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THE QUIET DINER

‘Wild’ flour in one, spaghetti with chopsticks in another

Presumably to entice more diners, innovative restaurants introduce new come-ons, and the surprised diners always gravitate to the newbies.

For instance—rated by its peers rather very highly, a dining place has reinvented the flour into something labeled “wild,” while a chain established more than 30 years ago has gone into offering spaghetti “slurped” with chopsticks.

Wild Flour Café + Bakery, G/F Netlima Building, 4th Ave. cor. 26th St., Global City, Taguig City. Tel. nos. 8567600/0905-4825631.

This place is done like a diner, and has caught the fancy not only of regular diners but some famous chefs who have rated this outlet highly. From the street, the resto appears to be a very busy bakery producing a wide variety of breads.

Dining area—Very tightly done. Because word of mouth has attracted full houses at meal times, one needs to squeeze him/herself in, careful not to hit anyone in any of those tables. Tiles are used on the walls; tables and chairs are done country-style. The major offerings are written on one wall. We get the feel of a diner here.

Service—Average.

Staff—All in black. Attentive enough to respond at a second wave of the hand.

Suggested orders—A unique starter is the Roasted Garlic Knot, dough with the garlic inside, baked in olive oil and sea salt. The Arugula Salad is also recommended, the greens not as bitter as arugula tends to be, with warm bacon vinaigrette and an unusual topping of fried egg, all sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

The Baked Escargot is the kind one would crave for more, as each small puff pastry had only a single escargot. Our companion hardly touched her Braised Beef Short Rib with mashed potato and red wine sauce. We had a bite and, indeed, it was not one we would go back there for. The Smoked Salmon with cucumber and honey mustard sauce sandwiched in milk bread was huge and can be shared.

The best our company had was the Red Snapper, two pieces laid on mushrooms and asparagus, seasoned with lemon and cooked in butter. Super. We also happily shared the Apple Pie.

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

Rating **

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Yomenya Goemon, Japanese Spaghetti House, 2/L, Greenbelt 3, Makati City. Tel. no. 7290586.

More than 30 years ago, this chain, which is based in Shibuya, Japan, introduced the spaghetti to the Japanese, using Western ingredients like olive oil and herbs while retaining the Japanese flavor by having the spaghetti eaten with chopsticks. The restaurant reportedly wanted to hear the usual “slurping” sound even while diners were eating spaghetti.

We did not hear any such thing while dining there, but we were charmed by having to twirl our chopsticks around the al dente pasta. Otherwise, one can ask for fork.

Dining area—Quite elegant in black and deep mustard. The kitchen can be viewed by diners from their tables. The place becomes crowded for lunch up to about 1:30 p.m.

Service—An attendant opens the door and shows guests to a table. The place gets full, so come early. The telephone is not picked up, so simply show up and hope a table is available.

Staff—They wear white chefs’ jackets with green neckerchiefs over black pants, plus green aprons. Rather neat.

Suggested orders—You either get a spaghetti dish or a pizza, most of which are Japanese in flavors with few concessions to Western variants. The menu folder classifies the extensive offerings as follows: Tomato-based, Creamy (Western), Japanese-flavored. Your best bets are the Yakitori-Roasted Chicken with wagyu sauce, a bit spicy; and the noodles with  sweetish sesame sauce. Or you can compose individual combos of any spaghetti dish paired with soup, salad and soft drink.

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

Rating **


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