If you see me with eyes glazed over in deep thought, I’m probably reliving my experience in Agimat — was it even real? Maybe it’s called Agimat for a reason, maybe I’m just being dramatic (probs), but I feel like something in me changed after that one visit.
Agimat Foraging Bar and Kitchen is the brainchild of Kalel Demetrio of Liquido Maestro fame and Chef Nino Laus of Ninyo Fusion Cuisine. The new Poblacion hotspot is located along the corner of Alfonso Street, a few steps away from its sister restaurant, Alamat.
Agimat is not your typical Poblacion watering hole, it’s not just another hip bar — you’re entering another dimension.
I mean this in the least cheesy way possible, but it felt like the world disappeared behind me once I entered those doors.
It’s how I’d imagine the home of a very fancy albularyo — runes and indistinguishable symbols on the wall, giant bottles of unknown liquids stacked up high, and the ambient sound of nature, mysterious drum beats, and chirping birds.
Their menu is seasonal — it changes every 50 days or so, depending on the province or region they decide to roam. For now, they picked up ingredients and recipes from Batangas from which they created dishes such as the Pata and the Lumot at Malusugi.
If you’re expecting Pinoy food or regular bar chow simply made pretty (which was my mistake), then you’re in for a pleasant surprise. The food was complex — a mishmash of flavors and textures that felt like a science experiment gone very very right.
The Lumot at Malasugi was refreshing — the expert mix of sweets and sours, the cool pomelo, and the salty surprise of the bacon-like espada — perfection.
The Pata is possibly the most understated dish on the menu. At first. I expected regular deep fried pork, but no, there was NOTHING regular about the pata that was laid out in front of me.
Here’s where I literally lost my words. What was going on with my mouth? The explosion of flavor, the melt-in-your mouth pork, the surprise sweetness from the crisp greens — I cried. To think I haven’t had a drop of alcohol just yet.
Their drink menu is divided into five categories: Apoy, Tubig, Hangin, Lupa, and Buhay.
Of course I had to order the Ritual ng Agimat which came with a fascinating show of fired up liquor, chants, and masked performers. The lambanog based cocktail was pretty strong for my taste, but at that point I was too satisfied to care.
Another notable drink on the menu was the Swabeng Delubyo; a gin based drink mixed with pomelo liquor and other secret potions.
What really struck me about Agimat is their team’s drive to showcase the beauty and richness of our local ingredients and empower our local farmers. By extension, they encourage us to do the same.
There’s so much more to see, there’s so much more to taste.
My visit to Agimat was a sensory experience. From the stairwell at the entrance , to the rituals, and the different textures of their Filipino Tapas. I swear I was dining with spirits, and I couldn’t have been happier.
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