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Borough, 24x7 NY Comfort Food in a Mall?

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Borough is an interesting restaurant that offers a slice of New York, serving up the very best of comfort food in the metro. New Yorkers now based in Manila are raving about the food. We tried it, and we agree with them.

The food is exciting and the presentation is not run-of-the-mill (ex. using a brown bag to "present" the fries). Borough seems to be out-of-place at the Podium mall, though. It should have opened in Bonifacio Global City, where it would have been an instant hit even on opening day.

 

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The interiors are slightly confusing with the mix of floral seats, spotlights and a tavern-ish aura. It's been years since I last hung out in New York, so I'm not sure if this really represents a typical NYC hangout.

The restaurant got its name from New York, which is composed of five boroughs -- Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.

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The second floor has a smoking ledge section with mafia-inspired seats.

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It was a bold move for them to open 24x7 -- yes, a restaurant inside a mall is open 24 hours!

There is a secret door at the side of Podium where you can enter Borough. They plan to place a curtain to conceal the entrance to the mall, so that it would really look like a hole-in-the-mall. Imagine, you can find very good comfort food at 12 midnight in the Ortigas area! Let's keep it a secret, ok? :)

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New Yorker Chef Cuit Kaufman is the man behind the good food in Borough. We took a photo of him with Raphael to be included in our collection of great chefs. :)

Borough Menu: Appetizers, Soups, Salads, Mains | Pasta, Sandwiches, All Day Breakfast, Dessert, Sides | Beer & Drinks | Borough Brunch Special | Borough Brunch Ala Carte

  • According to the owners, the best sellers are the Portobello Pita Pocket, BBQ Pulled Pork, Baked Mac and Cheese, NY Strip Steak, and Milk and Cookies.
  • San Mig Light is interestingly at P60 only for a place like this.
  • What I'm excited about is the Borough Brunch Special Menu, where you pay P550. It includes a choice of a brunch dish and unlimited servings of mimosa and sparkling wine every weekend!

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Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup (P240 +10% service charge). Grilled Cheese in Homemade Brioche Bread, served with Creamy Tomato Soup.

We love this! The soup had deep tones of roasted tomatoes with cream. It also had just the right sweetness and was served hot. The bread with mozzarella and cheddar was good, too. (Doesn't it resemble french toast?)

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Cheese-Injected Portobello Pita Pocket
(P230 +10% service charge)
. Portobello Mushroom oozing with Monterey Jack in a Pita Pocket.

A nice and unique idea. The portobello was good, but it was not served hot. It seemed like the cheese-injected portobello was defrosted rather than made from scratch. The chips were thin and crispy indeed, but had the aftertaste of overused oil.

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All Beef Cheeseburger
(P400 +10% service charge). All Beef Burger topped with Cheddar Cheese in a Homemade Brioche Bun.

I find this burger quite unique after having tasted all (or most of) the best burgers in Manila. The portioning and presentation were very good!  I liked having the Brioche Bun for my burger. The beef was served medium rare, with blood oozing out of the meat. It was good -- very soft and tasty -- but maybe you can ask it to be cooked medium-well if you don't like it rare.

At P400, though, the burger is overpriced since you only get tiny sliced onions (not even the caramelized ones), a tired piece of lettuce and tomato slices with it. I guess you are also paying for the effort to present the fries in a stylized brown bag...

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Sole Amandine
(P410 +10% service charge)
. Sauteed in Brown Butter. Spritzed with Lemon Juice, Capers and Sliced Almonds. Served with Green Beans and Jasmine Rice.

We often order meals with rice as our comfort food, and the sole with Jasmine rice did not disappoint. Its saltiness was at the right level and went well with the lemon twist. Eating the fish with  bits and pieces of almonds and capers also made it a flavorful experience.

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Although it is a bit on the expensive side, Borough's food is really good and worth checking out. This would be a hit among foodies, especially for the 24/7 crowd.

Borough
GF, Unit 107A, The Podium Mall,
12 ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong
For reservations, call: +632 570-8906.

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Disclosure: Nothing to disclose. We paid for all the food and we are NOT connected in any way with the owner or the chef.

