Wednesday, April 16, 2008

BARCINO

4 out of 5 stars

I miss the old Barcino. The one where only the "wine club" knew about. The one where my friends and I would barge in our havaianas to hide from the crowds during the weekends. The one with a quiet but cozy environment, very conducive to bonding sessions. The one where you can get drunk on wine without feeling embarrassed of being seen. The one with the 160 peso bottles of wine. (Check the menu below as proof)

That was nearly two years ago. Now, Barcino has picked up a solid reputation for fine wines and tapas. They've even expanded to real food, where some have recommended the callos or fabadas. Going back to tapas, they're written on chalkboards around the cellar/dining area, as illustrated below. My most favorite wine pairing would be ANY red with their Manchego cheese, cut very thinly and served cold. Even if it is ideally paired with a heavy red like a Bordeaux, I still found it pretty friendly with Barcino's table red. Even if it has less tannins, it still brought out the fruitiness of all reds that I've ordered there (which is assuredly a lot, haha).

Not that their quality has been inconsistent in the past. What has changed though is the impression you get when you step into Barcino. Gone is your personal extended living room, the very casual yet elegant alternative to a Makati night out. Barcino itself has been a mecca to Quezon City drinkers who find wine tasting trendy. The place is packed and boisterous during weekends, with people dressed to the nines. Expect to wait outside for minutes or hours without a reservation. I have given my cel a couple of times to the waiters so that I'd load up in Uncle Moe's while waiting for a table. Though I would not recommend that for everyone since beer does not agree with wine. Especially after drinking several bottles (of wine, that is).

Wine Cellar Interiors

Unfortunately, the poison of its success is the quiet charm that endeared me to Barcino to begin with. But that's just me. I'm sure others prefer the 24 hour party scene. To its proprietors, I congratulate them. It has hit off so well that they've opened a relatively new branch (opened on February) in Fort.

Still, gone are the 170-200 peso bottles of wine.

And a place where you can vent privately.

But there's still the great tapas. and wines. and their thoughtfulness in storing your unfinished bottles in their refs. But this only works for regulars since they throw the bottles away if its owners don't return within a week or two.

If you still haven't checked out this place, I would recommend it. But go during the weekdays since the crowds are tamer. Hopefully, even crowdless.

It's a balance of self-interest and profit, isn't it? You want it to be profitable enough to stay in business, yet exclusive enough to filter in the enthusiasts. Otherwise, an imbalance would lead to a restaurant "selling out," or on the opposite end, a closed establishment (Lumiere, Chef Ed's Toque, etc.). I wish Barcino would find its equilibrium soon :)

Barcino
2 branches:

Ortigas

2nd Level City Golf Plaza
Julia Vargas Ave.
Mandaluyong City
(632) 636-2963
Su, Sa: 11:00 am - 1:00 am
M, T, W, Th, F: 10:00 am - 1:00 am

Fort
Rizal Drive
Forbeswood Heights
Fort Bonifacio Global City
(63-2) 4685942
Su, M, T, W, Th, F, Sa: 11:00 am - 1:30 am


5 comments:

banonymous said...

if barcino in fort is full, head on over to basilio's next door. :)

bern said...

i miss the good old days of barcino wherein you can go in your pambahay. now the place is always packed and parking is full.

graey eats said...

Dear Bern:

It took a lot of self-control from posting your picture in Barcino where you "pretended" to be drunk. Haha, winner!

Mind you, I will be posting once I get your approval ;)

Sakai said...

love the place minus the people who would talk too loud once they get drunk..

Chalkboards said...

They also are one of the best wine importers. The place has good value and ambiance.

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