THE QUIET DINER

Disappointment, then satisfaction

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With too much excitement and anticipation, one is bound to get disappointed. But when it is least expected, then there is much satisfaction. Two restaurants visited within the last two weeks gave this diner these conflicting experiences.

Red Garlic Bistro Café—G/F, Two Parkade, 30th St., cor 7th. Aven., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig; tel. 8562822, 8561354

A red gate welcomes diners to a spacious dining area. Because the name automatically suggests the infusion of our favorite garlic into their dishes, we were full of excitement as we were seated in a nook against the wall.

Dining area—As mentioned, it is spacious, giving a lot of room to move. Red and beige dominate the color scheme. A bar is at one end with a vitrine of luscious-looking desserts.

Service—Average.

Staff—There are enough to meet demands of diners. They were asked why the place was named such, no credible explanation was  given.  A friend volunteered the information that the bulb may/can have pinkish or reddish skin or even mauve.

Suggested orders—Because of its name, this diner was full of anticipation for what could be a great meal, with dishes infused with the potent scent and taste of the garlic (which has medicinal attributes as well). But soon there was disappointment. The Char-Broiled Lamb Shoulder supposed to be served with Garlic and Parsley rice, was tough, the knife could hardly cut through it. And no garlic taste was detected.

Perhaps they were using foreign garlic, which has less kick, or the chef was concerned diners might not want to come out smelling or breathing like it. But that is what one gets when eating with garlic, otherwise choose another restaurant. One in the group was luckier with his Korean Beef Stew, soft and tender.

The place has a diverse menu, from Bagnet Pizza to Thai Satay. Some dishes are meant for sharing.

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

Rating: *

Namnam—Filipino Comfort Food—Greenbelt 2, Makati City; tel. 6250515

One would be reminder by its name about the word mothers utter while  feeding their small children, “Naman,” in a comforting manner. No matter that home-cooked Filipino dishes give one comfort, dining in a native-food restaurant is always refreshing.

Dining area—Bright and homey.

Service—A young lady ensures  diners are attended to. Orders come in quick succession from an apparently efficient kitchen.

Staff—Accommodating, they are willing to take photos when requested. Alert.

Suggested orders—Dishes are classified into small, good for one; medium for three and large. The Pulutan Deep-fried Chorizo with Kesong Puti is quite new to our taste. Good.

Another unusual dish is Beef Sinigang with Watermelon. The flavor retains the sinigang taste, the melon does not overwhelm the sour element. Meat was tender.

Of course there is Butterfried, Crispy Pla-Pla served with Buro which can be wrapped in mustasa leaves. And also there’s the House Crispy Sisig with bagnet-type pork jowls, cheek and ears grilled and served on sizzling plate. For dessert, try Leche Flan.

Service charge and government taxes are added to the bill. Senior cards are honored.

Rating **

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