May 30, 2009
Any true foodie will enjoy this secret place in Makati. In the foodie circle, it is referred to as the Restaurant with No Name in Front of Saguijo.
It is full every lunch time with the who's who crowd in Makati. It is empty during dinner time but it is the favorite hangout of Saguijo-goers at night. It is a high-class turo turo with home-cooking that exceeds the best of the top 10 list featured in QTV's "Pinaka" show last Sunday.
Maybe that is why Ariel and Peng, the couple who run the place, got a bit paranoid when I took a lot of photos. Ariel is the manager of the restaurant while Peng is the cook behind the awesome dishes there. They want to keep this place a secret and are very protective of their concept. They shy away from magazine or TV show features because they run this place by themselves and they don't want the quality of the restaurant to suffer if it becomes too popular.
So I can only give you some clues about this place and let you discover it for yourself...
Here's Ariel, sharing with us stories of how this place evolved from being a simple pandesalan to a Japanese resto and, finally, to a high-class turo turo.
All of the dishes are cooked on the day itself and presented buffet-style (with the dishes wrapped in plastic). Regulars already know what to order but if you are new, you have to point out the dishes that you like.
They serve mostly Filipino/Spanish dishes. You can order anything turo-turo style, and you can ask about the availability of other dishes that are not on display.
The owners want people to talk and hang out in the restaurant, so they resisted putting wi-fi there. They love to mingle with their customers in this Filipino-style, bistro-like setting. You'll see the couple's various matchbox collections around the place, too.
Ariel is very friendly and entertains most of the guests. He shared with us that the resto was inspired by Mama Mary.
The best time to go is at dinnertime (around 7pm), when the place is empty. It gets full as the night goes by and it starts to attract the Saguijo crowd.
Can you guess the name of this restaurant?