The last time I ate at Isabelo Garden Restaurant was in 2009. Back then, the place was difficult to get to because the street where it’s located (Isabelo Mendoza St. in Marikina City) is tiny and poorly lit, and the restaurant wasn’t marked by any signs announcing its presence. I suppose it was one of those delicious little secrets of Marikina at the time, and delicious was right, because the food was of very high quality and was prepared only for those who made reservations and placed their orders hours before dropping by to eat. Three years ago, my mother and I had the Spinach Artichoke Dip, the Grilled Salmon Steak, and the Parmigiano Carbonara, all very tasty. It wasn’t just the food that would entice you, but the place as well, with its quirky decor and soothing lighting. The setting makes it great for small dinners with family, romantic dinners, and a laidback gathering with friends.
It’s too bad that I hadn’t the chance to return since then–until today. A few months ago, I heard about Isabelo’s daytime self called Rustic Mornings by Isabelo which promises brunch, pastries, and coffee. Today wasn’t a particularly hectic day for me workwise, so had time to drag my parents there for brunch. The place looks lovely as ever.
I ordered the Country Omelette (P185): three eggs, bacon, cheese, potatoes, and green bell peppers served with ciabatta, herbed butter, and strawberry jam. I felt the ciabatta wasn’t enough for the available spreads, so I asked for an extra slice of rye bread (P20). I ordered a glass of fresh apple juice (P50) to go with my meal, and it really was freshly made and didn’t come out of a bottle.
My parents had corned beef (P215) and boneless bangus (P180) which both came with two free-range eggs, garlic parsley fried rice, red wine vinaigrette with red onions, and tomato wansoy salad. I ordered an extra serving of that salad, which cost P20.
Everything was very filling and nicely cooked, and I adored the flavors of my omelette. My parents noted that the eggs and the rice weren’t particularly salty, which is great for people on a low-sodium diet. All in all, it was a satisfying brunch, and I’m already planning my next trip to Rustic Mornings. I’m not yet sure what I should order though–should I split the koftas with Tj? have pancakes? have a sandwich? The number of scrumptious choices will have your stomach grumbling.
Rustic Mornings by Isabelo is open from 8 a.m to 4 p.m.