MANDUCA: Madrid Taberna in Manila (Review)

Manduca, which is Spanish slang for grub or food, is a Madrileño-style taberna in BGC by two Spanish friends, Chef Amado Garcia Fernandez and Ricardo Lopez. It rose from the ashes of closed restaurants—Ilongo Food Company and Kuppa Roastery in the once vibrant restaurant corner of 31st St. and 4th Ave.

We tried it when Rache’s favorite sister, Clauds, visited from Singapore, and here’s what we think about this new taberna in Manila.


TABERNA

Most of the dining setup and arrangement from Ilonggo Food Company were reused but with a street al fresco dining setup and a highlighted bar centerpiece to provide that modern taberna feel.

MANDUCA TABERNA
First Modern Madrid Taberna
Ground Floor Commerce Center Bldg., 31st St. cor 4th Ave.
Bonifacio Global City
Operating Hours: 8:00AM -12:00MN
Telephone: +63 917 146 4852
Email: manducamnl@gmail.com
Facebook: MANDUCA
Instagram: @manduca_mnl

The vibe is not intimidating and, in fact, this is one of those places in BGC where you just want to walk in and hangout for sunset happy hour and have a late Madrileño-inspired dinner from 9pm onward.

MANDUCA MENU:
Steaks & Wines Specials
Special Lunch at Manduca
Desayunos Manduca (Breakfast)
Tapas/ Pica Pica
Disfrutar (Cold Cuts & Cheeses, Entrantes/ For Sharing)
Disfrutar (Soups & Pastas, Arroces & Rice)
Principales/ Mains

ESTRELLA GALICIA (CAÑA ₱130, PINTA ₱240) On tap
& RED SANGRIA (₱280/glass, ₱820/pitcher). Red Wine, Fruits

I loved the refreshing feel of Estrella Galicia on tap to set the mood for Spanish food while the ladies enjoyed the red sangria with just the right buzz for late night conversations.

MANDUCA DRINKS MENU:
Tintos/ Red 1 | Tintos/ Red 2 | Tintos/ Red 3
Blancos/ White | Rosados/ Rose | Spirits
Spirits, Beverages, Shakes, Teas & Coffees | Cocktails

The 2nd Floor private function room can be booked good for 20-30 persons with ₱35,000 consumable and tables/chairs are reconfigurable based on your celebration.


TAPAS

GRILLED OCTOPUS (₱690). Mashed Potato, Pimenton

The grilled octopus is served literally smokin’ hot with a smoky dome effect, sliced into firm bites on a bed of mashed potato and dashes of pimenton. A good pica pica that tastes good paired with your drinks.

CALLOS A LA MADRILENA (₱590). Tripe, veal, Asturias sausages

The callos does not come in jars like in Madrid but served with a more soupy (diluted) sauce and big chunks of tripe, veal, and sausages. This is not the usual callos with a thick greasy sauce you would expect, but it’s something different to try.


PRINCIPALES

SQUID INK WITH SCALLOPS (₱890). Seared scallops, squid and black ink

This is not a paella with your usual soccarat—more of black ink-flavored arroz (rice) with seafood and squid. We loved it because you can really taste the flavor of the squid and the bits and pieces from the sea. It’s one of the better squid ink rice dishes we’ve tasted in Manila.

ATLANTIC BACALAO (₱795). Confit cod fish with pesto manchego

This cod, on a bed of unfamiliar pisto sauce, like a ratatouille dish made of tomatoes, onions, eggplant, green and red peppers, olive oil, and manchego, is salty. A nice contrast to the creamy dishes and pairs well with the squid ink arroz.

CACHOPO ASTURIANO (₱2,900). Veal Stripling, ham, cheese, fries & side salad

We got to try the Cachopo Asturiano which is Manduca’s signature dish, also quite unique in the Manila food scene. We had to debate whether to get a steak or the cachopo because it was quite expensive and had to be enjoyed with a group of friends for good value for money.

It is actually quite good and similar to the Schnitzel or the Cotoletta Milanese. The thin layer of baby beef meat is breaded and stuffed with ham and oozing cheese. We had to take home the rest. We still loved it reheated at home, sliced like tonkatsu topped on rice. So good!


POSTRE

CARPACCIO DE PIÑA ASADA LA BRASA (₱290). Roasted Pineapple carpaccio, thinly sliced with 1 scoop of vanilla ice cream.

This thinly sliced roasted pineapple a la mode came in highly recommended and did not disappoint. The roasted sweetness of the pineapple pairs well with the melting creaminess of the vanilla ice cream, satisfying your craving for a refreshing sweet ending.

TARTA DE QUESO MANCHEGO (₱300). Manchego Cheesecake

The Manchego Cheesecake is more sweet than cheesy, and the taste of the Manchego is lost in the sweetness. Deo Gracias still has the best Manchego cheesecake in town.


FINAL THOUGHTS

Overall, we love Manduca because of its good comfort Spanish food and ambience, a good place to enjoy your drinks. It’s not pretentious and feels like a place where Spanish regulars hangout to drink and eat. You can come as you are, in your after office attire or condo dweller outfit, and even bring your kids with no eyes judging you.

My impression of Madrid food is it’s just like any other city food, like in Manila where there are mediocre interpretations of good food from the countryside. But I was quite impressed with Chef Amado’s food—from the grilled octopus to the squid ink arroz, to the cachopo, down to the pineapple carpaccio a la mode. Can’t wait to discover more dishes and wine selection with more friends. 🙂

Budget ₱700/head if you are just going for drinks and tapas or ₱2,000/head if you are going for the steak or cachopo with wine.

Congratulations to Chef Amado and the Manduca team for braving it out, opening this Madrid-style taberna during the pandemic in Manila!

MANDUCA TABERNA
First Modern Madrid Taberna
Ground Floor Commerce Center Bldg., 31st St. cor 4th Ave.
Bonifacio Global City
Operating Hours: 8:00AM -12:00MN
Email: manducamnl@gmail.com
Facebook: MANDUCA
Instagram: @manduca_mnl

Live an Awesome Life with Christ,

Founder & Digital Creator, Our Awesome Planet

Disclosure: We paid for our meal. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights.

P.S. Although eating al fresco is safer, there were a lot of flies and bad smell coming from nearby closed establishments. It was comforting to know they have high ceiling inside for better air flow.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.