Friday, July 5, 2013

Unpretentious FIlipino-Spanish Cuisine at Galli Village Café

Stepping away from the popular franchise restaurants and regular mall tenants and discovering a hole-in-the-wall restaurant that serves exceptional food is a special thing, an art unto itself. It takes a lot of mucking around and going through some not so good and so-so joints before discovering the hidden gems in the metro.

Galli Village Café is one of those hidden gems. The obscure cafe is located below the YMCA Hotel in Makati, next to its more popular neighbor, Purple Oven. Thanks to the guys at Zomato, Jericho and I passed by for a late lunch with a friend to introduce him to our love affair with good food.

The YMCA Hotel is located opposite the Sacred Heart Church along Guijo st. in Makati. It took us a while to find it, as we got lost in the back alleys of Makati for a good 30 minutes. Finally the happy turquoise sign of Galli greeted us and we found a little parking spot somewhere between the Burger Machine stand and a milk tea stand with a mustache for a logo. Pretty quirky, that YMCA place.

The café is quite small, it could probably snugly fit around 10 guests max, but it had a very homey charm to it. The menu is quite extensive for a tiny café with an even tinier kitchen, and the price of their food is very, very reasonable. We ordered some iced teas and some hot chocolate, but they were the instant kind, so that was disappointing. But we were there to enjoy the food, and not so much the drinks.

I wanted to try Galli's Shrimp Gambas with Rice (P!95), but they were out, so I opted to try their Beef Salpicao with Rice (P195) instead. The portion was just right for the price, the garlicky beef was tender, and although it wasn't happily swimming in olive oil like its traditional counterpart, it made for a nice meal with the slightly undercooked rice.

Being more of a sandwich person, I found the Chorizo Egg Burger (P120) to be exceptionally good, especially considering the price point. A spiced chorizo was sandwiched between some lettuce, cucumbers, and an omelette, in between two layers of ciabatta. I could easily polish off three of these. It was that good!

Our server recommended we try Galli's Puttanesca (P120), as their best seller, the Bolognese with Meatballs (P120) was sold out. I fairly enjoyed this vegetarian pasta dish while Jericho made a face after trying it. He really doesn't like capers and found the pasta too briny. I loved it, with the briny capers and olives adding a new dimension of flavor to the boring ol' tomato sauce.

The highlight of our late lunch was the Paella Valenciana (P255 for 2-3 people, P495 for 4-5 people). A little over P250 for paella?! It was too good to be true. Our server let us know that i took 45 minutes to make upon ordering, and we were fine with that. Hey, at least we were confident it was made from scratch. It arrived with toppings of shrimp, chorizo, chicken bits and egg, amongst the slices of bell peppers, peas and beans.

The arborio rice was fluffy on top, and burnt at the bottom, just the way Jericho and my friend liked it. They had such a fun time scraping the bottom of the llanera. I think I've gotten so used to my paella being served the Catalan way (read: wet), that I found this to be a bit too dry for my taste. Nevertheless, P255 for paella that's good for sharing is a win in anyone's book.

For dessert, we skipped Galli and headed next door to Purple Oven for a box of lemon squares instead.

When mucking around Makati, try and see if you can find Galli Village Café! It's just unpretentious, straight up good comfort food. We had such a wonderful time there, it's definitely worth a trip back, if only for the paella and their sandwiches! What a great find! Thanks, Zomato!

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Images taken by Jericho San Miguel of The Pixel Project Manila

Galli Village Cafe
+63 2 899 6379
G/F YMCA Hotel, 7 Sacred Heart St.,
San Antonio Village, Makati City
Open Daily: 7am - 9pm