The Hamburgero checks out indoor farmer’s market and food hall in Ortigas
By Michael Karlo Lim
THE Food Dude (@fooddudeph), Angelo Comsti, already had me stuffed from mid-afternoon eats and had us scheduled to tear through the country’s first ever indoor farmer’s market and food hall for dinner. I welcomed a wasabi sake martini as a digestive in the short lull in between. I couldn’t tell if he was kidding or posing a challenge as we stood up to head to the market: “I hope you’re hungry.”
Inspired by La Boqueria in Barcelona, Torvehallerne Market in Copenhagen, and Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne, The Corner Market is a creatively designed space at the second level of the upscale mall, The Podium. Its most salient feature is the option for guests to pick out seafood and meats from The Meat Depot or Catch of The Day by Cold Storage to have the items cooked to their liking. Fresh produce, flowers, and grab-and-go salads are also available from Gusto. The Corner Market also presents a well-curated collective of world cuisine by local, emerging brands and one-of-a-kind concepts.
First to hit our table was a Honey Butter Fried Chicken Sandwich from Birdhouse oozing with their sinfully delicious signature honey butter. The chicken piece itself had a crackling crust that gives way to juicy, tender white meat underneath. There was the Salmon Submarine inari – tofu pocket stuffed with black rice and topped with Japanese mayo, salmon, and chives — from Inari by Hamaru along with bombastic Black Rice Sushi from contemporary Japanese offerings. Ever the sucker for a good Paella Negra, Barcelon de Calderon’s personal-sized one didn’t disappoint with the generous use of squid ink.
Of their many farm-fresh, heirloom Vietnamese recipes, Ca Phe Saigon kept it light with a taste of their Goi Cuon. Pomelo with shredded cabbage and carrots with shrimp, pork and shrimp crackers made for a substantial salad in their Goi Buoi. Sugar Cane Juice rounded off that ‘Nam excursion.
Kampong Soy Chicken and Buttered Chicken were among the Chinese comfort food favorites from Char Express. That everyone loves chicken is a given, and the soy sauce braised chicken is Chinese home cooking at its best.
What was a standard table for eight was starting fill up with dishes and attracting major side-eye from passersby. Two of which was former food magazine editor Paulynne and her husband Paul who graciously answered our call for help in eating the proverbial elephant.
Easy Tiger, didn’t make finishing the lineup any easier with a serving of green papaya salad and chicken satay. The sweetly rich Thai Milk Tea was wonderfully refreshing and completed the Thai street food experience. Little Kaya was a welcome Korean invasion of the palate with its distinct spicy notes and fermented flavors with its Tteokbokki. Stockwell shocked us out of a developing stupor with a robust iced café latte softened by the creaminess of milk and the pussycat foam latte art. They did an immediate trackback and pushed us into the fringes of a food coma with Truffle Pasta, Bolognese and Chicken Cordon Bleu. La Taqueria del Chupacabra’s authentic Mexican tacos had us hanging by our fingertips over that edge. The Rabbit Hole MNL’s cakes and pastries weighed us down for a sweet end. Their Brazo de Mercedes came in layers of extra thick meringue layers and custard while their equally rich Carrot Cake had the curious but delightful addition of squash seeds along with walnuts. Just when we thought we were already done and done for, we still found ourselves swirling into an assortment of delicious soft serve ice cream flavors in handmade, flavored waffle cones from Sundays by Merry Moo.
With a very varied range of choices of impressive dishes in a highly Instagrammable setup, #GoodFoodIsJustAroundTheCorner.
Facebook: Michael Karlo