Sunday, 13 January 2013

Restaurant Review: Romulo's Cafe (Makati City)

The main dining area viewed from the mezzanine

A collection of Romulo photos above the stair landing
My family frequently dine out at restaurants along the busy Jupiter Street food haven.  However, one restaurant stands out above the rest - the unique and refreshing Romulo Cafe. 

Named after the late Carlos P. Romulo, journalist (the first Asian to win the Pulitzer Prize in Correspondence in 1942), diplomat and the first Asian to serve as president of the UN General Assembly.

This swanky cafe is the actually the second branch to carry that name, the first being located along Tomas Morato Ave. in Quezon City.  
The black-and-white interior
Grace has dined at the former and liked it so much she brought us here upon finding out it had a second branch in Makati.  The place is normally packed every time we eat there.

Owned by Ms. Liana Romulo and Ms. Sandie Squillantini (and husband Enzo Squillantini), the granddaughters of the famed diplomat, the stylish interiors of this restaurant cum museum  were designed by sisters Ivy and Cecile Almario who fashioned it after Kasiyahan, Gen. Romulo's house whose dining room was black and white.  

They used made-to-order light fixtures, bigger than usual dining tables and upholstered chairs and couches.  Along the restaurant walls are large, framed black-and-white photos chronicling events in Carlos P. Romulo’s life as well as depicting him with his family, friends and other world leaders.
Lolo Greg's kare-kare
The interiors, with its relaxed and sophisticated vibe, are only half of its allure. The Filipino menu, which made Grace as well as other patrons as fans, is the other half.  

Most of the dishes in the menu are Virginia Llamas Romulo's (the wife of CPR) heirloom, homey recipes. Romulo, a world-class gastronome who liked to dine out a lot, and his family enjoyed Filipino food.   

Among its best-selling dishes include boneless crispy pata binagoongan (crispy pork skin and tender meat served with not-too-salty bagoong paste sautéed with tomatoes and onions, PhP650); flying tilapia (flavored with sweet chili garlic, honey bagoong and pickled ampalaya sauces, it is served with soy vinegar, PhP350); the splendid Lola Virginia's chicken relleno (roasted chicken stuffed with ground pork, raisins, chorizo and peas, PhP615) and the perfectly seasoned and grilled crispy tadyang (PhP450) and grilled squid (PhP450).  
Bistek Tagalog

Laing with adobo flakes
Dessert include the suman sa latik (PhP60) and tocino del cielo (made from baked egg yolks and sweetened with a nice light citrus flavor, PhP85).

The list of our favorite dishes include the hearty and satisfying, bright orange and extra viscous Tito Greg's kare-kare (using fresh vegetables, PhP450), gambas (baby shrimp sauteed in roasted garlic, PhP235); callos (served with jamon serranochorizo bilbao and garbanzos, PhP245); tenderloin bistek tagalog (PhP360);  gising-gising (chopped string beans cooked in coconut milk, with chili added, PhP150) and laing with adobo flakes (taro leaves cooked with coconut milk, PhP160).

Romulo Cafe: 148 Jupiter cor. Comet Sts., Bel-Air. Makati City. Tel: (632) 822-0286 and 478-6406. Open daily, 11 AM-3 PM and 6-11 PM.  Calling for a reservation is a must.