I could hear my mother telling me off in my head after gobbling off not just three dishes for a snack. Partnered with five different cocktail drinks from the bar, together with my husband, we were treated with Hooch's best-sellers and mainstays and went burping our way out of the restaurant.
You see, my mom who lives in Milan with my dad have been so conscious of their health and have adapted the simple meals of the Italians and it is against their dining etiquette to burp when one is full from eating too much.
Maiale is an Italian word for pig or something like it, figuratively. Well I couldn't blame her or anyone else, since we literally pigged out. And I myself was startled, because I didn't realize Hooch can be all that. Yes it was at the all new version of Hooch!.
Believe me or not, Hooch is more than just a silly watering hole for your regular libation . This veritable beverage shrine is gunning to have a rebranding of sorts. Though many would definitely attest that they do serve up a menu worthy of a gourmand but only a few foodies know.
I guess I have been hiding under the rock all this time, or maybe I haven't been in this side of Makati CBD for a casual meal.
As you enter, you can really tell that this neighborhood bar is designed for people who enjoy a great drink either with a company of friends or with someone special, the long bar which holds hundreds upon hundreds of liqueurs and wines somehow defines that.
The place exudes a manly vibe, though there are pieces that would suggest otherwise. The colors of blue-green and teal, make impressions in the subdued lighting inside the venue. Making this a good ground for exquisite events. The wooden floor is also accentuated with these black and white ceramic tiles.
Hooch has been the top choice in the area of Salcedo Village for executives to hang out after a grueling work day, either to socializes or just grab a spiked drink.
Though owned by a British chef/restaurateur, the company that runs it try as much to convey a Philippine home-grown bar but with international standards. It's all about having fun, being silly being creative.
About being creative, do you know that Hooch have managed to be he only bar in the country that creates 104 signature cocktails and 52 classic cocktails in a year?
That being said let me share some of the cocktails my husband and I tried.
Fancy Champagne Punch - This is when you need more than one spirits in one sipping. This is a mix of red wine and champagne, elevated with the citrusy flavors from orange and lemon. The addition of Maraschino liquid not only gave this cool glass a splash of color but a sweeter edge.
Knicker Bocker- It either sounds British or a cute dessert, but this fancy-schmancy glass will definitely challenge your balance once finished.
It'll start you off with a toothsome raspberry sugar coating touching your lips, followed by the kick of spiced rum, cointreau, lime, raspberry puree and with the hints of pineapple and orange at the end.
It's probably a blended drink being denser than the others we had. It took me a lot of courage to sip more than usual after sipping a couple from the fancy punch.
Dark and Stormy - This cute drink served in a mason jar is a concocted rum, lime juice, suagr and ginger beer. After sipping, I told my husband, "Whoah!, this is indeed dark!" It's way too hard for foodie-only-me.
Irish Maid - Unassumingly, the Irish Maid tickled not only my palate but my heart. It's a semi-cold mix of lemon, sugar, slices of cucumber spiked with 50 ml Jamesons whisky and elderflower liquid.
Salcedo Ave.- Foodies would love this, no doubt, because I did!
This refreshing glass is made up of lemon glass syrup, Vodka, pineapple, Grand Marnier and silantro sprouts.
This was such a great partner with any food, I actually finished this one, sipping in between tastings of the different dishes we had.
With world-acclaimed chefs, Tom Hines and Jayson Stacey behind the menu. You're sure to have the fill of your tummy and soul.
The afternoon delight began with Tuna and Bangus Sisig.
Surprised to know the diversity of Hooch's menu, with this exotic beer chow served on a sizzling platter. Enough to entice you with exciting dishes that doesn't constrict to expat-esteemed foreign dishes.
The spicy kick with a hint of sweetness from the heavy sauce, which the kitchen staff know as the bespoke Hooch sauce of this sisig, was so comforting and complemented both the Gen San Tuna bits and smoked bangus so well. The typical dish was leveled up with onion confit, garlic, chili.
Before eating make sure to drizzle it all up with lemon juice and dip each fish meat in silantro sea salt.
For those who dislike Onion Rings (booh!), a serving of Parmesan Onion Rings would change their minds. Why? Not only is the huge onion rings drenched in a lovely batter, they are all fried to crunch and served with th most unique dip that I had - crab fat aioli and fresh lemon.
Now, this totally hit the spot! My husband didn't hesitate diving in first and indulging himself with the Rockefeller, one after another.
This goes to say, that it's the best baked oyster for him. Probably even better than what we had from some hotel seafood buffets. These huge oysters were topped with bread crumbs, spinach and savory Rockefeller sauce.
Stunning, isn't it?
Catch Tostadas will be acquired by the way to the new Hooch's menu.
A plate serving has 3 types, thus three bites.
At the foreground is the Tuna Poke, next to it is the Salmon Tartar and lastly is the battered fish aioli.
The biscuit is thin but hard enough to carry the marinated and the flavored fish meat, but crisp enough to bite. And let me tell you, one of each sin't enough for you...
When the wait satff came in with this wood plank, she said "here comes everyone's favorite." Sounded suggestive that it's also the staff pick. Queso Fundido is four different cheeses melded together and served with grilled baguette slices.
I wish I could tell you what the cheese are but they are the bar's secret. But what's not a secret is that it's a crowd favorite.
Seeing this made me really proud of being a daughter of two Visayans. Kinilaw is a famous Visayan dish also known as cheviche is actually from the word "qilao," which speaks of fresh fish soaked or marinated into vinegar.
An un-accustomed dish is yet again given a different light by not only putting caviar in it, but by controlling the amount of vinegar marinade and it's sourness. Ripe mangoes, pickled Baguio vegetables were added to the cubed raw tanigue.
Best paired with a high-acid white wine like Sauvignon Blanc, Grüner Vetliner or sparkling wine to complement the citrus and fresh fish flavors. Oh, may I add that, whatever you drink with it, make sure it’s oak-free and low in alcohol, just my two cents.
If you want to really get down and full, I suggest you get either of these two buffalo wings that we tried and loved.
You can't go wrong with the Asian Wings. It's like a version of the Korean wings with ginger-soy, hoisin, chili sauce, amped up with chopped coriander and sesame seeds.
To make the meal sensational, why not have Hot Wings.
Crunchy, fried wings livened up with sriracha BBQ glaze and lemon salt.
Hey, don't be ashamed to get your fingers dirty while eating these, cause it's the best way to really enjoy these suckers. Just make sure you don't drink the lemon water bowl served with it, it's for washing clean your hands from it.
Lastly, the well-put BLT.
In case, I didn't give you any hint yet how much this snack was worth-treasuring, can I just say out-right that it was one of those best meals I had with him. Thanks to SEATS.PH for hooking me up with them. It was with that online booking application that I noticed Hooch again and with where I booked this date, errr, meal with my husband.
The last dish on our looong list for a looong snack was this ultimate BLT. This alone could be your heavy lunch or dinner. Complete with a hefty serving of fresh mesclun salad, truffle fries and ciabatta filled with sous vide pork belly, chopped tomatoes, lettuce, and cucumber and cheesy dressing.
Learning about their customers and knowing what the customers like having is one of Hooch's strength, hence, this place continues to be the only party place in Salcedo. But for non-party goers like me, who happens to be on a look out for captivating, Instagram-worthy, and simply yummy food, Hooch is another top choice.
Address: Ground Floor, V Corporate Center,
125 L. P. Leviste Street,
Salcedo Village, Makati City