Cocina Luna: a European -inspired pub in Malabon
Mae Escartin

MALABON CITY, METRO MANILA—Anna Katrina Alcala, 26, opened a European-inspired pub and kitchen that caters to students and foodies in Metro Manila.

Cocina Luna has a surprisingly vibrant aura, despite its exterior being a mix of black and dark red. Its European-inspired design splashed with some industrial-style tones would not bore your eyes. There are also a few literary lines from famous people that were hand-painted and framed to the walls.

“I personally designed the interior of my pub and kitchen. I researched and got the idea from famous restaurants in the U.S. and Europe,” Alcala said.

Unlike other restaurants inspired by foreign styles, Cocina Luna stands out on its own way. Their very simple interior with interesting hand-drawn arts pieces would make you feel at home. Its minimalist interior defines its simplicity, making the pub both elegant and cozy.

“I really researched a lot, what design would be suitable for my pub, how I could put my personality and what I love in it. I really took time researching and finalizing the details,” she said.

Their menu also ascribes to the pub’s aesthetics; they made sure that everything has to stand out. While many of the items they had were not different from other restaurants in Malabon, they created a few recipes to make set them apart from others.

“My mom told me that if I had to compete with other restaurants here serving also what I wanted to serve, I have to come up with something that would make people to come back here so we decided to twist our menu a little bit and invented our own recipes,” Alcala said.

One of the favorites of Malabonians in Cocina Luna is their own presentation of “Tapang Kabayo” and pulled pork burgers.

The “tapang kabayo,” or horsemeat jerky, has a distinct taste. A little salty with some sweetness to it. It is also served with a unique sauce: thick sweet vinegar. Meanwhile, their pulled pork burgers are a-three-piece dinner roll buns with pulled pork in Cocina Luna’s original barbeque sauce, topped with bacon, cheese, and fried onion rings.

“We made our menu like that because we were targeting students around the area. That is also why we started the Happy Hour,” she said.

Cocina Luna also serves Mexican breakfast. Surprisingly, it’s being served from 4 p.m. to 12 midnight. This is because they are targeting students, who seem to enjoy eating breakfast-like meals much later in the day.

“Other than students, our pub is also open for all the foodies in and out of Malabon. We are very grateful that although our pub is very young, we are hearing positive feedbacks from people,” Alcala said.

“Putting up a business does not vary from experiences, you just have to be tough enough to compete from others and you have to have guts for yourself that you could do it,” Alcala said.

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