Food parks, food halls and food hall-type experiences are all the gastronomic rage nowadays, and all prime places are following suit. Makati has several food parks, and I’M Hotel has its own food hall buffet experience. Vikings launched The Alley in UP Town Center, with the same type of setup. Various hotels have also picked up the trend. Now, for those frequenting Bonifacio Global City, you’ll be glad to know that one of the scene’s top-caliber dining experience has come to a place near you!
The Plaza at Arya Residences (also known simply as Arya Plaza) is one of the latest al fresco dining places in BGC, combining five restaurants in one go-to place. And when we say “al fresco”, we don’t mean a simple, non-air conditioned open area. We mean a place that actively harnesses both natural light and ventilation through its architecture.
The modern and stylish trimmings are pleasing to look at, but they also conceal a masterful design that ensures maximum air flow throughout the Plaza. The high ceilings make sure there’s enough headroom for air to pass through, and the shape of the structures steers the wind into the dining area. The materials used don’t absorb and radiate heat, so even if the sun is burning brightly outside you’re not likely to feel it! The floor-to-ceiling glass construction of the component restos make them not only Instagram-worthy, but also enhance the overall feeling of lightness in the place. You can literally feel the wind caress you as you eat out!
But of course, you won’t go here just to feel fresh. No matter how relaxing the atmosphere is, it’s only secondary to the quality of food each of its tenants offer. Let’s dig in!
With a name like this, you know your dining experience is going to be a bit primal. And that’s not a bad thing — this ended up as one of my favorites, if not the absolute one!
The resto uses an open-fire (open kitchen) concept that brings us back to the age before man learned to use complicated cooking techniques. That means they use real wood to cook! The brainchild of Chef Josh Boutwood (of Bistro Group fame), Savage is decked out in burnt tones that really invoke the name. Despite that, it’s still pretty cozy. We tried Smoked Crab, Potato and Flying Fish Roe (Php 560) and Pork Belly, Cola, Pineapple (Php 510). This one was really good! I remembered telling myself to calm down and keep my pace, but it was just so good that I kept getting more! Another one that I coudn’t stop eating was the devilled Eggs ( Php260). I believe I will keep ordering this dish.
We also had Barramundi, Arugula, Preserved Lemon & Olive (Php 1,200). As the ingredients connote, this one has really good flavor and punch. Even my friend who isn’t really into fish enjoyed the dish.
Then, we had the good fortune to try the c— a Swedish moist chocolate cake that is as rich as our dreams dared chocolate cake to be. Damn this one was good! It’s completely worth it!
It’s kinda cool how all these food stuff pass through the wood fires of the Savage grill at one point, even the heavenly Kladdkaka. It’s also amazing how this little place that sticks out like a sore thumb (with its pre-industrial decking as opposed to the modernity of Arya Plaza itself) turned out to be an instant favorite.
Fukudaya Japanese Dining
We’ve had really great Japanese dining in the past, so what does Fukudaya bring to the table? Moving away from the traditional and into more modern cooking techniques, Chef Koji Oki’s creations bring about a new take for those tired of the same, old, traditional Japanese food. In creating its offerings, Fukudaya openly borrows from the cooking techniques of other times and cultures — and the result is magnificent!
Take a bite of their Salmon Carpaccio and their Australian Wagyu Steak, if you don’t believe me. None are traditionally Japanese, but for both you will find the distinctly Oriental tastes the Japanese are known for. Even classic sushi and tempura got their international upgrades! Needless to say, if you want to take your palate for a new spin, then this is the place to go.
Lemuria Restaurant and Wine Bar
Everyone knows Lemuria had opened a branch in QC, but they also just opened one here in Arya Plaza. If you want to experience what fine dining was meant to be, then this is where you should be!
It’s definitely a far cry from what many are used to. Service takes its time, and you are expected not to gobble down your food but to savor each and every bite. They serve the most exquisite of meals, such as their Foie Gras, Sea Bass, Duck Leg, and Braised Lamb offerings. These are names you’d only hear at top-rate restaurants, and Lemuria definitely is one. None of the ingredients used here are pre-packed or frozen — everything is made from scratch for your unbridled indulgence!
If celebrating is your thing, then The Red Piano is for you. Blending fine meals (and drinks!) with great acoustics, this resto really delivers the happy atmosphere without bordering on being boisterous. It was supposed to be a speakeasy type of place originally, but now this little “class project” setup by Chef Carlo Llave and his classmates has become a complete hangout.
They’ve got some pretty interesting menu items, too. Unless you’re hypertensive, check out the One Big Crackling which is essentially a giant slab of chicharon. For the more indulgent among you, the Osso Bucco uses imported shanks of veal, slow cooked to perfection over several hours. Their version of the Clam Chowder has you eating this creamy soup (with real fresh clams) from a bread bowl. Definitely the stuff of conversations!
Martin Place Social
The last on the list is definitely not the least. If you’ve never tasted what Australian drinks taste like, head over to Martin Social. Behind the place is the Ausphin International Institute, who meant the place to be a training school for Filipino chefs going to Australia. That means they’re trained to cook up some authentic Australian blends and brews!
It’s the perfect place to wind down what with its selection of great coffee and cocktails. There are also great snacks and meals here, such as the delicious Fish Taco and the Pork Belly Salad. Save room for some dessert as well, and don’t miss their popular Macy’s Cheesecake!
At first blush, Arya Plaza may seem like a disparate collection of restaurants bound together only by their common al fresco host. But as you make your rounds, you find that there’s a common thread binding them — the same exceptional level of quality. You have great variety, and you also have a consistent upper-class level of dining experience. This, above all, makes Arya Plaza a great place for friends and family to gather and have a good time.
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