This Kitchen+Bar Forages Native Ingredients For Paella Bilaos Delivered to Your Homes!
Gari Sy Rivera | June 02, 2020
Found at the corner of Alfonso and Fermina street at Poblacion, Makati, Agimat Foraging Bar and Kitchen serves Filipino craft cocktails and native dishes, all of 100% local ingredients. Agimat is the sister company of loved Filipino PUB Alamat in Poblacion, where craft beer and reinvented Pinoy pulutan dishes such as Kare-Kare skewers and Sinigang noodles are served. Like Alamat, Co-owner Cassie Laus shares that Agimat showcases unique Filipino ingredients found in various parts of the country through their team’s foraging trips.
“Whenever we used to travel to look for these ingredients, [we found out that] there’s so many pala that are unknown and exciting. We wanted to showcase these local ingredients more because not a lot of people really know about it. Even the locals. So there that’s why we created Agimat.”
After discovering unfamiliar ingredients in tribal and native Philippine areas of regions such as Batangas, Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, and Negros, their mountains, lakes, seas, and farms, Agimat was born to craft cocktails and dishes purely made out of these finds while honing Filipino culture. “We get to learn more about traditions, our culture, things that had been lost- definitely, it’s totally already lost here in the urbanized Manila, but there, it’s still being practiced,” Cassie shares, “we also try our best to highlight or the culture, traditions, and history there. We try to bring them to the bars and present them in a way through our menu, that you know, educates our diners. Para rin, hopefully, ma-inspire sila.”
Prepared by renowned Chef Niño Laus, best sellers include Alimasag- blue swimmer crab with Alavar sauce, Aligue, cilantro, and dalandan foam, Pata- juicy melt-in-your-mouth sweet fried pork, and Burong Maliputo- Maliputo fish foraged from Taal lake served with sago chips, alugbati, and Filipino Adlai and roasted eggplant salsa. All created with purely Filipino and native ingredients, the foraging bar+kitchen’s cocktails are also noted as the best of the Agimat experience. Favorite drinks here include bottled ginger sour cocktail Bertud, dalandan liquor mix Gayuma ng Paraiso, and dalandan, gin, Jigsaw Batangas honey mixed with berries and herbs drink named Anting Anting ni Malvar, all concocted by Agimat Liquid Chef Kalel Demetrio.
Though Agimat has been temporarily closed due to COVID-19, they’ve cooked up a delicious native feast available for weekend deliveries to continually support their trusty team’s staff- Agimat Bilaos! These paella-like combinations are up for order, with a choice of the Maharalika Meat Bilao that consists of ribs, Bagnet, bone marrow, Duck leg and choice of grains, and the Sirena Seafood Bilao that comes with manila clams, prawns, varieties of squid and choice of grains.
If the bilao ulams aren’t mouth-watering enough, there’s a variety of bilao grains to choose from too! These include Bringhe- sticky rice mixed with Zamboanga-famous Alavar sauce, Risotto Adlai, rice-like grains, cooked with soffrito, and Binatog-shredded corn cooked with butter, Vigan Longganisa, and local herbs.
These bilao packs are already cooked upon delivery, meant to cater families at home who miss the taste of Filipino restaurant flavors, or those who simply want to unwind with a hassle-free, freshly cooked delivered feast. “We really made sure to select the most premium previous ingredients. We make sure to cook it in a way that it will taste exactly the same as how the chef intended it to be by the time it gets there,” Cassie relates, commending the efforts of the Agimat Chef Niño Laus and team. “They’re very hands-on. They created a special menu for delivery so that families could still enjoy it at home.”
Pressing on to cultivate Filipino culture into everyday dining experiences, Cassie expresses the importance of doing so. “I think it’s extremely important, especially for Filipinos,” she says, “Knowing more about our culture and our history, we will be able to form a better bond as a country or as a people. That’s something that we all have in common, right? When we get more in touch with who we are, where we came from, our culture, this would help bond us more. I think that’s very important, especially in times like this na community, and helping each other is so important.”
For the Agimat team, honoring, sharing, and supporting the Filipino culture and way of life is their very core. “That’s our advocacy ever since and that’s why we have this heart that’s very much passionate about our culture, our history, and our people. That’s why our goal ever since was to help these farmers- when we visit them and we learn more about them, their traditions and rules, it’s like the more we become eager and passionate about them, about helping them and supporting the local culture. We could become a very, very strong country if we only learn to appreciate who we are."
For Agimat Bilaos orders and updates, visit Agimat Foraging Bar and Kitchen’s Facebook page.