It was late in the afternoon and the kitchen was prepping for another night of service. On the right side was a team of restaurateurs, discussing future plans and likely business scenarios. The kitchen was slow and the bar was empty but Agimat gave off a one-of-a-kind aura, one you would not feel in any other place in Poblacion. Was it because of the balete tree, parked behind the bar? Or because of the wood interiors, forcing you to remember your mother’s home in the province?
Sitting on the bar, one can’t help but notice the details of the restaurant. Hints of nature were everywhere. From the ceiling to the walls, Agimat makes you aware of its purpose, its reason of existence: to appreciate, to forage, and to serve what has been found in the wilderness.
Minutes after settling in, we were approached to say that food was on the way. First off the menu were oysters paired with green mango and bagoong sorbet, topped with a generous serving of dilis. It was sour but not too sour as to overpower the freshness of the dish. Simply, it’s something you would enjoy with a cold bottle of beer.
Next was a plate of day-old chicken stuffed with Vigan longganisa, resting on a serving of fried misua noodles. For locals, day-old chicken is something you would see and eat on the streets. Chef Niño Laus, however, was able to elevate the dish into something aristocratic.
Agimat continued to impress by serving a massive piece of pork crackling meant to be dipped on duck egg. It was their version of balut and chicharon. The dish was quite intimidating, but it’s something you and your friends would crave for while enjoying a round of drinks. Last on the list was itik with Ilocos heirloom tomato and cassoulet Adlai. The dish was light but interesting to eat.
What’s great about Agimat is their boldness and creativity when it comes to food, and I believe that every person who has dined in the restaurant would agree. Bold because of the ingredients they forage and the dishes they come up with. Creative because of the way they arrange their food and present their plates.
Apart from the food and the feed-worthy interior, another thing to highlight is Agimat’s cocktails. Kalel Demetrio, co-founder and well-renowned mixologist, was kind enough to let us experience some of their best drinks.
Inspired by local folklore, the cocktails in Agimat are divided into five categories: Apoy, Tubig, Hangin, Buhay, and Lupa. Each drink tells a story, from love lost to belief and prayer, allowing guests, like us, to better appreciate their drinks. If you ever order the Ritwal ng Agimat, don’t be surprised to witness a show. Before serving the cocktail, a ritual of sorts is presented upon you. Two staff members will put on masks; one will play a conga drum while the other will mix your drink while performing a ceremony inspired by Philippine tradition. The idea is amazing and the dedication put into one glass is astounding.
Dining and drinking in Agimat is a one-of-a-kind experience. If you ever find yourself in Poblacion, don’t think twice and visit the place. Heck, we suggest you plan a night out with your family or friends. Don’t be afraid to try just like how Agimat continues to explore and surpass expectations.
Agimat is located in 2/F 5972 Alfonso Corner Fermina Street, Poblacion, Makati City. For table reservations, contact them at 0917-890-4039. For events and other updates, follow them on Facebook and Instagram.
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