CHECK IT OUT: Mad For Garlic at Bonifacio Global City
An Italian-inspired Korean restaurant where garlic is queen.
Mad For Garlic
W Global Center, 30th Street Corner 9th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
Tel. Nos.: 808-9517 and 808-9503
Open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Monday to Thursday), 11 a.m. to 12 mn. (Friday to Saturday)
The upstairs of Mad For Garlic, where the open kitchen is found
(SPOT.ph) It's so, so tempting to make a vampire reference but no. It doesn't feel appropriate. Once you step into the restaurant, Gothic horror would be the last thing on your mind. Racks of wine bottles line the wall and, coupled with the lighting, you immediately feel like this is a rustic but chic place to cozy up on a date. Except that there's garlic on the walls and there's garlic in almost every dish, desserts included. Friends and comrades, this might be the perfect place to bring someone you have uncertain feelings for to destroy any thoughts of even MOMOL.
Funnies aside, Mad For Garlic completes the block of Global Restaurant Concepts, Incorporated's restaurants in W Global Center at Bonifacio Global City. They've taken the Korean franchise and brought the goodness - and comfort - that garlic brings to Manila.
Despite the name, Mad For Garlic isn't just about getting your fix of this bulbous plant. They don't jack their food with this seasoning to make it taste like you’re chewing on cloves. That's just not the way to do it, folks. What you'll be enjoying here is Italy done the Korean way. Sound weird? That's okay. People only understand the English bits of KPop songs, but they're still permeating the airwaves. In this case, enjoy the bits of Korean embedded in the primarily Italian menu.
Remember when we said we wouldn't make vampire references? Well, forget that because then you'll miss out on their best-selling starter, the Dracula Killer (P195). You'll be served six pieces of garlic bread, which you can then top with garlic cooked in olive oil and anchovies.
Garlic on garlic
This dish seems overdone with seasoning but curiously, the taste isn't overwhelming. The intense flavor is subdued by the olive oil, making the cloves a little sweeter than usual.
You'll find other Italian classics like the Caprese Salad (P695), which competes with The Tutto Mushroom Salad (P665) for attention, but a dish composed of slabs of buffalo mozzarella is just too hard to resist. It's gooey, chewy, and yummy.
Left: Crab and Lobster Pasta. Right: Caprese Salad. Off camera: Someone excited to eat.
It wouldn’t be Italian without a heaping serving of carbs, so have yourself a plate of Crab and Lobster Pasta (P475), doused in garlic cream sauce. If you're expecting a painful garlicky assault on your taste buds, you’ll be happily disappointed. Mad For Garlic saves your tongue with subtlety.
However, if you insist on getting something intense, you can try their Zuppa di Pesce (P655), a bowl of spicy soup with shrimp and shellfish. Manuel Zubiri, Vice Chairman of GRCI, tells us that the dishes here and in Korea are identical but in Zuppa di Pesce’s case, they had to moderate the spice. You might think that you’re tough enough to handle the authentic, hardcore spicy version, but try a little sip first. We’re not entirely sure if they really toned it down.
On the tamer side, their pizza menu includes the plain-looking Gorgonzola Pizza (P475) that is best eaten with your hands. They serve it with a cup of honey, which we recommend that you spread all over your slice, and then roll it up from tip to crust. The effect is soothing, as we all know that garlic and honey does wonders for the body.
Another point of pride in the Mad For Garlic pizza menu is their Garlic Snowing Pizza (P545). It’s got pineapples, shrimps, and fried garlic on top of a soft crust paired with a very, very adorable name.
Let it snow?
The pizza’s cute factor is definitely Korean but if you’re looking for Korean flavor, they’re offering this other adorably named dish: Dancing Salsa Rice with Steak (P295). We like thinking of it as Italian Bibimbap or Korean Risotto.
Risotto as it sizzles. Can you see the jalapeños? Are you enticed yet?
You might be beginning to think, "But where is the garlic?" For those looking for that spicy joy and persistent aftertaste that only garlic can give, save room for dessert. The Garlic Sprinkle Gelato (P175) is ice cream with flakes of garlic best eaten with the garlic cookie that comes with it. You read that right: garlic cookie.
While the food at Mad For Garlic is nowhere near something like the Lebanese sauce toum - which can feel like an explosion of garlic in your mouth - it’s a nice, pretty posh place to have a decent meal and perhaps a glass of wine. If the date is going well, you can skip dessert and keep your breath fresh. Otherwise, dive right into that cup of gelato.