I was tipped off by fellow food blogger Mitch on this place called Handlebar. For some reason, I kept thinking it was called ‘Headbanger,’ but thankfully, no. Apparently, my sister had heard about the post from Mitch’s husband, so off we hied into the deeper recesses of Polaris St.
This bar-restaurant surprisingly, has been around for two and a half years, and is a joint partnership between a group of Australians and two Filipinos. Handlebar is one of those places that you’d never go to unless someone told you about it. It just isn’t all that impressive from that outside, and the word ‘seedy’ may even come to mind when you drive by. But as I’ve said in this blog, looks can be deceiving even when it comes to restaurants, so set aside your inhibitions.
Handlebar is named as such because it’s a place where bikers congregate and where they are celebrated. I myself am a biker, but more of the pedal-along type and not the vroom-vroom type. Once inside, the place has “biker dive” written all over it: there are biker paraphernalia on the walls and ceilings (my favorite biker shirt: “If you can read this, the bitch fell off”), the air is rank with cigarette smoke, hard rock spills from the speakers, and the pool tables emit occasional clacks from those playing. Some wicked bikes are also situated by the door for ogling purposes.
Look carefully and you’ll be tickled to notice that the tables are held up by oil drums and the seats are supported by narrow barrels — incredibly quirky and so apropos.
The biker theme also extends to the food –to wit, inner tubes (P155) – beer battered, deep-fried squid served with a dip; and spark plugs (P150) – chicken wing lollipops, which tastes like hellishly hot ketchup. The menu is as varied as the people who find their way here – from Bicol express (P265) to Indian Madras (P295 – chicken or beef served with rice) to Cuban rice (P245 – their version of arroz a la cubana).
But the pull here is towards the steaks, verified by our server who declared them imported from Australia. Only porterhouse and rib-eye are offered, both in 12 or 16 ounces (P345-P415). My sister and I both asked for the meat to be cooked just to medium, but they still turned out tough – not jaw-achingly tough, but just not as soft as we’d expect from a rib-eye. We both finished our steaks and thoroughly enjoyed the French fries that came with the meat –long fingers of crispy potato (obviously imported), as well as the corn on the cob and tournÃ©ed vegetables.
I’d like to come back here for the double egg sandwich (P135) described as “… impossible to eat without [making] a mess but worth a try. Two eggs served sunny side-up on a roll with fries.” Sounds like my kind of thing, being the egg-lover that I am. I’d also like a shot at the burgers (quarter, half and whole pounder P180-P340), which come with “all the fixin’s.”
I will echo Mitch’s warning not to come here after 10pm. There are all sorts of people who come out of the woodwork to Handlebar at that hour, so it’s best to have dessert elsewhere. Having said that however, the service at Handlebar is surprisingly very friendly. Ask for Ghie (GEE) and tell her that I sent you.
One last thing that I had to laugh at: When I asked Ghie what they offered for dessert, she said, “Wala kaming dessert. ‘Di sila mahilig sa dessert, eh.” (We don’t have dessert here since they’re not fond of it.)
Just had to share this photo with you. It was my favorite from all the posters hanging on the wall. I would’ve liked to make it bigger, but it’s uh, overwhelming, you know?
31 Polaris St.
Open daily 11am-2am