Jillian Is Your Friend

{ramblings & chronicles on food x music}

Maria Luisa’s Garden Center: A Surprise

The phrase “control freak” may be the understatement of the century when it comes to describing the uptight person that I am. I always have things planned out in my head, am seldom spontaneous & get irked at unfollowed itineraries. My laon self is difficult to deal with especially for fun-loving people my age, so it’s always a surprise (even to me) that I am in a long relationship with a person who is very easy going & a tad too carefree (well, in my standards).

Friends would say how they couldn’t fathom why & how The Dork has managed to stand being with me. “He is too patient & nice for his own good,” and “Kun ikaw miga ko, matak-an ko ya! Indi ko kainchindi paano ya ka ma agwanta!” are just some of the things I hear my closest friends & family say. Gee, thanks. I understand I can be a pain & my difficulty of letting my hair down & allowing other people do the planning is something of great effort. But I did! I let go & was pretty surprised when The Dork planned (do these words even belong in the same sentence?!) one of our rare, relaxed weekend dates. I admit I had images of crumbling buildings & people on fire (hahaha) when I realised that I agreed, but I was pleasantly surprised!

Is it okay if I wear shorts to where we’re going?” “It’s kind of fancy. Basi gusto mo mag dress.” ABA!!!!! Already, my heart palpitated a little. I hate not knowing what’s happening. So from Glorietta, he led me to walk along Ayala to Recoletos. I noticed we were nearing a lot of foliage & my initial instincts sparked. “Are we going to that secret restaurant in a garden club?!” “NO!” “Tikalon, amo gid na ya eh!” And I was right!

That late afternoon, he brought me over to Makati Garden Club which had a secret restaurant inside called Maria Luisa’s Garden Room. It was named after the foundress of the club. I was giddy & tried not to show him his initial victory, but already, I was sold. We walked through a garden & went inside a fancy, little shack.


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Dammit,” I mutter to myself. Fine, he won. And I didn’t mind. But then, the waitress approached us and said, “Hi sir, this is a members-only restaurant. Is it okay if you apply for membership so you can dine here?” “Uhh…” So he had no choice but to become a member of a garden club. All together now: BAHAHAHAHA! But again, we didn’t mind! We took a seat in the corner & pored over the menu. The dishes were mostly European & IMO, more on lunch food than dinner. We had heavy late lunch prior, so we availed small dishes to try.

While waiting, they gave us complimentary appetisers to enjoy.

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Top: a bread basket of very, very, VERY good bread that had me moaning in my seat. Am unsure if it was a French baguette or sourdough. I am told bread is the specialty here & I could NOT agree more. “It’s the kind of bread nga namian mo gid,” Dork said. I nodded & continued to shudder in my seat. They also gave us salami, cherry tomatoes & cucumber in pumpernickel. Again, simple things done right become extraordinary. So good.

I decided to get more of their bread so I opted for an open-faced Danish-style sandwich. The Cattleman’s Favourite (Php490) was pink roast beef, remoulade sauce & crispy onions on sourdough. The size of the dish could be split for two. The meat was tender & of good quality. To my surprise, the Dork who doesn’t even like his food done medium, was the first to comment on how good it was. The salad on the side was a delight as well.

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As recommended since he couldn’t have any of the seafood dishes, he got a Baked Artichoke & Chorizo Casserole (Php580). It was baked in three cheeses & seasoned more than I would have liked, but the chorizo quality was excellent & it was perfectly baked. Very enjoyable dish! I supped up the cheese with the bread.

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Also sipped on some Lemon & Basil (Php80) while looking around the painted walls & classy décor.

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Forgive me for the photos, it was a little dark inside because of the lighting. Our merienda/early dinner was a happy one. On our to-try the next time we return: Chef’s Special Chilean Mussels Two Ways, Merlot Braised Oxtail & Fondue Les Alpes. Maybe he can grow some flowers while he’s at it. Hahaha.

We looked at shelves of fresh bread, vintage floral menu books & knick-knacks. By the time we stepped out, it was already dark & the garden with lights looked lovely. I should let him plan stuff more often.

Just kidding.

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Maria Luisa’s Garden Room is located at Recoletos Street, corner Ayala Avenue, Brgy. Urdaneta, Makati. Open 11:30 AM – 9:00 PM. Apply for membership to dine.


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This entry was posted on February 3, 2014 by in Food.
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