I’ve been to quite a few restaurants in Alabang before but never to the ones in the Westgate area, which is the major reason why I confirmed with Zomato Philippines when they invited me and a bunch of other food reviewers to a food crawl in the area. To the unoriented, a food crawl is when you visit a multitude of restaurants and sample their dishes in one day. In this case, on the agenda were the speakeasy-style Bugsy’s, the contemporary Japanese joint Sushi Ninja, the Filipino-with-a-twist Neil’s Kitchen, the steak-savvy Melo’s and the health nut center Detoxify Bar.
Our first stop was Bugsy’s, which I’ve never been to before but have always been curious about. The bar and bistro looks like it originated in the Prohibition Era, when you’d be let in through a dingy back door into a sleek-looking, moody watering hole. I wish I’d been able to visit it in the evening (we stopped by at around 2PM), which is most likely when the place would be in full swing, but I suppose a food crawl would be impossible to conduct when it’s jam-packed and hella noisy.
We met the manager, who informed us that their tasting menu would consist of chicken done three ways: Buffalo-style Chicken Tenders, Honey Sriracha Chicken Wings, and a brand-new item unofficially named Jack and Coke BBQ Chicken (which could potentially be called Chicken #7, he said).
To me, the danger of serving sauce-doused chicken pieces is fucking up the texture. When the skin is soggy because of the sauce (a flaw that can be found at many wing places I’ve been to), no amount of beer will make you forget (we were all sober, by the way). Not so at Bugsy’s. If there’s one thing the three dishes had in common, it was that they were cooked the same way: very well. In all three, the chicken meat was tender on the inside, crispy on the outside, something than any bar patron will definitely appreciate.
But texture’s only one part of the equation. Just because you’ve drunk out of your mind doesn’t mean you’re going to dismiss the fact that you’re eating a crappy piece of chicken. With the Chicken #7 at Bugsy’s, it was yay on the texture and nay on the flavor. The pieces were just too sweet for my taste. I get that they were supposed to be a bit saccharine, but I didn’t get the amount of spice needed to balance things out. I imagine it’s not going to be that good an experience if you’re downing a nice, cool draft after snacking on something that looks like a chicken wing but tastes like candy.
Same thing with the Honey Sriracha Chicken Wings; too sweet and not enough heat.
Of all the three, I enjoyed the Buffalo Tenders the most. On top of the great texture, they got the flavors right: they have an acceptable level of heat with a slight touch of tang. Each plate comes with a side of blue cheese dressing, if you like your chicken that way.
So, from what little I’ve experienced of Bugsy’s and what a fellow food crawler has opined, Bugsy’s does have a lot more to offer in terms of food, so I wouldn’t mind checking it out again. And armed with a nice, tall draft in hand next time.
Part 2 of the Southern food crawl series is coming up.
Overall rating (based on the food): ★★★☆☆
Bugsy’s Bar and Bistro
Westgate Center, Filinvest City, Muntinlupa City
Disclosure: This visit was organized by the restaurant’s management in cooperation with Zomato Philippines. The opinions expressed in this post are based on my own experience and were in no way influenced by said groups.
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