Pink Panda is housed on the ground floor of Y2 Residence Hotel across A. Venue Mall. On the surface, it would be easy to assume that it’s just another under-the-radar casual spot in Makati. But one step in and you’ll realize it’s far from that. It’s a dimly-lit restaurant where you can take delight in Southeast Asian food flavors and get a quick alcohol fix. Featuring Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Chinese, and Filipino comfort food, Pink Panda updates its menu every six months, retaining those that received warm accolade from customers and replacing those that didn’t. Aside from serving a la carte dishes for lunch and dinner, it also caters to breakfast of hotel guests daily buffet-style.
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 Pink Panda Southeast Asian Diner (Poblacion, Makati City)
Pink Panda in Makati opened in 2014 and it’s owned by Erwan Heusaff and his friends. It is a nice change of pace if you’re ever in need of a quieter meal in Makati, perfect for a date night, dinner with the family, or a cool hangout session with friends. Its interior design and theme exude a genteel charm. The modern space looks artsy and colorful, filled with Asian decors and influences. The bicycle on the wall and the ceiling panels are sleek accents that are most striking and unexpected. While the lighting and overall ambiance seemingly attract a grown-up crowd, this restaurant doesn’t feel stuffy in the slightest.
We started dinner with the Prawn Toasties (PhP 220) and were completely smitten with the taste and texture. I’m seriously craving for it while typing right now! Presented as small triangles of bread with sesame seeds and sweet chili sauce on the side, these toasts were savory. They were fried to a light bronze and had a mild, unobtrusive flavor.
Pink Panda’s Chicken and Dumpling Noodle (PhP 240) is awesome stuff that reminded me of childhood. It’s a chicken-rich and particularly hearty soup that consisted of roasted chicken, spinach dumpling, garlic chips, and egg noodles cooked in lemongrass ginger broth that’s aromatic. The soup had a good amount of salt, and the noodles had a good bite to it. The dumplings were flavorful and stuffed full, folded into little round parcels. Yum!
Who eats at Pink Panda without getting their signature Pink Panda Pork Bun (PhP 190)? Made with Chinese sausage, wood ear mushroom, and salted egg, these “siopao” pork buns are must-orders. They’re huge and tasty, especially with the sweet sauce. I liked that the pork did not have too much fat. We appreciated more of the meatiness in the fluffy steamed bun.
Dimsum and then Some (PhP 330) is a must-order when you want to relish a quality yum cha meal. Three different types of shrimp dumplings (more like “hakaw”) were served hot on the table: chili, pumpkin, and kinchay. Honestly I couldn’t choose which one was the best. All were great and really satisfying, with or without the accompaniment of chili soy sauce.
Crispy Beef Rendang (PhP 220) was the star of the night. It’s one of the best-selling dishes at Pink Panda, and the reason is pretty obvious. The short ribs were perfectly fried, with a crisp exterior and a tender inside. Swimming in spiced coconut sauce and a coating of delicious spices, their rendition of the beef rendang was so mouthwatering that we had to order two extra cups of jasmine rice (PhP 50) to maximize our enjoyment of the meal. Crunchy and fragrant, it’s a fiery fare that’s like an explosion of great flavors. Totally addictive.
Finally, we had Char Kway Teow (PhP 285), a popular dish in Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Indonesia. It’s a rich dish emboldened by chicken, Chinese sausage, hearty hofan, egg noodles, chili, and sweet soy, with a scattering of bean sprouts to add crunch. If you’re trying char kway teow for the first time, go for the gusto!
Price for Value:
If you’re interested in trying Asian fusion food, Pink Panda Southeast Asian Diner in Y2 Residence Hotel is the place to be. Open for walk-ins from 11am to 12mn, it serves a variety of popular Southeast Asian dishes with a modern twist in a hip and creative environment. Prices are good for those on a budget; you can order a lot without spending a lot. Be adventurous, and try reserving through BigDish to get up to 50% instant discount off your bill. Check out this link to get started.
Y2 Residence Hotel offers the weary soul a distinctly serene and tranquil ambiance even when it’s merely a few minutes away from the city’s Central Business District as well as several world-class shopping destinations and vibrant nightspots.