8065 Bagnet your affordable bagnet restaurant in Taft
There really is no denying the uniqueness of Manila. For all its faults and defects there’s just something appealing in the city that surprises its citizens and visitors. Last May, I started my graduate school education at De La Salle University in Taft, in my relatively short stay there (a term and a half, I am in the process of reevaluating the course I enrolled in) I have come to enjoy the places where our class would hang out and also, where Tricia and I got to know each other.
After spending an entire afternoon painting, it was time for us to enjoy a good dinner. So from Capitol Hills we zipped our way to the LRT-3 station in Katipunan, got down at Recto, took the long concourse to Doroteo Jose and finally alighted off at Vito Cruz. Took quite awhile but it was a cheaper alternative to taking a cab and purposely staying away from the madness that is the MRT. Now for what possible reason would we have in going from one end of the metro to the other? Well we wanted to have a taste of bagnet the only place where we know does it right. Plus I was in for a special surprise when I discovered a new (old for many) coffee shop to hang out in.
Our ‘hot seat’ restaurant
The first time I visited 8065 Bagnet was after a hard day studying at DLSU’s Henry Sy Library, back then me and Tricia weren’t a couple and we had some of our MA classmates join us for dinner. The restaurant is small and very rustic, with an ambiance that beckons you to come home after studying for an entire day. 8065 Bagnet’s lightning is conducive for those casual conversations and the downtime you and your friends sorely need after a long day. But last Saturday, Tricia and I, returning to this special place didn’t get to enjoy the interior of the restaurant, instead, we were asked to dine al fresco. Now for a sweaty person like me, this is a big no-no, strangely enough the night was cool and windy. The perfect weather to dine out and listen to the steady hum and beat of Manila. Not exactly romantic ambiance, at this point we were just to hungry to care.
Bagnet in different ways
Since 8065 Bagnet is positioned in the heart of the triumvirate colleges of Vito Cruz: St. Scho, DLSU-CSB and DLSU-Taft. One would expect that most food stops in this area would be cheap and affordable. On the other hand, the restaurant positions itself as not your typical kolehiyala eatery but rather something more on the upscale and high-end. But just because it markets itself or impresses upon those who aren’t really familiar with the area, the prices in 8065 are good.
What I particularly liked was the way management arranged its menu, taking into consideration the budgets of your typical students they have separated the menu into two: one for those who are pinching and one for those who are squandering. Besides this division, their menu stays true to their name, a host of different styles of bagnet to suit whatever mood you’re in. On this particular date night, I had the original bagnet while Tricia, who was feeling adventurous on that day, opted for the kare-kare bagnet.
Now for those who aren’t familiar with bagnet it is a deeply fried cut of liempo (pork belly) that has been seasoned with all those rich spices that make our inihaw (grilled) food taste oh so delicious. The bagnet we see and eat today is one of Ilocos’ food treasures and though I haven’t ventured that far up north, I can honestly say the people living in the northern part of our country certainly know how to make pork so magical. In a nutshell, bagnet is deep friend with all the mouth watering goodness that make it to-die for.
the Manila traveler is ravenous
Taking my first (big) bite into the bagnet is an experience that should be repeated and savored over and over again. The juicy pork bits and being perfectly friend makes it melt in your mouth. Topping off the experience is dipping the bagnet into Mang Tomas sarsa or better yet, slathering it all over the pork until you can feel your heart beating and your necks aching. The green mango plus the bagoong on the side perfectly compliment your meal, a little salty with a little sour. It helps also if you add a little bagoong to your rice to make that plain rice a bit more interesting. As for Tricia’s kare-kare bagnet, it was more of an acquired taste but nothing that will make you want to crave for. The dish’s redeeming factor is the generous helping of bagoong to make liven up the dish itself.
A different facade the last time we were here
Returning to this 8065 Bagnet after 8 months was a good experience, our visit brought back a lot of memories. More than just the memories, it is the experience of trying food that is interesting, cooked with passion and thought. It may not be considered to be the best place to get bagnet, but 8065 is certainly affordable enough for you to satisfy your craving.
8065 Bagnet can be found at Leon Guinto Street, Manila.