Overcast afternoon in Legaspi Village and the windows of Restoran Garuda are awash in dull gray ambient light. Inside, a graffiti of a woman overlooks the dining area, which resembles many restaurants with industrial-themed interiors and basking in the soft volume of a soundtrack of contemporary hits. It’s a relaxing vibe that matches the stillness of the street outside and a stark contrast accompaniment to the plates of intense flavors on my table in the corner.
Garuda opened last month in a building in front of the Indonesian embassy, in an area where new restaurants seem to pop up on a regular basis. This is a foreign franchise, though, with other branches in Indonesia and Singapore. Two of the chefs, I’m told by one of the staff, are Indonesian to ensure that the cooking methods keep to Indonesian standards.
The menu is quite long, but the staff does its best to be cheerfully helpful. I’m steered towards the Nasi Goreng packet, a sort of a combo meal composed of fried rice, chicken satay, krupuk (deep-fried crackers), and a token serving of greens. I also order urap, a traditional Javanese dish composed of steamed vegetables, and smothered in grated coconut.
Both dishes I ordered are flavorful and satisfied me well enough that I make a mental note to return and try rendang, another bestseller of the restaurant, the next time I visit. If it’s not obvious by now, I’m having a love affair with Southeast Asian cuisine, and this is just the latest in that ongoing tryst.
On a side note, the restaurant is having a promo until June 26. The packet meals are priced only at PHP 199.00, almost a hundred pesos less than the regular price, and this comes with a free glass of iced tea.
G/F, Beneficial Life Building, 166 Salcedo Street, Legaspi Village, Makati City (in front of the Indonesian embassy)