Camp Curry's Japanese Curry Isn't Quite What You'd Expect
This camping-themed restaurant is healthy and outdoorsy, so you don't have to be.
Ayala Triangle Gardens, Paseo de Roxas Street corner Ayala Avenue, Makati City
Open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Monday to Friday)
(SPOT.ph) Do you remember those '90s sitcoms where, at least once every couple of seasons, the family would inexplicably decide to go camping one summer? In spite of themselves, they still managed to convince us all, impressionable children that we were in those days, that camping was fun. And that our families should absolutely invest in an RV. It wouldn't be long before the idea of mosquitoes, poisonous plants, and having to go to the bathroom in front of everybody in the honest wilderness made us come to our senses.
Thankfully, that's not at all what Camp Curry is about. The chef, Takashi Sato, loves the outdoors enough for all of us. His cooking reflects that love so well that you almost feel like you're outside being one with nature yourself. So it's almost fitting that his first Philippine branch would find itself a home at Ayala Triangle Gardens.
The camp aspect doesn't confine itself to the name; the spoons look like little shovels and your water comes in a thermos. Because it's adorable, that's why.
BBQ Chicken & Chunky Vegetables
We can safely predict that the BBQ Chicken & Chunky Vegetables (P290) will be the go-to for many. That chicken has got to be marinated in an acid of some kind (too bad they didn't tell us exactly what) because it is that tender. And those greens are just on this side of cooked so they maintain pretty much all of their natural flavor, complemented by the spices and herbs that would normally accompany South-Asian curries, rather than traditional Japanese recipes—but good Lord, is it divine. If anything, it proves that healthy eating doesn't have to be a thorn in your side.
BBQ Pork Belly & Chunky Vegetables
You can opt to have the BBQ Pork Belly & Chunky Vegetables (P330)—a meatier version of the dish, almost firmer to the bite, but every bit as good. Long story short, your viand is entirely up to you—as is your curry sauce.
Camp Curry currently has three available curry bases to choose from for your order. There’s the signature and authentically Japanese Brown Keema Curry, but we also love the vegetarian-friendly Green Vegeful Curry, which is a bit of a twist on the traditional green Thai curry with a touch of wasabi. It's spicy, silky and gorgeous—there's nothing wrong with it. But then, Sato also formulated the Red Bisque Curry, specifically with Pinoys in mind. It's a heavier, seafood- and tomato-based sauce, echoing our seafaring roots and beachside palates. Take our word for it: The guy knows what he's doing.
Just because this place puts a lot of emphasis on healthy eating doesn't mean they don't believe in moderate indulgence. This is best demonstrated in their S'More Special (P180), served with matcha ice cream and all the traditional S'mores fixings like burnt marshmallows and graham crackers.
Who has the time to drive out into god-knows-where and pitch a tent? The feel of a cozy campfire is perfectly encapsulated in this restaurant's weird but wonderful take on an Asian favorite that's neither traditional nor too out-of-the-box. We're hoping Camp Curry sticks around for a while.
Photos by Ian Santos