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17 April 2008

Restaurant Review: Pino Bar and Resto

Pino Bar and Restaurant
122 Maginhawa St., UP Village, Diliman, QC
Type of Cuisine: Asian Fusion
Average cost per person: Php 250-300
Overall Rating: starstarstarhalfstarnostar

Part of what we wanted to do through this blog was to showcase the wide range of campus (and around campus) food. From cheap roadside stalls, to famous long standing institutions, to new and fairly undiscovered gems. Pino Bar is one such place that belongs in the third category.

Walking into the restaurant we were greeted by a very interesting wall doodle and simple heavy wooden chairs and tables. When we arrived the place was quite warm. The waiters turned on the airconditioning upon our arrival but it did not help much to cool the place down. The staff, however, was attentive and were knowledgeable of the menu.

We were pleased to see that we were given the option of ordering Pomelo Salad or Pumpkin Soup as a complimentary starter to each entree. Not many people are used to having an appetizer, or see it as unnecessary but these two simple choices reminded us of what appetizers are really supposed to be about, a lead up to the big show.

The prices are a bit steep for your average university student, and the servings relatively small. It is, however, worth trying, especially if you're fond of asian fusions and quirky little restos that are relatively unknown.

Pomelo Salad (comes with main course)
What arrived was a adequate serving of mixed greens with a few large chunks of pomelo and a light vinaigrette. It was very light and refreshing, not at all like the salads that are heavily laden with fatty dressing and condiments. The contrast of the colours was very pleasing to the eyes.

Pumpkin Soup (comes with main course)
We were very impressed by the presentation. Taking into consideration that it is just soup, they managed to make it look very interesting and palatable. The soup itself was smooth, thick and homey, the cream and pinch of cinnamon making the flavour of the soup that much better.

Salmon Belly Rolls (Php 190)
Another dish that was beautifully presented -- A bite into the deep fried sushi roll's crunchy outer layer of nori and wasabi batter yields to a juicy bite of salmon belly. There was just the right balance of the richness of the salmon fat and meat. It was quite good, and since there were 10 pieces, quite a good appetizer for a large group.

Fish Krapao (Php 240)
The mango-cilantro fried rice bed was a good accompaniment to the bokchoy and well done fish. Although the rice was a bit on the dry side, it was fine. Although as a dish itself the flavors don't quite match up to each other and alone seem quite bland, although there was a noticeable spicy dimension to the dish.

Chicken Confit (Php 250)
The chicken fiber was too soft and too short and the dish, overall, was a bit dry. They were, also, rather skimpy with the sauce. The mashed sweet potato had a few stray chunks but was otherwise creamy and helped balance out the savouriness of the chicken. The cherry tomatoes were sweet and juicy.

Lemongrass Chicken (Php 220)
The first thing that stood out was the bright red pickled stalk of lemongrass, which did not at all compliment the dish, and seemed to take the term "fusion" too far. The kangkong tempura garnish was a nice complement, but the mashed sweet potato was not really smooth or creamy enough. The grilled chicken inasal was well cooked, and the Thai-inspired lemongrass sauce made the dish quite enjoyable. The portions, although seemingly small at first, turned out to be just right.

Thai Fish Fillet (Php 230)
Fish was covered in a thin layer of breading and was tender and had a lightly savoury taste. The tom yam sauce had an interesting tang to it and nicely complemented the sweet mashed potatoes. Overall, it was quite good, although nothing to get excited about. The portions were also rather small and may leave you still a bit peckish (nothing an order from their selection of desserts can't cure).

Tofu Cheesecake (Php 120)
Something more could be done with the presentation, but this is a must try for anyone who has never had tofu cheesecake before. (It is, however, by no means the best tofu cheesecake we've had.) Although slightly grainy from the tofu, it earns points for not being overly sweet. We must admit, however, that this is an acquired taste as the tofu aftertaste is quite strong. This is a light and healthy way to end your meal.

Mango Banana Roll
(Php 110)
A bit tough, but otherwise delicious. It seemed like there was a bit of langka thrown in there, but it probably was just the mango. A very good dish to end with, and is a definite must-try.

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Reviewed by Bong, Hannah, Harrell, Joey, Pats and Tiff.
Photography by Joey.


  1. hurray!mukha cyang fine-dining style yung presentation ng food. quality not quantity.haha

  2. to be honest, i didn't really enjoy pino bar all that much :P (i gave it 3 stars overall, but it's a majority rule thinger for what goes up as our overall rating, so yeah :9)

    i actually thought it a bit overrated. the food could definitely have been better, and i thought it overpriced.

    but, yes, their presentation/plating was very nice. :) thanks for the comment, ainnaaaa! i hope you continue reading and commenting on our blog ♥

  3. I agree with joey. Only thing that caught my attention was the tofu cheesecake. It was good though for me anyway hahaha

  4. LOL. so why is our rating 4 stars then???

    ah. wait. because bong, hannah and harrell (and tiff?) gave it 4 stars each?

  5. White-haired JournalistApril 26, 2008 at 8:01 PM

    I'm impressed with this blog. I see a great team here with very bright futures. :) The articles are well written and I visit it often as an alternative to all the food sites I visit. Keep up the good work guys! May I suggest an in-depth review of a single dish where everyone will have their say in it? That would be fun... :)

    -somewhat a chef in his own way,
    White-haired Journalist

  6. White-haired Journalist
    thankyouu!! we'll do our very best to make sure that the quality of our work will be constant, if not better, in our future entries :)

    and, yes, definitely going to be having features on certain dishes and food, especially those native to the Philippines. So please do watch out for that!

    thank you so much again for commenting and for all your kind words! it is that sort of feedback we hope and strive to get from our readers :)

    we hope that you keep on reading our blog :) and we certainly hope to hear from you more!



    Yeah. That would be cool!

    Like American Idol but on food. Err. I kid, I kid.

  8. Tiff
    Who's WHJ? Wu, Hannah/Harrell, Joey?

    I didn't get your joke. -_-

  9. The photos are mouthwatering (Joey, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, great photos!), but saw that you (Joey..and Patshuang319?) didn't like it much.

    Is it still worth going there just to try it out?

  10. Marco
    well, the food is okay :P i just find it a bit overrated. was expecting something more, but i suppose if you're not expecting much, this would be good :)

    if you're curious, i say go right ahead :9

    and thank you again! haha :) definitely making my night

  11. For a restaurant that edges on "fine dining" (I'm thinking that's what they're aiming for -- the presentation was awesome), it's not AS expensive so it might be worth the try. But that might just be me. LOL.

  12. hey guys. we just re-opened pino and it's under new management! pls drop by!

    -chef ed

  13. why do you spell flavor with a u? aren't you using american english?


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