If Houston has The Petrol Station, Brooklyn has Traif, and Miami has Wood Tavern, the Parañaque has The Girl + The Bull. They are so hipster, in fact, that you can tick off almost half of The Poke‘s requirements for a hipster restaurant:
- Not necessarily a pub, but the name is something completely enigmatic.
- Serves drinks in jars because, well, they can.
- The chalkboard in the establishment displays an inspirational quote that is a hit on Instagram.
- No bearded barman here, but they do have an adorable green-haired server (who also happens to own the place).
- Yes to weird ornaments artwork.
- They can be hard to find, being located in the part of Aguirre avenue that people hardly ever go to.
Jericho and I had been meaning to check this place out for a while now, as we had been hearing and reading such good things about their menu, so headed over there one afternoon with two other curious foodie friends. I found the “Yep! You’ve found us.” sign on the door a bit obnoxious, but I’ll cough it up to the hipster vibe of the place. I guess some think it’s funny. That’s just how they roll.
The brain baby of couple Gab Bustos and Thea de Rivera, the restaurant name comes form Thea having girly bits and Gab for his temperamental personality. Thea takes care of the front of house – she’s the petite girl with the sea green hair – while Gab is in charge of the kitchen.
Being more of a hippie than hipster, I felt a little out of my element. I have to say, the interior of The Girl + The Bull looked more French nouveau than anything else – not something I would have expected going in. The black and white checked floors and the see through chairs made the space look bigger than it actually was, and it had pretty good acoustics, leaving us to chat away in peace and admire some of the artwork while we waited for our server to hand us our menu. And then come back to take our order.
The menu seemed to be paired down significantly from when some of my other friends came and ate here (they took off the burger, which I heard was pretty good), but I was happy to see they had left everyone’s favorite dessert on the menu along with the popular buttermilk fried chicken.
The Jamon Serrano (Php 340) was presented beautifully, with a sunny side up egg, surrounded by delicate rolls of ham, figs and tomatoes, atop a bed of sourdough toast and arugula, sprinkled with Manchego cheese and some good ol’ EVOO.
The Buttermilk Fried Chicken (Php 430) was not on the menu that day (but available every Friday and Saturday from 12pm – 10pm), so we settled for the Buttermilk Fried Cauliflower (Php 280) instead. This was an interesting combination that left the cauliflower with a crunchy sesame and soy-glazed shell that gave way to the soft meat inside. Give everything a good dousing of lime juice and a quick dip into the shichimi kewpie for a bit of heat, giving the otherwise cloying appetizer, a lot of personality. This was addicting – I counldn’t stop popping one after the other in my mouth!
The Mushroom + Mixed Green Salad (Php 275) was interesting, with shredded pear and radish, crumbled bleu d’auvergne, candied walnuts, and fried onions, drizzled with balsamic, honey, EVOO (extra virgin olive oil). This had a little bit of everything and was just enough to whet the appetite, making me excited for the other dishes to come.
Jericho got The Girl + The Bull’s Korean BBQ Ribe Eye (P450), but was disappointed that it really wasn’t as spicy as he hoped it would be. The rib eye was underseasoned and the only element that gave his dish any flavor was the sunny side up egg.
I had the Blowtorched Rib Eye (Php 1,200), but they were out of the rib eye cut that afternoon and asked if I was ok with having it substituted for a hanging tender instead. I think the dish tasted a lot better because they used the butcher’s cut – which is my preference anyway.
The plate looked like a piece of art, with the sweet potato puree, torched leek roots, and blue cheese emulsion. This was indeed pretty, but I found there was just so much going on the plate looked too busy. Busy, but absolutely delicious, I can tell you that.
My friend, Joseph, opted for the Blackened Snapper (Php 450) with a sweet potato puree, vanilla, Brussels sprouts, beurre blanc, basil and berry oil. I had a little taste but found this to be a bit too dry for my taste, with most of the flavor coming from the berry puree rather than the blackened fish.
Still pretty hungry after sharing our appetizers and a main course each, we decided to totally binge and order everything off the dessert menu. The ever popular Faux Twix (P160) was a hit at the table, naturally, the layers of biscuit, caramel, and chocolate sprinkled with just enough sea salt to tease your palate into wanting just one more piece.
The Brioche Bread Pudding (Php 210) was a disappointment. It was beautifully presented but tasted flat, with the highlight of the boring brick of bread being the salted caramel drizzle and candied walnuts.
The Dark Chocolate Ganache (Php 140) looked like somebody went to the loo to make this. But I guess you can only present ganache in so many ways, so a ball of poop with an edible flower on top would have to do. The ganache ball was dusted with crumbled almonds with a dash or EVOO.
It’s a pity they shaved down their menu, but I’ll just assume the guys at The Girl + The Bull are still trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t at their restaurant. Their service needs a lot of work, as it took us over 10 minutes just to get somebody’s attention to ask for a glass of water. The poor soul that attended to us looked quite lost half the time – somebody else eventually stepped in to attend to us.
But as a whole, I like the idea of having a Brooklyn-ish restaurant in my area. It’s a breath of fresh air from the other Italian, Korean, and Japanese restaurants in the area and the changing menu is an excuse for you to keep coming back. That, and those addicting bars of Faux Twix!
The Girl + The Bull is located at is 346 Aguirre Avenue, BF Homes, Parañaque. Operation hours are Monday – Thursday: 11am – 9pm; Friday & Saturday: 11am – 11pm; and Sunday: 12nn to 9pm. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 905 572 2556.