The Best Filipino Flavors in Concha's Garden Cafe

10:28 PM

That side of Scout Madriñan, near the corner of Tomas Morato in Quezon City was unusually quiet on a Thursday afternoon. It was 3 PM and the busy lunch period in Concha's Garden Cafe was over. Interrupting the silence in the restaurant was our excitement. We are about to be served the new offerings along with the signature dishes of one of the best Filipino restaurants in QC. 

After settling down, the first dish came. It was an interesting serving of Homemade Okoy, one of the most requested dishes according to our server. Before I could even taste it, more food arrived; Baby Squid in Olive Oil, Beef Morcon, Crispy Pata, Chicken Tinola, Crispy Tawilis, and perhaps on the most photogenic plating that day, Homemade Bangus Sardines in Olive Oil. It wasn't just good for the 'gram, it was delicious too!

All of a sudden, the restaurant was filled with the energy of bloggers who were busy devouring over the sumptuous lineup. As if the first batch of dishes were not enough for six people, more came. Added in our already full table were Inihaw na Pusit, Sisig, Beef Salpicao, Pork and Chicken Embotido, Sinampalukang Manok, and the most generous serving of food combo that I have ever seen yet, their signature Grilled Platter. It was overflowing with seafood and meat delights; shrimp, squid, pork, chicken, which were abundantly paired with salted eggs, chopped onions and fresh tomatoes. 

I forgot about my prescribed diet. I called for a halt of small meals in that very moment. I normally don't mix different dishes on my plate but because I was at Concha's, I made that afternoon an exemption. I tasted all! And my, oh my, it was an explosion of all kinds of flavors. 

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There was not enough time to recover. Before I could un-feel the fullness, the server has started asking us for our choices of desserts. Then a familiar face greeted us. Delicious is still a good adjective (LOLs!) but charming would be more appropriate for Alden Richards, who immediately checked our table as if to make sure that there were still some good food left. The boy was charming as usual. What was more recognizable is how he looked at us to see if we were really enjoying the food. That moment, he has made himself a budding restaurateur. 

Then he started telling us about his only love affair apart from his on-screen partner Maine Mendoza, his romance with Concha's and how he made himself part owner. It was almost a daily habit for him to come to Concha's for his late lunch after his daily stints in the noontime variety TV show 'Eat Bulaga!'. His favorite is Concha's Signature Laoya (it's like 'Nilaga' but only sweeter and the sauce is more concentrated) and the Homemade Okoy. After months of enjoying the offerings at the restaurant, the young actor agreed to help it expand. Aside from the Tomas Morato branch, Concha's also has restaurants in Cliffhouse in Tagaytay (KM 58 Maharlika East Emilio Aguinaldo Highway), and will open their biggest restaurant soon in Richland Hills Subdivision in Silang, Cavite. 

He promises to bring all the flavors of the restaurant from Quezon City to its two provincial branches, taking the same consistency that made the dishes stand out from that of the competing Filipino restaurants. If the three branches aren't really accessible, Alden is ready for opportunities to expand the brand some more. May be more in Metro Manila, he said. 

After a quick discussion with your 'Pambansang Bae' (see video below), we capped our late lunch with thirst-quenching Pandan and Lemon Grass Juice, some refreshing fruit juices and a very fine cup of Halo-Halo

Would I be back in Concha's you ask? Definitely. I'd like to bring the entire family there, with or without Alden Richards. Well, his presence (and his dimples) would be a bonus. :) 

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