P.S. For New Yorker foodies out there, check out Borough and share your thoughts in the comments section...

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Hi Anton! Thanks for this, been looking for good comfort food within the Ortigas area. I think it'll be a hit for us yuppies who work very late (as I often do!) and among those who work night shifts. Thanks! :)

you forgot to try the dessert! how do we know it's worth it:)

the sole amandine looks divine. and cute si chef. pero mas cute pa rin si raphael!

the brunch menu is just one dish and drinks only? I only saw 1 page of the menu. If so maybe 550 is too much.

love their buffalo wings!!

Yes just one dish but unlimited mimosa and sparkling wine... you can also order ala carte in the brunch ala carte menu.


I just this is really for those who like to get drunk with mimosa and wine in the morning :) hehe.

Kumps,


Coincidentally, just had lunch here today;
we filled out the comments card,
but in case the owners read this,
here are more details of our dining experience,
and I hope that they take our comments constructively : )


1. FRIED CHICKEN and WAFFLES
the waffle was quite soggy when served;
it didn't help that the chicken (perhaps still a bit oily)
was heaped on top of the waffles; this could have really added
to the overall softness of the waffle. sayang!

I suggest the roasted pecan butter be placed on a small container,
rather than sit on top of the waffle; as a result, it melted too soon,
and i was only able to spread it over half of the waffle.


2. loved the fried ELVIS sandwich (PB & Bananas)
a suggestion though: we kept on asking for teaspoons
for the condiments (dulce de leche/sour cream);
perhaps this can be provided upon plating.


3. the CHOCOLATE Chicken Wings are quite spicy...
which I really love; but maybe the server should say so,
as kids may be attracted to this and not be able to enjoy it.


4. PORTOBELLO Pita Pockets and CHILI Chicken Burger:
highly recommended!!!


I'll definitely return for that Mac & Cheese...
and the ELVIS!!!


The service is pretty good too: the servers are
very attentive, very familiar with the menu, and very gracious : )

Finally, allow me to nitpick:
the restaurant is way TOO DARK during lunch!
the plating and presentation are fun, so it's a shame
if we can't appreciated all the vibrant food colors.

Yeah, we will try CHOCOLATE CHICKEN WINGS AND CHILI CHICKEN BURGER next time! Plus the ELVIS daw is really good too!

They need to do something with the ambiance, masyadong malungkot. Sino kaya nagdesign?

love the seared tuna salad! will definitely come back for more, wanna try the whole menu :) price is just right, service is great :)

I really loved Egg Omelette with Cream Cheese (how can you not?) and the Chili Chicken Burger. I plan on going through their menu the next few weeks. Love the place, except the interiors confuse and unsettle me a little bit. I can't quite place where I am.....For me, you either go old style pub/tavern all the way, retro diner or even, modern diner. I can't imagine they would do this place up like a Mom & Tina's, country style. Regardless, it's nice to know that a place like this is always open!!! Chef Cuit trained under Jacques Torres who is considered one of the pastry greats in the U.S. culinary scene. Can't wait to try his desserts!

overall, it was a good experience;
will absolutely return for the Mac & Cheese : )


my 1st impression, since i got there at 11:30am,
maybe the "gloom" is intentional for the
call center agents who hang out here
after their graveyard shifts?

Their Milk and Cookies are so yummy! I love their French Toast as well. Pulled Pork seems to have mixed reviews based on my friends' opinions, but overall I give Borough 2 thumbs up!

Thanks TINA for the tip on Borough! I never really considered going here until you rave about it :) Thanks!

Now all that restaurant need is to have a Wide screen LCD TV so that their customers can watch their favorite New York Yankees game while eating their favorite cuisine.

Haha, thats true :) or watching the NBA games :)

Will it work?

Hello Anton! I'm actually from the table next to you. It was a funny coincidence because I was checking OAP for a review on Borough before I left for Podium that night. Turns out I was one day too early.

Anyway, the Elvis was good! Definitely going back for another serving next time.

