Opening Hours: 10:00 A.M. – 9:00 P.M. (Monday – Sunday)
Phone Number: (02) 668-35-45
Most of the best restaurants are holes-in-the-wall. So when we came across this quaint little place in the newly opened Alphaland Makati Place, we knew we had to try it.
Burst Food Services, or simply "Burst," bills itself as a Spanish restaurant (though it offers lots of Filipino dishes as well). It's been around since December 2014, and is one of the few establishments occupying the Makati Place's upper floors (as of this writing).
Considering it's been around for over a year, though, we found it strange that Burst has so few customers. Even when it was relatively new, reviewers reported that the place only had a handful of people at any one time. Also, their "discount promos" seem to be going on for quite some time now.
Not a good sign.
Still, we wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt. After all, they may have improved within the last few months, right?
Let's find out.
From a business perspective, Burst's location isn't strategic. Unless it's surrounded by other noteworthy establishments, Burst can't expect people to go all the way up the second floor just to see them. That probably (partially) explains why they have few customers.
Once you find it, however, "unassuming" is the first word that comes to mind. Unlike other fine dining restaurants, it doesn't too many frills and thrills to attract customers. Instead, it's a family restaurant through and through.
When a place feels like this, you'd expect a certain quality from their food: homemade, cooked with love and a tasty reminder of better times. Unfortunately, expectations often lead to disappointment.
Looking at their menu, the first thing you'll notice is the division of food between "regular" and "discounted." As you can imagine, the only difference between the two is the price. Servings remain the same no matter which you order. (We're not sure why the "regular" option exists, since it's pretty clear which one the cash-strapped customers will take.)
Anyway, since the menu was more Filipino than Spanish, we sampled more of the former.
Actually, in this case, it does. The tapa slices could've been better: The meat was too thin, the texture too tough, and it lacked the juices that make the usual tapa so delicious. Even if we added vinegar, we're not sure it could've done much to save the quality of this one.
And then there are the Burst Oysters.
Luckily, the oysters were good. They're cheesy without being salty, and the spicy sauces go well with them. The only problem is the garlic bread: It's more tough than crispy — either because it was toasted too long, or the bread they used was too old.
Overall, the food needs sprucing up. If Burst wants to draw in more customers, without resorting to drastic measures like slashing prices, they should probably start with the quality of the food. Otherwise, they'll lose out to other establishments that put more thought and care into their offerings.
On the plus side, the service was good. We were given comfortable seats, served cool drinks shortly afterwards, and didn't have to wait too long for our meals. Also, the waiters were kind, friendly and willing to answer all our questions.
Once we wrapped up and asked for the bill, we noticed the receipt didn't specify anything about a "service charge." We assumed the service charge wasn't included in the final price yet, so we gave them a tip. At the very least, the waiters should know that good service is rewarded.
Burst was a mixed bag, to be honest. On the one hand, their ambience is good, and their service is even better. On the other hand, the food has a long way to go. We hope that, if they read this review, they'll at least check out what their more popular competitors are doing, and take notes. Otherwise, they won't be able to keep slashing prices for long.