5.30.2014

Corner Tree Cafe : Vegetarian Comfort Food At Its Best


Corner Tree Cafe is a quaint vegetarian comfort food restaurant nicely tucked under a huge tree (as the name suggests) along a busy street in Makati City. It has been around since 2009 way ahead of the healthy trend that is booming now.


It has been featured in major newspapers, magazines and etc. and has been listed in the Tatler book of the Philippine’s Best Restaurants plus voted by PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) as one of the 10 best vegetarian restaurants in the Philippines. Just having all these accolades, I was certain that I was in for a real treat. 



Snapshot of Chiqui and I *Please excuse my outfit, I had to teach a barre3 
class that afternoon*




       Meet Chiqui Mabanta, proud owner and founder of this highly acclaimed restaurant.  I had the opportunity to have a nice chat with her and learned the story behind her little cafe. She started by sharing how she got into vegetarianism. She got inspired during one of her visits to her sister in the UK. Her sister was already vegetarian that time and so she saw how simple and easy it was to have a plant-based diet. She then began became curious and started reading more about it.  Then eventually she eased her way into incorporating it into her lifestyle. She was searching for a good vegetarian place here in Manila but couldn't find one that suited her standards. This sparked the idea of putting one up. She tested the waters by first selling vegetarian food in a weekend market and found that there was indeed a demand. It was not an easy path though, it took her years to work on the concept and to find the perfect spot (location). She even tried to work with several partners only to realize that it was best to work on it alone. In the end, it was all worth it. Corner Tree Cafe is where it is now because of her hardwork, dedication and sheer passion.  


The homey, casual and unpretentious vibe inside the cafe. Chiqui says that people are drawn by this very cosy ambiance. 





They are celebrating their 5th year as a restaurant and so they have free drinks (choice of lemongrass iced tea, red or white wine or coffee) to all their guests. 

They offer a good selection of plant-based, animal-friendly starters, entrees, salads, soups, sandwiches and desserts (full menu is posted below). The items are labeled V on the ones that our Vegan, GF - Gluten Free and a VO symbol for ones with a Vegan Option.  The interesting ones that caught my attention were the the Corner Tree Starter Plate (Php 280.00) which is Vegan and is for sharing. It has hummus and dukka. Dukka is a distinctly Egyptian earthy & fragrant dry blend of seed, pulses & spices with warm chunks of whole wheat bread & extra virgin olive oil. Since I was alone, I didn't want to order it because it would be too much but it will be on my list the next time I visit. 

I am a sucker for Pinoy cuisine so they also have Filipino dishes such as Kare-Kareng Gulay –V (Php 215.00).  A traditional Filipino stew made with garden fresh veggies, a zesty organic peanut sauce, served with organic red rice and a  vegetarian bagoong made with taosi and Veg Sinigang V, GF (Php 215.00)  Traditional comfort food – vegetables in a  tamarind-based broth with superfood miso with a vegetarian patis (“fish sauce”) on theside, served with red rice.

I asked Chiqui what her favorites are and patterned my order from there. Her top picks are : Vegetable Dumplings, Grilled Asparagus Panino (Php 330.00) Panino with loads of grilled asparagus, melty Gruyere cheese and pesto  grilled with olive oil on ciabatta bread. Dilled Egg Salad Sandwich (Php 275.00) which is made with their homemade mayonnaise, chopped free range organic eggs, Dijon mustard, capers & dill, with tomato slices & greens served on toasted ciabatta bread or whole wheat toast and Quinoa Salad. I ended up getting these two (2) items for lunch;


Their famous Vegetable Dumplings (Siomai) - Php 150.00
5 pieces of steamed dumplings stuffed with shiitake mushrooms, spinach, carrots and singkamas (jicama) with a rice vinegar dipping sauce. I ate these prized pieces with extra care because the wrapper was so delicate and soft, it would easily break if "mishandled". 

Quinoa Salad (VO, GF) (Php 220.00 for Solo Order and Php 410.00 for a Huge Order)
This refreshing salad is served with organic greens, grilled asparagus, sunflower seeds and feta cheese and is lightly tossed in a citrusy dressing.

The two dishes I sampled were amazing...simple, light, tasty and filling. I wiped both plates clean! I would definitely go back to try out the rest! Truly a haven for both vegetarians/vegans as well as those that want to eat a good-tasting healthy meal that doesn't make you feel like you're dieting!

They revised the menu and will be launching it in a week or so. I actually got first peek! Here it is:








Choose healthy,
Pattie














Corner Tree Cafe
150 Jupiter Street, Bel-Air, Makati City, Metro Manila
Tel: +63 2 897-0295
Cell: +63 906 558-6177
e-mail: cornertreecafe@gmail.com


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