Back for 2nds, Definitely!


Chef Mikko’s Buffalo Bacon Chicharon
(P285 +10% service charge)
.

2nd’s is a great place to hang out with friends, while enjoying food and a single malt whisky. Its laid-back vibe is certainly inviting.

There, they serve comfort food and unique dishes like the crispy fried bacon with its tangy buffalo flavor and blue cheese. With food like that, they make sure you come back for 2nds after your first visit. πŸ™‚



The restaurant is set up like a homey living room. The tables are spaced nicely (great for privacy) and the high ceiling gives it a relaxing feel. Kudos to Luigi Tabuena for designing the place well.

2nd’s may look a bit intimidating from the outside but they don’t have a dress code, so feel free to come as you are.

Here is the Soft Opening Menu:
Starters, Burgers/Sandwiches, Mains, Salads, Sides, Desserts, Favorites


Another plus for the place — they’ve got one of the best examples of very good acoustics in a restaurant. They even installed insulated foam to absorb the sounds (similar to those you see in museums).

You’ll really hear the difference because the place is conducive to meetings and reunions with friends.


The Caprese Tower
(P350 +10% service charge)
. Pesto-marinated Tomato, Arugula, fresh Laguna White Cheese.

The salads here are simple. Fresh vegetables are matched with a good dressing.

2nd’s prices are a bit expensive, though, ranging from P300-P500 per dish.


The Jerk Burger
(P475 +10% service charge)
. USDA Choice Sirloin Patty, Jamaican Jerk spices, Orange and Red Cabbage Slaw.

Our friend Joe ordered this burger, which reminded me of Borough’s burger. (Joe, was it good?)

The presentation was a “Wow!” when it first came out, but then we saw that this was the standard presentation for the steaks and other dishes.


Benjamin’s Skinless Chicken (P495 +10% service charge)
. Note: For the health-conscious. Honey Mustard Chicken (without skin) with pan-fried Green Onion Polenta.

I ordered this dish since I’m trying to eat healthy these days. πŸ™‚

The chicken was cooked well, but it was a bit on the bland side without the sauce. I liked the crunch of the fried polenta (flour ground from dried corn) and how it did not feel as heavy as eating potato or rice.


Weedge’s Lamb Shepherd’s Pie
(P435 +10% service charge)
. Lamb Stew, Creamed Potato, melted Sharp Cheddar Cheese.

We loved this! The lamb was very soft and had long, meaty strands with the texture of corned beef. The cheddar top was crusty and perfectly matched the creamy potato beneath it. The serving size is good for 2 persons.

  
2nd’s has a smoking room that you can view from the “living room” area. No matter how noisy you are inside the room, those on the outside won’t be able to hear you.

I find it quite rare for a restaurant in the metro to invest in proper acoustics and to make sure that the smoking room is sealed tight. So, this is a welcome break.


The restaurant has one of the nicest views in Bonifacio High Street (BHS), and you can see Mercato Centrale from there. πŸ™‚ It was a good decision to remove the balcony of Mag:Net and integrate it in the restaurant to make it spacious.

If you are planning a date, reserve the tables near the window.


2nd’s Drinks Menu
(Single Malt Whiskies Collection: Glenfarclas 12, Glenfiddich 12, Glenlivet 12/15, Highland Park 12, Laphroaig 10, Lagavulin 16, and Macallan 15)

One of the owners is a fan of single malt whiskies. We were introduced to it by our friend Ainsley recently, and we loved it versus the blended whiskies. They collect as many single malt whiskies as possible. If you are a fan, then this is the place for you.

(I’m not sure if there are other bars/places in the metro that have an extensive collection of single malt whiskies. Any recommendations?)

 
2nd’s owners are from Church Simplified, the people behind the cool, spiritual art installations in BHS. We had a fun chat with Sung Park (also known as Mr. Nuclear) who shared with us the story of 2nd’s, which we learned has nine owners. Mario Rossi of Cafe Puccini, Luigi Tabuena (architect), BJ Albert, Tanya Kropp (a.k.a. The One You Marry) are among those nine. (Who else did I miss?) 

Congrats to Chef Mikko Reyes for the interesting menu selections at 2nd’s, especially the Buffalo Bacon Chicharon! (See 1st photo of this post.) It felt like we were eating thin but meaty chicharon strips, which came with a tangy sauce usually reserved for chicken wings. Definitely a different eating experience. πŸ™‚

Overall, 2nd’s is a breath of fresh air in Bonifacio High Street because most of the restaurants in BHS get very, very noisy when full. The comfort food is good but on the expensive side — budget P500-800/person. In this case, I don’t mind paying a premium for the spacious table layout and good acoustics, which are quite rare in Manila.

