The Establishment


Update 6/6/2012: This establishment is now closed 🙁

The Establishment is taking the restaurant experience to a whole new “wow” level in Manila with Anton San Diego, Editor-in-Chief of Philippine Tatler, as the President of the Establishment.

It is a restaurant complex composed of four restaurants: The Tulipan Spanish Bar (with Tulip as the icon), The Hall Spanish Tapas Restaurant (with Branches as the icon), The Crystal Room French Fine Dining (with Mirror as the icon), and the Oriental Chinese Restaurant (with Chair as the icon). If you look closely at the logo, it is a collage of the tulip, branches, mirror and chair icons.


Tulipan Spanish Bar is the smallest area, which is basically a typical bar and lounge area.


The Hall is a Spanish Fine Dining Restaurant with silhouettes of branches covering the biggest area of The Establishment. Pin lights hanging from the high ceiling illuminate each table and give the illusion of vines coming out of the roof.

I was intimidated by the whole scene created by Anton Mendoza, a famous restaurant interior designer. My wife was a bit scared because it was like being in the Addams Family home (Note: check out the eerie candelabra). The first phrase uttered by my brother to describe the place was “Bonggang bongga.”


Whatever your first reaction is, The Establishment certainly makes an impression. Finally, we have an elegant restaurant like the ones in Shanghai, Hongkong or even Indonesia that would make you go “WOW!”


Water is served with strawberry and mint. A refreshing innovation instead of the usual dayap or pandan leaves.


The Establishment imported Joseph, the mixologist, who created an awesome line-up of original signature drinks.


We tried Chocnut Martini (P250)- Absolut vodka infused with chocnut liqueur, mixed with Jim Beam bourbon and soymilk, then topped with cocoa powder and served with chocnut on the side. Personally, I was not impressed because the martini tasted diluted. I would have wanted a more chocolate-y alcoholic punch.


My brother tried Pineapple Face (P250)- Fresh pineapple juice blended with Bacardi white rum and young coco n lime juice, then topped with toasted coconut on the rim. The coconut overpowers the entire drink, especially the toasted ones.


My favorite’s the Climate Changed– Bacardi white rum, lime and apple juice muddled with spiced peppers, cucumber, and finished with a few drops of turmeric juice. Super hot and spicy indeed! I love it when the description delivers the experience it describes.


You might want to try the crushed sodas (P250) like Strawberry Coke, Papaya Sprite, Cucumber Soda and Lime, Calamansi Tonic, Cucumber and Ginger Ale, and Watermelon Soda.


The mocktails look cool too:

Bananarama honey and vanilla balsamic glaze with banana (P295)
Carousel Pina with apple juice mixed with ginger with muddled fresh mango (P350)
Up and coming Pinya with Lime Blueberry Jam and lime leaves (P250)
A bit of fun, watermelon lychee with honey mint leaves (P250)

Let me know your favorite drinks.

Now, on to the food…

Cochinillo Lechon Croquettes (P220).

Instead of potatoes, bechamel is used with different stuffings inside. Our favorite is the cochinillo lechon with a slice of lechon skin teasing you to eat it. A good pica-pica for 2-3 persons.


Baked Scallops (P560).


Expensive but not that impressive.


Paella Tulipan (P800-small). Saffron-flavored rice with seafood, chicken and pork. Allow 30 minutes of cooking time. It also comes in a large size (P1,800), which is good for 18 people.



The food is by Margarita Fores of the Cibo empire. True to Margarita’s signature cooking, the paella is cooked al dente. The saffron does not overpower the entire dish. The small size is good for 6 people. Since we were only on a double date with my brother, we had three servings each. For every serving, the young attendants (mostly less than 25 years old) gladly helped us put the paella on our plates.

Here are the other menu options:

Gambas al Ajillo (P250). River prawns with olive oil and paprika.
Salpicado Tulipan (P995). Angus tenderloin with sauteed portabello mushrooms and roasted pepper by Baby Flores
Chuletillas de cordera (P855). Miele di Lavanda baby lamb chops with acacia honey and lavender seeds.

