a hearty meal. However, there are just some viands, that when paired with rice, make a glorious ensemble.
And so one could just imagine how my curiosity was piqued when I saw the sign outside this establishment that says 8065 Bagnet. For a while there, I thought it to be just a mere street name and number, but being familiar in my area, I knew that such street did not exist.
Welcome to 8065 Bagnet -– where the deep fried, crunchy pork of Ilocos is Star. Simply put, avoid this place when you are 1) wary about your weight; 2) Extremely obsessed about your health; and 3) ...I can’t think of any other reason why you should, because it is just unthinkable how one can resist the Bagnet’s goodness.
So there I was, at dinnertime, lured by the signage. Upon entering, I noticed the dimly lit room crammed with a mishmash of furniture, art pieces, and books. This could definitely pass as an art enthusiast’s residence – easygoing and free-spirited. The place attracts a good mix of clientele ranging from office workers, call center peeps, to couples, families, and groups of friends who frequent the place, both for the food and the laid-back vibe it offers.
The homey ambiance of 8065 Bagnet makes it more than just a place to eat. It made me want to kick my feet up and possibly have a few rounds of beer. But not without having sampled the delectable Ilocano dish.
On the menu were the essentials - main course, side dishes, and beverages. It was easy to stay focused, as I can be indecisive with my order when I see a lot of items on the menu. The house specialty is of course, Bagnet, which comes in 6 different varieties – Original (P100), Kare-Kare (P105), Sisig (P110), Spicy Ginataan (P105), Curry (P105) and Binagoongan (P105). These all come with rice and free soup. But if you opt to forego the carbo, then you may do so by ordering the full dish at P180.
Of the list, I ordered the Kare-Kare, while my boyfriend, Lundle – the Spicy Ginataan. On the side, we had Ensaladang Talong (P35).
The dish arrived brimming with Kare-Kare sauce, a cup of rice, and a sparse amount of vegetables. The Bagnet was golden brown in appearance, which meant that the pork was never soaked in the sauce prior to serving. I like the idea that the sauce acts as an enhancement, rather than the predominant flavor of the dish. The rice was moist and sticky which made the meal even more remarkable.
Spicy Ginataang Bagnet
Like a true Bicolano, the Spicy Ginataang Bagnet satiated Lundle’s craving for spicy food. Unlike the Kare-Kare, this one was chopped into smaller bits and pieces which gave the dish more spunk. The creaminess of the coconut milk and the saltiness of the Bagnet proved to be an interesting combination that I’m sure many would enjoy. For an added flair, pair it with the Bagoong Rice (P30).
For sidings, the Ensaladang Talong came in a plateful of veggies such as onions, tomatoes, hilaw na mangga, grilled eggplant and bagoong. It provided a good balance in between meals.
A refreshing Frozen Buko Pandan (Php45) concluded dinner. But some pounding and scraping took place before I got a scoop as it was rock-hard when it was served.
As a unique attraction, the owners of this place hold Quiz Nights on Weekends (and sometimes on weekdays). This is where customers can test their intellectual abilities and answer trivia questions on entertainment, current events, general information, and just about anything and everything. And those who answer the most questions correctly win buckets of beer and free bagnet for pulutan. Now, that’s a treat!
They say that you are what you eat. But if the offer is too good to resist as the “Bagnet,” then fine, I am what I eat. Who cares. We only live once anyway.
How To Get There:
Coming from Buendia, turn right at Pasong Tamo (Chino Roces Ave.), then left at Estrella Street. Bagnet 8065 sits amidst rows of townhouses. They are open from 11am to 12mn from Mondays to Saturdays, and 5pm-12mn on Sundays.