G/F One Rockwell Bldg., Rockwell Drive, Makati Tel. (0917) 513-8945
• Grace Park
Inever realized that a restaurant visit and a meal would turn out to be an opportunity to renew hope and a source of valuable life lessons. After all, this is a Margarita Fores restaurant. I expected many good things, and truly was not disappointed.
By now, many people have already learned that Grace Park was named after Margarita Fores’ paternal grandmother’s home in Caloocan City. It was the place where Chef Gaita’s fondest family memories – including eating and lots of dancing -- became the inspiration for her restaurant. She wants her guests at Grace Park to feel nothing less of this familial connection. The moment I stepped inside, I felt the comforting warmth of home, like a family guest ready for a Sunday celebration.
The fuss-free, one-page menu printed on craft paper and clipped on a used corrugated cardboard is a statement in itself. Fewer materials, less waste, more love for our planet. Plus, it allows for a dynamic menu as it changes every two weeks, depending on what’s available in the farms and other sources. Grace Park takes pride in sourcing fresh and organic ingredients, produced sustainably by regional farmers.
The Granola Watercress Salad was the welcoming preview of things to come – fresh, healthy and clean. The sweetness of the granola balanced off the slight bitterness of the watercress, with the garlic yogurt dressing adding a smooth, velvety mouth feel. It pairs well with the fish of the day served in the same pan where it was cooked. Don’t forget to ask the server for their specials of the day.
The Fettuccine with Truffle Cream and Organic Egg is a musttry. The beauty of this dish lies in the merging of simplicity and luxury, with simple handmade noodles made from organic ingredients and bathed in a light truffle cream.
For the meat lovers, the Muscovado Beef Belly is such a treat. Two words: tenderness and flavor. The sweetness of muscovado sugar is enticing without going overboard. Plus, the melt-in-yourmouth softness is bordering on sexy. If you’re fond of sharing, this dish is perfect. To finish of our meal, the Eton Mess was an unexpected delight. Don’t let the “mess” fool you—the mishmash of flavors of the meringue, raspberries, blackberries and cream delighted the antidessert in me.
This loft-type restaurant was designed by Architect Jorge Yulo, who also designed Chef Gaita’s other restaurants, Lusso and Cibo. The interiors, generally a combination of industrial and rustic elements, create a feeling of nostalgia. Chef Gaita candidly reminisces how each piece in the restaurant carries with it an interesting story, such as the tables that were once old pizza parlor tables from their warehouse. Or some salvaged items from an old sugar mill in Bacolod.
You can’t miss the famous picture-worthy staircase! It showcases an assortment of recycled wood planks and steel, which amusingly creates different sounds as you walk up in your heels. The walls are unfinished cement, the pipes are left exposed, the tables and chairs are all uniquely different, and even the tableware are distinctively mismatched.
The odd but interesting use of recycled stuff gives the space so much charm and appeal. The beautifully raw tunnel-like space in the second floor is screaming “photo shoot”.
All around the restaurant you can’t help but see images of cats, representing something very close to Chef Gaita’s heart – her three cats. The next time you catch her in Grace Park, you might even find out their interesting names.
Grace Park has something for everyone in the family, whether you want to celebrate grandma’s 75’th birthday, treat the entire clan with your first paycheck, or reunite with your school pals while being a locavore, supporting local farmers.
There are four tables at the ground level, and bigger tables in the second floor to accommodate family meals, large groups, or private reservations. Outside seating is available should you wish to dine al fresco.
As a farm-to-table concept, Grace Park advocates a lifestyle of going back to the basics, and nurturing both the body and spirit. Chef Gaita passionately shares how simple dishes become a vehicle of something spiritual, that energy is transferred to the food by whoever prepares them. It’s all about putting love into the food.
Architect Jorge Yulo combined rustic and industrial elements for Grace Park,
to create a nostalgic feel.
Fresh the Artusi Way: Fettucine Truffle
Muscovado Beef Belly
Chef Margarita Fores created Grace Park with her memories of the past alongside a passion for
artisanal, organic and sustainable ingredients.
Roast Fish of the Day (Pampano)