Dining Out

The Oarhouse Pub of Manila: the drinks are good; the food, even better

The Oarhouse Pub of Manila: the drinks are good; the food, even better | casaveneracion.com

The first time we went to the Oarhouse Pub, it was owned by an expat. It was a hangout for photographers and photo journalists, and my friend Ben Razon was one of them. He invited us to visit, we fell in love with the balbacua and had a nice time hanging out.

That was many years ago. The owner has since passed away and his widow has sold the rights to the business. Ben now owns Oarhouse and the pub has moved to a new home. We went there last Saturday. Balbacua is no longer in the menu but the new menu did not make us miss it one bit.

What did we order? A lot. Spicy chicken, potato wedges, cheese sticks, nachos, chicharon bulaklak, a pitcher of mango daiquiri and a pitcher of mojito.

Let’s start with the drinks.

The Oarhouse Pub's mango daiquiri

The thing about knowing how to mix cocktails is that one gets to be really discriminating about stuff served at commercial establishments. But I’ve nothing to complain about the mango daiquiri at Oarhouse. It was as refreshing as it was bold.

The mojito which we ordered after finishing the daiquiri met with Alex’s approval. That’s saying a lot because Alex has very high standards when it comes to cocktail drinks. Personally, I would have liked a little more lime.

So, the drinks were good. The pub grub was even better. At the Oarhouse, food is prepared only upon order. No reheated stuff. Ben grew up with his mother’s and aunts’ cooking and the food at Oarhouse was truly a tribute to his Kapampangan roots.

The Oarhouse Pub

The cheesesticks were served piping hot with the cheese oozing out with every bite.

The Oarhouse Pub

Speedy’s favorite (and mine too) among all the grub we ordered, the chicharon bulaklak was light and crisp with none of the odor that offal often comes with. The best chicharon bulaklak we ever had. Ever. We never had it that good before. Never. No badly trimmed market stuff here. Ben told us that the chicharon bulaklak is especially ordered from a trusted purveyor who obviously knows well how to clean offal. And the cook did a wonderful job frying the delicacy.

The Oarhouse Pub

Our worries about what vegetarian Sam could eat dissipated into thin air. She wanted nachos and Ben said they would serve the beef separately so she could enjoy the dish sans the meat.

The Oarhouse Pub

The girls’ top pick for the night? The potato wedges. Cooked English style, the generously sized wedges came with the lightest coating that gave each piece a wonderful crispness. The perfect bar food.

The Oarhouse Pub

Of course, there was chicken. That’s a requirement for Alex. Potatoes AND chicken. The chicken was HOT in more ways than one. It was freshly cooked so steam literally escaped with the first bite. The seasoning was spicy hot too. And Alex loved it.

The bill was less than PHP1,500.00. For two pitchers of drinks and all that great food, that’s a good price.

The Oarhouse Pub is located at 1688-B Jorge Bocobo Sreet, Malate, Manila. Aside from drinks and pulutan, the lunch menu looks really exciting… veal lengua estofada (full meal) for PHP150.00 among other dishes.

We’re definitely going back.

And thank you, Sam, for the photos. :D

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