A CITY can mean many different things to many people. What is important though, is how you see the city; and how it enriches you, and how you honor it, in turn.
The senses a diner gets in Borough in BGC is a tripartite interpretation of what New York means to brothers Patrick and Mikko Santos, and Borough’s chef, New York-born and bred Raphiel “Cuit” Kaufman. The restaurant first opened in Ortigas’ Podium in 2010, but due to renovations in the mall, was forced to close down a few months ago, prompting the owners to seek a new location in BGC.
The new Borough in BGC features bright lights, brickwork, and the original’s trademark printed couches. It is decorated with signs from New York and posters of different figures who are somehow associated with New York, from movie stars to musicians.
Patrick Santos said that he once worked for a multinational in Singapore, but he took over from an older brother in the management of Il Ponticello (once known to the college crowd as Ponti before it closed down). After it closed down, Mr. Santos built Borough along with his older brother, using their memories of the city as fuel for their creation.
“I used to go there a lot — like every summer,” he recalled. “We would enjoy our experiences there so much that we wanted to bring back what we could of that New York experience.”
From there, they told Mr. Kaufman about what they really liked during their visits, and in Mr. Kaufman’s hands, out comes out Shiitake Goat Ravioli, White Chocolate Orange Brioche French Toast, Butterscotch Chicken and Waffles, and Chorizo and Eggs — all of these inspired by memories of several summers.
BusinessWorld had a bite of an Apple Cranberry Stuffed Porkchop, which tasted a bit as this writer would imagine the air upstate would be like. Heavy, filling, and stuffed with sweet apples, it’s a quiet respite from the more cosmopolitan offerings of the restaurant. A bite from the Mexican Chocolate Pudding Pie revealed a heavy brown confection that was sweet and spicy by turns. For this alone, I would go back.
The well-known cookies from their Podium Branch were a bit of a disappointment: peanut, gingerbread, and chocolate chip cookies were served alongside milk, and while warm, were surprisingly still dry and crumbly, though the gingerbread still had a measure of moisture to them. Take note, however, that these were consumed inside a brown paper bag inside a cab, though one would suppose a six-minute difference from the time they were served should not make much of a difference.
New York is touted as the capital of the world, and what happens in New York eventually happens to the rest of the world. Everyone has a different idea of what New York is, and therefore what it should taste like.
“It’s more of our personal experience,” said Mr. Santos. He cites the Chorizo and Eggs, his persona favorite. “Whenever I have this dish here, it reminds me of *my* time there. In terms of how other people will perceive it as New York, I feel like it’s open to their own interpretation.” — Joseph L. Garcia
Borough is located at the upper ground floor of the C2 Bldg., Bonifacio High Street Central, 7th Ave, Taguig. It is open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. (Monday), 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. (Tuesday to Saturday), and 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Sunday)