Small Bites are Making it Big Down South with Bar PintxosMay 2, 2020
Somewhere down south, hidden at the back of a quiet building, is one of Manila’s most recent secrets. There are no signs on the road that lead you to it, nor is there one brandished outside its doors. Follow the guys that look just as clueless as you do to the doors of a little place called Bar Pintxos. Homely and unsuspecting, the place is vanilla in the sense that it’s outfitted the way hyped-up bars around Manila are not. Here, there are no subway tiles on the wall, or Edison bulbs suspended by exposed wires. There are bar stools by the counter, high wooden tables to the side, red booth chairs, and a couple of old square dining tables scattered around. On one side of the wall is a classroom-style chalkboard with the day’s lesson written down; an enumeration of the menu’s star items: the pintxos.
As its name suggests, the place is a bar…that serves pintxos.
Now that that’s been cleared out, here’s a little lesson: palatable and varied, tapas—apart from the traditional paella—are what have come to represent Spain in the world of food. While the routine tapas include croquetas and gambas, it’s the Basque-style tapas that have been gaining attention in Manila; a strain of this family of snack-sized servings called “pintxos.” The small bites are pierced together by a skewer, and topped on a slat of bread. A serving consists of just the right amount of protein, fat, and starch; a balanced meal in a tiny tower of a bite.
Bar Pintxos serves up almost a dozen types, from those with angulas and olive oil, to one with a piquillo pepper stuffed with a sliver of jamon and warm brie. While regulars from the surrounding villages have made mental lists of their usual choices, diners new to the place will go far by getting a sampling of each pintxo paired with a glass of their house sangria. (And for first-timers that decide to drop by on weekends, they serve up a mean lamb paella.)
Though still a few months young, Bar Pintxos has become a destination for those that have heard of it. For those that haven’t, well, they’ll be hearing about it soon enough.