Pino – Malingap St. QC

After Karen’s ukulele gig, we were all hungry so we went over to Pino on Malingap St. I thought it was in Maginhawa but the interwebz has schooled me with this change of location. I had read about this place somewhere online and was really curious about the Karekareng Bagnet because that right there is a winning combination. For those who have absolutely no idea what Karekare or Bagnet is then read s’more. It was a Saturday when we were there so the place was pretty packed. We had to wait a bit for a table inside. Get a table inside if you can, it’s really, really hot out back.
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For starters, Carina ordered Nori Cheesesticks (Php 165) which were really good and different from any I’ve ever tried. This isn’t the average cheesestick you’ll find at some pool party. One order comes with 8 sticks, drizzled in strawberry syrup, a spoonful of pesto and each perfectly fried cheesestick wrapped in with a strip of nori. The combination was genius and I’d never have thought of it myself. Whoever owns this place is so brilliant, I wish they’d open a branch in Makati or Taguig or something, just so I could eat their food more often.
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Pino has a vegetarian alternatives under the name Pipino. Out of curiosity having read about it, Carina decided to try the Watermelon Steak (Php 220) as her main dish. She said someone tweeted about a grilled slice of watermelon tasting like actual steak. We all wanted to find out. When it got to us, we were all skeptics. I mean, it was literally a slice of pakwan. How could it possibly replicate the taste of beef? Low and behold, it weirdly did. It tasted kind of like a rare grilled steak. This is a great Lenten alternative since tis the season that people can’t really meat it out. After the meal, she said that watermelon slice was actually pretty filling. It was served with this mashed taro, replicating mashed potatoes, some asparagus and mushroom. Genius! I can’t wait to try this at home.
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Karekare is a Philippine stew dish made with peanut sauce, mixed in with vegetables and ox tail. People usually enjoy this with bagoong, a condiment made up of either tiny fermented fish or shrimp and salt. Bagnet is deep fried pork belly, it’s really crisp and juicy and just so good. The combination resulted in Pino’s Karekareng Bagnet (Php 245) served with a generous helping of bagoong rice. As expected, the karekareng bagnet was excellent. Karen, Liana and I wished though that they just served us plain rice with bagoong on the side, instead of bagoong rice because it came off a bit too salty. We like being able to have that kind of control with our food. Next time I go to Pino, I’d still order this dish but request for that. Also, the serving of this is pretty huge, you can afford to share it with one other person.
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Karen, Carina and I shared an Iced Tea Pitcher (Php 80) because it came out way cheaper than us having to order a glass each. This serving was just right for the three of us, I believe.
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I got Coconut Ice Cream (Php 35) for dessert and this was the actual serving size. Their ice cream is homemade and really good but I find the servings tiny so I probably wont get this anymore. Overall, Pino’s something I’d definitely go back to. They had a lot of other interesting things on the menu worth trying but I’ll have to wait til I’m in the area.

Pino/Pipino Vegetarian Food by Pino
39 Malingap St., Teachers Village
Quezon City, Metro Manila
Philippines
Contact: 441-1773

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