Photos by Mersi Carballo
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that Poblacion is the place du jour of Metro Manila. Everyone from north and south of Makati flocks to the red-light-discrict-adjacent bars and restaurants any given day of the week, and the competition for the attention of bar-hoppers is fierce. That famous Heidi Klum quote (“One day you’re in, and the next day, you’re out,” for all you non-watchers of Project Runway) pretty much applies here, and while that might be risky for a lot of establishment owners, for the boys of the beloved Katipunan restaurant Tetsuo, it just made sense.
Recently opened at the ground floor of Boogie along Kalayaan Avenue, Tetsuo’s Poblacion outpost has been a long time coming. It echoes the design of the Katipunan branch, with industrial elements serving as a backdrop to the resto’s famous chicken and cold soba combo. But more than a reason to celebrate the coming of a QC staple to Makati is their new menu for Poblacion, which adds quite the number of dishes. Highlights include an über-spicy fried chicken (best eaten with a friend — trust me, it’s spicy), curry spiced pork (their take on the Coco Ichibanya craze), crispy chicken skin with a green chili sauce instead of gravy, and the once limited offering of egg noodles and chili sauce known as birthday noodles.
As we chowed down on a selection of the new menu, we talked to Tetsuo’s creative director Sean Bautista, head chef Wesley Chan, and brand manager Timmy Jacob about how they came up with these new dishes.
YOUNG STAR: Hey, guys, congrats on the new space! First off, was opening in Poblacion something you’ve always wanted to do?
SEAN BAUTISTA: Yeah, ever since we conceptualized the brand the idea was to set up a concept, or a proper restaurant. It just so happened that in the beginning years we had to resort to bootstrapping the concept through JSEC (in Ateneo) and doing Mercato.
WESLEY CHAN: Back when we were doing those, we would always hang out here (in Poblacion), and we would tell ourselves, “Yeah, we want a spot here somewhere down the line.” Poblacion is medyo home for us.