Quezo de bola Cheesecake (P450). Crushed graham crackers and quezo de bola cheese, topped with muscovado chantilly.

For some reason, the desserts of Margarita Fores always fail to impress me. The flavors are more subdued and there’s a lack of creativity in the presentation.


At 8pm, the saxophonist plays relaxing tunes, like the popular theme song of Sex and the City.


Each room in The Establishment has different background music. The Hall plays soothing acoustic and Spanish songs. (Even the restroom is a conversation piece in itself because of the How to Learn Spanish background music and the signature brands of perfume available on the counter.)


Congratulations to Anton San Diego and Partners for a job well done in The Establishment! I can’t wait for the opening of the French Fine Dining section and the Oriental Chinese section.

The Establishment
Unit A, The Fort Entertainment Complex
26th Street corner 5th Avenue
Fort Bonifacio, Global City, Taguig, Manila
(Besides Le Souffle)

For reservations, call +632 844-6364, +63916 4946390, (general manager’s number: +63917 530-2220 )
(You can reserve the dining tables in the Hall, but I prefer to reserve the big lounge area.)

Note: This is one of those times when you have to dress up nicely to eat and mingle with the high-society crowd in The Establishment.


 Live an Awesome Life,



25 thoughts on “The Establishment

  1. Oh. My. Goodness.
    How very, very decadent.
    Things like this always make me wish I were employed.

  2. Thank you very much again Anton for your helpful feedback. Although the Establishment is still in its truly initial birthing and fine tuning stage, feedback this early is very helpful. Even price points are being fine tuned, thus your comments will be of much help. And, yes, your feelings about my desserts are also appreciated, but this time I hope you would give the person responsible for the desserts at the Establishment more opportunities to win your favorable reviews. She is very talented Mara dela Rama, who earned her stripes at the helm of Dean and De Luca’s catering division in New York City before coming home to settle after tying the knot. If her Queso de Bola cheesecake didnt impress you, you must try her vanilla banana pudding ala Magnolia Bakery and her pistachio crepe cake which we serve with rosemary cream and a tad of chocolate sauce ( something I also serve in plain cream flavor at Pepato, and yes we are very democratic and feel there is room for everyone’s interpretation of hit desserts)! I believe her vanilla pudding is better that Magnolia’s or Buttercup’s, the most famous places for cupcakes and other homey American desserts in the Big Apple. Please continue to give us feedback as only through your and others’ comments, will we be able to do our work better. Anton San Diego was very happy that you liked the place. Thanks again!

  3. I totally agree, The Establishment oozed with that “wow” factor the moment I stepped in. Great job to the designers! Although the Tulipan Spanish bar is a bit cramped due to space limitations, it’s a very good reason to let you mix and mingle with the rest. Looking forward to see the final look of the French fine dining area. It’s still in the works but I bet the design is going to be spectacular.

  4. Margarita,
    I will come back and try the Mara dela Rama’s other desserts. Thanks for the
    comment and I’m more than happy to contribute to Establishment’s success 🙂

  5. Hi.
    Found your entry about the long awaited Establishment and just wanted to add our own experience from last night:
    – “wow” sophisticated & sensual interiors ( great spatial design “illusions” to “enlarge” main dining area, scented candles, mood music per area and mirror-confusing loos sponsored by Berlitz)
    -tasty conchinillo croquettas and the superbly recommended calamansi mojito were our real standouts to an otherwise gall stone inducing tapas & paella night out. Though the paella was impressively overloaded with catch of the sea, its saltiness became to much which we in turned asked “what happened to the burnt part of the paella which we happen to love?”
    -service was passable to say the least (though a few like berns, roland and the doorguy were nice enough to “thank us for coming & hope to see you again”)otherwise, somewhat aloof & snooty.
    -a marked difference in experience between Chef-owned eateries & socialite owned ones:a Chef has keen interest, or at least some, in a diner’s overall experience. On the otherhand, socialites will be socialites.
    Overall, this is quite a “young” Establishment with matching growth pains and all but my experience is like ordinary mortals dining on a “social” Mount Olympus of some kind.(pretty, polished but impersonal)

