This is the second article in our series for Healthy and Yummy Food Campaign. Our first article, Kitchen for Healthy Cooking in The Fort, can be found here.
In this article, we share with you our research on vegetarian dine-in places in The Fort. For each dine-in place, we checked the ingredients listed in their menu. Where possible, we enquire about the oil they use for cooking the dishes to ensure only vegetable oils are used, but please do enquire directly with the establishments if you want to be absolutely sure that a particular dish does not contain offending ingredients. Sometimes restaurants use beef, pork or chicken stock to make vegetable dishes tasty. It is therefore not sufficient to just look at the ingredients when considering whether a dish is suitable for vegetarians. Our research should be used mainly by people who want to reduce meat intake, but do not mind having a little meat in a meal. For strict vegetarians, the choices are very limited, unfortunately.
Restaurants that serve only vegetarian food
SUSI, Forbestown Road, Burgos Circle, BGC
SUSI is a vegan and vegetarian restaurant. Opened less than one year (last June), it seems to have built up quite a legion of followers. It is actually the only vegan restaurant in The Fort. "Vegetarians do not eat meat, fish, or poultry. Vegans, in addition to being vegetarian, do not use other animal products and by-products such as eggs, dairy products, honey, leather, fur, silk, wool, cosmetics, and soaps derived from animal products." (Source: www.vrg.org)
The restaurant is also gluten free. This means the texture of food is quite different from what most people are used to. In addition, its cooking tends to be low salt and minimal seasoning. Only people with specially trained palate may get the cooking style preferred by this restaurant.
Restaurants that serve mostly vegetarian food
6/F, 20th Drive Corporate Center, 20th Drive, McKinley Business Park, BGC
New Bombay Indian Restaurant
Second Floor, Crossroads Building, 32nd Street, BGC
Indian restaurants serve a lot of vegetarian dishes, but mostly in pureed form, and not in raw, fresh form. New Bombay's menu is mainly vegetarian. It is a good choice if you do not mind having cheese in the dish.
Restaurants that serve many vegetable dishes
Ground Floor, Central Square, Bonifacio High Street
It serves salads and sandwiches, and is the only place in the whole of the Philippines that we have found that shows calorie value of its dishes. Not all of its salads are vegetarian. Hail Caesar, for example, has bacon bits. 'Go Geisha' and 'Man-Go Wild' are salad that appear to have only vegetables as ingredients.
Building C2, Bonifacio High Street Central
It has meat dishes on its menu, but all of its soups and most of its salads are made of vegetables only. It also offers three vegetarian pasta (roasted vegetable linguini, mushroom ravioli, and Earth Kitchen ravioli). All of its ingredients are locally sourced, and many are grown organically. It does not serve any carbonated drinks.
SM Aura Premier
It is the only Greek restaurant in The Fort. All its dips used for appetizers are vegetarian, such as hummus which is made with chickpea, roasted garlic and tahini. For main course, it has vegetable pesto pasta, spinach rice, veggie gyro and many other vegetable dishes.
Building C3, Bonifacio High Street Central
The Wholesome Table has a vegetarian burger, several pizzas that only use vegetables (Margarita, Puttanesca, the Mediterranean), three vegetarian pasta dishes (Classic Pesto, Vegetarian Bolognese, Nutty Garlic), and all its rice bowls contain only vegetables and brown rice.
This is a gelato and macaron place that also sells savory food. It has at least one vegetarian dish in each of its categories of food. Three out of their four pasta dishes, for example, are suitable for vegetarians. It also has Mediterranean salad, vegetarian pizza, mozzarella and tomato sandwich, and mushroom panini.
Wildflour Cafe + Bakery
26th Street corner 4th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City
This very popular restaurant has many dishes that contain only vegetables and cheese, which should make the dishes acceptable to some vegetarians. For appetizers, there is crispy parmesan churros, homemade carabao ricotta, macaroni and cheese. For salads, it has wild mushroom salad and Caesar salad. For lunch, the vegetarian dishes are: roasted vegetable lasagna and sweet corn agnolotti.
Mamou is a casual dining place that has quite a few vegetarian dishes. Its appetizers include palm spring rolls and truffle flavoured vegetable mushroom dip. At least three out of its four soups use primarily vegetarian ingredients, but we have not checked the stock used for the soup. It has a lot of vegetarian salads, such as grilled vegetable salad, warm couscous salad, and Mamou's Greens Too. There are two vegetarian dishes in the main course category, namely, grilled vegetable stew and vegetarian adobado with pickled ubod.
New take-out place that serves many vegetable dishes
It has been reported that HALAL Guys, a HALAL food cart started in New York by three Egyptians, will have a take-out counter at Fully Booked Bookstore at Bonifacio High Street soon. One main dish offered by HALAL Guys is falafel, fried ball made from grounded chickpeas and served with chopped vegetables and rice or pita bread, thus a vegetarian dish. A little tidbit: Why open in Fully Booked, which is a bookstore? Because the brand is brought to the Philippines by the owners of Fully Booked Philippines.
It is therefore not difficult to find eat-out places in The Fort if all we want is to reduce meat intake. In fact, there are probably more restaurants serving organically grown vegetables in The Fort than elsewhere.
Please remember to visit our Healthy Yummy Campaign event at Serendra Piazza on October 15 to 18, in which you will find even more information on healthy eating.