Pop-up restaurants seem to be sprouting all over the place below 14th Street: First John Fraser's What Happens When, then Cheftestant Dale Talde's short-term Bowery bodega, and last week Filipino brunch pop-up Maharlika ("royalty") debuted inside of Resto Leon. Nicole Ponseca, a GM at Leon's sister restaurant Juliette, tells us she created it because "all the Filipino restaurants kind of disappeared in Manhattan."
Ponseca, Enzo Lim (a beverage expert who is also Filipino), and the chef they recruited, Miguel Trinidad, spent two months in the Philippines, learning cooking from "moms and grandmothers" as well as a few well-known chefs. The result is house specialties like the sizzling sisig: three types of pig meat grilled and sauteed with bird chiles and kalamansi limes, and served in a cast-iron skillet with an egg on top ("it's kind of like bibimbap," Ponseca explains). See the full menu below, including Lim's Filipino-leaning drinks, like a bloody Mary made with patis (fish sauce) and a kind of hard-to-find root beer called Sarsi.
While some of the moment's crop of pop-ups are meant to be short-lived, Ponseca does one day hope to put down permanent brick-and-mortar roots. At least until March (but likely longer), Maharlika's hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your spot.
Maharlika Menu [PDF]
Maharlika, 351 E. 12th St., nr. First Ave.