For lunch today, I decided to try a solo lunch at Monasteryo, the new restaurant beside Delifrance in Greenbelt, Makati. Its unique proposition: recipes from priests and nuns throughout centuries, claiming blessed eats and heavenly treats in the process.
In my head, I'm thinking: simple, healthful food, probably with decent prices (hey, men and women of the cloth don't have that much cash to go around, this isn't 18th century Manila). I wasn't too far off the mark, and suffice it to say that Monasteryo is an experience in left-of-center eating.
My meal consisted of a light Greek beef broth spiced with lemon juice that was tart and heartwarming, a flavorful rosemary and chicken-stuffed tomatoes (three half-filled tomato cups) baked in butter and cheese, and a delightful alcohol-spiked gelato (Mompo? hwekhwekhwek). It was delicious, filling but not too much.
Other points: the two-page menu was interesting: each dish came with descriptions of the priests/nuns behind the dish. Service was excellent, with communion-type bells on each table for patrons to ring their already-attentive waiters with, and the interiors were stark, with faux-antique paintings of saints and other religious memorabilia on walls and shelves. [Idols? Whatever, you guys.] Music consisted of Bukas Palad-type Christian music blared from a poorly placed stereo system.
I don't know if it's a psychological thing, but knowing I was going to eat food that was simple in its nature and history was very good for me. Eating the food became an exercise in eating: savoring each bite, enjoying the hour that I had, and stopping to appreciate the nuances of the flavors working with each other (a real joy, especially with the tomatoes, as the rosemary's herby flavor drifted in and out of the pungent cheese, baked chicken, and red tomatoes).
Would I return? Most likely. I think Monasteryo's one place I would like to enjoy, though, by myself to return to what's important: the knowledge that food is also a gift from God.