Thursday, October 30, 2008

Veg options at Cafe Mediterranean: Vegan MoFo #22

Apart from believing that I'm born in the wrong decade (I listen to lolo / grandpa jazz and 60's bossa nova more than contemporary music) I'm almost convinced that I'm born in the wrong country. Hey, don't get me wrong, I love the Philippines, I want to live here forever and ever and never move. But if I had to choose a place to live apart from my country, I'd have to go with the Mediterranean. Frankly I'm not an expert on Mediterranean anything; I do know that it has a lot of history, lovely weather year round, and fantastic food that is healthy, delicious, and not meat centered. I wouldn't mind living penniless in the Mediterranean, if only for its food.

Cafe Mediterranean has been on my list of favorite restaurants ever since it opened its doors in Manila. I love that it isn't mainstream "western" food; by mainstream, I mean it's not Italian. I used to be really into Italian food, but pasta and pizza can get tiring. I know there's more to Italian cuisine than pasta and pizza, but man, the Italian restaurants out here pretty much brainwash us into thinking that Italy = pasta and pizza, and nothing else.

Cafe Mediterranean is refreshing in that it has a lot to offer: gyros, rice plates, couscous plates, pizza, some pasta, and other sandwiches. And, it isn't out to kill you. I believe this was one of the restaurants that started offering South Beach diet options (i.e. low carb / high protein) in Manila; and yes, I confess, I was once on South Beach and this was why I loved Cafe Mediterranean. The restaurant does not shun vegetables and wholewheat like the plague; you can easily order green beans provencal together with your protein of choice (plant or dead animal) without being laughed at by the server. And, true to its Mediterranean cuisine form, it offers a lot of vegan friendly options!

Last Sunday was the first time I ate at Cafe Mediterranean as a vegan and I was confident I would find something good and satisfying to eat that was not a bowl of leaves and vinegar. Manila vegans (are you
out there?), we are so blessed to have this restaurant serve actual plant protein that is not tofu!

From the appetizer menu one could order some wholewheat pita with hummus, tabbouleh, and marinated olives. I believe you can order cucumber sticks instead of the bread. Sorry, no picture of the appetizer, I'm sure you know how hummus looks like; if not, check my birthday post. I can honestly say... I make better tasting hummus. :) They skimped on the spices. They skimped on the parsley for the tabbouleh too.

The place actually has 2 vegan soup options -- roasted vegetable soup and lentil soup -- just ask the server to remove the croutons and serve the side bread without butter. There is a salad section full of hearty choices that are not just leaves and tomatoes, with the option of removing the animal protein that comes with it.

On my part, I ordered the lentil soup, which was nice and filling (please disregard the buttered bread). I have tried their cumin-spiced roasted vegetable soup in the past and I like this immensely too. I also ordered the couscous salad with roasted red peppers and chickpeas. I usually don't like restaurant salads because they always only serve leaves, but this salad was non-conformist and was really good. The peppers were sweet and smoky while the couscous and chickpeas were creamy. It was a toothsome salad.

As for the main entree, we have the falafel. This must be the only restaurant in Manila that offers falafels. Usually prepared with garlic mayonnaise, you can ask your server to substitute it with hummus. The falafels were a deep dark brown, crunchy on the outside, moist and tender in the inside. I have yet to perfect the art of falafel making.

Falafels lovingly wrapped in wholewheat pita with thinly sliced onions, shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes, and hummus... It was a good meal.

Cafe Mediterranean
Corte delas Palmas,
Alabang Town Center
Commerce Ave, Alabang

1 comment:

For the Love of Guava said...

mm.. I just had a pretty good success with falafel and homemade pita... gyros here we come (I'm thinking garlic veganaise....)

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