Thursday, June 13, 2013

Brida Bistro Restaurant @ Power Plant Mall

Brida Bistro: A Nook You Can Call Your Own

by Cityzen | Crystal Joy Rebucas

An ideal brunch place is usually located in a corner street, with outdoor seating perfect for people watching while you take your time eating the comfort meal laid out in front of you. If you live in Manila though, where it is usually very hot, your best bet would be a special place you can call your own inside the comforts of an airconditioned mall. Enter a charming place we found called Brida, located away from the usual busy hallways of Power Plant Mall.

“I can’t speak for the others, but my location can work for or against me. You have to find us. It’s quiet. Sometimes it’s a novelty that it’s quiet because the rest of the mall is noisy. People come here to find their center, read a book, and have their quiet meetings. It really depends on how you look at it,” says owner Gigi San Diego.
Discover this nook at Power Plant Mall
For those who are curious, Brida is the Spanish word for bridle. Gigi used to ride horses, hence the three kinds of horseshoes scattered on the floor by the cake counter. A makeshift stable door signage unassumingly stands by one of the corners. Around this restaurant are reminders of one of her passions. However, she stresses that the most important thing to her at Brida is the food.
“The concept is really to serve home cooked comfort food. Anything aesthetic comes after. I’m not an aesthetic person--I appreciate beauty, I appreciate colors, but what’s dear to me is the simplicity of a lot of things. Straight lines; I’m not into curves. What I really, really work on, which is the basic element, is how we can serve better food to friends, extended family and people who I meet. It’s really a taste of what they will have in our home,” she explains.
Fruit Shake
Over a cup of Cappuccino (P89) and a glass of Shake (P119), she continues on to share about the idea of extending her kitchen by serving her creations inspired by hand-me-down recipes, and how her family get-togethers always involve eating. She also points out that it doesn’t have to involve anything fancy.
True enough, when the soup, pasta and sandwich were served, they were not in oversized bowls nor in some intricately woven wares. The way the food looks and the way it was presented immediately puts one at ease. It sets a relaxed mood that is consistent to the overall aura of the place.
Dinggoy’s Best
Dinggoy’s Best (P259), Brida's popular pasta dish at Brida is made with Spanish
Chorizo, light cream, tomato, and olive oil. It is something quite new to me; I usually like seafood with my pasta, but the chorizo worked for me as well. The Croque Madame (P259) is another staple entry for patrons; this sandwich with forest ham, egg, and cheese also did not disappoint. The surprising hit for me was the Chicken Soup (P169). It’s not in the menu, but you can ask for it. I agree with Gigi when she said that it’s something your mother will serve you when you’re sick; only this time, I crave for it even if I’m not sick. We split in two everything that we had, and I must say they have generous servings.

Croque Madame
Chicken Soup
Apart from those best sellers, there is also an array of cakes to choose from. Our favorites include slices of the colorful Rainbow Cake or Happy Antoinette (P209), Pineapple Upside Down (P198) and Strawberry Shortcake (P189). They even have Espresso Cookies (P79). I was told that most days they have to inform latecomers that everything is already sold out.
Happy Antoinette
Pineapple Upside Down
Strawberry Shortcake
“Rockwell is a weekend mall. Weekdays, we get the residents and they come after lunch. We’re blessed to be busy from one until before six in the evening. During the weekend we get busy from brunch at eleven until seven in the evening. I get followings from the embassy. And the expats, I think, they appreciate the stillness of the place,” describes Gigi when we asked if the place ever gets really busy.
I’ve passed the area during the busiest time blocks, and even then, there is still that sense of calm that will always be present. And that kind of thing is exactly what you need when all you want is to enjoy your food alone, or to have intimate conversations with family or friends.

Photos by Hermin Belo.

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