In the mood for a gastronomic adventure? Look no further than Vatos Urban Tacos for good food, cool vibes and a great time. Here are five reasons why you should check this place out:
One: It’s a cool place to hang out in
Located at the ground floor of Net Park Building in BGC, Vatos’ store is characterized, not by the traditionally colorful Mexican decor, but by an industrial, almost steampunk aesthetic. Bare concrete walls tastefully adorned with black and white photos and exposed pipes, lamps hanging from the ceiling giving muted light, dark wood tables and an accent wall of broken bricks on top of the bar were elements inspired by the very first Vatos outlet in Korea. These give the place a cool urban vibe that make it a great stopover after work to eat, have a few drinks and relax.
And ladies, those inverted faucets under the tabletops serve as bag hooks!
Two: It’s your intro to #KorMex
Vatos (from the Mexican slang for “men” or “dudes”) was actually born out of the desire of three Korean-American friends – Sid Kim, Kenny Park and Juweon Jonatham Kim – to offer a new type of dining experience in the Asian market. Having grown up in areas of the US where they have access to authentic Mexican dishes, while being fed a steady diet of homemade Korean food by their moms, they came to mix and match the cuisines. These experimentations resulted to exciting new dishes, especially for adventurous seekers of spicy food. These include:
Kimchi Carnitas Fries (Php350). A hearty serving of seasoned French fries, braised pork carnitas, melted cheese and sauteed kimchi topped with chopped cilantro and onions, sour cream and Vatos signature hot sauce.
Honey Tequila Chicken Wings (Php490). Can something so good be hot and sweet at the same time? Apparently yes, with these meaty chicken wings coated with a sweet and spicy honey tequila sauce and served with deep-fried battered jalapenos and bleu cheese dipping sauce.
Vatos Cowboy Queso (Php390). For a rich savory taste of the Wild West, dip a crunchy had-cut corn tortilla into this molten dip of cheddar and pepper jack cheeses, black beans, pico de gallo and cilantro lime crema. You’ll surely be coming back for more.
The Fat Bastard Burrito Bowl (Php560). A filling bowl of Mexican rice and black beans combined with tender bits of carne asada steak, pork barbacoa and grilled fajita vegetables, with fresh Mexican flavors from cilantro onion, cilantro lime crema, fresh guacamole, chipotle salsa and Vatos hot sauce.
Grilled Chicken Fajita Platter (Php850). Grilled chicken thigh and fajita veggies served on a sizzling hot plate along with Mexican rice, pico de gallo, chimichurri, cilantro lime crema, Vatos hot sauce and warm flour tortillas.
Korean Pork Belly Taco (Php290 for 2 pieces | Php430 for 3 pieces | Php600 for platter). One of the resto’s much-vaunted urban taco options, this platter, this features pork belly marinated in Korean soy paste, ssamjang aioli, sliced fresh and pickled onions.
Chimichurri Chicken Taco (Php259 for 2 pieces | Php370 for 3 pieces | Php600 for platter). Spicy chicken flakes topped with a sweet and tangy chimichurri salsa, lettuce, sour cream and Mexican cheese.
Baja Fish Taco (Php280 for 2 pieces | Php410 for 3 pieces | Php600 for platter). White fish coated with tempura beer batter served with spicy chipotle mayo, pico de gallo and apple coleslaw.
Three: Why would you go through life without taking a sip of Vatos’ crazy margaritas?
Margeritas are tequila and citrus-based cocktails which serves as refreshing drinks and worthy foils to spicy Mexican dishes. Vatos’ ‘ritas have a nice variety that you can choose one that suits your craving or mood.
The sweetest among Vatos’ margarita offerings is the Sexy Sanchez (Php480), a fruity strawberry margarita served with an upended bottle of Magners Berry Cider.
Grow-a-Pear (Php480), on the other hand, is less sweet though no less fruity being made of passion fruit margarita accompanied by an upended bottle of Magners Pear Cider.
If the ‘ritas are not your cup of tea (more like alcohol of choice!), how about another shot of #KorMex fusion with the Makgeolitas (Php320)? Tequila meets Korean rice-based alcohol resulting to a sweet and tangy concoction that packs a wallop.
Four: There’s something for your sweet tooth too!
With all the fresh citrusy and rich earthy flavors, generously infused with a spicy kick stemming from Vatos’ Korean and Mexican roots, capping your meal with a decadent dessert can be quite an indulgence.
Take the Nutella Nachos (Php225), for example. Cinnamon powder and sugar dust crispy tortilla triangles drizzled with hazelnut Nutella sauce. Topped with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream, each mouthful is an explosion of sweetness.
A new addition to Vatos’ menu, the Bacon Jalapeno Brownie (Php180) is an interesting study of contrasts. Sweetness from the chocolate and candied walnuts, savory from the crispy bacon bits, and spiciness from the jalapeno that was included in the mix for some reason. One bite and I just want to delve into its mysteries, unravel its complexities and discover what makes it tick. Long story short, yeah, I liked it. (Thank you, Captain Obvious!)
Five: It has special treats in store for you as it turns a year old this February.
When you visit Vatos as it celebrates its first anniversary, you’re definitely in for a treat!
Feel like crooning out your signature song while accompanied by an acoustic guitar? Make sure you’re at Vatos on February 1 (Fri), 7pm for its Open Mic Acoustic Night with Dindo and Ryan.
And for all you 80s and 90s kids out there who can’t get enough of the past decades’ great tunes, DJ Erwin Paz will be there on February 2 (Sat), 8pm to play the sounds you’ve been missing.
And, on those days, you will discover that your Php100 bill can get you very far: you can either get a huge glass of margarita, or a pair of scrumptious tacos.
Vatos is a welcome new foodie discovery in itself but with its imaginative fusion menu and anniversary activities, it can become a new favorite.
Vatos Urban Tacos is located at Net Park Building, 5th AvenuelBonifacio Global City, Taguig. For inquiries, call +63 2 4597009 or +63 967 2464781. More information on its dishes and drinks are available at www.vatosph.com.
Disclosure: Together with other food bloggers, I was invited to attend a foodie meetup held in this restaurant. Food items mentioned here were served to allow us to sample the fare and were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.