Whether it’s our fear of “aswangs” or our passion for “ginisa,” garlic is definitely one ingredient Filipinos cannot do without.
We fry, bake, roast, turn it to chips and do all sorts of things with it, and its smell alone is enough to whet anyone appetite. It also seems to have become one of our favorite add-ons—whether on rice, fried peanuts, or in case of one fast food chain, like gravy on their chicken inasal.
But a restaurant that centers its menu on garlic? Sounds crazy? Maybe because they are indeed Mad for Garlic.
Conceptualized in Korea some 13 years ago, Mad for Garlic has made waves in Singapore and Jakarta, and finally opens its first kitchen in the country thanks to Global Restaurant Concepts Inc. (GRCI), the same people behind California Pizza Kitchen, PF Chang’s and IHOP Philippines.
Garlic bulb-shaped lamps and garlic wreaths decorate the interiors, along with walls of wine bottles, and if what they say about vampires and garlic is true then Mad for Garlic might be the safest and most delicious place to seek refuge.
“Our dishes here not only stand out because of garlic, but because they are uniquely flavored, and will quickly discover that the unique sweetness, spiciness and a garlicky taste makes for quite a memorable dining experience,” says Archie Rodriguez, president and chief executive officer of GRCI.
Rodriguez then shared a bit history; “Our Korean partner, Caroline Nam, simply loved Italian food. She realized that people in Korea really loved garlic as well, which is a main ingredient in Italian cuisine. So with that in mind, she and her team created this wonderful concept of Mad for Garlic.”
|ZUPPA DE PESCE
First timers should start with the interestingly named Dracula Killer, an entree of soft buttered garlic bread served with garlic cooked in olive oil and anchovies. There’s also the Tutto Mushroom Salad, which features three kinds of mushrooms, along with grilled red pepper, asparagus and arugula, and teriyaki sauce. Another Mad for Garlic hit is the Caprese Salad, fresh tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella cheese atop traditional basil dressing. Zuppa di Pesce raises the spice meter by two levels, made of a special spicy soup of various kinds of seafood served with garlic bread sticks.
|GARLIC SNOWING PIZZA
Rodriguez also suggests their global hit Garlic Snowing Pizza, a thin crust pizza made with a Special Sauce topped with shrimps, diced pineapples and of course, lots of fried sliced garlic. Another bestseller is the Gorgonzola Pizza, a thin crust pizza made of Italian gorgonzola cheese and served with honey dipping sauce topped with garlic bits.
|TUTTO MUSHROOM SALAD
Among the pasta dishes, Crab and Lobster Pasta is a good creamy winner, made of garlic cream sauce pasta with crab and lobster meat.
|CRAB AND LOBSTER PASTA
Dancing Salsa Rice with Steak is served on a hot plate, which the server will mix teppanyaki-style. It’s a garlic rice dish with wine marinated beef, topped with fresh bean sprouts and fried egg, along with diced tomatoes and jalapeño.
To complete the experience try their Garlic Sprinkle Gelato—garlic ice cream served with—yes, you guessed it…garlic cookie.
|GARLIC SPRINKLE GELATO
The drink menu is a mix of fruit shakes, beers, coffee, soda and tea. Try their “Signature Ades” such as Lemon_Ade and Orange_Ade. Standout drinks are the Wine_Ade and Yuja_Ade, two refreshing and original concoctions from Mad for Garlic. “In general, we would recommend dry, sweet wine for our spicy and garlicky menu. Our white wine selections would also go very well with the cheese platter,” says Mr. Rodriguez.
Mad for Garlic is expected to open about three more stores this year in prime locations across the metro. Meantime, diners who want their fill of Italian cuisine with an Asian twist can head for Mad for Garlic W Global Center in Bonifacio Global City.
Mad for Garlic is located at the Ground Floor of W Global Center, 30th St. cor. 9th Ave., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City; and is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Mondays to Thursdays and Sundays, and from 11 a.m. to 12 midnight, Fridays and Saturdays.)