Monday, January 6, 2014

Secret's Out: Maria Luisa's Garden Room at Makati Garden Club

Want to hear a secret? 

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Recently, Paul and I stumbled upon a pretty and very dainty-looking restaurant hidden in one of Makati's residential areas called Maria Luisa's Garden Room. It's located inside the Makati Garden Club, which I have to admit I never knew existed. Well, I was never a resident of Makati so hope you'll forgive my ignorance. Anyway, it was Christmas Eve and we went out for lunch with my in laws to have a triple birthday celebration for Ahia Jordan, Achi Marie and our cute nephew Jairus. The restaurant was listed as one of OAP's 10 Most Awesome Restaurants in Manila and after getting raves from a cousin-in-law, we agreed to give it a try. 

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We were given a long table inside the second dining area of the restaurant overlooking the garden. I love the pretty decors, the very feminine interiors and the well-manicured garden. I wouldn't be surprise if Martha Stewart would just show up at the door....or I'd just be too shock if she really did. It's such a girly-girl place perfect for that all-girls bonding over lunch or afternoon tea. 

It's a good thing my sisters-in-law took care of researching on what's good to eat in Maria Luisa, I was just happy to try whatever they chose from the menu. I'd say they did a pretty good job, let me show you why:

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Our lunch began with a pot of Fondue Les Alpes (Php. 890). A generous serving of cheese fondue which was a combination of raclette-gruyere-emmental cheeses with white wine and garlic. It was served with a basket of bread which they happily refilled when they saw we needed more as well as some olives and pickles too. The cheese had a distinct smell so those not too fond of smelly cheeses might be hesitant to try this however, cheese lovers will adore this. Paul was able to note a slight bitter taste even after we told him that it was the combination of the cheeses but he wasn't convinced as he feels there was some sort of alcohol included in it. He was right as they have added some white wine in. 

I love the warm bread which was soft inside and perfectly crusty outside. Even the bread served in the complimentary bread basket was delicious. 


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Speaking of complimentary, we also had a plate of Cold Cuts on Pumpernickel Bread. It was so yummy! 

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Moving on, we also tried two kinds of salads. The Salade de Maison (Php. 290 / Php. 440) and the Romaine Salad (Php. 290 / Php. 440). I prefer the Salade de Maison more as the inclusion of the smoked salmon just made it even more delicious and interesting. The Romaine Salad, on the other hand, had thin slices of prosciutto and fresh sweet mangoes. 

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My inlaws all love having soup in every meal thus we tried the Creme de Champignons (Php. 230). Sadly, this was a disappointment. It had a strong, artificial beef stock flavor which overpowered the earthy flavors of the mushroom. I love light and creamy Mushroom Soup and this has failed to meet my expectations. My MIL tried the French Onion Soup (Php. 250) which she said was just a-ok. I guess, best to just skip the soup and move on to the entrees. 

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Of course, what's a birthday celebration without noodles! We need noodles for long life and we surely got a huge platter of  Pasta Pomodoro. I don't think the pasta dish was part of the menu yet I'm glad that we had this as it was pretty good. Note that I'm not a big fan of tomato-based pasta but I love the tangy sauce that perfectly coated the al dente noodles. Even the little ones loved it! What can I say, my little niece and nephews got good foodie taste! 

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The highlight of our meal was the Ciopino Seafood Bake (Php. 780 / Php. 2,100). Served on a ceramic flat bowl, we enjoyed the fresh mix of seafood such as crab claws, clams, salmon, red snapper and lot of green olives. It came with steamed rice but I happily had more bread to soak up the yummy sauce. I'm definitely going back for more. 

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Lastly, we had the Merlot Braised Lamb Shank (Php. 880 / Php. 2,400) which was a HUGE piece of lamb shank. Let's just say it was big enough to feed all 8 adults and we each got a good slice of lamb with a spoonful of couscous. Not bad but the meat was a bit too chewy for me. 

Wow, what a feast! We were all so full that we actually had another order which my SIL just opted to take home as we all couldn't take another bite. 

Now, here's the big secret. Maria Luisa's Garden Room has closed its doors to the public starting last December 27, 2013. Only members and their guests can dine here. Since we do not know any member of the Makati Garden Club and we would love to go back, my MIL applied for membership worth Php. 550. This will entitle her to access to the restaurant and she'll get 5% discount too! What a good deal right? 

Check out Maria Luisa's Garden Room at the Makati Garden Club, Recoletos Street corner Ayala Avenue, Makati City. Call them at 552-7051 / 552-7045. 

Driving instructions: From EDSA southbound, turn right at Ayala and turn right again on the first street (Recoletos). Parking is available outside Makati Garden Club. 

2 comments:

  1. Sounds like a very interestig restaurant. I appreciate your being very frank on what you liked and didn't like about it. It makes the review more credible and warns guests to choose carefully.

    ReplyDelete

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