If everything else wasn’t first-rate, I’d still head for this buttoned-down spot just to gawp at the hand-painted murals in gold, silver and midnight black, of bamboo, twisting vines and a tiger sneaking through a bamboo grove. Nowadays, nearly every new restaurant, coffee bar and vape kiosk has custom wall art, but here, combined with deep azure upholstery, an elegant oval bar and the fireshow in the open kitchen, they’re more than just a design statement—they’re at one with the overall mood of being transported to the trendiest restaurant in Manila, which just happens to be neighbour to a midtown Shoppers.
The chef, Daniel Cancino, already proved himself a wizard of Filipino barbecue, pancit and adobo at Lamesa and Lasa. Here his cooking is even more focused and refined. His menu evolves with the seasons, but there are usually dumplings (perhaps stuffed with liver mousse), squid-ink pancit (perhaps with scallops and uni), fresh oysters or tuna ceviche, and a bowl of hand-cut egg noodles with a grab-bag of mushrooms in a just-rich-enough Thai basil–flecked truffled duxelle sauce. Brassicas, seafood and steaks all benefit from precise timing at an inferno of a charcoal grill. The dish you’d be a fool to overlook is the grilled pork, sugary from a bath in 7UP, five spice and ginger. Wrap pieces in lettuce and perilla leaves, plus a dab of calamansi aioli. You’ll wonder why all barbecue can’t be so incredible.
Mineral, 1027 Yonge St., mineralto.com