You Can Spend Long, Casual Evenings in This Cool Smokehouse in Quezon City
Smoked meats take time. From picking which wood works best to stoking the fire for hours, it takes numerous tries and a lot of patience to reach perfection. This is the philosophy that Apero applies, from the moment it opened its doors as a neighborhood café to its smokehouse extension—Apero Pitstop—just a few meters away.
Apero Pitstop, a restored Airstream turned mini kitchen, opened sometime in March, but the owners decided to keep the clamor down until they felt 100 percent confident of the stuff they were churning out. Slow and steady has always been French-trained chef Jacq Tan’s strategy. When she took the reliable yet oft-overlooked Café Provencal into top-of-mind favorite Duck & Buvette, she did everything from scratch.
Apero is located just outside the original Apero at Temple Drive near White Plains, Quezon City
The concept behind Apero Pitstop is simple: a casual, al fresco hangout where you can relish small bites with a couple of Palomas. The menu is as small as the portions, encouraging you to enjoy the entire set.
Everything from the smoked section is black tea-brined and smoked for eight to 16 hours with local Sampaloc wood. Brisket, which takes to the long process of smoking beautifully, is as good at Apero Pitstop as more established smokehouses. You get a box of picture-perfect meat with traces of golden fat and pink-purple edges. It’s tender and moist, with a natural beefy flavor that perks up with the deep yet tangy CCC (cherry-cocoa-cognac) barbecue sauce. Brisket, while receptive to flavor, is also prone to dryness in less-than-capable hands. However, Apero manages it well.
Smoked Pork Belly
The smoked pork belly has the same effect. Swipe some dill-cucumber yogurt sauce over the rich slab to give it a touch of brightness that matches well with the spicy Jalapeño Pineapple Margarita. Chicken and duck are also available.
To complement the meaty menu, Apero Pitstop also has a collection of buvettes: oven-smoked broccoli heads (wood-fired with garlic-cashew sauce), burnt butter corn ribs with spiced salt, and spiced sweet squash fritters. The crispy Parma ham and cheese puffs may just compete with the brisket for your attention. The glazed tater rolls are just as addictive as your everyday tots, if not much more sophisticated, but the puffs of ham with Gouda, Emmental, and blue cheese will get you through a night of drinks and talking.
Smoked Beef Brisket
Spiced Sweet Squash Fritters
Apero Pitstop has a lone dessert: a brulee with a Valrhona chocolate flan and peanut cookie crumb with fresh tarragon. It’s a fitting end—if only you can stop eating the ham rolls.
Apero the café closes at 4 p.m. It’s a surprising detail if you don’t realize that they’ve been open since the wee hours of the morning, peddling top-notch bread to its well-heeled neighborhood. When the sign flips to “closed,” it’s your signal to move to the cushioned chairs outdoors. Pitstop may entail a quick breather, but you’ll be spending long nights at Apero.
Chocolate Banana Brulee
Apero Pitstop is located at Temple Drive, Quezon City. It's open from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. daily.