Isabelo Garden Restaurant
After Typhoon Ketsana’s complete devastation of riverside city Marikina in the latter half 2009, it’s more than a little cheering to find that local businesses are fearlessly standing up and dusting themselves off. A case in point is chef Portia Baluyut’s increasingly popular private kitchen Isabelo Garden Restaurant (which is also known as Rustic Mornings during the day when guests are welcome to walk in for breakfast or lunch). Decorated with fairy lights, mismatched tables and chairs, and pretty hanging glass bottles and plants, the rustic dining room is mainly located in her jungle-like garden, but weather not permitting, there’s also an option to dine indoors.
Playing hostess as well as chef, along with serving an array of time-intensive dishes like veal shank slow-cooked for four hours in a Pugon (a traditional fire-brick oven), roasted pork with crisp-crunch crackling, and a deliciously tender boeuf bourguignon, it should come as no surprise that Baluyut asks guests to pre-order and reserve a table a minimum of 3 days in advance. Not that a failure to pre-order will limit your options entirely as Baluyut also offers a menu fixe, including desserts like sinful dark chocolate mud pie, honey and walnut panna cotta and her signature key lime pie. Take that, Ketsana!
11 Isabelo Mendoza St / San Roque / Marikina City / +63 2 510 6914 / isabelogarden.com