Flavors of the American South find home in Davao’s Huckleberry

Huckleberry Southern Kitchen and Bar is now open and ready to serve a contemporary taste of the American South. Southern cuisine is known as comfort food, and Huckleberry offers time-honored recipes from the Carolinas to the Creoles, with a little bit of Mexican and Soul food.

Following its dry run in December, Huckleberry is now fully open and ready to wow diners with flavorful and filling dishes. Specialties include Slow-roasted Beef Belly, Huevos Rancheros, and Southern Fried Chicken with Corn Muffins; while the menu has expanded with new dishes such as Nashville Hot Chicken Wings, Pork Belly with Apple Salad and Mashed Potatoes.

More starters have also been added, so guests can choose from Popcorn Shrimp, Cream Cheese Wonton Crisps with Salsa, Pork Cracklings, Pimiento Dip with Fried Flour Tortillas, among other bar bites.

Only the choicest ingredients are used at Huckleberry, with the restaurant smoking their own bacon, Andouille sausages, and jerk chicken. Huckleberry also makes their own corn muffins and spicy Cajun sauce.

Behind the beefed up menu is multi-awarded Executive Chef Kenneth Villaluz, owner and chef of Tiago, a progressive Filipino restaurant in Quezon City included in Philippine Tatler’s Best Restaurants Guide 2014. Huckleberry has also partnered with Vince and Tricie Arcenas, who are seasoned restaurateurs and owners of Cellar de Boca.

One-of-a-kind watering hole

Not to be outdone, the bar selection is a feast for the taste buds, with renowned mixologist and owner of Maharlika and Jeepney in New York, Enzo Lim, curating and creating Huckleberry’s cocktail menu. Huckleberry carries some of the best spirits in the world, not found anywhere else in the Philippines, such as Monkey 47 Dry Gin, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Tequila Ocho, Tres Agaves, and Siete Leguas, all flown directly to Davao.

For craft cocktails, Huckleberry’s syrups are made in-house, such as Ginger, Demerara, Grenadine, Honey and Cinnamon syrups. A variety of bitters is available, such as Creole, orange, aromatic, chocolate and peach. Infused rum is also available and made from local Davao fruits and ingredients. Currently, the flavors include mangosteen, pineapple, mango, ginger, sili, and cacao. Beer fans will also enjoy Huckleberry’s draft beer and handcrafted beers, made in small batches in Iligan.

Maximum comfort

The ambience at Huckleberry is one that encourages patrons to truly unwind and enjoy themselves. The space lends itself to distressed brick walls, Edison pendants with filament bulbs, a tavern-like second bar with old Southern US clippings and concerts on the walls, and mural art by renowned illustrator Macky Pamintuan in the dining room. The outdoor garden space is also a sight to behold: the bistro chairs are inspired by French design, with white posts to match the existing colors and structure of Huckleberry’s historic host, the Oboza house, built in 1929.

Enzo Lim at Huckleberry
Enzo Lim at Huckleberry

Brains behind Huckleberry

The carefully crafted look for Huckleberry is the work of owner Kim Pamintuan, CFO of Ann Pamintuan Design Furniture, a multi-awarded design house for furniture, home accessories, and jewelry. Ann Pamintuan is a pioneer of the Movement 8 design alliance in the Philippines, and the first Asian woman designer to be included in the prestigious International Design Yearbook.

Co-owner Chris Pamintuan, President and CEO of Apo View Hotel, brings in his experience as a partner of San Francisco’s first ham and oyster bar, Hog & Rocks, included in The San Francisco Chronicle’s Top 100 Bay Area Restaurants in 2013.

Together, cousins Kim and Chris enjoyed many adventures while growing up, fancying themselves as a duo akin to Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. In parts of the USA, “huckleberry” is also a term used to describe “a man, specifically the exact kind of man needed for a particular job”. That is what the owners hope for Huckleberry Southern Kitchen and Bar—just the right place to visit when one craves a hearty meal to hit the spot.

Huckleberry Southern Kitchen and Bar is located in the Oboza Compound on JP Rizal Street corner Bangoy Street, Davao City. (PR)