  6. I went to Establishment last friday to have a good time and great wine.
    considering that the editor in chief of phil tatler is one of the boss there, i expect attention to details to be numero uno.
    guess what, i was disappointed.
    first … VALDIVIESO MALBEC was spelled VALDIVIECO MALBEC … btw, good wine for entry level drinker. sold at P 750 a bottle.
    second … proper temp for red wine is 18c … when they serve their wine, it was room temp and way above 18c … proper wine serving etiquette not observed either … cant even see any wine chiller around the resto
    third … very nice wine glass, i believe they use crystal. Schott Zwiesel. very good brand but dirty. they did not even clean them before they serve them to us.
    first there was a dirty line around the lip of the glass. its very strange why they missed it … 3 out of the 4 wine glasses in our table was returned due to this problem.
    when they return the glass to us, wow, its clean but the base of the wine glass is super dusty and dirt spots. it appeared to me that they just got them out from the box and did not clean the whole thing. disgusting. on my way out, indeed, i saw a box of Schott Zwiesel box just opened and left inside the bar.
    returning food back to the kitchen because it was not cooked the way you expect is acceptable but if the issue is cleanliness, then it is a concern.
    black and white. black table top made of what appears to be some kind of synthetic material. nice. but i have the elongated flower arrangement. it makes it difficult to talk if your partner is sitted across.
    the acrylic decor around the resto is a bit strange. at first i have a feeling i am inside “black forest”. spooky… when i inquired with the server, she told me it is suppose to represent a bird nest … ok
    food selection is very shallow.
    wine list is short.
    drinks menu is quite interesting.
    our most memorable order was the salpicao. each bite has the beefy flavor and aroma. it was cooked really well. pink in the middle. i guess after 3 days, still thinking about it … hehehe
    paella … totally not memorable. its a sleeper for me. zzzzzzzzz
    For a new place, i guess their servers are pretty good but still need some training.
    i asked my server how much the corkage. she told no corkage.
    after half an hour, i asked another server. this time, she told me they have corkage fee.
    in general, as for the food, i would say …. 2/5
    if you are looking for good wine selection … just drop by CAV

  7. Hi Margaux,
    Thanks for the detailed comments and I’m sure the Establishment guys are
    reading this blog post. I agree that being the Editor-in-Chief of Tatler
    brings a higher expectation to the quality of experience in The
    I’m going back after a few months and see their progress.

  8. hey anton! we ate in the establishment last weekend and it was a very nice place.. very cozy and the ambiance was amazing. i love the restroom with the language lessons! haha i find it so interesting. out of everything we ordered, our fave was the cochinillo lechon croquettes too! 🙂

  9. simply the BEST…once again somebody from our country make something that the whole nation can talk about. good luck and congrats for all the people of the ESTaBlishment.. see you soon

  10. the water with strawberry and mint, so basically, you put in strawberry and mint leaves and water then ready to serve?

  11. we went here saturday night..the menu had already changed..
    the water has no more strawberries and mint
    the paella and the Cochinillo Lechon Croquettes were no longer in the menu but we requested it and they served it for us:)
    there was also no dessert menu..
    we made a reservation before going because we were a group of 7 and the receptionists led us our table but after 30 minutes, another receptionist came and told us that they placed us on the wrong table, super hassle but we told them that we already like where were seated.
    learned a few french words when i used the cr:D and the interior/ambience is super nice:)

  12. Love this place….. its the best place to bring a date… try the watermelon soda… omg…. the ambience is just sheer CLASS..
    love it

  13. The Establishment is over-rated just because the owners are “sosyal.”
    Nothing spetacular, in terms of food and wine. Give it an A for the ambiance. Once is enough. I will not go back anymore. There are a lot better restos along that stature.

  14. We are a couple who wants something different.We will be preparing for our son’s christening in January which is also a post celebration of my birthday.I was looking for a nice restaurant but not a typical baptismal package that you get most of the time.I just realized through Our Awesome Planet that we have loads of restaurants and private dining here in Manila.Been away too long so I guess now i am rediscovering Manila.

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