Manila eats: Grace Park at One Rockwell

You don’t think I could have just five memorable meals during a three-week vacation in Manila, now could you? I saved my favorite for a separate post: Grace Park, Gaita Fores’ newest restaurant at One Rockwell in Makati.

Grace Park gets a post of its own because, well, it’s just so darn photogenic. Embracing bare concrete, beat-up wood and rusted iron seems a bit of a risk for an upscale establishment. But rustic industrial is the new shabby chic, and it’s all about the mix. Grace Park pulls it off with class and flair in its loft-like interior.

Grace Park restaurant Rockwell industrial stairs

Grace Park restaurant Rockwell chandelier

Grace Park restaurant Rockwell decor

I love old Filipino houses, so it warmed my heart to see details like vintage iron grillwork and bricks brought into the mix. Grace Park was named for the residence of Gaita Fores’ paternal grandmother, and seeing these fixtures immediately makes me picture old, stately family homes like those in old and New Manila.

Grace Park restaurant Rockwell vintage iron grille

Grace Park restaurant Rockwell bricks

Mismatched cutlery and chairs, vintage brown and green glass tumblers, even repurposed kitchen items create an eclectic and homey feel. I’m totally going to steal this idea of using  humble llaneras (cheap aluminum tins with a pretty specific purpose: for making leche flan) as a tabletop container for napkins.

Grace Park restaurant Rockwell repurposed lanera

Then there’s the food.

Grace Park claims to be an organic farm-to-table restaurant inspired by the slow cooking recipe. From the menu, I can see that it’s more like Gaita Fores’ greatest hits, with some ingredients sourced from local farms. And that is totally fine with me.

Grace Park restaurant Rockwell baked chicharon with prosciutto and salmon roe

Why would baked chicharon two ways not be totally fine with me? Especially when the crunchy pork crackling is topped with subtly flavored chive mousse, glistening salmon roe and salty prosciutto.

Grace Park restaurant Rockwell roasted bone marrow

Roasted bone marrow from Pepato, another Fores restaurant, makes a guest appearance here, too.

Grace Park restaurant Rockwell savoury Eton mess

The savoury Eton mess is new, though. Mommy brain is failing me here, because I can’t seem to remember what was in it. I just remember a rich, creamy texture, pops of salt from the prosciutto (or is it bacon?), and a hint of fragrant truffle.

Grace Park restaurant Rockwell cocktail

Oh, the decadence of a daytime tipple. I was feeling the need for a lunchtime cocktail, so I had the Negros Mule—calamansi, ginger, muscovado sugar (presumably from Negros province?) and ginger ale—to start…

Grace Park restaurant Rockwell calamansi shake

and followed up with a non-alcoholic calamansi shake, served in a deceptive tumbler that looks like paper, but is actually heavy ceramic. Love the paper straws too.

Grace Park restaurant Rockwell prawn and scallop sandwich

After I complained about the Dutch devotion to sandwiches in my last post, here am I ordering a sandwich. What a doofus. But what an interesting sandwich it was: river prawns and scallops on an unapologetically black squid ink bun.

Grace Park restaurant Rockwell spaghettini il bianco with Maine lobster

Spaghettini il bianco with Maine lobster—hmm, I’m pretty sure Maine isn’t in the Philippines, so this is where the local, farm-to-table concept doesn’t hold water for me. Still, I’m not complaining. If there’s one thing you can expect to be delicious at a Gaita Fores restaurant, it’s the pasta. And this was superb.

I love it when beautiful interiors and great food meet, don’t you? Manila peeps, which restaurants should I absolutely not miss on my next visit home?

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    • Deepa says

      Thanks J! Lapit lang sa ‘yo nito! I saw mixed reviews on other blogs but I really liked it. Depends on what you order siguro. The concrete tabletops make nice reflectors for portraits, haha.

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