When searching for where to eat in BGC, the term “destination restaurants” comes up a lot. This means that the food must be killer, the vibe is close to perfect, and the space is worth sitting an hour at. If you want all these, check out Downtown and Halsted. Stylized as DWNTOWN & HALSTED, this edgy bar-restaurant was conceptualized by Perry Quimbo (Piedra, Dillingers, Prohibition, Bugsy’s, Red Rabbit).
Dinner was booked through BigDish’s app, and we had an instant discount off our meal. In case you’re not yet familiar, BigDish is a brand-new way of offering dining deals and discounts. There’s no membership fee required. Just reserve online (through the website or mobile app) and get discounts off your bill depending on the number of people, date and time, and the restaurant chosen. Once booking is done, a confirmation code will show up and this should be presented to the restaurant at the time of visit. No hassle!
Review of Downtown and Halsted (Bonifacio Global City, Taguig)
Downtown and Halsted is envisioned as an avenue where artists could showcase their work, hence it’s flush with Deviant art, urban photographs, sketches, and other artwork featured throughout the place. Adding these pop-art vibes on the walls brings in unconventional style and evokes the feel of the street. These pieces on nondescript backdrops create a cohesive interior concept with urban flair.
Overall, I love the theme and the spacious layout. Each booth provides privacy for every group, resulting in less chaotic seating and creating more intimate and functional zones. However, I just can’t imagine how the setup could accommodate larger groups of diners. You can be spotted sitting on the bar stools or on the comfy quilted restaurant booth seating.
We had Baby Calamari with Salted Egg Aioli (PhP 190) as our first starter dish. It consisted of bite-sized squid in crispy batter, basically everything you’d want in a weeknight seafood dish. These baby calamari came out stunningly golden-brown and still so tender and light inside. The salted egg aioli wasn’t too flavorful but it wasn’t bad. A nice squeeze of lemon and a sprinkling of salt would make it better.
The Buffalo Tenders (PhP 290) were full-on crisp, crackly, ever-so-slightly greasy, perfectly juicy and succulent. Its accompanying dip was a great complement to the sauce-coated, tangy, vinegary buffalo perfection in every lick-lipping, finger-dripping bite. It’s enough to warm up your palate for the next to come.
Their Housemade Chili Topped Potato Skins (PhP 150) were definitely a winner. It was so good that we kept talking about how we could replicate the recipe and make it at home ourselves! The earthy and slightly salty taste of the potato skin was delightful, and the chunky chili con carne packed a good deal of spice. This appetizer (for sharing) was well executed, no doubt.
Downtown and Halsted’s Skewer Platter had sweet and savory profiles consisting of Lengua (PhP 250), Chicken (PhP 150), and Pork (PhP 150). These skewers delivered a good blend between tenderness and depth of flavor, with no sauce required.
Probably our favorite main course, the insanely delicious Braised Barbecued Short Ribs (PhP 750) possessed a flesh that was tender and fatty but not overwhelmingly so. It’s one of the most comforting of comfort foods, with mashed potatoes served alongside it. Full of beefy flavor, the braised barbecued short ribs were far from dry. Adding points of interest were the crisp veggies on top. A must-order!
The Crispy Pork Knuckles (PhP 580) were wonderfully crispy, yet fatty, with melt-in-your-mouth goodness. The meat had a pleasant firm texture, and it was paired well with the vinegar sauce, which gave each forkful of pork a tartness that really worked. It’s a dignified centerpiece for just about any table, something your taste buds will treasure for a while.
Price for Value:
Sitting alongside Locavore, Frank & Dean, and Bugsy’s Bar & Bistro in Burgos Circle, Downtown & Halsted in BGC dishes up the kind of trendy cuisine with tasty presentations that hit the comfort-food sweet spot we have. It serves designer cocktails, wines, with a good selection of single malts, bourbon, a huge dose of good music and fun, too. Prices are reasonable for the given value, and they’re not shockingly high, to be fair. Book a reservation now through BigDish (link here) to get discounts up to 50%!