Inspired by a mythical creature, the Minokaua is the newest place for the creatives in Manila.
Recently, we’ve seen the rise of many multi-functional establishments in Manila, but most fail to succeed in actually being multi-functional. Gallery-slash-dining establishments either serve a good meal and fail to highlight their artworks or vice versa. Meanwhile, coffee shops-slash-coworking spaces do not work well as a place for working and getting things done.
But we found a small space in Malate that hits three birds with one stone: The Minokaua
serves as a coworking space in the morning, a great hangout bar at night, and also a gallery that offers a great exhibition space for local artists. We visited this small establishment in Manila tucked between an office building and a bank to taste and see what they are offering.
To make it as fair as possible, we asked The Minokaua for gift certificates in advance so we can dine at their place anonymously – the same thing that we do for our other dining reviews. Curious how they were able to make their multi-functional establishment work? Read on.
The name Minokaua refers to a giant dragon-like creature, which according to Philippine folklore, ate the sun. But upon entering their space, The Minokaua is nothing like what we’ve read in any Philippine folklore. Their interior is a mix of industrial-inspired architecture with pops of reds and blacks plus great artworks from local artists courtesy of Gallerya Luna.
The Minokaua offers unlimited coffee and Wi-Fi plus spacious tables for people looking for a coworking space.
Upon entering the space, you’ll be welcomed by their coworking space that is open from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM from Monday to Saturday. Their coworking space is a great upgrade from the usual coffee shops we are used to. For one, the tables are spacious with individual lamps, pens, and papers perfect for huge laptops and people who need their own personal light for reading. The Minokaua also offers unlimited Wi-Fi and coffee for PhP150 from 10:00 AM until 7:00 PM, perfect for people who need to work for more than an hour or two. The atmosphere is also cold and cozy, perfect for an afternoon of working.
The Minokaua’s music bar is located on the second floor
On the second floor, you’ll find their music bar that comes alive at night as they feature a variety of different live bands every day of the week. The floor is spacious and has a lot of seating options for guests. The stage is also a nice change from the usual elevated ones we are used to seeing in other bars, making it feel like you’re in your own home while listening to your favorite band. There’s also a loft on the third level overlooking the stage that serves as private space for VIPs.
Several pieces from Gallerya Luna
Also evident in The Minokaua are the artworks from Gallerya Luna. Gallerya Luna is an Art and Exhibition gallery that features the works of local artists, giving them a chance to show and even sell their creations. The Minokaua did a great job in highlighting the artworks. Instead of simply being hung on the wall, the artworks were clipped to vertical metal wires, thus giving the illusion that they are floating on air.
Overall, The Minokaua is a breath of fresh air from the usual jack-of-all-trades establishments that try to do everything at once. The balance of being a coworking space in the morning and a music bar at night was executed effectively by dedicating specific spaces for each function. They were also able to properly highlight the artworks from Gallerya Luna by creatively displaying them on the walls instead of letting them fall flat into the background.
Despite being known as a music bar, The Minokaua offers more than just bar chows. And with their coworking space going full swing last November, they also started offering meals perfect for lunch time. Here are some of the dishes we tried when we visited The Minokaua.
Chicken Chicharrones with Garlic Vinegar PhP300
First thing that we ordered is their Chicken Chicharrones with Garlic Vinegar. The serving is good for sharing, making it a great pulutan with your buddies. You’ll immediately notice that unlike the usual ones that we see on the street that are full of flour, The Minokaua’s Chicken Chicharrones is as real as it gets, and fried to perfection. You’ll barely feel the grease once you start munching on them, but the familiar taste of chicken fat is still evident in every bite. It may be a bit bland, but you can add a little salt or dip it in the vinegar that they also provide to give it a little kick that’ll suit your taste.
Lechon Kawali with Bok Choy PhP240
Last November, The Minokaua also started offering rice bowls perfect for those who want to grab a good lunch while taking advantage of their coworking space. We ordered their Lechon Kawali with Bok Choy and Chicken Salted Egg to taste their new offerings.
Their Lechon Kawali and Bok Choy acts as a great and filling lunch as the serving is really huge. The pork chop is the star of the bowl, as it is served with good portions enough to fill one’s tummy and is fried to just the right golden brown state. Other lechon kawali dishes are usually so fried that they become burnt and too chewy, but The Minokaua’s version still has a nice crunch to it and you’ll still get to taste the meat. It is also well seasoned without being overly salty. In addition, the rice is still served hot and with a nice dash of seasoning to keep it from being bland. The bok choy is also a nice addition as it is served still crunchy and not overcooked.
Salted Egg Fried Chicken PhP195
The Minokaua’s Salted Egg Fried Chicken might not be your cup of tea if you’re a fan of fried chicken, but that doesn’t mean it’s no good. The salted egg coating affected the chicken’s crispiness, but it served as a nice sauce for the meat. The salted egg’s thick consistency and nice savory flavors served as the chicken’s own gravy. Although you won’t get the usual crispy fried chicken, the meat is still tender and served in good portions perfect for one person. The flavor of the chicken is also just the right amount of saltiness that pairs well with the salted egg coating.
Half-Pound Beef Burger PhP240
Our last item is The Minokaua’s Half-Pound Beef Burger. If you’re craving for a classic hamburger, their half-pound burger is the way to go. The bread is thick but still soft, and instead of the usual sesame seeds, their version is covered with oatmeal, giving it a nice crunch. The vegetables are nice and crispy while the meat is made with real beef. It’s still juicy and tender despite sitting on the table for a couple of minutes, and is nicely cooked as well. The potato wedges are also a nice upgrade from the usual French fries as they are thick and they also left the skin giving it a bit of a crunch.
Overall, we had a satisfying meal at The Minokaua. The meals are a little bit pricey, but the serving sizes and portions are big and some are good enough for sharing. All of the items served have great classic flavors fit for the Filipino palate from the pulutan that is the chicken skin to the filling rice bowls and burger. Their offerings only prove that they can be a great place to splurge in once in a while, may it be during lunch time with your office buddies or at night with your barkada.
In the end, we believe The Minokaua is a place worth visiting and worth splurging in. Their prices may be a little steep, but what you’ll get in return is great food and a comfortable space for working in the morning and hanging out at night. They were also successful in highlighting the artworks from Galleria Luna, giving local artists a great avenue to display their work and giving their customer a feast for their eyes.
Address: 1951 Adriatico St, Malate, Manila, Metro Manila
Contact Number: 0917 884 5089; firstname.lastname@example.org
Type/s of Cuisine: Filipino, Spanish, Asian
Operating Hours: Monday to Saturday 10:00 AM to 3:00 AM
Payment Type: Cash
Prices may change without notice.