Finally, a garlic-themed restaurant showcasing the different flavors of garlic has opened in Manila. The Bistro group (think Friday’s) got the great insight that Filipinos love garlic. In fact, my friend Ardy had a garlic-themed restaurant concept before, but it just never materialized.
We loved the taste of Krazy Garlik’s dishes, but don’t expect full-on garlic flavors. That was a bit tempered maybe because they don’t want diners to have overpowering garlic breath afterwards.
The ambiance is bistro-ish, where you can hang out and enjoy loud music, with MTV playing in the background. It has an open kitchen set-up and the waiters are trained Friday’s-style. If you ask them for recommendations, they will tell you their favorites and give a subtle hint to upsell you to their more expensive dishes.
There is also a bar set-up and a backlit photo mural telling the story of a Garlik wonderland. The aisles are very narrow and poorly designed. There seems to be a gloomy mood to the restaurant, but the waiters do a great job of perking up the ambiance.
The dishes are expensive — prices are similar to the other restos of the Bistro franchise.
Apple Carrot Twitter (P180). Red Apple, Carrot, Garlic Syrup
Brain Buster (P180). Red Apple, Celery, Spinach, Garlic Syrup, Lemon-lime Soda
Travel Sickness (P180). Red Apple, Kiwi Fruit, Strawberries, Ginger Root
We fell for the healthy drink upsell. For close to P200, you pay for a simple fruit/vegetable juice. The server persuaded us to try their signature garlic syrup ingredient, but we couldn’t actually taste it anymore. Paying for these drinks felt like highway robbery, but we just justified it in our minds that they’re healthy anyway.
I liked the combination of bland mozzarella with just the right saltiness of prosciutto.
For vegetarian or healthy eaters out there, we recommend this flavorful mushroom dish. Each mushroom had the right “bite” and absorbed the flavor of the sauce well.
The dishes were served in garlic clove-shaped plates.
The squid was cooked well (not too chewy) despite the size. The sauce was not too sweet and was just right. I liked the big slices of onions and bell pepper that came with it.
The Sweet Sour Calamari went perfectly well with the Hara-Kiri Rice, as recommended by our server, Helen. The rice was slightly spicy and had big pieces of the octopus, shrimps and bacon. A bit on the heavy side.
The Crispy Pata was ordinary. You could just buy crispy pata at Barrio Fiesta, sprinkle it with fried garlic, and top it with garlic cloves to replicate this dish.
I noticed that the execution of the garlic-themed dishes is somewhat superficial. Sometimes, I think they just put a roasted garlic bulb or cloves to make the dish conform to the garlic theme; or they just top the dishes with garlic instead of including the garlic in the flavor of the dishes. I guess they want to be safe in terms of flavor, but I do hope they offer dishes that truly glorify the full flavor of garlic.
Some Krazy Suggestions:
1. Maybe they can feature dishes from where the garlic comes from. For example, offer dishes with Batanes Garlic, which has a very concentrated garlicky flavor despite its small size.
2. Have mouthwash options in the restroom so that customers won’t have to worry about their after-meal breath and just really get to enjoy the garlic dishes.
3. Have different levels of garlic dishes (like different levels of spiciness). Maybe there are dishes out there that have super-garlicky-flavors that showcase the wonderful taste of garlic. 🙂
4. Get Ivy and Cynthia Almario to create the interiors of the next themed restaurant.
Congratulations to Bistro group for a nice, locally-themed restaurant! You guys continue to impress us with your creativity.
Disclosure: Nothing to disclose. We paid for our meals and we don’t know anybody from the Bistro group.
P.S. We got the Parma Ham Roulade as a mobile coupon promotion from their website. Don’t forget to subscribe to their list at www.KrazyGarlik.com.