Ready to discover the best restaurants Bonifacio Global City (BGC) has been keeping?
A few blocks from the busier part of BGC is The Plaza at Arya Residences, more popularly known as Arya Plaza. Many visitors describe this social gathering place as Metro Manila’s best-kept al fresco dining hotspot.
What makes Arya Plaza an attractive gastronomic destination?
“Having the highest ground elevation in BGC, Arya Plaza creates one of the best places to enjoy an al fresco dining experience in the city,” said Chris Narciso, executive vice president of ArthaLand Corporation.
The strategic layout of the property also allows the natural flow of air. The design enables a constant cooling effect, reducing the general temperature and humidity in the Arya Plaza environs.
Additionally, Arya Plaza uses a canopy made of ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene). It is the same material used in Singapore’s famous Clarke Quay and Beijing’s iconic Water Cube. This translucent insulation material insulates heat and protects the area from the weather, creating a special dining experience in a controlled outdoor environment, without using energy.
Besides its sustainable green building features, scenic landscapes and breezy atmosphere, Arya Plaza’s charm is its five carefully-curated dining establishments.
Savage: All about grilling
Savage redefines the experience of the grill with its open-fire concept, highlighting the return to basics — food cooked over embers from an open flame. Every dish has touched the grill at some point, from preparation to the cooking process itself.
Chef Josh Boutwood, the driving force behind the restaurant, describes Savage as a pre-industrial cuisine restaurant. Savage has impressively done away with thermometers and other modern professional kitchen conveniences, relying only on the chef’s instincts, the heat, and the texture of the food to determine whether the dish is ready.
Interestingly, they use oak wood to fire up the grill. It gives a more distinct aroma and smokier flavor to the dish than other firewood.
Among the dishes we tried was the deviled eggs, their popular appetizer enhanced with smoked oil and ash, topped with some greens and spice to add flavor. They also served crab and potato salad with smoked fish roe, a new flavorful item in the menu. The fresh micro-greens added color and highlighted the freshness of ingredients used in the dish.
For the mains, Savage shared their savory barramundi, arugula, preserved lemon and olive, a perfectly-grilled whole barramundi topped with arugula and preserved olives. A squeeze of the preserved lemon enhanced the flavor of the dish. The pork belly, cola and pineapple is another masterpiece. The tender pork belly is marinated in cola, grilled slowly and is served with pineapple chutney and some fresh greens on top.
We ended the meal with kladdkaka, a Swedish sticky chocolate cake for dessert.
For reservations or inquiries, call 0915-333 9456, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.savage.ph.
Fukudaya, a Japanese word which means “Fukuda’s house” is a gem that sits in one corner of Arya Plaza. It offers modern-traditional Japanese cuisine, using modern cooking techniques and ingredients but still keeping the traditional Japanese taste. They boast using the freshest ingredients sourced locally or flown in from Japan, all prepared in an open kitchen which can be seen by customers from the dining area.
Chef Koji Oki uses fresh dashi, a flavorful soup stock made with dried bonito, seaweed, shiitake mushrooms and sweet sake, to bring out the distinct umami flavor of Japanese cuisine. Interestingly, Fukudaya Japanese Dining also embraces modern culinary techniques like the French sous-vide method in which the food is vacuum-sealed and cooked in a precisely temperature-controlled water bath.
We started the meal with salmon carpaccio with sliced radish pickles, and the dish greatly combined salmon’s fresh sweetness and radish pickles’ crisp, zesty flavor. We then sampled their version of shrimp tempura roll sushi and its crispness blends well with the fresh cucumber and tobiko (flying fish roe).
Another crowd favorite was the Australian wagyu steak in garlic sauce with assorted grilled vegetables. The tender wagyu beef is served with grilled veggies in a cast-iron skillet, making it more colorful and irresistible.
Fukudaya’s specialties also include Fukudaya Roll, a traditional Japanese maki with a selection of eight toppings — sea urchin, roast beef, duck, spicy tuna, spicy salmon, crab stick salad, shrimp and negitoro.
For reservations or inquiries, call 0927 -2640171 or 0998-8056859.
Lemuria Restaurant and Wine Bar
This elegant fine dining restaurant originated from Quezon City’s Horseshoe Village. This second branch, however, features a more classic-meets-contemporary ambiance with its lovely décor, beautiful table setting with crisp white linens and starched napkins, exuding a country home feel. Each corner echoes the charming vibe of restaurateur-wine expert Marina Schroeder. Her personal touches are evident in the thoughtfulness of the food, the finely selected wines and the curated furnishings.
Lemuria serves French Mediterranean cuisine and prides itself with signature dishes like their duck leg confit, foie gras trio, and prawn with feta cheese. They also make their own bread and ice cream.
We were first served with the classic French baguette and signature walnut loaf, all made from scratch and freshly baked every day.
“For baguette, we make our own sourdough, and for our walnut bread, we use only the premium ingredients – actual walnuts, honey, and molasses,” claimed sous chef Carmina Mallari.
Then came braised lamb and apricot gallete, a savory buckwheat crepe with slow-braised Cajun-style lamb sweetened with apricot chutney. There was also foie gras trio prepared in three ways: ballotine, mousse and pan-seared.
