Dinner at Maimee’s Garden Cafe

boneless barbeque short ribs P390
Last week I received a text from my friend Deb who invited me and my US based cousin, Stanley for dinner with some of his HS classmates. Since it was in a restaurant that was very near my house I quickly said yes. But then I hardly turn down dinner invitations – far or near.

I never expected to find a family home turned into a restaurant in the middle of Little Baguio in San Juan. Most of the house/restaurants are located in the Tomas Morato area in Quezon City. (Romulo Cafe, Bagoong Club, Taste of L.A.Napa)
Maimee's Garden Cafe

Maimee's Garden Cafe-001

Street parking was also available.
Maimee's Garden Cafe-002

Maimee's Garden Cafe-004

This was the outdoor seating area.

Maimee's Garden Cafe-005 Maimee's Garden Cafe-006

Inside was the air-conditioned dining room.
Maimee's Garden Cafe-008

We sat in an enclosed function room. One of their classmates was the son of one of the owners and he joined us for dinner.
Maimee's Garden Cafe-007

Deb said the iced tea was good and reminded her of butterfly iced tea.
Maimee's special iced tea
Maimee’s special iced tea

The menu had mostly Filipino dishes with some pasta and international favorites. I didn’t expect to see an appetizer like brie. I wanted to try the nachos but Deb decided this would suit our older dining mates better.

It was just a store bought brie warmed in the oven and topped with honey, dried raisins, cranberries, mango and walnuts. What made it stand out was a spoonful of pesto. I’ve never tried the combination of pesto and honey and I must say it works! It was a really good starter. I just wish they provided more crostini since it wasn’t enough.
honey brie with crostini P250
honey brie with crostini P250

They didn’t have any vegetables in the menu except for 3 kinds of salad. Deb chose this simple salad with sliced apples, walnuts and raspberry vinaigrette.
Maimee's garden salad P260
Maimee’s garden salad P260

The gambas didn’t look like the typical gambas al ajillo since this version had lots of tomato sauce but once I tasted it I was instantly enamored. I simply loved the spicy sauce that I used the crostini above to mop up the yummy sauce. This would be perfect on pasta or eaten with lots of rice. With the crostini gone I proceeded to spoon the sauce into my mouth directly.
gambas al ajillo P330
gambas al ajillo P330

The next three dishes are labelled Maimee’s Comfort food in the menu and I agree 100%. These dishes are meant to be shared and are on the small side. For our group of 6 guys and 2 gals we ordered 2 of each and there were NO LEFTOVERS!

I don’t normally order beef caldereta in restaurants since it’s a common dish to make at home but this version was SO MUCH better than any caldereta I’ve ever tried. The beef was tender but the real star was the mildly spicy rich sauce that seemed to have been simmering for hours. The flavors were bold and very rich. Rice was essential for this dish. “Sauce pa lang ulam na.” This is a MUST order.
spicy beef caldereta P350
spicy beef caldereta P350

I don’t eat callos so I don’t know how this tasted but based on the empty dishes I assumed they enjoyed it too.
callos a la Fernando P350
callos a la Fernando P350

Kare kare or oxtail peanut stew is one of my all-time favorite dishes but I’ve been let down too often in many restaurants.
Maimee's kare kare P370
Maimee’s kare kare P370

This version did not disappoint. The sauce was thickened with ground rice and the sauce was very nutty without being overwhelming. It had just the perfect amount of sweetness too. I didn’t even need any bagoong to eat the ox tail and vegetables. I’m ashamed to admit I slurped the sauce too. That’s what happens when I don’t eat rice.
Maimee's kare kare P370-001

I forgot how many rice we ordered and to think half of the group TRIED not to eat rice.
garlic rice

The next three dishes are normally good for one and served with herb rice and a side dish but since we ate everything family style they served rice on the side.

The bangus (milkfish) was cooked like beef steak with soy sauce and onions.
bangus steak a la pobre P240
bangus steak a la pobre P240

I was already so full when the boneless short ribs came out. I still tried a small piece and knew Maimee had another winner. Tender beef marinated in a Korean flavor marinade with some tendon and bits of fat was divine. It would make for a good pulutan (food eaten with beer or alcohol) too.
boneless barbeque short ribs P390
boneless barbeque short ribs P390

The chicken thighs were marinated in the same sauce as the short ribs.
barbecue grilled chicken P260
barbecue grilled chicken P260

The dish that I liked least was the Butcher’s log or embotido but the others liked it specially when they learned the pork roll contained liver, mushroom and cheese and was wrapped in bacon.
butcher's log P280
butcher’s log P280

Maimee's Garden Cafe dessert menu
dessert menu

While I loved the food at Maimee’s I wasn’t happy with the two desserts we ordered. While the apple crumble was served was the apples and topping were both soggy and limp as if it were microwaved.
apple crumble with vanilla ice cream P120
apple crumble with vanilla ice cream P120

The cheesecake was the no-bake gelatin kind which I can’t stand. I wish they served Filipino desserts instead like turon a la mode or even simple but well made leche flan. We only ordered one each and they more than half remained on the table.
blueberry cheesecake P90
blueberry cheesecake P90

Maimee's Garden Cafe menu
Maimee’s Garden Cafe menu (click to enlarge)

Maimee's Garden Cafe menu-001

Maimee's Garden Cafe menu-002

One thing I really loved were the sauces of the viands specially from the gambas, caldereta and kare kare. If only I let myself eat rice I would have easily eaten 3 cups instead of 3 spoonfuls. I’m that type of rice eater, I need sauce to eat rice. I can’t eat rice with fried chicken, steak or barbecue or any viand without sauce for that matter. So you can just imagine how tempting rice was during our meal.

To my balikbayan friends and cousins I’m taking you here!!!!

Maimee’s Garden Cafe
20 E. Jacinto St., Little Baguio,
San Juan Metro Manila

opens from:
Lunch 11:00 am to 2:00 pm
Dinner 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Closed on Mondays

These directions from Anton really helped me find the place easily.

Driving Directions:
From Greenhills Shopping Center, drive along Wilson St. and turn right into Jose Abad Santos (with Alex III as the landmark). After three blocks, turn right into V. Ibanez St. (after Ristras and Little Store). Turn right into E. Jacinto (which is the second corner after Barasoain St.).

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