A friend of mine invited me to try this new restaurant at the Fiesta Market area in Market! Market! Taguig. – that sounded a little too redundant hehe. But that’s not the most intriguing part of the invitation. He said that the restaurant is called ORIANG by Cafe de Bonifacio and with the proliferation of Asian inspired restaurants here in the Philippines, particularly those serving Korean and Thai dishes, I was quick to assume that the restaurant would either be one of the two because the name sounded like it could come from them.
I was dead wrong. The restaurant is Asian but it is neither Korean nor Thai – it’s Filipino.
When I got to Market! Market!, my friends were already there. ORIANG is located at the new extension of the Fiesta Market area. It is the first fully operational establishment in that cluster, other restaurants are still on its construction phase.
Apparently, ORIANG was the nickname of Andres Bonifacio’s wife Gregoria De Jesus also known as the “Lakambini ng Katipunan.” When Andres Bonifacio die she fled to the mountains with the other Katipuneros and was later re-married to Julio Nakpil whom she bore five children. And how could I have missed it, ORIANG by Cafe de BONIFACIO, geez.. all the clues are in the name itself.
The rich historical background of the name would also readily suggest a colonial theme for the design of the restaurant but instead the owners, brothers Vic and Alfredo Wenceslao opted for a simpler and modern look that is less intimidating. The central piece of the whole interior is the bar located at the inner right corner of the restaurant. The walls are simply decorated with prints of some of ORIANG’s specialty dishes like their Nilagang Bulalo on plain seamless wooden frames.
But what the interiors lack in terms of conversation pieces they make up with the taste of their awesome dishes and drinks. And they truly have a lot to offer.
We started our early dinner gastronomical exploration with drinks. I ordered the Watermelon with Basil Oriang Cooler while my friends ordered Ripe Mango with Coconut Cream Juice and Kalamansi with Chinese Dried Plum Oriang Cooler.
The addition of Basil made the watermelon cooler come out with a very exotic flavor. It was a very interesting drink.
Then we were served with a complimentary Oriang Crispy Noodle in Pesto and instead of soup for our entree we tried Oriang’s Chili Garlic Buttered Prawns while we wait for the main course.
There were a lot of choices in the menu but most of them are traditional pinoy delicacies from all over the archipelago. They have dishes from the north down to the far south. All regions were represented so it is really a one stop dining establishment for traditional Filipino meals but of course with that unique Oriang twist.
And here are the awesome Oriang dishes that we tried:
For dessert we ordered the Turon de Gregoria, Mango Roti Latik and the Coffee Flan. These uber delicious desserts from Oriang is the perfect way to cap our super ‘busog’ dinner.
If these were the actual dishes prepared by Gregoria De Jesus or Aling Oriang for his husband during the revolution, I think I would understand where Andres gets his energy and motivation to lead the Katipuneros.
Over-all.. ORIANG by Cafe de Bonifacio is a satisfying treat and a restaurant worth visiting. The price is affordable, the serving is not ‘bitin’ and the food servers – very courteous. You’ll never find another Oriang anywhere and we were told that the owners prefers developing new concept restaurants rather than replicating successful stores and branching out.
So, ORIANG may probably remain to be the only one of its kind just like Cafe de Bonifacio which is the owner’s flagship store located at The Podium, Ortigas Center. I hope that they develop another restaurant similar to Oriang and Cafe de Bonifacio but this time in Manila. I suggest somewhere in Malate, perhaps along Nakpil Street and then name it JULIO.
For the meantime, I recommend you check out ORIANG by Cafe de Bonifacio. The restaurant is only a couple of weeks old and to introduce what ORIANG has to offer to the public – they are giving all dine-in customers a 10% discount on all their food purchases for the whole month of February up until March 14. So the best time to try out their dishes is before that deadline.
“SUGOD MGA KAPATID!”