Marikina is alien territory to us, even if we lived there for a few years in the 1980s. Every time we go to Marikina we marvel at how much nicer it is than the muddy, dusty neighborhood we remember. The other week our friend had a birthday brunch at Isabelo’s Garden in San Roque, Marikina. (This was between Xmas and New Year’s Day, when traffic was moderate.) We’d never been there, but using Google maps and GPS we found Isabelo Mendoza Street without difficulty. We’d have gotten there much sooner, but we were stuck behind a funeral cortege on the narrow streets.
There was some confusion because we found a garden with a restaurant in it, but it was called Rustic Mornings. The waiter assured us that it was the place—same food, same chef, same furniture, just a different name. There were tables in the very pretty garden, but we chose to sit inside—some of us are weirdly attractive to mosquitoes, and we wanted to have brunch, not be brunch.
Indoors it’s charming, with blue and white tiles and shabby chic furniture. The effect is Weekend in the Country, which is probably why the service was a little too relaxed. We had the hot dog with chili con carne, good, and the waffles, which were excellent. A big, lazy brunch with juice and coffee costs about Php600. (“Makati prices,” our friend groused.) They’re open everyday from 8am to 4pm, no reservations required. Verdict: We’d go back, if someone else is driving.
For the menu, directions, etc, visit the Rustic Mornings by Isabelo website.
Three times we’ve attempted to eat at Wildflour at Bonifacio Global City—twice we couldn’t get a table, and on Sunday evenings it’s closed. Last Friday we descended on the place with Mike of the Walk and Eat blog. We showed up at 1:30pm to avoid the lunch crowd, but it was still full. There was a table available inside, but the minute we sat down we realized we couldn’t hear each other.
This is a common problem among the newer restaurants: the acoustics are terrible. Of course we go to restaurants primarily to eat, but we do have conversations. Or are people too busy taking pictures of the food, checking their Facebook and tweeting their meals to actually speak to each other? Since we prefer not to yell across the table, we decided to get a table outside. Fortunately it’s gotten cooler since our summer in December. We noticed, though, that by the end of our meal the book we placed on a chair was covered with grit.
Our meal consisted of banh mi sliders–very good, a mushroom tarte flambee—not a big fan of caramelized onions, escargot souffle—delicious, but essentially it’s a little cup with a crust containing a minuscule snail, and their deservedly famous croque madame (which our kusinera friend Andresa has managed to copy haha). The bread is wonderful—warm and crunchy on the outside, soft inside.
Wait for Mike’s proper review at Walk and Eat. With three different desserts, two glasses of Pinot Noir and a pot of coffee, lunch—which was really brunch—cost Php2700. Steep, but it was Mike’s treat. Verdict: We’d go back, if someone else is paying.
Wildflour Cafe and Bakery is on the ground floor of Net Lima Bldg on 26th and 4th Streets in Bonifacio Global City.