Enjoy luxurious mornings at Poblacion Dining Room, Commune’s sister dining space.
Touted as ‘your grandmother’s dining room’ with Filipino favorites on regular days, Poblacion Dining Room is raring to make a name for itself as Manila’s favorite Sunday brunch spot, with excellent food that should get the sleepiest of Sassy girls out of bed, out the door, and at a table in no time.
I was a bit confused when I arrived looking for Poblacion Dining Room, as I hadn’t yet been made to understand that it was a restaurant adjacent to Commune. I walked into Commune to ask for directions, and was surprised to find them leading me through the cafe and into a room at the side, tucked by the stairs. Apparently there is a door leading directly into Poblacion, just off of Commune, but it’s rather nondescript and could be mistaken for part of the wall, so look carefully! You might also have to knock to enter, much like arriving at someone’s house.
The brunches are a collaboration between five friends, and the shyest of people may find themselves talking to other guests, as everyone is seated at one beautifully appointed long table rather than separate small ones. You get the sense of being at an elegant friend’s dinner party, except at brunch time, the perfectly styled table and the warm, familial atmosphere coming together as one comfortable whole.
I was first presented with a drinks menu. They have fresh juices, cocktails, coffee, and tea on hand, and I requested a flat white. They naturally get their coffees from the partner cafe next door, and every drop of that coffee was as silky as could be. I would have had another had I not been trying to save room for the items on the actual brunch menu.
Ros Juan, chief extractor of Coffee at both Commune and Poblacion, explains that Poblacion head chef Mickey Garcia creates Western brunch favorites with local ingredients. However, it’s still not quite fusion cuisine, with the formerly Europe-based Garcia using time-honored techniques and recipes to come up with his culinary masterpieces.
We started with a Caprese Salad dressed sparingly with citrus vinaigrette. Cherry tomatoes and fresh basil were joined by firm white Filipino cheese, or quesong puti, a bit more like feta than mozzarella. This salad is truly refreshing and instantly can instantly brighten one’s mood.
The Wild Mushroom Toast, with sauteed seasonal mushrooms and a fried egg on a slice of wholewheat oatmeal batard, came next. There was a bread and cheese station with a tempting half wheel of raclette happily bubbling away, and I went and got a generous serving slid onto my plate. I sort of wish I hadn’t, just because the earthy tones of the mushrooms were excellent on their own. (Besides, there would be many opportunities for raclette later.)
The Smoked Tanguigue Benedict was my favorite. The fish is perfectly smoked by partner Karla Reyes, of La Petite Fromagerie and The Plaza, and it goes wonderfully with Chef Garcia’s glorious lemony hollandaise. Eggs Benedict defines brunch for me, so this was an easy winner. I will certainly plan around having seconds of this next time.
The Pork Adobo on Pandesal comes with a poached egg on pandesal. Fans of sweet adobo will be happy with this dish – there is a liberal amount of succulent meat heaped onto the little pandesal. Don’t turn this into an open-faced sandwich; you’ll want the rest of the bread to temper the strong flavors properly!
Everyone raved over the Toasted Ensaymada heaped over with The Plaza Ham and scrambled eggs, saying it tasted like Christmas on a plate. I thought it was yummy, but I personally preferred the other offerings over it. I did feel like this was the best thing to add raclette to, though!
There was Carbonara, again with The Plaza ham, which, while good, I frankly couldn’t have more than a forkful of because I was utterly sated with all the bread, cheese, and eggs by this point. That didn’t stop me from having a full slice of lemon meringue tart, though! It was glistening too beautifully for me to resist. It was perfectly smooth and custardy, although a bit too much on the sweet side, I thought. But bear in mind that I like really tart things – this may be exactly how you like your lemon meringue! Give it a try.
The moment I sat down, I was already trying to plan a visit over with my girls. As the meal progressed, my determination to get everyone’s schedules in sync to have brunch together at Poblacion was only heightened. The relaxed ambience, warm hosts, and gorgeous styling really make it conducive to a deliciously indulgent meal with new friends. Shall we meet you there?
Poblacion Dining Room, 36 Polaris Street, Poblacion, Makati, Metro Manila, 0919 859 5848, www.facebook.com/pg/poblacionph