If you will ask me how many times I have been to Marikina? I realized that I haven’t explore this city yet. I’ve been here once but that was way back ago during my nephew’s field trip where we just had our lunch at the River Banks. Honestly, I don’t know anything special about this city aside from of course, that they are the “Shoe Capital of the Philippines”.
We traveled all the way from Cavite to experience the Book + Food Combo of The Book Museum Cum Ethnology Center. We arrived almost lunch time at the museum and decided to eat at Greg & Sally Tree Garden Cafe before we proceed with our tour.
The cafe was a tribute to Gregorio “Greg” and Salud “Sally” Ancheta. This was their previous home until they converted it to a restaurant. As their granddaughter shared some stories, this is a place where they can harvest fresh fruits straight from their Lola’s backyard.
The place is refreshing to the eyes because of the trees and flowers, it felt like I was being transported to some other place as I entered their gate. It’s actually located in the corner of residential areas along Marikina Heights. I’m sure everyone will enjoy dining at their gazebo where you can see flowers blooming and fruit bearing trees within your reach. Actually, I was so tempted to pick the calamansi haha!
There are so many things to do while waiting for your order, you can grab and read some books for free, play their “get to know you more” popsicle sticks, or even take the chance to roam around the garden which by the way I did!
On the right side part of the entrance there’s this canopy bed, as if it’s asking me to take a break. If we’re here in the evening I can imagine myself lying down comfortably and gazing at the stars. Wow! It feels so romantic! I was surrounded with different herbs and flowers which they actually use for their menus.
As I trailed back to the Gazebo, I can’t help but noticed the rustic interior of comfort room which added a homey feels of the cafe, and plus the fact that it’s clean! The aquarium full of toys will also catch your attention, the staff said kids can play with it while they are inside the cafe.
After few minutes, our table was full of cafe’s best sellers! Most of their servings are good for sharing. I love anything with pepper so I tried their Peppered Steak first, it was juicy, full of flavors and easy to chew. Served with garden salad, mashed potato or mango tomato salad. Among the three I prefer the mango tomato salad, the sweetness and sourly taste of the mango compliment well with the steak.
The skin crackles like a chicharon, soft meat, and few chunks of fat. The Boneless Crispy Pata will let you forget that you have to cut down on your meat intake and I’m sure you will ask for an extra rice haha!
I’m not a fan of tinapa “smoked fish” but this dish gave a new twist to my taste bud, tinapa flakes with tomatoes, capers, homegrown Pinoy spinach on top of rice with sunny side up egg and pickled mangoes makes up the Gourmet Tinapa. This is not good for sharing because you will find it “bitin” afterwards haha!
Filipino’s fave lechon kawali in all organic tamarind broth will give a kick to your dish. Even though the weather is super hot I must say their Crispy Sinigang is truly a comfort food. In my opinion, the Crispy Tadyang will goes well with beer and spicy vinegar. I find it perfect for “pulutan” or appetizers. The best freaking part of eating them is you will lick your fingers afterwards because of the savory flavor of spices.
Served on a plate with banana leaf, that’s the Pan-Grilled Chicken, steamed with special herbs served with spicy tomato salsa. I’m curious what kind of herbs they used to achieve the good flavors inside and out of the chicken legs.
For desserts we had their Halo Halo Turon, the typical halo halo ingredients inside a turon wrapper, served while it’s hot and Brownie Ala Mode both paired with vanilla ice cream on top. So, the ice ream will literally melts while you’re enjoying the turon and the brownie.
Inspired by nature, home cooked meals and some stories from the past, my first but definitely not my last visit to Greg & Sally Tree Garden Cafe, a garden inspired dining haven in Marikina City.
By the way, you can get a 10% discount at Greg and Sally Tree Garden Cafe when you visit The Book Museum Cum Ethnology Center or 10% discount on The Book Museum access fee when you dine first in Greg & Sally as part of the Books + Food Combo.
Promo runs until June 19, 2016.