Rants and Raves: SF Bistro in McKinley Hill

Like zits that grew overnight, new restaurants are popping out in Tuscany Estates in McKinley Hill, and one of these new ventures is SF Bistro. From the same group that brought us Rue Bourbon, SF Bistro is set to bring forth the flavor of San Francisco to Manila. Is it worth checking out, or is it just another restaurant to add to a pile of pretentious crap? Keep scrolling to find out!

Flipped Out!

I won’t speak like some pretentious twerp and pretend that I’ve been to San Francisco—so let’s skip the San Fo vibe comparison thing. What I do know is that I like cozy atmosphere the restaurant exudes: high chairs (stools) filling the dining area, huge windows, high ceilings, and a loft for an extension of the dining space. I can imagine going to SF Bistro for a sumptuous dinner and engorge myself with some beer or cocktails, and that’s precisely what I did in the few times I’ve been there.

On my first visit, they served us samplers of their flavored beer while waiting for our food. SF Bistro has 5 variants to offer—hazelnut, caramel, lychee, apple, and cucumber—and if you’re the type who can’t stand the bitter taste of beer but is craving for that buzz, you should try these. The caramel beer is the same as the one they serve in Rue Bourbon, which I tend to consume in macho mugs. I found the hazelnut to be a bit weird (think Nutella, or Choki Choki), the lychee to be too subtle, and the apple to be … San Mig Apple. Even though it was the weirdest-sounding of all, the cucumber flavor ended up being my favorite, with its incredibly refreshing effect. It’s so easy to lose count of how much of the cucumber beer you have consumed (and to forget that you still have work to do).

Anything with the word “truffle” in it deserves a taste test, so needless to say, I ordered SF Bistro’s Mushroom Truffle Pasta. It’s an excellent choice for anyone addicted to truffle like I am! Fresh button and Portobello mushrooms combine with heavenly truffle cream to create a simple yet delectable dish. Do not compare it with the renditions of Italian restaurants though, as they are not in the same league. In any case, it’s a pretty decent and affordable take on the Italian classic.

Mushroom Truffle Pasta, originally P195
If you’re a ribs guy, SF Bistro’s Baby Back Ribs is a good bet. The meat is tender and is generously smothered with a sweet-savory sauce. The Boston Pork Steak was certainly huge but was also a bit tough—although I must say that for its price, this huge slab was a fabulous find.

Baby Back Ribs, originally P255
Boston Pork Steak, originally P240
Those who prefer white meat might enjoy SF Bistro’s Baked Dory or Country Fried Chicken (I ordered mine with rice though, and they served Hainanese chicken rice—it tasted weird with fried chicken). Stopping over for some drinks only? Order the Buffalo Wings to accompany your booze—hot and tangy served with blue cheese dip.

Baked Dory, originally P260
Country Fried Chicken, originally P240
Buffalo Wings, P280
Trying to feign healthy living? Try the Mushroom Pesto Lasagna: baked lasagna filled with button mushrooms in pesto sauce. I am magnetized towards anything with pesto, but if not for the mozzarella I would’ve pronounced this dish way too clean, haha!

Mushroom Pesto Lasagna, originally P190
SF Bistro also boasts of a selection of grilled sandwiches. The Roast Beef and Cheese sandwich—Angus, sliced cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, coleslaw, served with herby gravy I could stuff into my mouth forever—is a stellar choice. It also comes with these crisp, thinly sliced potato chips that were unbelievable.

Roast Beef and Cheese, originally P170
I don’t know with you but I found everything on SF Bistro’s menu to be ideal with beer! You can stick to your fruit shakes and stuff, but I will enjoy several dishes at once with cucumber beer.

Lashing Out!

I first visited SF Bistro during their soft opening and since then I have come back several times already. In a span of one month, they have already increased their prices. I was shocked when, on my third or fourth visit, the server handed us a menu that listed food items which were pricier than what I remembered.

For example, the Boston Pork Steak cost P240 during my first visit. Now it’s being sold at P295!

Now, that confused me a bit regarding my feelings for SF Bistro. I initially recommended the place to all my friends for its awesome food at affordable prices. But now, I must take back what I said and apologize to them when they see that everything is about 5 to 50 bucks more expensive than before. Was SF Bistro just testing the waters then? I’m not sure if all soft openings work that way, but this inflation thing turned me off.

Like, can you explain why I have to pay P50 more today compared to last week? What happened in between—did you decide to increase the serving size as well? Did you expand or something? Did your operational costs spike? I don’t understand! Sure, I can always pay extra P50, but I want to understand why I’m doing so.

I’m not comfortable with the small, unisex restroom on the second floor—at night, when SF Bistro transforms into a drinking place, a long queue on the bathroom door is annoying.

Oh, and forgive me, but I abhor the Golden Gate bridge wall. Reminds me of that big Chocolate Hills tarpaulin in Bohol which tourists use as background for their travel photos. Who the hell wants a picture of himself floating amidst the hills?

In the End…

I guess comfort and quality really comes with a price, and it took SF Bistro a month or so to realize that. They should’ve anticipated a downpour of patrons before they opened—after all, isn’t Rue Bourbon always jam packed? To be honest, I tried SF Bistro because I like Rue (and also because I like trying out everything) and I found it to be a less dim, more cozy version of its raucous Salcedo and Burgos sisters, with accompanying interiors and menu designed especially for it. I would probably come back for a late-night drink (irresistible cucumber) and sample more of their bar chow, but would skip the mains whose prices increased outrageously. Maybe if I’m in the mood, I still would get them, but until then I have plenty of time to have lunch elsewhere.

SF Bistro
Unit RH-RHM & RI-RIM, Bldg. 5, Tuscany Estates
Upper McKinley Road, McKinley Hill, Taguig
Facebook: SF Bistro

Have you tried SF Bistro? What did you love/hate about it? Rant or rave on the comments section below!

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