Welcome to the spiritual successor of the legendary gastropubs of Makati: Pep’s and Ponti. Excellent food, legendary music playlists, and yes, extremely beautiful people.
It was all very Veni, Vidi, Vici every Wednesday and Friday night during the wild nights of my GTE days back in the 1990s. The jump-off point was always the original Pep’s on Pasay Road; its namesake and owner, Pepelou Avecilla, worked with us in the Yellow Pages, and he always assured us of discounts at his bar, which was our second home. Our favorite post-work/pre-party energy booster/ stomach liner was his “Arroz a la Cubana”, and we called it our “meal combat”, our “army rations” before we went off to battle in Euphoria, Faces, and Mars, seeking to conquer and perhaps, win the favor of a fair maiden. Ten years later, Il Ponticello, with its secret staircase, became the venue of choice for similar shenanigans. Just like Pep’s, Ponti had the perfect pairing of ice cold booze and spectacular bar chow. There is a real need for every generation to latch on to such a place where memories are made and friendships are sealed. It’s the bar where everyone knows your name. I’ve found this decade’s counterpart, and it’s easily as good as, and in many ways, even better than the ones that came before: Cheers to Common Table!
Here’s the thing about Common Table. You can come for the drinks and stay for the music, or come for the company and stay for the dancing, or you can come for the food, and stay for more of the food. Or better yet, all three, most specially, the latter: a French-trained chef, after all, one of the most respected and highly-regarded in our country’s restaurant industry, is back there in the open kitchen, personally preparing some of the most appealing and most satisfying appetizers and mains in Metro Manila. His name is Ian Padilla, and he spent two years cooking in the two Michelin-starred Taillevent in Paris, before coming home to open the groundbreaking fine dining La Girolle five years ago. It was a restaurant truly ahead of its time. Chef Ian introduced three thousand peso tasting menus, as good as any in France, to the Titas and Titos of Manila, and when the concept had run its
course, the chef turned his attention to a more accessible menu, in a more casual setting.
The dishes in Common Table are friendlier, but prepared with the same finesse as La Girolle’s; Ian’s trusted kitchen family is with him in their new home: Sous Chef Rache Rodis and Chef de Partie Pete Tating. It’s a team of true professionals, and together, they’ve composed the absolute best bar menu in town: their Oyster Sisig and Eggs & Foie are already worth the trip to Salcedo Village. And do stay on for their baked-to-order Macadamia Cookie on a cast iron skillet. It’s all to die for, or to fall for. The best way to describe Common Table’s specials came from Let’s Eat’s very own master photographer, Gabby: if you bring him or her here. Indeed. Guaranteed good vibes, baby!
“THERE IS A REAL NEED FOR EVERY GENERATION TO FIND A PLACE WHERE MEMORIES ARE MADE AND FRIENDSHIPS ARE SEALED. COMMON TABLE IS THAT SPECIAL BAR FOR THIS DECADE.”
03 1 Eggs & Foie
2 Ground Floor Perspective
3 Oyster Sisig
4 Aburi Rice
5 Macadamia and White
Chocolate Skillet Cookie
6 Chef Ian Padilla 04