No need to drive far for a good bar down south

Pair P75 beers with sisig-stuffed grilled cheese


Despite the wealth of dining options in the south (just look at BF Homes, along Aguirre, for example), it’s strangely hard to find that one perfect place to hang out. By this, I mean, a place that isn’t too “millennial” (blaring music, neon lights and all that), but not too “tita and tito” either (maybe it plays bossa nova, has warm lights, and only serves wine).

Well, at least that has been the problem my friends and I often have when we decide to enjoy a night out. Don’t get me wrong, these millennial and tita places are good, but on those days (or nights) when we just aren’t feeling any of those “extremes” it gets pretty tough deciding.

I don’t think we’re the only ones with this problem.

Jinggoy Fernando, one of the co-owners and chef of South Pub in Alabang shared the sentiment.  “The whole atmosphere of being relaxed, having good and at the same time affordable food, and good drinks… we thought those were missing here in the south,” he says. Like the good ol’ days of bars like Pep’s, Fat Tuesday’s, and Tequila Joe’s.

The Allison is a sisig-stuffed grilled cheese sandwich. It uses three types of cheeses: eden, mozzarella, and cheddar.
Fresh tuna ceviche, marinated in soy vinegar. You can eat it on its own, but it’s best eaten with the fried tortilla served on the side.

Powered by that nostalgia, Fernando and his partners put together their own pub, featuring a menu filled with dishes handpicked and inspired by his experiences. That, coupled with a space that meshes industrial and homey, expertly crafted tipple, and affordable beers, convinces me that South Pub really may just be the hangout spot southerners haven’t realized they’ve been needing.

One of the stars on the menu is the Allison—a curious mix of comfort food (grilled cheese sandwich) stuffed with an all-time favorite bar chow (sisig). Fernando shares that it was named after a customer. “We had a guest here, her name was Allison, and she got pretty drunk. She ordered a grilled cheese and a sisig, and made me try it. It was good, so I told her, ‘I’ll put it on the menu and name it after you.’”

For a drunken idea, it’s actually pretty good. The sisig-stuffed grilled cheese sandwich also comes with tomato soup. It’s a little too watery for my liking, but this is mostly just because I like my soup a little thick (unless I’m having ramen or something, but that’s another story).

The corned crispy pata saves you the effort of having to separate the meat from the bones. Served with both soy vinegar sauce and dijon mustard.

Can’t be a pub without the drinks: aside from local and international beers, South Pub also offers classic cocktails, like the sangria (or its white version, pictured here), and the old fashioned.

Another dish I imagine would be perfect for nights spent indulging on booze with friends is the corned crispy pata. The heaping mound of meat is brined for 36 hours, and is served with two sauces: one is the usual soy vinegar-based dipping sauce we’re all familiar with. The other is an unexpected partner for pata: dijon mustard. For a different kind of tartness to match the crispy pata’s new form, go for the mustard.

As the night winds down, the mushroom chicharon makes for a good pulutan alternative. We all know it’s guilt-free, but still brings the same crunch and saltiness you’d expect from chicharon. South Pub uses oyster mushrooms for their chicharon. Some studies say oyster mushrooms help lower cholesterol, so that’s a plus. (Pretty good if you’ve had too much of the crispy pata earlier.) But what I personally think is good about this version of chicharon is that its flavor makes up for its loss of crunch once it’s been left out in the open for a while.

Groups can also enjoy a game of mini-billiards and air hockey.
A not-as-guilt-inducing version of the chicharon. South Pub’s mushroom chicharon uses oyster mushrooms, and comes with an aioli dip.
Cap off a meal with this sweet cookie skillet. Comes topped with vanilla ice cream.

True to its goal, South Pub sees a good mix of people come through their doors. Families have been finding it a good spot to wind down for lunch (in fact, a family had come in to dine at the table beside mine the afternoon I went), while the drinks and games (they have table-top billiards and air hockey games) drive in the millennials. A few seniors also frequent the place, Fernando shares.

But with the interesting mix of food, it’s not surprising. Looks like it’s shaping up to be the community pub it’s been wanting to be.

TAGS: alabang beer cocktails comfort food crispy pata eats grilled cheese nolisoliph restaurant south pub