Walking into Highside Restaurant is like walking into a lair of testosterone where the James Brown classic “This is a Man’s World” comes to mind and the whole thing is unabashed about it. The set up is quite the sports bar du jour with the modern and vintage motorbikes, crude oil drams fitted as chairs, helmets, surf boards, skateboards, hubcaps, semi-monster tires, vintage license plates and NBA games streaming through the two flat screens mounted on the wall.
Surely in a place like this, masculine aphorisms with a mild touch of mischief wouldn’t be wanting, just check out these tongue-in-cheek signages that will subconsciously make one chuckle until you psychoanalyze it.
As the only girl inside this milieu at this time, I order what I deem as the manliest but proverbial dish in the menu and that would be a straightforward hamburger, the Burnout Burger to be exact. This burger has a mixture of beef and pork meat and it comes with complimentary thin fries and the default FF dip of the Philippines, the thousand island dressing. The dish arrives and I gobble it up to an acoustic rendition of Alice Cooper’s “I’ll Never Cry” blasting through their fireball surround sound.
The burger happily doesn’t make me cry, as it in fact is tasty with good grilling flavors but it doesn’t burn me out either. It could be bigger, like the fist of an MMA fighter perhaps and the meat is not cooked through. We can play around with the done-ness of beef, but I don't we can do the same with pork, unless it’s a veritable sushi. The other items on the menu must be better as I hear that the chef is an award-winning import from a touristy island south of here. The staff members are easygoing and sophomoric in appearance and as for the internet habitué, sorry, this here is Wifi-free because they want us to party like it’s 1995.
As I conclude my circumspection and my time at Highside, I look at the other side of the coin. I realize the intention of the owners with the decor, the ambience, and the reasonably-priced fare of roughly P35 - P300; Tacloban is yet to have a consummate sports bar where the guys coming from all walks of life can just be guys, talk, drink and munch on nuts and trail mixes like they do and perhaps go full boar in a spot that reminds them of a man cave. Highside is that right now; that or at the very least this joint is grazing the trail for more of it’s kind to come.