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THE QUIET DINER

Nostalgic Grace Park and a haven of seafood

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After being extremely successful in offering Italian cuisine in her chain of restaurants, chef Margarita Fores went nostalgic and opened a restaurant in Makati that harks back to the ambiance and food served by her forebears in their former residence in Grace Park, Caloocan.

On another side of town, in Las Piñas is a seafood haven that never fails to satiate a diner’s craving for fresh catch.

Grace Park

G/F, One Rockwell West Tower, Rockwell Drive, Makati City; tel. 8437275

The chef looks back to their old Elpo compound in Grace Park and effected a rustic, somewhat industrial feel to this small restaurant. It has a different interior from the usual restos in the area, being inspired by Old World interiors.

Dining area: The space is limited but divided into two levels. The first floor has four tables, each for four persons, while the loft can sit less than 20 diners. The decor is done in conservative colors of gray and black. There is a blackboard on one wall with the day’s menu. The stairs are made of wood and iron. The bar is beneath it.

Service: It takes quite a while for orders to be served.

Staff: They are all pleasant gentlemen. They wear denim shirts and trousers. They are quick in responding to diners’ calls.

Suggested orders: Management policy is to provide farm-to-table food, hence emphasis is on healthy dishes made from fresh ingredients which are sourced from regional farmers.

The computer-printed menu on bond paper is clipped to a cardboard holder.

The Sardine spread is smooth while the Barley Soup with Smoked Ham and Farm Vegetables is hot enough to soothe a hungry tummy.

Get any of the pastas, the Fettuccini with Truffle Cream, among them.

The salad is a towering concoction, picture-pretty as it is refreshing.

You may then have the sweetish Muscovado Beef Belly, which has a bit of fat, attractively bronze and tender, or the Pampano, grilled with a slab of bacon, that gives it a slightly oily consistency, done with a sprig of fresh rosemary, cherry tomatoes and green olives.

Cap your meal with the unique Ensaymada Pudding, which is much like the usual bread pudding, but richer in texture and flavor.

Note that most dishes are big enough for sharing.

Usual service and government charges are added to the bill. Senior cards are honored.

Rating:

2 Spoons

Sis Seafood Bar and Restaurant

Daang Hari, Las Piñas; tel. 9944423

This is part of a restaurant chain which started in Ortigas, Pasig. It is a seafood haven located where fresh catch are sold.

Service: Very enthusiastic, as the staff always anxiously greet motorists before they can even get off their vehicles. Cooking process is fast.

Staff: They have no sophistication at all. They greet each guest like a long-lost friend or relative.

Suggested orders: The diner is led to an array of vendors to choose which seafood is preferred. Halaan (clam) soup will be a good starter. Lato salad can come next.

If one is lucky as we were, there will be jumbo scallops which can be grilled or steamed. They are very soft and meaty.

Choose from the prawns that come in varying sizes—to be prepared hilabos, or done Chinese-style, rather spicy.

And the crabs: Be prepared to use your hands and sip the flesh out of their shells.

Buy some fruits from the stalls to end a very hearty meal.

They offer leche flan for dessert as well.

Government taxes and service charge is added to the bill. Senior cards are honored.

Rating

: 2 Spoons


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