Whenever people consider giving up pork, they normally think about how impossible it would be to give up bacon. For a lot of us, bacon is the pinnacle of porky goodness. Starting the day by eating crispy, salty meat that’s layered with the oily strips of fat is normally the best way to start.
It’s no surprise, then, that there’s a restaurant that thrives on our collective love for bacon. At Oinkster in Maginhawa, you can have unlimited bacon for P299. It comes with two cups of white/brown rice or two waffles. It also comes with an onion relish, two eggs (cooked the way you like), and your choice of calamansi or raspberry juice. Aside from the usual strips of bacon, it also comes with a huge slab of breaded bacon. Before ordering, please know that you’ll have to pay P35 for a cup of extra rice.
I’d like to think it’s well-priced for a restaurant meal, except I wasn’t really a fan of how the bacon was cooked. It was sliced too thin and was almost burnt to a crisp. Nevertheless, I do understand that some people prefer their bacon cooked this way, so I’ll let that one slide. I actually preferred the breaded bacon over the regular strips. It was a bit thicker and was nicely seasoned.
Oinkster is owned by the same people as The Breakfast Bin, another breakfast-themed restaurant in Maginhawa. Reasonably enough, there are a few similarities: Oinkster’s menu also features The Breakfast Bin’s famous Liempo Chips, an Instagrammable dish with almost paper-thin strips of crispy liempo. It’s served with a semi-sweet vinegar dip, which I enjoyed so much.
Another stellar offering is the Angus Beef Tapa. Don’t expect top-quality beef, though. Even though the quality of the meat isn’t the best, the combination of the sweet tapa, the flavorful garlic rice, and the charmingly sweet and sour vinegar made this a hit.
Unfortunately, despite my multiple visits to Oinkster, those are the only dishes that I liked. I’ve tried the Oinkster Ribs and Cheese, which had wonderfully tender meat but was smothered in boring, tasteless cheese. The dry, lifeless white rice also didn’t help. Thankfully, more sauce is served on the side to bring out the flavor, but overall, I think the cheese is just there to make the dish more aesthetically appealing.
I’d say the same for the Chicken and Cheese, which had a nice thin batter but had little to no flavor. The cheese contributed almost nothing to the chicken popcorn. Again, I’m happy there was sauce on the side, but flavor-wise, the sweet corn on the side was actually the most remarkable. As if I haven’t learned my lesson, I also tried Rob’s Mac and Cheese–and as expected, the four kinds of cheese (blue, mozzarella, parmesan, and cheddar) still fell short in terms of flavor.
Nevertheless, despite the lackluster meals, I really want Oinkster to do well. For instance, the service, the branding, and the interiors are top-notch. A massive mural bearing the face of a pig smugs at every diner, whether you choose to sit in the first or second floor. The comfortable setting also makes for steady, quiet meals. During every visit, the servers treated us well and gave off the impression that they’re happy working for Oinkster.
I do hope that the owners sit down to reinvent their menu or think of more compelling pork dishes to offer. I truly wish that one day, it will become a kind of restaurant that will make me glad to pig out.
Oinkster is located at 99 Maginhawa Street, Teacher’s Village, Quezon City