Nothing beats tucking into some home cooking to end the day, and that’s exactly what my family and I enjoyed when we headed over to Cafe Mary Grace for Sunday dinner.
Welcome Home to Cafe Mary Grace
As soon as you step through the wooden-framed glass doors of Cafe Mary Grace, you’re immediately greeted by a small, but cozy dining area. It’s brick walls are decorated with framed sayings and poems. Beside the windows were shelves filled with inspirational books and stained glass decor. Together with the warm lighting within this cafe, it gives the feeling that you’ve stepped inside someone’s home for dinner.
The Food at Cafe Mary Grace
Just like Pito & Mita Mediterranean Restaurant, Cafe Mary Grace offers a selection of Mediterranean dishes, many of which have been a source of joy and comfort to Mary Grace herself.
We started our meal with their Summer Squash Soup.
The soup was very rich, thick and velvety. It was a bit bland for me, but nothing that a bit of fresh black pepper could not remedy. The serving size may not initially appear to be that generous, but trust me, it’s way more than enough. The soup, by itself, would be enough to fill you up.
My mom and dad chose to get their Chicken Inasal con Pan de Sal with Tomato Wansoy Salsa (whew, that was a mouthful!) for their main course.
This is one of the few dishes that had a bit of Filipino flare to it. Strips of marinated chicken breast were grilled and stuffed inside a pan de sal (a local bread that is a cross between a baguette and a dinner roll) and topped with tomatoes and wansoy (commonly called coriander or cilantro in the West). It was served with potato chips and garlic aioli.
I decided to get their Pasta Vongole for my main course.
I have to say, I was rather thankful that I chose to get a light entree after the rich Summer Squash soup. It was a great contrast. Compared to the soup, the pasta was on the lighter side, and quite delicate. The meat in the clams were succulent, although I personally would have wanted more clams in it. The linguini pasta just had the right bite. But like the soup, it was a bit on the bland side despite the copious amounts of grated queso de bola (a kind of sharp cheddar cheese locally made in the Philippines) I placed onto it.
The Pasta Amatriciana with Italian Meatballs my brother ordered at Cafe Mary Grace was a bit better.
While it may be not as photogenic as their Pasta Vongole, this was the one with the most flavor among those that we ordered here. The sauce just had that right blend of sweet and sour that Filipinos enjoy, slightly accentuated by the fresh basil. The meatballs were juicy and delicious. This was the one dish that brought back memories of childhood. Of course, my mom’s spaghetti is still number one for me. But this pasta dish from Cafe Mary Grace is a definite close second.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment I had during our dinner at Cafe Mary Grace was the fact that I didn’t get to eat my desert. Cafe Mary Grace is renowned for their cakes, cheese rolls and ensaymada–a popular Filipino pastry made of soft sweet dough that’s baked and topped with cheese, butter and sugar. It goes perfectly well with any one of their many hot chocolate drinks. Unfortunately, I was way too full that there was no longer any room in me for it. The good thing about it is that I have an excuse to come and visit this place again real soon.
My Verdict on Cafe Mary Grace
There are very few restaurants in malls around Metro Manila that give you the warmth and atmosphere of home. This is one of the definite come-ons here at Cafe Mary Grace, especially among families who are looking for an atmosphere where they can simply relax and enjoy good food. Their waiting staff are friendly and accommodating.
While there is no doubt that the food is good here at Cafe Mary Grace with many of the dishes somehow reminding you of a taste of home cooking, my opinion is that it could be better. A little more seasoning and giving a bit more time for the flavors to infuse in the meat and pasta can definitely bring the quality here a few bars higher than it already is.
As for the reputation of Cafe Mary Grace when it comes to pastries and chocolate drinks, that is something that I have yet to discover.
Have you eaten in Cafe Mary Grace? Rate and share your experience here.