Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Mad For Garlic Restaurant

Mad For Garlic

by Marian Joy Hernandez

"There are many miracles in the world to be celebrated and, for me, garlic is the most deserving."
~ Leo Buscaglia, author

It is not common that writers, philosophers, chefs, artists, and actors would wax poetic about a common plant, a ubiquitous ingredient. Only garlic seems to have that effect. It always elicits a reaction—people either hate it or love it—never an indifferent response. It’s probably why Mad for Garlic was named that way; you either eat here because you are a firm believer of the gospel of garlic, or you shun it completely (oh ye, of little faith).  

A first-timer in the Philippines, but already in 22 locations across Korea, Singapore and Jakarta, Mad for Garlic is a testament to the universal lure of the wonder spice. A look at their menu reveals Italian cuisine combined with Asian flavors. Apart from the garlic-themed dishes, they also offer different kinds of wine and beverages perfect for food pairing.

The Italian-Korean restaurant offers a straightforward menu, complete with food photos to make ordering easier.
Their bestseller appetizer, Dracula Killer (P195), shows what high quality, simple ingredients can do.
Dracula Killer
Soft garlic bread is served with garlic cloves cooked in olive oil and anchovies. Spread the buttery cloves or heap them atop the bread. Smell, and indulge.
Another great starter, although pretty costly, is the Tutto Mushroom Salad (P665) – three kinds of mushroom served in teriyaki sauce and then paired with grilled red pepper, asparagus, and arugula on the side.
Tutto Mushroom Salad
It looks like a simple salad, but taste-wise, the mushrooms are divine. Each button lightly embraced by the sauce, the flavors vary from savory, to smoky, to meaty. The arugula perfectly balances everything with its peppery bitterness.
To tone down the garlic, Mad for Garlic offers some “signature ades,” with the Wine Ade (P170) and Yuja Ade (P110) as the standout choices.
Wine Ade
Wine Ade is red wine mixed with soda—a refreshing beverage that will be enjoyed by wine lovers, and embraced by non-wine drinkers. The Yuja Ade is composed of yuja cha, a citron tea common in Korea, and light soda with lemon. Both drinks are original concoctions of Mad for Garlic.
Since this is an Italian restaurant as much as it is Asian, pizza and pasta play a great role on the menu.
The Garlic Snowing Pizza (P545) is a favorite among Filipinos. The crust is slathered with Mad for Garlic’s “special sauce” (ingredients will remain undisclosed), topped with shrimp, pineapple, grated cheese and a generous serving of fried sliced garlic. Usually, pineapple on pizza doesn’t work for me, but this one surprisingly complements the rest of it. Mildly sweet and intensely cheesy, the garlic crisps are like little punches of flavor with every bite.
Garlic Snowing Pizza
The aroma of the Gorgonzola Pizza (P475) could be detected tables away. When it was brought to us, the blue cheese was bubbling on its thin crust.
Gorgonzola Pizza
Hands down my favorite, the pizza is made more sublime with a side serving of honey flecked with garlic bits. Although delicious without its dip, the combination of salty gorgonzola and sweet, garlic honey made this pizza one for the books. 
Pair your pizza with pasta, specifically the Zuppa di Pesce (P655), which doubles as soup, as well (its Italian name translates to “fish soup”).
Zuppa di Pesce
Served with garlic bread sticks, the dish can satisfy two, if shared with a pizza. In a spiciness meter of 10, I’d give this a 7, which is just right for me, but apparently too hot for some of my fellow diners. Request for the dish’s spiciness to be tempered, if you’re not too keen on its fiery sauce, which permeates every prawn, fish, mussel, clam, squid and conchiglie in it. Savor every drop of the tomato-based soup and then wipe any traces with the garlic bread stick to pay homage to the wonderful Italians who first made this recipe.
For white sauce lovers, however, the Crab and Lobster Pasta (P475) is a good choice. The spaghetti is cooked in garlic cream sauce and then combined with crab and lobster meat. Eat this while it’s hot, as the sauce tends to dry around the edges of the pasta. I like to enjoy this dish with a drizzling of chili oil just to take its innocence away.
Crab and Lobster Pasta
First timers should try the Dancing Salsa Rice with Steak (P295), which is garlic rice served with wine-marinated beef, topped with fresh bean sprout and a sunny-side up egg.
Dancing Salsa Rice with Steak
Served on a hot plate, it looks like a proper brunch meal for carnivorous folks. The waitstaff will give you the option to mix your dish or watch them expertly do it for you.
Finally, when your companion confirms garlic breath, it’s time for dessert. One of two desserts in Mad for Garlic’s menu is the Garlic Sprinkle Gelato (P175). Yes, it wasn’t spared the garlic treatment. The garlic ice cream is drizzled with chocolate syrup and paired with a garlic cookie triangle.
Garlic Sprinkle Gelato
Rest assured it’s not an assault to your sweet tooth. The experience is not unlike eating a garlic-flavored burger and then sipping on a milkshake. Oddly, the pairing works, and the garlicky taste is more of an afterthought than the main focus.
Even if they don’t offer free garlic mints after the meal, I would definitely brave garlic breath at Mad for Garlic. It’s the stuff heroes eat, a divine gift not to be misused, and smelling it makes everything all right. Poor vampires, they’ve got it all wrong.

1 comment:

  1. Nowadays, people loves to try new food. We love to experience new flavors that's why there are restaurants who make sure they make some twist on their menu to make sure their customer will enjoy.



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