Filipino pop-up Maharlika has been a smashing success since they debuted in the East Village this past January, booking all of their seatings weeks in advance and even mounting a well-received dinner guest-stint at Alias Restaurant.
Now, co-owner Nicole Ponseca tells us that starting June 5, they’ll be moving into 5 Ninth in the Meatpacking District on Sundays. Even better news: They’ll be taking over the entire restaurant—all three floors, plus the garden—all day on Sunday. Which means that the Maharlika crew will now be able to serve everything from brunch to dinner to merienda—a kind of mid-afternoon snack/coffee break that’s part of the Filipino culture.
“With a space and location like 5 Ninth, the real estate alone and the proximity to such restaurateurs like Jean-Georges and Keith McNally, it’s a dream,” Nicole tells us via e-mail. “As part of the Filipino food community like Kuma Inn and Purple Yam, we’ve always craved a bigger spotlight for Filipino cuisine. I’m hoping Maharlika can bring a little slice of the Philippines’ lifestyle—family, friends, food, laughs—to MePa.”
Plans for the 5 Ninth location include new dishes like sweet longganisa sausage sliders (pictured above, which they’ll debut at the Luckyrice Festival tonight; full disclosure: we’re partnering up with them at the fest); short rib kare kare (in a Filipino-style peanut sauce); and Filipino ceviche called kilawin, made with tilapia and cured in vinegar and coconut.
Also keep an eye out for a dish sure to push the limits of Western palates: champorado with tuyo, a popular Filipino breakfast in which creamy porridge is topped with salty dried fish.
Ponseca says they also plan to set up a carving station that’ll feature a traditional Filipino roasted suckling pig called lechon, which Bourdain himself has hailed as the best roasted pig he’s ever had. It’ll be part of a lechon prix-fixe dinner they’ll be serving.
The 5 Ninth stint is indefinite for now, and Nicole sees their Sunday bashes as “an all-day Filipino food fest,” complete with DJ’s and cocktails. —Alexis L. Loinaz
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