Margarita ‘Gaita’ Fores is the closest thing that Manila has to a celebrity chef, doing for Italian food in Manila what Rick Bayless did for Mexican in Chicago, with hugely successful eateries like Lusso, Bola, Pepato and Cibo and food-related ventures like Fiori di M all specialising in the art of traditional, authentic Italian cuisine.
So it was to much anticipation from Manila’s savvy diners that Fores opened her newest venture, Grace Park, in March, this time heralding a different approach to cooking – that of farm-to-table slow food, as inspired by meals she’d had at locavore-friendly restaurants like Blue Hill
and The Spotted Pig in New York.
Grace Park sources seasonally and locally, with daily specials scribbled on the chalkboards above the brick-walled open kitchen, and the fuss-free fare served up in the rustic bi-level farmhouse space of mismatched wooden chairs and recycled tables. Charming though the scene may be, you’ll forget all about it once you’ve tried the whole brick oven-roasted ‘Apahap’ Philippine sea bass with prosciutto and fennel, organic pork chops with sweet corn and potato puree, and grilled oversize river prawns in anchovy butter.
Desserts by Alvin Lim run the gamut from old-fashioned carrot cake to Eton Mess to Key Lime Pie, plus a not-to-be-missed cassava. Gaita does it again!