2nd’s (Comfort Food Revisited)
2nd Floor, Wumaco Building 1
(formerly Mag:Net)
Quadrant 3, 9th Ave, Bonifacio High Street
Telephone: +632 846-5293
Operating Hours: 11.00am – 3.00pm, and 6.30pm to 11.30pm

Contact:
Tanya Kropp (a.k.a. The One You Marry), +63 917 595-0492, tanya@backfor2nds.com
Sung Park (a.k.a. Mr. Nuclear), +63 917 836-0084, sung@backfor2nds.com

Live an Awesome Life,

Anton 
Founder, www.OurAwesomePlanet.com
Call or Text Me: +63917 5683-627 (LOVE-OAP)
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Full Disclosure: Nothing to disclose. I’m NOT related to, connected with or compensated in any way by the establishment featured in this blog post. I’m NOT connected with, compensated by, or represented by any PR firm. Please report to me (anton@diaz.ph) if any PR firm is claiming otherwise.

38 thoughts on “Back for 2nds, Definitely!

  1. This is a great place, Anton. I had lunch there early January with a client. You should try out the richly flavored, Jamon Serrano cheese sandwiches (killer yummies!)–which are pan toasted, not grilled. The place is not stuffy at all, quite comfy, yet dressy enough for an important signing meet. I also love how they pay attention to little things, such as serving a cup of brewed Italian coffee with an amaretto cookie, and making sure that your glass is always full of water.

  2. You probably mean blended whiskeys, not mixed. I still have no idea why people drink those bottles of revolting swill.
    They chose good bottles for the limited single malt selection. A lot of bases covered from peaty to fruity. Prices are weird and inconsistent though. 375 for Laphroaig 10? I’ve been to bars in SOHO,Central,HK that serve it cheaper than that.
    Will definitely drop by. Gotta show support to people trying to elevate the Filipino palate from the dark ages of Johnny and Chivas.

  3. Yes thanks for that correction. Yeah when I tasted single malt whiskies, it tasted really good. But I like tasting different single malts to contrast them.

  4. Glad you’re getting into single malts as well. Never put ice, only 2-3 drops of the best water you have. The water’s not there to dilute but rather to break the chemical composition of the whiskey, making it release more flavor and aroma. Enjoy it in proper tulip glasses if possible.

  5. I should go try that out.
    Anton, I read your disclosure. Just wondering though, because there’s one thing that you didn’t disclose, and that’s if you paid for your dinner or were treated by the management of the restaurant.
    Thanks,
    JP

  6. I dont even know the management of the restaurant and you can ask them naman. It's not our style to get freebies from restaurant or even management of the restaurant. 
    Sent from Mobile

  7. My friends and I were in 2nds two weeks ago–our opinions were divided between the buffalo bacon chicharon and the bacon chicharon with spiced vinegar (which i liked better). Aside from the bacon chicharon (just wished that there was more spice or “bite” to the vinegar), personal faves from the soft opening menu incl crisp duck confit on top of mashed potatoes and the grilled jamon serrano and manchego cheese. However, I felt that the salad accompanying the dishes on the side lacks tangy, citrus notes that would cut through the richness of the dishes. πŸ™‚

  8. Hi Anton,
    If u want the ultimate bar for single malt then it’s definitely kiplings at the mandarin hotel.
    Expect to pay a premium but the service, ambiance, and the selection of whisky will make up for
    It. Another place for a more relaxed vibe is distillery at the fort, makati and one more branch in qc.
    Check it out and post it. Enjoy your whisky expedition… Cheers!
    Ian

