My latest advocacy is to make healthy food look cool. In Manila, we don't appreciate healthy restaurants so much because of the perceived bland or mild taste of vegetarian/healthy dishes. There was only one vegetarian hole-in-the-wall restaurant in UP that was full of flavor because the kitchen was run by a Kapampangan but, sadly, it closed down.
Thankfully, we did find another healthy alternative. But before I share about it, let me introduce you first to kefir...
The Kefir Culture"There are two types of kefir: water kefir - small transparent grains that ferment sweetened water; and milk kefir - white or cream coloured grains that look rather like cauliflower florets that ferment milk."
"Kefir is a living culture, a complex symbiosis of more than 30 microflora that form grains or cauliflower-like structures (sometimes called plants) in the milk. As the culture ferments the milk these structures grow, creating new grains in the process. Real kefir from live culture is an endlessly self-propagating process."
Read more: Seeds of Health, What is Kefir?
Arama used to be the Manila branch of Chocolate de Batirol in Baguio. They turned it into a garden restaurant. I don't like the uncomfortable tables and chairs, though. A veteran vegetarian cook runs the kitchen, so expect healthy organic dishes, which are good for those with special dietary requirements.
You can choose to eat on the second floor for privacy but the tables there are leftovers from Arama's Chocolate de Batirol days. You would have to stoop down to eat with such a low table. The acoustics of the restaurant are also lousy -- you can hear the people below and vice versa.
We usually order the set meals. My favorite is the Pasta Set Meal.
Soup and fresh herb tea from Cordillera are served, good for one person. For most people, the serving portions might be a little bitin.
The Organic Garden Salad is served with a Kefir-based sauce. The sauce is light and yummy. You won't feel guilty when putting more sauce into your salad. Arama makes its own sauce, so you can order a bottle for your salads at home.
The Spinach-Ravioli is composed of spinach tofu-stuffed pasta with your choice of white sauce or fresh tomato sauce. The pasta set meal serves the half size of the Spinach Ravioli Ala Carte version. The serving size is enough to get you 80% full only.