The first thing that comes into my mind when you say “Mary Grace” are the mall kiosks that sell Ensaymada, so when they opened a full blown cafe at Serendra some time ago, I got intrigued.
I’ve been there only once before, just to try out the place. We ordered pastas, which I enjoyed, however just like the ensaymada they sell on the kiosks, I felt the price was rather steep for what it is. The place has a nice, cozy and artsy ambiance though…I guess Bohemian is the right term for it. Ambiance does have a price too.
We found ourselves here for a second time several days ago, having brunch. We were hoping that the nearby Abe would already be open in the late morning (around 10 a.m.), but it wasn’t, so we ended up in the closest one that was up and running.
Cafe Mary Grace offers a breakfast menu from 8 to 11 in the morning. The menu list is rather short, but it summarizes the typical Filipino breakfast, with staples like Beef Tapa, Vigan Longganisa, Bangus, and Tocino. One curious addition though is the Chicken Inasal, which you normally wouldn’t see in a Pinoy breakfast table.
All of these are served “silog” style (with garlic-rosemary fried rice and egg), although the egg is ordered separately, but you can choose how you want it done (omelette, scrambled or sunny side up). They do have pancakes too, if you choose to skip the Pinoy heavy eggs-and-rice stuff.
I had the Vigan Longganisa, while the rest of our group had the Tocino, Fried Bangus and Chicken Inasal. Everyone enjoyed what they ordered, and I did like the blend of the longganisa and fried rice that I had, especially the tasty longganisa skin.
If there was one tinge of disappointment though, it had to be the Italian Herbed Scrambled Egg that I ordered along with my longganisa. It’s pretty much an illustration of what keeps me from being overly enthusiastic about coming back again and again, to this otherwise nice cafe.
It’s just made of two eggs, with some herbs and spices sprinkled to it. Granted that I have a some dried herbs and spices from the grocery, I can do this exact same thing at home myself. It’s completely understandable that restaurants have to mark up, to recover the cost of ingredients, the kitchen staff and wait staff, plus the rent, and also to give the proprietor a reasonable return on his/her investment. However, paying more than 50php for that egg pictured below was for me, just a bit over the edge.
There was nothing wrong with any of the food we ordered, of course, but I just feel that it cost more than what it reasonably should, and that pretty much summarizes how I feel about the cafe in general. But then again, this is in Serendra…a fortress of the upper class, and I don’t think I’m exactly the target market of these kinds of places.
Gripes about the price aside, the cafe does serve good food, and I still don’t regret trying it out once…or twice. I don’t even think that my second visit would be my last. I didn’t get an aversion to it, but the place just fails to get me too excited about my next. If by some divine intervention however, the price of their food gets shaved by a bit, then I might change my mind.
* We had this brunch on February 2011. All photos taken with Olympus E-420 and Zuiko 50mm f2.