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Antidote: I’M Hotel’s Newest Cure for Urban Madness

Jellyfish tanks, signature cocktails celebrating local flavors, and a 360-degree view of Makati make up this swanky inner city remedy.

Words by JOHN PATRICK ALLANEGUI / Images by LEAH DE LEON

“Pick your poison,” bears the purple signage at the bar area of Metro Manila’s latest go-to spot for escaping the city.

Just below the neon-lit signage, hundreds of jellyfish float gently inside a huge aquarium, bathed in a haze of purplish light.

Nestled on the roof deck of I’M Hotel in Makati Avenue, Antidote prides itself as a bar where goers can bask in its stylish ambiance, get lost in the view of the city’s skyline, and enjoy signature cocktail drinks to cure the madness brought by the city.

Upon entering the bar, one’s eyes are immediately drawn to the line of liquor bottles in front of the jellyfish tank and the modern interiors that occupy the entire top floor of the 5-star hotel. The bar’s interiors, coupled with upbeat music playing in the background, present a romantic and electrifying experience to all those who seek to be treated.

Antidote features indoor and outdoor seating, both of which are adorned with lavish sofas and chairs, and complemented with modish tabletops. The bar also gives a breathtaking 360-degree view of Metro Manila, further enhancing the experience of being withdrawn from the hustle and bustle of the capital region’s busy streets.

“Pick Your Poison” from Antidote’s line of signature cocktails: (clockwise from top right): Ube BAE, Ananas in Pandanus, and Mr. DOMango. (All priced at 390php)

 

“Pick Your Poison”

“[Antidote] wants to be the ambassador of innovation when it comes to cocktails and bites… [and] set a new trend in crafting cocktails,” said the bar’s head chef, Paul Cruz.

For a place that puts innovation on top of its game, Antidote knows how to attract crowds with signature cocktails that were made in collaboration with Christian Dominguez, the chief bartender of New York City’s popular Mace Cocktail Bar.

Chef Cruz said that the array of signature cocktails utilizes local and “sustainable” elements to make the concoctions unique and Filipino.

“We really wanted to stick to our Filipino roots here,” Cruz said. “We also want to promote our local products and present them in internationally-accepted ways,” he added.

Among the ingredients that are put in the signature cocktails are ube, pandan, and coconut milk, among others. The bar’s bestselling cocktail elevates the ube hype with Ube BAE, a glass of jalapeno-infused cachacha, ube-infused coconut milk, and egg, all topped with toasted coconut flakes. The sweetness of ube is complemented well with the coconut milk, giving that right amount of kick in the taste buds.

Another one is a tropical cocktail called Ananas in Pandanus, a pineapple-infused rum mixed with pandan syrup and lime. The drink highlights the tangy taste of pineapple while the pandan balances it out with its subtle sweetness.

And one must not forget to try out Mr. DOMango, a mixture of moringa leaves infused with vodka, banana liqueur, mango puree, coconut milk, and tapioca pearls. Dubbed as the “milk tea for adults,” Mr. DOMango rightfully delivers that familiar milky flavor with a tropical buzz.

Antidote’s Dishes: (clockwise from top left) the Baby Squid (320php), the Kueh Pie Tee(275php), its Black Chilean Mussels and Local Clams (430php), and its Miso Banana Parfait (250php).

Global cuisines as therapy

While Antidote seems to imbue its cure in its signature cocktails, the bar’s kitchen doesn’t fail to deliver a delectable selection of global cuisines, which serve as everyone’s gastronomic therapy for a magical evening.

Antidote’s menu currently offers 18 bite-sized items from the world, bringing together the flavors of the East and West in different dishes.

According to Chef Cruz, the crowd’s favorite is the plate of Black Chilean Mussels and Local Clams, sautéed in Chardonnay broth and garlic melba, both of which give an utterly savory boost to the dish.

Then there’s the Baby Squid, bite-sized servings of baby squid doused in paprika gelee and EVOO, which goes well with any of the bar’s signature cocktails. On the side, the Kueh Pie Tee, thin and crispy pastry tart shells are served in three different fillings: Atlantic salmon and caviar, smoked oyster and Wakame soba, and prawn and root vegetables. The combination of fillings highlights the variety of flavors from the sea, emphasizing the dish’s piquant taste.

Finally, no cure would be deemed effective without something sweet in the end. Antidote’s Miso Banana Parfait is the perfect sweet relief. Garnished with bitter chocolate fondant and Hibiki whiskey mousse, the dessert leaves one’s taste buds in ecstasy as the refreshing taste of banana mixes with the sweet layers of the parfait.

Chef Paul Cruz (third from left) and his team raise the bar of Makati’s nightlife with Antidote.

Raising the bar

It is without a doubt that the old downtown area of Poblacion has become one of Metro Manila’s gustatory and entertainment destinations with its collection of homegrown restaurants and bars in every corner.

While establishments continue to grow in numbers, Antidote quite literally towers above the rest of the pack, offering a unique city experience while keeping its desire for ‘innovation’ in the cocktail scene.

Make no mistake about it: Antidote sits at the very top of Poblacion, ready to welcome and treat those who are experiencing the symptoms of stress of urban life: low energy, insomnia, headaches, or simply an insatiable desire to let loose.

Antidote awaits everyone. No prescription from the doctor needed.

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