Last Thursday, I was invited to try Corner Tree Cafe along Jupiter St. cor. Saturn. I have driven by Jupiter several times recently but never noticed this quaint little corner cafe. It’s right next door to The Aristocrat, in case you plan on visiting (you should!).
ABOUT CORNER TREE CAFE
With all the new restaurants aiming to look glitzy and glamorous, Corner Tree Cafe’s aesthetics are unapologetically eclectic, rich and cozy with warm woods, artwork and world culture accents. I’d be happy to spend a whole afternoon here, just reading!
I did not know this was a vegetarian restaurant (well, now you know!), but eating the food, I couldn’t tell and didn’t care!
Ms. Chiqui opened Corner Tree Cafe in 2009 to serve diners in Makati looking for healthy, vegetarian options. The restaurant’s fame through word of mouth has brought in diners like Ed Sheeran, Jason Mraz, and Morrissey!
Corner Tree Cafe’s vegetarian dishes go so much beyond lettuce and celery, they’ve opened up a whole new world of expectations for me in terms of what vegetarian food is. Corner Tree Cafe’s dishes taste like regular food – but very good regular food, I-can’t-believe-it’s-vegetarian level excellent!
Corner Tree Cafe uses real food – no processed foods and no vegemeat/TVP meat replacements, either. They also serve Vegan and Sugarfree options, too!
We started our meal with a plate of Vegetable Dumpling and Spinach Feta Croquette. The Vegetable Dumplings are P150 for an order of 5 pcs, while the Spinach Feta Croquettes are P190 for 3 pcs, or P345 for 6 pcs.
The Vegetable Dumpling reminds me so much of Xiao Long Pao. It is made with Shiitake mushrooms, spinach, carrots & jicama, but it tastes so hearty, I’d swear there was meat in there! The dumpling wrapper was also resilient and absorbed the flavors of the filling! This is excellent!
The Spinach Feta Croquette is also good – it’s like a fried meat patty, but the vegetarian version – it is made with spinach, feta cheese & rice. It is topped with a Mint Yogurt Sauce with Harissa. I didn’t miss meat at all.
Next, we had the Japanese Seaweed Salad (P410, for sharing).
These are a variety of Japanese seaweed on a bed of lettuce, with a soy-based dressing. Corner Tree Cafe uses natural soy sauce, adds a hint of ginger to the dressing, and tops the salad with toasted sesame seeds. There is a very vast difference between naturally fermented soy sauce and commercial soy sauce. Naturally fermented soy sauce tastes more complex and provides a different kind of saltiness. I like seaweed and I like this salad, but in small quantities. This is definitely for sharing.
This is Corner Tree Cafe’s Bowl of Chili served with corn bread. A regular order (P305) is 5 times as much as this small serving (this was a tasting session).
I can eat this chili all day! It tastes a bit like minestrone. It has red beans, Shiitake mushrooms, zucchini, corn kernels in a sweet, natural tomato sauce. The mushroom takes the place of the meat and provides that earthy heartiness. This is a very light dish even though it’s chili. It is delicious, so there’s no need to feel guilty if you want to eat more than your fair share of this chili!
Some people love the cornbread – I love the toasted crunchy parts, but I prefer the cornbread to be a tiny bit sweeter.
This is a small slice of Spinach & Mushroom Lasagna (P445 for the regular size) and a small slice of Roasted Asparagus & Gruyere Panini on Ciabatta (P330 for the whole sandwich).
This Spinach & Mushroom Lasagna (left) – I really wouldn’t mind eating this even if I never eat another meat lasagna again. The lasagna is compact – the mozzarella provides nuttiness and heaviness that I hardly notice that there’s no meat. Despite not having any meat, this lasagna is absolutely addictive.
The Roasted Asparagus & Gruyere Panini was also pretty good! I never considered any savoury sandwich with no meat to be a “real” sandwich, but now I’ve reconsidered. This sandwich is spread with pesto, filled with roasted asparagus, and it’s all held together by the melted Gruyere The whole effect is chewy goodness.
Finally, we were served Kare-Kareng Gulay with organic Red Rice (P215). You must try their vegetarian bagoong! It’s made from fermented black beans (tausi).
This Kare-Kare is one of my favorites because they put so much peanut! This Kare-Kare is sweet & very peanut-y, with a thick sauce, just the way I like it! People who don’t like bagoong might be easier to convince to try this Tausi Bagoong instead. They were able to make it taste very close to bagoong, but without the fishiness. Of course, it still tastes a bit like fermented black beans
For dessert, we were served their Banoffee Pie (P165/slice) and Chocolate Mousse with Dark Toblerone (P220).
These were good! Aside from these, Corner Tree Cafe also carries several brands of non-dairy ice cream.
For drinks, I ordered the Organic Lemongrass Iced Tea (P99). In line with sustainable living, Corner Tree Cafe uses bamboo straws! (Sorry for the blurry picture, it was too dark to get a decent pic).
Corner Tree Cafe has cured any phobia I may have had about going vegetarian – the food is delicious and hearty!
Price-wise, it’s in the same range other mid-to-high end establishments. You might think that it should be cheaper because it doesn’t use meat, but remember that vegetarian dishes like these are harder to prepare. There is so much prep work needed for one delicious vegetarian dish! It is worth it though if you have the money to spare and if you really want to make a difference in terms of supporting sustainable living, healthy eating and other vegetarian-related philosophies.
This restaurant is not just for vegetarians, but also welcomes meat lovers to try their dishes. Meat lovers (like me!) end up loving Corner Tree Cafe’s food! Why not do something different and give it a try? Their food is really amazing!
Corner Tree Cafe
Email: [email protected]
Telefax: +632 897-0295
Cell # 0906-558-6177
Open Daily from: 11am-10pm
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The Barat Queen
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