The Facebook post of Bistro Group’s PR consultant, Raquel Hizon, about the bar and restaurant Las Flores’ new branch in Festival Mall Alabang, Muntinlupa elicited ‘wows’ the moment it caught the eye of her social media friends.
It’s not hard to see why. The photos showed the impressive transformation of a once decrepit 98-year-old heritage building into a snazzy Spanish restaurant and bar. ANCX checked it out the following day to see for ourselves and it sure is a head turner. The building is hard to miss. Aside from its strategic location—it’s beside the Landmark supermarket main entrance—its Art Deco style makes the immaculate three-story edifice really stand out.
The structure, according to an Inquirer story, was formerly known as the Biological Production Service (BPS) building, which was among the structures in the 110-hectare Alabang Serum Vaccine Laboratory (ASVL) compound. Built in 1924, it was used to house facilities for the manufacturing of vaccines and sera in the country.
In the same story, heritage advocate and architect Manuel Maximo Lopez del Castillo-Noche says the building may have been designed by Filipino architects Juan Arellano or Juan Nakpil, who were known proponents of Art Deco in the Philippines. There are, however, no known historical records that could confirm this.
The building was vacated before the turn of the century, when BPS operations were moved to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Filinvest Corporate City. It suffered years of neglect until real estate developer Filinvest Alabang Inc. acquired the property and decided to include it in its expansion project. The proposal for its adaptive reuse was approved by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines in 2011.
The newly refurbished structure, now referred to as the Heritage Building, is currently occupied by Bistronomia Group’s modern tapas bar, Las Flores, whose first outlet opened in BGC several years back. The building’s art deco look complements the restaurant’s eclectic interiors, with all its geometric details, bold colors, and varying shapes, textures and prints.
Andrew Trinidad, cofounder of architectural design studio Headroom, tells ANCX that the maximalist style is in line with the design direction the brand is going for. It’s been suggested the group intentionally conformed with the Art Deco facade. “Pero nagkataon lang talaga na nag-blend siya sa current look ng building,” he says.
Ana Sadang, the Bistro Group’s marketing manager, says the 110-seater restaurant sports a distinctly brighter, more vibrant look than the other Las Flores branches, making every corner of the bar and restaurant Instagram-ready, including the powder room.
This Las Flores has a dining area sandwiched between a cozy drinking lounge on the left and a hip cocktails bar on the right—which is probably one of the reasons it attracts a diverse crowd—from the titos and titas, to couples and families. Las Flores fans can expect the same hearty Spanish menu they’ve come to love in the restaurant but Sadang says they purposely added a wide selection of pintxos and bite-size tapas—which should go well with their extensive selection of wines as well as cocktails created by the Bistro Group’s award-winning bartenders John Silva and Duane Legaspi.
Las Flores is located at the Heritage Building, Upper Ground Floor, Expansion Wing Festival Mall, Civic Drive, Alabang, Muntinlupa City. It’s open from 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM.