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148 Jupiter Street, Bel-air
Tel. Nos. 822-0286, 478-6406
Open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 6 to 11 p.m. daily
Simple Pinoy food in classy, relaxed interiors. Click for more.
(SPOT.ph) Named after the journalist, diplomat and the first Asian to serve as president of the UN General Assembly, Romulo Café finally opened its second branch on Jupiter Street in Makati. Obviously the swankier sister of the first Quezon City outpost, the new branch's made-to-order light fixtures and upholstered chairs give off a more sophisticated vibe and the signature topiaries atop each table is a telltale sign that the classy yet relaxed space, like the first branch, was also designed by sisters Ivy and Cecile Almario.
"This branch has more photos, it’s more curated. It’s like a history lesson, you will see different parts of Carlos P. Romulo’s life," shares owner Sandie Squillantini, the granddaughter of the famed diplomat. Framed black-and-white photos of Romulo with family, friends and other world leaders adorn the walls of the restaurant. "We also decided to pay homage to our grandmother at this branch because, of course, most of the dishes in the menu are her recipes," she adds. True enough, one wall of the second floor dining area has a portrait of the woman behind Romulo Café's dishes, Virginia Llamas Romulo.
The stylish interiors are only part of the allure of Romulo Café. The Pinoy menu first introduced at the Quezon City branch has gained a fan base and folks from the South no longer need to make the long drive to sample their best-selling dishes, most of which are meant to showcase how the Romulo family enjoyed Filipino food. Hearty, satisfying dishes like Tito Greg’s Kare-kare (P450) use fresh vegetables, and the tempting plate of Boneless Crispy Pata Binagoongan (P650) features crispy pork skin and tender meat served with not-too-salty bagoong paste sautéed with tomatoes and onions. Most dishes are also kept simple, like the Flying Tilapia (P350), made flavorful with the trio of sauces it is served with: chili garlic, honey-bagoong, and soy vinegar.
The bigger kitchen at the new branch also allows for new dishes. If you like all things grilled, make sure you order the Crispy Tadyang (P450) and the Grilled Squid (P450), both perfectly seasoned and grilled to a crisp bite. For dessert, the Suman sa Latik (P60) is a big favorite, shares Squillanti, but they hope the new Tocino del Cielo (P85), made from baked egg yolks and sweetened with a nice light citrus flavor, becomes equally popular.
Photos by Trixie Zabal-Mendoza