  9. So many people don’t care about global warming. They don’t care about the Federal deficit/debt (outside of partisanship) and they don’t care earning $400k for an $80,000/year job will eventually bankrupt the country. They think they are going sometime during/at the end of this life, and disregard the poor souls who are left behind.
    Sounds like the Italians who were used to plan World War II and the Holocaust.
    These are the people who will be here in the United States when bankruptcy is declared and society deteriorates into chaos. And they will deserve it.
    Poetic justice.
    Another feature which the Gods offer as a clue is very foreboading and ominous. Mt. Zion is a mountain to the north of Diablo (the eye of The Beast) and one which has a working quarry at its base. Consistant with the decay we experience in society, Mt. Zion is being eaten away, slowly stripped of its resources, until one day paradise will be gone forever.
    The gods used the Italians to ruin life in the 20th century.
    The gods used the Italians to ruin life in A.D. with The Church.
    And each generation of these Italians were sold on “earning”, only to be reincarnated as a lesser life form subsequently, punishment for their evil.
    “The West Bank, where the end of the world will begin.” With xtianity.
    And they were reincarnated into the ghetto to be punished as crack babies and in drive-by shootings, both intentionally inflicted on the black community and poetic justice for inflicting these horrors on their hated enemies.
    On their brothers.
    i don’t care if you did escape the last Big Bang.
    The last 10,000,000,000 Big Bangs.
    I would systematically exterminate your kind for exploiting me like you did.
    You would be clone hosted so I could kill you over and over.
    I would burn you at the stake so often you would beg me to let you die.
    “You deserved it.” Considering how you pushed me into all my offenses I suspect it was no different in prior lives.
    Fuck you.
    I will forever regret and resent being picked for this event.
    Minimized, not optimal.
    I may not have learned as much as I have but I WOULD have gotten more done and made more progress, and at the end of this life that’s all that matters. We are all reincarnated and must re-learn about the gods and their methodology.
    This is the worst possible senario in my life.
    Despite your attempts to force your positioning I will take my hatred forward to the next life.
    The empty promise is I will have a real chance of going, and if I retain this experience there is no way in damngod motherfuckers that would ever be possible. Secret is they have the freedom to remind me of this life, “executive priveledge” retained, sabotaging all progress up to that point.
    This is a lost cause. They are degenerate filth who positioned in a guarentee to fail, ensuring the are not to blame for their failed promise.
    I am better off without them.
    They remind me of the behavior they created in my adolescence, much like molestation or stealing, which they used in their positioning.
    I would dispose of the gods if I had the chance.
    The upside down star is my symbol. There is of course no Satan. That’s just the gods with different clothes on.
    Beware of me. I will not tolerate this.

  10. Someone commented here about using curtains instead of blinds to add a feminine touch? I completely disagree. You do not need to add a feminine touch in any place, much less even use it as a reason for putting or designing something. Using curtains will ruin the overall theme of 2nd’s.
    Also, the acoustics were not so bad. True you can hear the conversation from 2 tables away, but as long as other noises and sounds do not echo, it is totally fine. I would not have had the whole place designed in any other way

  11. Johnny’s are not so bad. After all, it does have its share of history, in that to give a consistent flvavor of single malt brands of old whose factories have either burned or closed down, they had to develop such blends. Still, I do agree that the we are due for an appreciation of other tastes in our whiskies. That Chivas thing is starting to taste like it’s just ok for mixing in cocktails P

  12. I love 2nd’s. I think it will be one of the top restaurants in Manila if they can keep their food and service quality consistent. When I dined there this week, I just noticed little flaws. One is that their waiters are not trained that well yet. Our waiter’s voice was so soft that I had to bend my head over to his direction to hear what he was saying. Also, our first dish was served 20 to 25 minutes after we ordered, which is quite long especially since our first dish was french onion soup (soup is precooked, you just have to bake the Gruyere and toast on it). However, I can totally brush these little imperfections since it is only their soft opening. My date ordered the burger and found it better than other burgers here in Manila. I love the meatiness of the beef patty, but I did not like the bread used because it has a hard, crunchy outer crush (but that is my only preference). I ordered the Shepherd’s Pie, which I found sooo delicious! It is a brilliant, home-cooked, and feel good dish; definitely best eaten on rainy days. Lastly, the desserts (the banana and apple crumble) were okay. I believe they can still improve it. One thing that stands out for me is 2nd’s menu. It is less than 30 dishes, which is the way it should be. Too many choices, too hard to choose. Overall, I believe 2nd’s can take Manila’s restaurant scene in a whirlwind if they continue to create innovative, creative, and original dishes.

