I was scared. I didn't have Waze nor did I have Google Maps. I cashed out my cellphone's plan and opted to let go of my wireless internet connection. I was traveling in an unknown environment so I was pretty much screwed. Although lately, I have been to Makati. A couple times more compared to the sum total of visits for the past 3 years, which mind you is zero! Worst, I was not familiar with this side of town. After a few right and left turns and double backs, the SO and I got to the area.
I didn't know where to park. So even on a Sunday, I got on over to a deserted pay parking lot thinking that the street parking is a no-no on a Sunday. Later did I find out, that when in Makati, Sundays are free days and you could park without the need for those pesky 2-3hour limit and pay parking stubs. Ouchie!
Grouchy as it made me, one look into the place and I forgot all my troubles.
SEXY is definitely back. A landmark in Makati, IL PONTICELLO is making a come back.
Now under a new management and kitchen staff, you could expect great things with this revived rockstar. I have heard of war stories and old school flames from this place and now it is given a second life.
Right off the bat, we were served these antipasti.
The MOZZARELLA IN CAROZZA (220Php) was heavy already because these big bites were pan fried in butter. You could definitely taste the gooey and cheesy mozzarella but you must not stuff yourself with this because you know deep inside more is to come.
Another cheese starter is the PORTOBELLO ALLA GRIGLIA (490Php). A favorite on the table, it had grilled portoblello, mozzarella de bufala, smoked ricotta, Poached Cherry Tomatoes and Evoo.
Initially, I mistook the mushrooms for some kind of other veggie that is foreign to my eyes. One bite though and I knew the familiar shrooms and it goes well with the cheese!
Not to mention pairing these dishes with white wine.
Moving to pasta, we first had the GNOCCHI AMATRICIANA (390Php). I wasn't too keen on the gnocchi as it was a bit too mushy for me.
I am not sure if it the pasta was overcooked but I have only tried gnocchi once before at MADISON'S and it was a different experience for me. One spoonful and I skipped this saving more room for my tummy.
The CREMA DI TARTUFO (450Php)
was better. It was special because one whiff and you could smell the Truffle! It is as if you could taste it already.
This time around the pasta was cooked perfectly and one bite and I love it!
The best pasta for me is their LASAGNA CARBONARA (420Php).
Break the egg yolk to make it creamier than the normal creamy level.
Making it rich and deadly. Bad for those people with bad cholesterol but worth a bite! In my case, I couldn't stop with one or two or three. I think I had a few. A MUST EAT in PONTI!
With pasta, there must be Pizza.
Truffle and mushroom lovers would rejoice with TARTUFO (520 Php). It was an overload of mushroom. Oddly enough, it didn't taste too strong for me.
For the safe pizza eaters, the VALDOSTANA (520 Php )is your bet. Parma Ham with gorgonzola cream, mozzarella and baby arugula. The Chef thought about the not so veggie lovers as the greens were placed just in the middle.
The ROTOLO (480Php) would be my pick for the innovative and eater friendly pizza. It is rolled up for you and you just have to pop it in. Easy as that!
The outside crust has a little crunch feel while the inside is moist and creamy. Having the pesto on the side made the dish complete.
My tummy was growling to the tune of abuse that we figured out that we haven't even started on the mains. Damn! No wonder we were told to come with an appetite.
THE CHILEAN SEA BASS in BOTTIGLIA (1,400Php). With the price alone, I was floored. I was never a fish eater so I wouldn't really know what good fish is. But one sip of the prawn broth, I knew this was a winner.
Pan Roasted Chilean Seabass, Prawn Broth, Mussels, Clams, Napoletana Piccante Sausage, Finished and served in a Mason Jar.
Honestly speaking , the price of this dish would definitely make me think twice about ordering it.
I was thankful that we were served with small tasting size plates but still, it was a bit too much for me. One fork and I am good.
Something not yet on the menu is the PRESTO. It is a word play on the dish. Grilled prawns, Cherry Tomatoes, Fried basil, Garlic Confit and Trofie Pesto.
As simple as it might have been, I found myself taking spoonfool of the pesto side dish.
Now for the big boys.
The FLAT IRON STEAK (590Php) is the MAN!
Cooked to Medium rare- Medium, you could still see the bloody sauce on the plate. I love how tender it is even if it isn't a wagyu. SO was elbowing me to stop eating this.
Speaking of SO, she mistook the next dish as bread. HAHAHAHA!
This slow roasted pork belly needs no introduction. Crunchy outer skin while moist meat inside.
Seasoned with the right herbs, the SIGNATURE PORCHETTA ALLA ROMANA (390Php/1200 Php whole) is a sight to see. Served with Pommery Mustard Sauce, the dish needs to have a special space all to itself in your tummy.
Because it would be a travesty, no great meal must end without dessert.
I enjoyed the TIRAMISU (290 Php). Soft and fluffy. Served with nutella plus vodka spiked drink on the side that would make you ask for one more.
The wiggly bunch of the dessert is the CHEESECAKE PANNA COTTA (290Php). Vanilla flavored panna cota with cheesecake cubes on the side.
Its brother from another mother would be the DARK CHOCOLATE PANNA COTTA with SALTED CARAMEL. Another new dish to be added, this reminded me of chocolate pudding. The dark chocolate wasn't as bitter as what I wanted it to be. Still, delicious.
The creamy inside compliments the crispy cinnamon pastry shell. The peanuts gave it an additional crunch.
For the chocolate lover, the BUDINO AL CIOCCOLATO (390Php) is the only way to go. Simply described as a chocolate lava pot, it is accompanied by more chocolate liquid and light cream.
and if you are into something not to sweet, the CARMELLO DI SEMOLINA (290Php) helps everything go down. Similar to bread pudding, its caramelized exterior is a joy to munch on.
After the 4 hour brunch-lunch and early dinner event, one word to describe my IL PONTICELLO experience is DELIZIOSO. I believe I must have had at least 3 food comas all throughout the meal that I needed to stand up and rub my belly just to get everything in the right position. Granted that the prices of the dishes are a little on the high side, you would be surprised with the quality and quantity it offers in return. Given that the location is in the heart of Makati, IL PONTICELLO is a gem waiting to be released. Currently, they are on their soft opening and had their official launch just last Friday. I expect good things will come to those that visit this restaurant. The worst being a food coma. Believe me, I had three.
(02) 553 9971
2/F Antel 2000 Bldg. 121 Valero St. Salcedo Village, Makati
as of 10-26-14
Lunch M-F 11:30-2:30 pm
Dinner M-TH 6pm to 12mn
Dinner F-S 6pm to 2am
Disclaimer: was invited to try out the new PONTI menu. Thank you very much to Steve and his group for bringing back PONTI. Great job Chef Panky. Thanks also to Boss S for the invite. Wrote this post based on my experience.