Finally–a new Austin restaurant that isn’t like any other concept (at the moment)–Be More Pacific is serving up Filipino food and inventive cocktails. Once a food truck, Be More Pacific has now opened up a brick and mortar up north just off buzzy Anderson Lane, offering generously portioned dishes for lunch and dinner, and pretty soon brunch. They will keep their beloved food truck for catering purposes, but for now their focus will be on service at their new location.
The bright, open space features communal tables with an ample bar in the middle inviting you to try out their inventive cocktails. The casual eatery encourages you to place your order at the counter, then sit and enjoy cocktails and friends while you wait for your food to be brought out. They have a large patio outside, featuring lawn games encouraging one to linger after their meal, or to gather with friends while watching a game on one of their many tvs.
Filipino food is essentially a mix of Chinese, Japanese, Indian, and Spanish cuisines, and this cuisine is growing in popularity across the US. My first taste of it was when Paul Qui introduced his Dinuguan (essentially a savory stew of pork offal and/or meat simmered in a rich, spicy dark gravy of pig blood, garlic, chili, and vinegar) to his namesake restaurant Qui a few years ago. Since then, Anthony Bourdain has been so bold to say that he predicts Filipino food to be the next big thing in America. Regardless, Be More Pacific has several menu items that will appeal to Filipino food lovers and those who have never tried Filipino food in their life.
Gio Cuchapin and Mark Pascual are the talent behind the popular Be More Pacific fusion food truck, and they enlisted the help of chefs Salvador “Buddy” Melgarejo and Tony Dominguez to create flavorful interpretations of traditional Filipino fare. The result is fun, playful and flavorful dishes like Spicy Curry Coconut Lime Bacon Fried Rice like in their SCCLBFR, and brisket (rather than ox tail), Bok choy, long beans, eggplant in a creamy peanut sauce like in their Kare Kare.
Another fun dish that I really enjoyed was their Longanisa Tots, they add white queso, homemade longanisa, BMP’s Spicy Banana Sauce, and green onions. If you like condiments, you need to taste their homemade ketchup which has hints of plantains in it and makes for the perfect sweet and sour sauce. I also love to add Sriracha to everything, and they have plenty of those bottles to go around.
Another favorite was their slightly sweet and savory Tosilog dish, made with pork, garlic rice, green onion garnish, and egg. There’s something about savory pork and a velvety egg that pairs so well together, and of course I felt it necessary to pair it with a delicious pina colada, to get the full tropical effect.
If you make it in for dinner, you have to try their Halo Halo dessert made with Amy’s Ice Cream Ube ice cream, shaved ice, fruit, jellies, flan, and evaporated milk. It’s a super fun dessert to share, and surprisingly it’s not too sweet-at least the ice cream isn’t (or I didn’t think so–maybe my taste buds are off?). Ube is a sort of tuber or purple yam usually vivid violet to bright lavender in color, but it can sometimes be white. As you can imagine, it can make for a beautifully colored ice cream and dessert.
Be More Pacific Filipino Kitchen and Bar, located at 7858 Shoal Creek Blvd., is housed just above Suzi’s China Grill and is now open for lunch and dinner service. Hours are Tuesday – Friday lunch from 11 am – 2:30 pm, happy hour from 4 – 6:30 pm and Tuesday – Friday dinner from 5 – 10 pm, Saturday hours are 11 am to 11 pm. Closed Sunday & Monday. For more information about Be More Pacific Filipino Kitchen and Bar, you can check them out here.