  13. You forgot to mention that their service was legendarily SLOW. I get that they’re still on soft opening but 45 mins for a salad?? And my ham and cheese sandwich was nowhere to be found after an hour and ten minutes??? Yes, their buffalo chicharon is great and their caprese salad is not bad but I don’t think it’s worth waiting forever for.
    It’s surprising that the owners were there when you went. They were nowhere to be found (no manager even, just a head waiter) during my visit there awhile ago. Other tables were complaining that their mains arrived 45 mins apart. One table even had coffee while waiting for their food. Yes, it took that long.
    Honestly, I’m not impressed. After an hour and 15mins of waiting (and the rest wasn’t even full) for a measly ham and cheese sandwich, we left.
    My disclosure? I’m friends with 2 of the owners. But unlike this review, mine is a brutally honest one and there’s no friendship bias here.
    This resto has great potential but I will definitely NOT be back for 2nds.

  14. I would have to disagree with Paola’s claims. I was there last sunday for a family dinner, the place was fully booked at 7:00PM, i was greeted at the door by one of the owner/manager who told me a table will be available in 25mins, we waited while walking around high street. 15minutes later, i received a call telling me my table is ready. We tried the Sheperd’s pie, Seabass Sinigang (YUM!) and their USDA Prime Steak amongst many other things like bacon Chicharon and their yummy Buffalo Lollipops. Food did not take very long, and i was impressed with their service (complimentary drinks and camote chips! to rectify their softopen status). Great company, and great food do go well together. I guess i was “Lucky” to have an amazing experience at 2nd’s Comfort Food.
    I will definitely be back for 2nd’s!

  15. are you kidding, this place is a disaster! Went there for lunch and it was a nightmare. First off, the waiters. They all seemed to have come out of a cave. The service was slow and you had to ask for water. The burger came out raw with blood dripping into the bread and of course, the waiter never did ask how we wanted it done. The fish for the fish and chips order was soggy (I think by now, you are seeing a theme here) and the fries were the worst I tasted in a while. We complained and it was one waiter after another that came to ask the same question. Finally, the chef showed up (oh, almighty chef, finally was able to come down and speak with the customers) but was was odd was that we were the only ones dining. They re-did the burger but it was not the one we ordered (we didn’t bother giving it another try). Overall, I would say don’t bother going even for the 1st time!

  16. I’m sorry, Ray, but I have to disagree with you. The place is very lacking in terms of design and acoustics.
    Considering it was just a little over half capacity. it was very noisy inside, I couldn’t carry a conversation with my partner without talking louder than I normally do. I could hear every conversation from the other end of the restaurant. I noticed how much quieter it was outside when I stepped onto the street. And this was on a busy Saturday night. Actually, I went into CAV after, and it was such a contrast. It was way more pleasant in CAV than in 2nds.
    Ray, the place is just monotonous brown and very very flat. There is no life in it. It’s like they didn’t hire a designer and decided to do it themselves. It looks amateurish at best. Actually, it looks very unfinished.
    Given a chance, I would suggest a few things: bling bling (like chandeliers, drop lamps and sconces) would add sparkle. Curtains would add some softness (and would probably help in the acoustics flaw as well). More lights, but dimmed, would make it look less like the lighting of a typical Chinese restaurant.
    Pity that the look and feel of this place is a deterrent for me. I really wouldn’t mind going back for the food and the drinks, which I find pretty good.

  17. My cousin was there on the same Sunday you were and I guess the restaurant had serious issues then because they ended up walking out.

  18. I have to admit the my curiosity was piqued by Heshey’s analysis of the interiors. So went to 2nds to take a look for myself since commercial space design is something I’ve been fancying lately.
    I agree with all points presented by that comment, that that place looks unfinished and seems to be designed by a novice at least as far as restaurant design is concerned. Maybe it is really just unfinished. I feel that the foam dangling from the ceiling is more deceiving than anything. It sure fooled Anton because it was quite noisy,to the point it wasn’t comfortable to hang around.
    I ordered the ribeye with raclette cheese. That didn’t work too well. I’ve heard of the French topping steak with bleu cheese, which i can imagine would work, but raclette on a good piece of meat is a definite mess. Looking at the menu gave me the impression that the underlying theme is fusion food. Hardly ‘comfort’, but then again, comfort is very suggestive. To me, I define comfort food as any dish that is simple to prepare and straightforward in terms of flavors. Surprisingly, the lamb calereta gratin turned out really good.
    I understand that this place is pretty new and the owners are without experience, which should explain the reason for a prolonged dry run.
    Oh, and if the owners are reading this, please put real hand soap in your washroom. The one in the dispenser was so watered down, it didn’t foam at all. It makes the whole establishment feel cheap.
    I wish this place the best of luck. It looks like it has potential.
    It’ll be a while until a go back for 2nds though.

