When my balikbayan aunt called me and invited me for lunch I knew exactly where I wanted to take her. I wanted to try the Filipino restaurant Cafe de Bonifacio at The Podium mall.
Chef Ojie who created a memorable meal for me at the Herb’s Best dinner party is also the man behind Cafe de Bonifacio’s food. That’s why I was so excited to try more of his creations.
The choices in the menu were the usual Filipino food but presented in very creative ways. Take for instance this “naked lumpia” in fried pastry cups instead of the usual rolled lumpia. This way you get to enjoy more of the veggies than the wrapper. Everyone loved this.
lumpiang hubad in pastry cups P110
My favorite, well one of, was this totally unique salad made with finely shaved daikon radish, sweet pomelo chunks, crunchy dried fish and lightly dressed with the Chef’s special vinaigrette. This salad was sheer genius. I’ve never had a combination of these ingredients before and it totally worked. It was refreshing, intriguing and just plain awesome. The crunchy dried fish gave the salad just the right amount of saltiness and texture.
spicy daikon & pomelo salad P210
I’m currently on an oyster love fest so when I saw them on the menu I immediately ordered it. Alas I wasn’t too fond of it. I found it too oily and more wrapper than oyster.
herbed oyster in crispy egg wrapper with special chef sauce P225
The fish was nicely fried and crisp. I just found the tamarind sauce lacking in flavor. I would have preferred a sharper and more aggressive tamarind flavor and I told Chef Ojie that when I saw him at the restaurant. He said he will fix the sauce. Thanks Chef!!
butterflied tilapia in tamarind sauce P299
The crispy pata wasn’t as crisp as I like it but the meat was juicy and flavorful. It certainly didn’t affect my dining companions’ enthusiasm in demolishing the crispy pata. I should have taken a picture of the bones left on the plate. The kang kong that came with the pork was unusually sweet. Really sweet. Why???
crispy pata ni Ka Ojie P618
Since Chef Ojie is know as the roti king of Manila and I really enjoyed the roti he made at our private dinner I wanted to eat roti again. Instead of just plain roti I tried the chicken adobo roti. Oh wow! What an inspired concoction. It was just like quesadilla but instead of using flour tortilla a more flavorful roti was used and stuffed with really tangy delicious chicken adobo filling. Yes, this was my second favorite dish. This was listed under meryenda and it would have been a good choice for a snack too.
chicken adobo roti P150
We were all too full for dessert so we just had some milk tea from the stall beside the restaurant. I did take picture of this deconstructed turn which just came out of the kitchen. It looked really good and creative.
I’m really happy to have discovered another Filipino restaurant that was good and had really creative choices and flavor combinations.
Cafe De Bonifacio
Level 5 (cinema-level)
18 ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City