Hi Greg,


Sana you said HI :) It was funny we are the only two clients that night. At first I thought the Chef was snobbish hindi naman pala, mabait naman.


A lot of people are raving about Elvis :) Thanks, we will try that next time!

Anton

Try their milk and cookies! :)

definitely, maybe

I was shy.:)) I wanted to invite you to take a picture of our dishes so you could add them to OAP but I didn't want to bother you and your family.

Yeah I saw you talking to the chef and I admit I might have eavesdropped a bit. It's not everyday that a person gets to see Anton Diaz do his thing.:))

I'm a big fan of your blog and I hope you keep up the good work that you've done here. God bless to you and your family!

Thanks for commenting Greg :) Haha, yeah should have taken that shot of the Elvis!  Next time, say HI please when we bump into each other in the restos...

I agree! they should have opened at fort as there's more people that go there and it will be at the center. south peeps usually don't go past beyond makati and fort area.. (biased) haha..

OMG! I cannot wait to try this out. And open 24/7? YES! I often wake up at 4am and get to my office in Makati by 6am just so I wouldn't get stuck in traffic when I was still living in Novaliches. Now that I am in Marikina, I still have that early morning wake up habit and I usually miss out on a good breakfast. Now I have somewhere to stop by! Woot!

Not all new yorkers watch the Yankees or NBA games :/

On another note, I'm really excited that this place is 24/7 and has unlimited mimosa's on the weekend! I have been looking for a place exactly like this ever since I moved back here from NY and I cannot wait to try this place out! Thanks for the review, Anton!

Thanks for the comment! Can you let me know what you think of the place?


BTW their grand opening is on November 13 8pm to 6am. 

I went to Borough during its opening week and was really disappointed with the interiors and the food. I really thought the food was overpriced. We had lack luster meals, and all six of us had different orders, some of which was already mentioned to be good here. They were bland, the burgers were soggy, and the sole fish was tasteless. I was really disappointed, that I think it was my worst restaurant experience this year. I was really hoping though for a better experience the next time, because I live and work in the Ortigas area, and this place is such as welcoming hang out.

given that they operate on a 24hour basis, does that mean that all the entrees of their menu is available anytime?

Technically yes, but Ill try to go there at wee hours in the morning and see...

Brought my family for Lunch there today and was totally disappointed. Most of our choices were NOT available. It seemed that the kitchen did'nt plan their purchases properly. Its frustrating when that happens because your first impression of the restaurant goes down in flames immediately. The waitress told us that they ran out of ingredients because they had a big lunch before we came. I don't think thats an excuse especially since the restaurant is new and trying to make a name for itself. In this competitive restaurant business, you only get one chance to make an impression to your clients and the potential other clients you can get from them. The lunch menu was also very limited to around 8-9 entrees plus you can have their fixed price brunch menu but comes with unlimited beverage (even sparkling wine). We asked the waitress if we can order just the entree's from the brunch menu (without the unlimited beverage), which she said we can but once we chose a meal, the standard answer was "it was'nt available". Their more extensive menu can only be had from 3pm onwards. What a BUMMER! So we finally compromised with what they had and ordered, when suddenly the waitress comes back to us after 10 mins. and tells us that the Sausage for my wife's Boroughs Breakfast was not available and they wanted to replace it with chicken longganisa. Since my wife was'nt fond of Longganisa, she opted to change her order to the Burger even if she's not a burger person. All in all, it was an unpleasant experience. The food was nothing great, the Burger (as Anton pointed out) was over priced at P400 and small in size. Charlie's Grind and Grill at Kapitolyo Pasig was much better at half the price. Oh well, lessons learned because next time, i'll just bring my family to Chelsea Cafe if we want the similar type of food

Lousy service. Good food, but lousy service. (Sunday Dinner)

1. We ordered water, and a glass had lipstick smear on it.
2. Most of their specialties were OUT OF STOCK.
3. Food came out at different times.
4. Simple things like spoons, teaspoons, had to have a follow-up.
5. We ordered for a cup of extra rice that never came. Our waiter even ARGUED with us that we should have ordered it from him instead of the other 3. 1 of them even "suggested" that we didn't even order... In fact we were even asked what kind of rice we wanted. Manager didn't come to the rescue until after we settled our bill. He asked if our experience was pleasant... we answered: "Of course not".

