TASTES LIKE HOME
Whitehouse Burger Café revisits the meaning of comfort food
Going out of your way for something relies entirely on two things: either you need it or you want it. In the case of burgers, it’s easy to make a decision, which is why even though Whitehouse Burger Café is in far-off Marikina, people have been flocking to this little holein-the-wall in Pambuli, a simple, humble street that even taxi and jeepney drivers don’t know. Coming from the Santolan train station, take Marcos Highway and you’d spot a Burger King along the way. Across it is a signless fork in the road; take the one on the right. This leads you to Whitehouse, which should be on your left, parallel to a basketball court.
Whitehouse is what came about when production designer Vanessa Uriarte’s props dump met her partner Mhyca Bautista’s love for food, burgers especially. It started out as a humble takeout burger counter based in Uriarte’s ancestral home, offering simple hearty recipes and a few drinks. But then Typhoon Mario happened. When our garage got flooded in 2013, a lot of things got damaged and so some space cleared up. We took the opportunity to convert the business into a real restaurant,” she says.
Now, Whitehouse is filled with a collection of vintage ads, pop-colored floors, and novelty toys and items. It’s probably a good thing you have lots of things to look at, because once the Whitehouse Special is served, you’ll take your time downing a tower of a burger with egg, ham, double patty, and double cheddar, best paired with their signature Bubblegum shake. A new menu item also made its debut: the chicken, crabmeat, and Asian sauce burger they call Chicken Ninja.
It’s all an experiment with food and flavors we like, but when you dissect them, our burgers aren’t really that complicated,” commented Bautista, who has recently taken up culinary training and is in charge of research and development. Once, a man demanded for the [person] who had cooked the food. I nervously faced him, asking what was wrong with his order. It turned out he just wanted to meet me so he can say his appreciation for the food in person. We keep on going for moments like that.”
Now that concept restaurants are sprouting here and there with surprises on the dinner table, Whitehouse keeps it warm and genuine by serving well-loved classics that remind you of home. After all, it sees itself as the home you’ll think of for filling chows, cold drinks, and good times.