Marikina is home to some neat hole-in-the-wall dining locations—this I’ve known even before Kris Aquino decided to make everything mainstream on her TV show. (By the way, it’s one of the most godawful things to see Kris drag some unappreciative celebrity guest to a beautifully prepared meal by a chef who has slaved to achieve something good, then have that guest say, “Nako, this is so fattening.” It’s disrespectful to the chef, and she should seriously refrain from bringing non-foodies to her food-related episodes. Perhaps Anthony Bourdain would be tempted to shoot those people in the head. But I digress.) In keeping up with the spirit of a hole-in-the-wall, some restaurants are a little tricky to physically get into. One such example is Rustic Mornings: Brunch, Pastries & Coffee by Isabelo, located in a very narrow alley that a standard sedan has to squeeze into.
The property has its own parking space inside the gates, with an additional small covered area that may fit about 3 cars—inside is pretty much the only parking option available, unless you want to park somewhere at the end of the block.
To get into the dining area, you must go through a short stretch of forest-like garden that partially shields the inside. Don’t think it’s creepy because the garden actually lends to the overall intimate atmosphere. Imagine being ensconced in a cozy place, away from the outside world.
When you get inside, you’ll be surprised by the cleverly decorated… everything. It’s apparent that the owner of this restaurant is quirky and creative.
The decor reminds me a lot of my friend, Eva’s shop in Cubao X: Kind of mismatched, kind of imperfect, but beautiful.
Recycled stuff takes on a whole new life when executed properly.
When it comes to food, Rustic Mornings offers all-day breakfast options as well as some lunch bowls. -silogs are part of their Filipino breakfast tray, and Mom had to have the Crispy Tawilis (PHP145). According to her, she’s had Tawilis elsewhere, and this doesn’t taste the same as the one she had before. She prefers the one she had elsewhere.
Dad had Pork Longganisa, the -silog variant he usually opts for. He said it was okay. (FYI: Personally, I’m more for tapa or tocino, depending on which one is more tender.)
I would’ve ordered waffles because they’re so much more fun than pancakes, but it was nearing lunch time already. Instead, I decided to try out the Cheesy Chicken Fricasse (PHP300), an order that’s already good for 2. (Doesn’t come with rice.) I’ve gotten into the habit of ordering wild-card menu items to see if they turn out to be gems, while my parents go with whatever the best-sellers are.
Without having my breakfast beforehand, I was already famished by the time the food came. I was able to finish the entire thing, but was sick-full by the end. It didn’t help that the sauce was rich and creamy. Tasty as it was, don’t try to eat this by yourself. This is coming from a self-proclaimed cream sauce fan. Luckily, I ordered a refreshing lemon-flavored Frothy Iced Tea to wash it all down (PHP50).
After eating, you can just hang out for a little bit and enjoy the surroundings. This place is perfect for brunch.
If you decide to eat outside, do also have a look inside. The indoor dining is just as pretty. It reminds me of something straight out of Teacher’s Village.
The hand wash and restroom are decorated by rows upon neat rows of empty perfume bottles. Like I said, terrifically creative.
This place was made for people who enjoy a good muni-muni (pondering) session. It’s also made for breakfast or brunch dates, so go and have one here.
Rustic Mornings = #11 Isabelo Mendoza St. San Roque, Marikina City