By the way, the table beside us complained that their soup never arrived.

Portobello Pita Pocket is fantastic! Great find for all night eating place in Ortigas!

Fantastic place!
Something new, Great fresh menu... most of all compared to a lot of other places in Ortigas.. Its Very Clean!
Anyone that has not visited yet, this is highly recommendable!

I tried several things on the menu... the burger was just amazing.. the bread fantastic... not to mention the special fries that came with the meal... just simply very good!

After lunch, cookies and milk... I felt like I was back in holland on my mom's couch in the winter! just fantastic

I loved it! http://www.shootfirsteatlater.com/2010/11/dinner-at-borough-podium-mall.html We ordered the elvis, wings, milk & cookies and many more.

went there for lunch yesterday and the Brooklyn chicken salad was fantastic. my drinks were on my table within 2 minutes and the salad followed 10 mins later

couldn't get much faster than that ;) i'll be back

Just had lunch here. Spot on Anton on the Portobello Pita pocket. My order arrived cold and the oil was dripping in the entire food basket. Loved the cheese but the portobello was just sad. The milk and cookies though are yum! But i can probably make that at home with fresh milk and good vanilla ice cream. Service during the lunch hour was good though. I hope they implement a stricter check on the food quality before serving it. I'd rather wait a bit for something that promises to be oh so good that delivers than just remaining a promise.

I'll try going back after a few weeks or so. Maybe they'll have a better groove by then.

had lunch there yesterday and i love the brioche bread. the portabello was also worth it. the owner and the chef were around and owner went table to table asking hows everything and very open to suggestion. planning on celebrating my birthday there next month for one reason: Mom's Cookies and Milk. its the best (read chef was trained under jacques torres, so that explains why the cookies were soo good!) =)

that grilled cheese sandwich is something to die for :)

Just had dinner here. Second time, first time we had the pulled pork (really good) and the pumpkin pasta (nothing great), not much people and the service was good. Then tonight, all tables were full, service was bad, and they had a lot of dishes out of stock. My husband had the burger, and the meat was so bad there were unchewable little pieces of whatever in every bite. The tuna salad was great, though.

Then when we got the bill, they still charged us 400 for the burger, when on the menu it said 360. I had to approach the cashier, who didn't know what to do since her POS machine read 400. I asked for a manager, and she said none was available. I then HAD to ask who else can help and then she called the attention of the chef who was there near the counter.

He fixed the wrong price issue, and then when I complained about the burger, he instantly said we shouldn't pay for it since they had bad quality beef delivered.

Overall it was an ok experience. The staff need to be trained further on how to handle complaints, though.

Me and my partner went there last night to celebrate and we had a really good time. We had the all-beef burger. The patty was really juicy and the bun was perfect. We also had the BBQ pulled pork sandwich. The tart coleslaw complemented the sweetness of the pork. Chips and the buffalo chicken were on the oily side, though, but hey, it's American food!

The star of the night was the banana amaretto French toast that went really well with our Black and White Russians. It was really decadent with the almond-specked whipped cream slowly melting over the warm flambeed loaves. Surely when we get back there we'll have this dessert again. We had to take the cookies home as we were so full, but they were awesome, too, together with the milk, which I suggested to my partner to whip up his White Russian.

The service may get a bit on your nerves. But all it takes is one bite to forget you've ever dealt with the crew.

Nice comment and feedback :) thanks!

Anton

Actually, paper bags are classic presentation for take-out burgers and fries. It's my preferred way to get 'em - I can add salt, malt vinegar, or whatever I like, close the bag, give it a good shake, and I'm ready to roll. Although the bag won't survive a walk home unless you double it up, unless they drain the fries WELL before bagging them.

Cheers!

Mr Z

P.S. This is how they serve at Five Guys back in the States. No brioche in sight, just damned good burgers and fries, for cheap. D.C.-area classic :D

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