Their signature dish duck leg confit with cassoulet shouldn’t be missed. It is a fork-tender duck leg with crisped skin served with a hearty French white bean stew. Then there was the pan-seared Chilean sea bass dish with a choice of either mushroom or squid ink risotto and sauce vierge.
The classic beef bourguignon dish, another popular dish at Lemuria Restaurant and Wine Bar, is US short ribs braised in red wine and slow-cooked for eight hours, served with potato puree.
To cap the meal, we had their signature dessert, the Lemuria Cheesecake made with premium carabao’s cheese and sherbet.
For inquiries and reservations, call (02) 541-1723 or (02) 404-8704, email email@example.com or visit www.lemuria.com.ph/bgc.
The Red Piano Resto Lounge
They say the real star in this eclectic gastropub-cum-piano bar is the bright red piano on the second floor, making it probably the only restaurant in the country today that has a piano bar and open mike every night, Monday to Friday.
But more than the music and red piano in action, it’s chef Carlo Llave’s celebratory dishes using authentic ingredients that make The Red Piano a real gastronomic destination in BGC.
Llave, the owner and driving force behind The Piano Bar, describes himself as a very traditional chef. Instead of creating or re-engineering the dish, he goes back to where the dish originated and then sources the original ingredients that go into each dish.
The Red Piano’s menu is a result of Llave’s overseas travels, wherein he chose one celebratory dish that he liked in the country he visited.
Boeuf bourguignon (beef in burgundy) from France is a 52-hour cook. The brown stock is made from scratch and takes 48 hours to simmer. USDA beef is then braised for three to four hours in a combination of the brown stock and Beaujolais, the original wine used to make the dish, together with baby carrots and pearl onions imported from France.
Another signatory dish is osso bucco from Italy, served with either risotto or angel hair pasta, depending on guest’s preference. What makes it special? Llave uses real veal shank imported from New Zealand, which he explained is the reason their Osso Bucco is fall-off-the-bone tender. It is braised in brown stock that is simmered for 48 hours.
Llave is also proud to say that they use original ingredients for their carbonara. The dish is made with guanciale (cheeks of the pig) from Italy and two types of cheese: pecorino romano and parmesano reggiano to provide the most authentic flavor.
The Red Piano’s signature dish San Fran Clam Chowder served in an artisanal sourdough is a winner. Everything about this dish is over-the-top. Llave shared that for each bowl of clam chowder, he uses clam juice extracted from almost three-fourths of a kilo of clams.
What else? They serve this One Big Crackling, a massive chicharon which is meticulously prepared for about 17 hours. “We boil it first for three hours to get it really soft, scrape off all the fats so that what remains is just the skin, then goes into a dehydrator for 14 hours to suck out all the moisture out of it. Once it hits the hot oil, in less than 30 seconds, it mushrooms like an atomic bomb.”
For reservations or inquiries, call 0906-0590411 or message its FB page, www.facebook.com/theredpianorestolounge.
Eat, drink, inspire
Martin Place Social is perfect destination for a modern Australian dining experience, serving brunch, skillets, seafood and steak that are best paired with their specialty coffee or wine and cocktails at dinner.
Interestingly, the restaurant breathes a unique concept. Honey Alba, general manager of Martin Place Social and Ausphin International Institute, the hospitality and culinary school located above the outlet, shared that the restaurant was built to support their advocacy in traineeship and education.
“We brought a school here in the Philippines with the mission to basically upskill and help Filipinos achieve an international qualification. We help the graduates and give them exposure to the international market,” she said.
The institute has already sent many young, aspiring Filipino chefs to work in several restaurants in Australia. The chefs at Martin Place Social are also Institute-trained, and they are all collaborating to serve different Australian favorites with a Filipino touch.
Popular dishes include Auburn Flat Bread Bianco, Aussie beef short ribs, and baked Atlantic salmon. Yet, their menu is continuously changing to both reflect what’s available in season and incessantly innovate and explore modern Australian cuisine.
For our tasting, they served one of their soon-to-be-launched brunch special, the Apple and Cinnamon Crunchy. Their starter dish, Secret Fish Taco, gained a buzz that evening because of its name. The “secret” fish apparently depends on what’s freshly available from the market and is served with flavorful secret sauces.
Another dish was from their brunch menu, the mixed wild mushroom bruschetta with feta cheese, grilled chicken, and poached egg.
The Mountain Pork Belly Salad is another crowd favorite, a pork dish served with Asian slaw, crispy shallots, pickled carrots and drizzled with a caramel glaze and nam jim Thai sauce.
For dessert, we had Martin Place Social’s signature Macy’s Cheesecake topped with strawberry and raspberry coulis, placed on chocolate soil and chantilly cream.
Martin Place Social is indeed the perfect venue to eat, drink and inspire. The place has so much to offer, with Chef Philip John Golding at the helm. As the Chef de Patron of MPS and the Culinary Director of Ausphin International Institute, Chef Philip is a well-respected figure and influencer in the Philippine hospitality industry.
For reservations or inquiries, call (02) 245-8492, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.martinplacesocial.com.ph.
High five to these restaurants at Arya Plaza. A coffee shop will be added to this place soon, making it a complete gastronomic destination.