Friday, September 4, 2015

The Wholesome Table: The Art of Eating Well

The only thing evil about what I ate at The Wholesome Table was the calories. To my surprise, this temple to cold-pressed juices, sprightly salads and all things organic and superfood-boosted was equally deft at fashioning comfort food classics from ingredients that were treated kindly.

This restaurant owned by husband-and-wife team Juan and Bianca Elizalde is an ode to the Philippines' agricultural bounty. They procure ingredients from local sources. They only use meat from grass-fed cows that were raised without artificial hormones and antibiotics. Their poultry products are free-range. They use seafood that are caught in the wild. They also abstain from using processed ingredients, except for their organic cheeses.

Truth be told, Judd and I weren’t lured to The Wholesome Table in Estancia Mall by the promise of eating wholesomely but by the prospect of eating well. The menu was promising. So were the plates being served to other diners. It didn’t hurt either that the setting recalled the experience of dining under a tree and among the stars, albeit in an indoor mall setting.

I enjoyed their take on tomato soup, which was thickened with vegetable broth. It was light and smooth, with chickpea croutons providing crunch and texture.

Because Judd’s love for meatballs is bordering on fanatical, he just had to have it. The serving was ample, with two big, flavorful and moist cubed portions bathed with bacon mushroom gravy, which was the embodiment of yum.

I ordered the fried chicken parmigiana. The chicken was baked with home-made organic tomato passato and Parmesan cheese. I thoroughly enjoyed this but the chicken was so good it might have been a better idea to request for plain old fried chicken with the tomato puree on the side.

My only regret about this meal was that there were only two of us and I ended up lusting after all the items I didn’t get to order. Had the entire foodie family (and friends) been with me, I would have convinced them to order the burrata, grass-fed meatballs, double mushroom melt, slow-braised pork, and salmon and basil cream pasta.

The Wholesome Table puts pleasure into eating virtuously. The service was efficient, helpful yet unfussy. It is easy to lose track of time amidst the evocative brick walls and distressed wood interiors. And the food is the deliciously nurturing sort, not only for diners but for the land.

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