It’s been more than a year into the quarantine, and while we have gone back to less stringent restrictions, there are many of our life’s former pleasures that some of us still can’t enjoy.
One of these is dining out, isn’t it?
The excitement of venturing outside our home, discovering a new place to try or a new dish to enjoy, and hanging out with our friends – all these and more make up the experience of dining out that we used to take for granted.
Thankfully, more of our favorite haunts are re-opening, albeit while adopting new ways to operate so that they could keep us, the dining public, as well as their staff safe from the still present threat of pandemic.
One of these pivoted but still very welcome returns to the local food scene is Manila Ocean Park’s Whitemoon Bar which recently launched its Garden Dining.
Situated in The Barnyard, Garden Dining by Whitemoon Bar offers a delectable array of Asian fusion dishes that can be enjoyed in a relaxing al fresco setting.
Here, diners can take a brief escape into the outdoors, surrounded by greenery and interesting bric-a-bracs, while they enjoy their meal amidst the gentle breeze from Manila Bay and chirping birds from the aviary.
Sri Lankan Chef Ranuka Hettiarachchi brought his considerable skill sets to bear in whipping up dishes for Garden Dining’s refreshed menu using just a griddle and a stove in The Barnyard’s recently converted kitchen.
Safely served in to-go containers yet still retaining the visual appeal of gourmet food, these dishes put a fresh spin on our old favorites. Together with fellow food, bloggers Jen of sandundermyfeet.com, Anj of anjcolumna.com and Nix of ieatandiwander.com, I was able to check out samples of Garden Dining’s offerings such as:
Onion Rings (Php120). Large slices of onions battered and deep-fried for an appetizing start to the meal.
Corned Beef and Cheese Toast (Php140). Truth be told: I’m not a fan of corned beef sandwiches but this made me change my mind. The combination of grilled cheese and corned beef is a highly snackable treat.
Kimchi Fried Rice (Php190). A blend of tangy and spicy flavors, this fragrant rice complements the viands served.
Pork Satay (Php180) and Chicken Satay (Php160). Seasoned meats grilled to smoky deliciousness and served on skewers with sauce on the side.
Pineapple Glazed Pork Liempo (Php190). Tangy pineapple tidbits complement the savory grilled pork belly.
Spicy Asian-Style Seafood Spaghetti (Php250). A hearty and delicious taste of the sea with loads of seafood and noodles tossed in a slightly spicy sauce.
Whether you’re looking for refreshments or in the mood to imbibe, Garden Dining by Whitemoon Bar also has a great selection of drinks for you, such as:
Watermelon Shake (Php130).
Pineapple Shake (Php120).
Ginger Honey and Citrus Immune Booster (Php100).
A variety of red and white wines from its wine list such as this 2014 Elfo Salento Negroamaro from Italy (Php230/glass).
We’re still a long way from enjoying everything we used to enjoy before the pandemic, but with places such as Garden Dining by Whitemoon Bar, we can recreate those experience we look back on so fondly and even make new memories to cherish.
Garden Dining by Whitemoon Bar is located at The Barnyard, Manila Ocean Park, Luneta, Manila, open for outdoor dining Thursdays to Sundays from 3pm to 9pm. For reservations and inquiries, call +63 2 85677777.
To know more about its latest promos and offers, follow Manila Ocean Park on Facebook or Instagram.
Disclosure: Together with fellow food bloggers, I attended a food tasting held at this restaurant. Food items mentioned here were served to facilitate this feature article