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My Spoon: The latest scoop

- Joseph Cortes () - October 20, 2005 - 12:00am
If you ask Mon Papa, one of the six part owners of My Spoon Restaurant, what their restaurant is about, he would give you a smile and declare, "Kung anong masarap! (What tastes good!)" He makes no bones that the restaurant wasn’t exactly as they intended it to be – they include broadcast journalist Ces Oreña-Drilon, interior designer Rupert Acuña and three more. They originally planned to open an outlet in Manila, with no definite idea of what establishment they were going to open – a spa or a bar was the original plan. But luck directed them to a quiet spot in Quezon City, on the other side of the ABS-CBN compound, and they have been holding court there since they opened last May.

"It was Ces who suggested that we consider a spot here instead," Papa adds. "This used to be a grill place. It’s not on a main street, so it is really discreet."

What must have been an ordinary establishment is now the swanky digs of what many consider to be Quezon City’s the party place – well, if the celebrities, politicians, decision makers, and showbiz personalities that frequent it are party people. But it’s open to everybody. Acuña recalls a table of star-struck diners who happened to drop in on a busy Friday night: "We were all here, and all our friends were here. They were sitting at the table near the door, and they just watched everyone come in and table-hop. They would point to someone they know, and somehow they had fun seeing and naming so many celebrities up close."

On the rainy afternoon I decided to drop by, things were a little more sedate than that Friday night. "We’re all here maybe like four days in a week," Papa adds. "Even if we have other plans, when our friends call and ask if we will be here, we have to be here, or else they’ll take their business elsewhere."

And no, their lunch business isn’t as slow as in most restaurants. By the latter part of the week and on weekends, they do enjoy brisk business. In fact, the restaurant now has a number of lunch specials, which are smaller-sized portions of many of its favorites.

It isn’t surprising why My Spoon is a popular haunt for those looking for a happening. The space itself invites attention. Acuña has transformed what was a tight, cramped space into a spacious one. The building’s original frame was stripped and given a different treatment, and the roof was raised high to give an extra dimension of space. Walls are painted white, with colorful large-size paintings hanging from them. Tables are pushed to the side to give diners more room between tables.

What was a driveway has been annexed for the smoking area; and with the strong exhaust installed over the smoking area, Papa assures non-smoking guests that they will not be bothered by the fumes. "In fact, the exhaust is sometimes strong that when we turn it on, it sucks the cold air from the air-conditioners. In case there are pregnant diners or children in the restaurant, we request smoking diners to stop for the moment or move to the tables outside. Many of our smoking diners understand our request, and they voluntarily stop smoking."

And just one more: the entire restaurant has Wi-Fi, one of few restaurants in the area to offer mobile Internet access.

Yes, what reminds you that you are at My Spoon are the spoon-shaped door handles, the strings of mini terra-cotta spoons hanging over the water treatment at the side, and, yes, the spoons in the hands of happy diners. We sure were.

The My Spoon menu boasts nine oyster dishes under the separate heading "Ostentatious Oysters." Papa says, "It’s our specialty. We all love oysters, that’s why we have many oyster dishes on the menu."

The oysters are flown in fresh daily from Roxas City, assuring diners of clean, fresh shellfish. I didn’t hesitate to try the fresh oysters on the half-shell with lemon and spicy cocktail sauce, the only way oysters should be enjoyed. The oysters were firm and tasted of the sea. A squeeze of lemon heightens their fresh flavor. And they were all gone in a couple of gulps.

Ces suggested a glass of white wine with the oysters. They went well together. Papa takes pride in the restaurant’s extensive wine selection. Although it is not an Italian restaurant, it has enough wine choices to satisfy a wine connoisseur.

Other oyster preparations at My Spoon are baked either in teriyaki cream, with garlic herbs and brie, parmegiano, with greens, bacon and mozzarella cream, and a la Diablo. They are also fried in red chili and black pepper sauce and as fritters. If you love oysters so much, a sampler plate of baked oysters gives you 10 oysters.

There is a selection of soups and salads, but the favorite My Spoon salad is the crisp eggplant salad with marinated feta cheese. The eggplant slices and salad greens are lightly drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette. The chunky cheese pieces add a salty bite to the tang of the dressing, a refreshing way to cleanse your palate before moving on to the entrée.

Ces ordered her breaded finger chilies, an unusual appetizer that ought to be perfect with a round of beer. Finger chilies (siling pansigang) are slit open and seeded before being dipped in batter and deep-fried. The chilies have a mild heat that can easily be overcome.

It was hard to choose an entrée from the list, because so many of them had a spoon logo before them. The spoon designates a restaurant favorite. I settled for the roasted chicken with crisp chopped garlic and gravy sauce, upon Papa’s suggestion. I imagined it to be a fancy version of chicken a la pobre. What was served was a big chicken breast, breaded and fried to a crisp, with thick pepper gravy poured all over it and crispy garlic bits sprinkled all over. The chicken was still moist and tender, the skin still a little crisp. But the flavor of the gravy was bold and full, not for the faint-hearted. I was already halfway through the huge serving of chicken, when Ces barked from across the table, "We usually split an order of that because it’s good enough for two."

Some of the other My Spoon favorites are the tenderloin steak with a choice of béarnaise sauce, horseradish cream or balsamic glaze, grilled lamb chops with chili noodles, broiled salmon steaks with salsa verde, and prawns thermidor.

And did someone say dessert? "Leave space for dessert," I remember Ces saying. I had already made up my mind to try the tropical tiramisu; instead of chocolate, pineapple and suha bits are piled on top of broas and smothered in a thick sweet cream. The restaurant favorite is the bread and butter pudding with vanilla cream sauce. I’m not that crazy about bread puddings, but this one was firm and sweet, enough for many to consider it their comfort food.

It isn’t surprising why many become My Spoon regulars. Apart from the generous menu of favorites, the restaurant part owners do not hesitate to ask their guests about the food.

"We want to know what they think of the food," says Papa. "And the many times we’ve updated the menu shows that we know what our regulars want. That’s the only way we can offer them the best."
* * *
My Spoon is at 143 Mother Ignacia St., South Triangle, Quezon City. For inquiries and reservations, call 929-9965, e-mail inquire@myspoonrestaurant.com or visit its website at www.myspoonrestaurant.com.
ACU CES ORE DINERS MANY MY SPOON OYSTERS PAPA QUEZON CITY RESTAURANT SPOON
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