Sidebar, El Pueblo from the Chateau 1771 Group of Restaurants is another restaurant that has garnered a following for its inspired menu and French ambiance. It completes the 1771 triad of restaurants at El Pueblo, located at the center of the hustle and bustle of Ortigas. Since my last visit was close to a year ago (which I wrote about here: Read Sidebar: The “New Old” Classy Spot in El Pueblo, Ortigas), I was curious as ever to find out what new dishes Sidebar has incorporated in their menu. So last week, I had the chance to revisit Sidebar, and saw it in a whole new light.
Not much has changed in the ambiance of Sidebar. There wasn’t any major renovations or added fixtures that I took note of (not that they needed it). However, I was able to appreciate Sidebar better, now that there were only very few of us and we weren’t entitled to our own private, reserved space on the second floor. We got to dine alongside regular customers, and saw that on a regular weekday, the place is packed with guests. Since it’s a bar, which I only realized just recently, the place is a smoking zone. Ashtrays were made available on every table to accommodate smoking guests. I’m not so sure if they have a non-smoking zone for asthmatic and cigarette smoke-disinclined guests, but there’s always Cafe 1771 next door.
We got front row seats as we watched Sidebar’s resident bartender, John Ray, shake and mix all kinds of cocktails and sidebartinis with flair. He was a treat to watch, because for the life of us we couldn’t imagine how he can remember the mix of at least ten to fifteen drinks.
I took a sip of all of the Sidebartinis, but my heart fell in love with the Lemon Drop. I’ve liked it since my first visit, and it has become my go-to drink because it’s light and tangy, and a little sweet on the side. It’s everything a Lady’s Drink should be.
At first glance, the playful mix of colors in every Sidebar Crushed Ice Cocktails would remind you of Snow Cones. We were lured in by the dainty colors of the drinks. They looked exactly like the perfect drinks to quench your summer thirst. But don’t be fooled by their bold and bright colors, because they still hold in a lot of punch. My favorite would have to be the refreshing Mojito Punch. It’s just like lemonade on a hot, summer day, only with mojito.
Back at our table, we found four dishes that required our attention. I’ve never tried any of the four before, which enticed me to eat without any reservation.
For starters, we had the Sidebar Nachos, topped heavily with pork, a mix of vegetables, and a whole lot of cheese. The serving size is big enough for sharing among four to five people. We found it appetizing and satisfying. My only wish, however, was that they layer the cheese and toppings as well. It’s a usual problem with nachos, wherein only the chips on the top gets most of the good stuff, or gets too soaked with cheese. And when you’ve finished the ones at the top, you’ll find that there aren’t enough cheese and toppings for the dry chips underneath.
The Tostado Wings Adobo served with Nilasing na Mangga is a great dish to try out on your next visit. The skin was crisply toasted, with an inviting golden brown sheen to it, revealing the flavor packed into it even before you take a bite. As with most wings, it’s best eaten with your hands. And then there’s the serving of Nilasing na Mangga on the side: diced green mangoes soaked and preserved in beer, which serves a contrast to the overwhelming flavors of the dishes.
Akin to barbecue, only healthier and chunkier, and served with Nilasing na Mangga, the Chicken Skewers was another tasty dish to look forward to.
The Salbacho Pizza, another crowd favorite, is a happy mix of salami, bacon, and chorizo, with mozarella cheese, basil, pesto, and Napolitaine Sauce on a crispy thin crust. With thin crust pizzas, you get more flavor and less dough. That;s why I didn’t stop myself from enjoying three slices of this savory pizza, because the generous serving of meat was difficult to resist for a meat-lover like me.
For the alcohol-averse individuals who prefer juices and shakes over liquor-laced drinks, you should not miss out on Sidebar’s Premium Shakes. They’re too good to be true, and I even downed two tall glasses of their Stanley Premium Shake. It’s refreshing, heavenly, and healthy, all in one concoction.
Price Range: Php 300-600
Sidebar was a perfect way to end my uneventful day that day. But regardless of mood or circumstance, lounging at Sidebar with friends in the company of good food and drinks always feels like a celebration.-HANA
Our fun-filled foodie adventure at the 1771 El Pueblo Restaurants did not end there. We craved for premium desserts, and guess where we found it? Read more about our Dessert Time at Cafe 1771, El Pueblo, Ortigas to find out.