  19. I ate there on a Friday nite with my family. Had a great time and would be back for more. I thought that the place was nicely laid out. It was comfortable and very smartly and sparsely decorated. I guess it just depends on your taste. No problem at all with acoustic.
    We had the buffalo lollipops, french soup, shepherd pie, etc. Shepherd’s pie was the best, I’ve been looking for a good interpretation of that dish ever since I got to Manila five years ago. the deserts were really good. My kids went with me and they kept on ordering fries and they actually didn’t charge us for all the fries that they ordered, plus they got a teddy bear each.
    The owners were there and were very friendly. Will definitely go back there for 2nds and 3rds, etc.

  20. Hard to find, ate there tonight, sinigang like that is hard to find in this country, shepherds pie and the brutus salad was good too, i liked their single malt, Balvenie.

  21. I finally got to eat there last night. Pretty quiet Tuesday night. No owner was present, no chef on hand (seemed like everyone was on day off), but there was they had an awesomely beautiful hostess who goes by the name of Nadine. For her alone, I am willing to go back for 2nds!
    Everything else about the restaurant was so-so. Nothing to write home about.

  22. Sorry about the typo. I meant to say simply was that they had an awesomely beautiful lady… I guess she was that stunning, I lost myself while typing.

  23. I’m on my 2nd visit to 2nd’s. I personally love their steak and mac and cheese. I go to 2nd’s if i need to meet with clients or be with family/friends in a comfortable pleasant environment.
    Since I was last there, they’ve added so many new dishes. I just hope they can improve on the consistency of their dishes and improve on their bathroom as well. I noticed that newly opened restos WOW you in the start. And then as they go along, their quality / portions suffer. It is really a challenge to maintain that level of consistency, if not improve further.
    P.S. Their Lava cake is sarap!

  24. I guess design is very subjective. As it is I am more for the clean lines with little distractions to set pieces. Chandelier/s? Maybe it will work. It depends on how it looks too. Can’t just have any chandelier dangling down just for the sake of having one. Drop lamps are good, probably for window-side seats, but I see it becoming an eyesore.
    Curtains? Definitely not for this place. Sorry. No matter how I look at it, the curtains will not work. I agree with more dimmed lights, though

  25. Buffalo Bacon Chicaron, Beef Rib Adobo, Chicken Adobo Croquettas, Salpicao w/ Foie, The Benedict Burger (Sirloin patty, egg, SPAM and hollandaise), Red Horse Fish and Chips, Indy’s Raclette Steak, BJs skinless chicken, The Brutus, Caprese Tower, Three Pigs Kawali, Sea Bass Sinigang, Cornflake Buffalo Pops (eating buffalo wings has never been easier), Weedgie Burger (buffalo bacon chicharon, sauteed onions, blue cheese) and for dessert, LECHE FLAN TURON WITH MANTECADO ICE CREAM IS THE WAY TO GOOOOOOOO. Everything at 2NDS is ridiculously good.

  26. “Given a chance, I would suggest a few things: bling bling (like chandeliers, drop lamps and sconces) would add sparkle. Curtains would add some softness (and would probably help in the acoustics flaw as well). More lights, but dimmed, would make it look less like the lighting of a typical Chinese restaurant.”
    Oh Hershey… You sound like a whiny UGLY (only ugly people suggest dimming the lights) FAG (sparkle and softness??????????!!!!!!!)

  27. we tried 2nds last June 23, 2011 (at the height of Typhoon Falcon) for dinner with the friends, one of them a balikbayan from russia. The ambience is indeed very warm and the waiters are very accommodating, attentive and friendly. Sadly, the food was very average.. it there’s such a term.
    I ordered Three Pigs Kawali and it was dry, tough and uninteresting. Liver sauce was too sweet. Even bits of foie gras did not save the dish. The spag bolognese my husband ordered was bland and very regular.
    Burger was nothing special and mushroom risotto was soggy. Shouldn’t the arborio rice be a al dente?
    Bacon chicharon was okay.
    Adobo croquettes was the best we had that night.
    All in all, not worth the price. But a nice place to hang around if all you want is a comfy place to chit chat , have a few drinks and maybe some appetizers.

  28. I had the beef adobo, it was good, but expensive. Husband had the weedgie burger, so-so.
    Maybe if the prices were about 100 cheaper I would go back, but I don’t think its worth it. Service was excellent, though

  29. loved the food and tried their coffee at the end of the meal, the coffee wasn’t good at all, it didn’t for me though

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