Papa Bolo, Tagaytay’s newest restaurant, takes its name from the lore of the city. As the tale would have it, a father and son were attacked by a wild boar (which they were hunting down, to be fair). To defend themselves, the son cried out, “Taga, itay!” (Cut it down, father!)
The new restaurant, located along Nasugbu Highway, is in no way a foraging or Wild West-themed one. In fact, you’ll know it as soon as you arrive at their location. The three-story industrial-style space has barrel-like seating.
It is rather a brewery where beers are on tap. But they serve not just any beer: They have classic pale ale (Cowboy Classic), straight-forward pilsner (Barkada Bliss), hoppy India pale ale (IPA)(Bad Pony), malty double IPA (Twin Suns), tart caramel ale (Disco Biscuit), and even a fruity pineapple ale (Piña Niña). These six drinks are crafted in-house by their brewmaster Mike Wayne through meticulous processes that he’s more than happy to walk you through should you find him in there.
The crowd-favorite Piña Niña or the pineapple ale, for example, is made with 20 kilos of Tagaytay pineapples that are puréed in-house. It is brewed with 360 liters of pineapple juice along with malts and hops from Australia and Germany. The result is a sour brew with the brightness of tropical fruit.
But you don’t just go to Papa Bolo to drink. Filipinos, after all, are notoriously pulutan people. We need to eat while we drink for reasons including delaying intoxication, which is smart if you ask me. This is where RJ Ramos and Fons Sotero of Poblacion, Makati’s Neo-Filipino restaurant Lampara come in.
For its meals menu, Papa Bolo doesn’t follow any strict cuisine, as long as the flavors complement the beers. The beers come first, you see. But you will surely catch traces of Western and Southeast Asian flavors—and liquor in some of them. One such liquor-laced dish is the stout-glazed wagyu. Other offerings on the menu are spice-forward like the soft-shell crab in pineapple curry. Apparently, beer goes well with spices.
The mains are divided into three categories: meat, seafood, and vegetables—yes, plant-based pulutan is a thing; case in point, their lettuce cups with plant-based meat and peanut dressing.
For a drinking place, Papa Bolo also has a decent selection of desserts, courtesy of Sotero. There’s the Taal that’s instantly recognizable from its name: a plated torched meringue cone in the center that seems to ooze with raspberry lava.
The space can easily seat 450 guests with indoor and outdoor seating as well as private rooms for rent. And as always, it wouldn’t be a true Tagaytay establishment without a view—albeit only of the nearby amusement park. At least you have the “Taal” as dessert.