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Family Dinner at Romulo Cafe Tomas Morato

With a simple concept of showcasing none other than "The General" Carlos P. Romulo, who is considered one of the historical public figures during the American occupation, Romulo Cafe Tomas Morato boasts comfort food at its finest. It remains one of my recommendations for true and authentic style of Filipino food in family sized portions. And it was one Sunday night where I went there with my parents, siblings, and close family friends to feast on the different family dishes that are delectably worth coming for.

For me, Romulo Cafe in Tomas Morato is like a secret garden that you never thought would exist. If you are not used to scouring the side streets of Quezon City, one might get confused and think that Romulo Cafe Tomas Morato is a classy open house which resembles a high-end boutique or a furniture shop. But soon as you get inside the restaurant, you are welcomed by upscale black and white interiors in contemporary design that takes you back like a travel machine.

Too bad, because supposedly I was to meet the owners of Romulo Cafe last year during one of their events which highlighted their Jupiter branch in Makati. With that, I didn't get the chance to personally thank them of making such a great dining concept that led them to be one of the Best Dining Restaurants in 2011.

But beyond the recognition, it always comes down to what you actually see that proves that they are one of the best restaurants in the Metro, and on that Sunday night, the place was jam packed. It was literally a full house, and good thing our host already reserved a table prior to our arrival at Romulo Cafe Timog. It was actually my father who suggested the place to our family friend, since a few weeks back my father was asking me for suggestions of good Filipino places to eat in Tomas Morato, to which I answered Romulo Cafe. I was anticipating that everyone will enjoy eating here, and needless to say, I was soooo right. Haha!

So here I am with my family, in my food blogger figure, sharing my stories of how I discovered Romulo Cafe Tomas Morato, which was actually from my former office mate who has even a better knowledge for food than I am in terms of good, best kept restaurants. All of them have never eaten at Romulo Cafe Tomas Morato before except for me, so aside from ordering the bestsellers, I had the chance to let them taste some other dishes which I ordered as well. And yes, all these dishes are so good at Romulo Cafe  that I dare you not  to read or visit my site anymore if the food is not worthy of its deliciousness.

Nines vs. Food - Romulo Cafe - Tito Greg's Kare-Kare.jpg
Tito Greg's Kare-Kare (P450.00)
Nines vs. Food - Romulo Cafe - Bagoong Rice.jpg
Bagoong Rice (145.00)**
So what did we order? Let's start with Tito Greg's Kare-Kare. A hefty Filipino dish made with a peanut based sauce and soft and tender ox tail and tripe. Anyone who eats this would know that this is not just made of any store bought Kare-Kare mix or even peanut butter. I believe this is made laboriously from fresh peanuts which makes the sauce subtle to the taste. While the main cast of ox tail and tripe does its job perfectly with a bit of sauce, veggies and bagoong rice, one cannot go wrong even without the bagoong (foodie allergic to shrimp -- present! no bagoong rice for me either). The verdict? It was downright delicious. Perfect. The downside? Maybe Tito Greg didn't like putting banana hearts on his Kare-Kare (or maybe they ran out, I don't know).

Nines vs. Food - Romulo Cafe - Sinigang na Bangus Belly in Ripe Guava.jpg
Sinigang na Bangus Belly in Ripe Guava (P390.00)**
Normally, a good dinner starts with soup to curb your appetite and ease up your digestion. But since Romulo Cafe Tomas Morato is packed with customers and almost everyone is waiting for their orders, it took quite awhile for us to get our Sinigang na Bangus Belly order. But of course, like most dishes, it was worth the wait, as we enjoyed the hot sour broth and ripe guava pieces that came along with it. I never really liked eating guava before, but Romulo Cafe Tomas Morato made me appreciate the fruit even more with this dish.

Nines vs. Food - Romulo Cafe - Boneless Crispy pata Binagoongan.jpg
Boneless Crispy pata Binagoongan (P650.00)**
Next is the Boneless Crispy Pata Binagoongan. A healthy leg of boneless pork crisped to perfection and laden with a salsa-like sauce made from tomatoes, eggplant and more bagoong. I can't believe with a large portion like this it would be priced this cheap. I mean, I know there's a place where you get boneless crispy pata by the kilo, and as far as I remember it's more expensive and that one has even no special sauce like Romulo Cafe has. I mean, who would not devour on a dish like this? Hmm, maybe if you are highblood, obviously, but still, one cannot help it. And I'm not even done yet!

Nines vs. Food - Romulo Cafe - Flying Tilapia.jpg
Flying Tilapia (P350.00)**
For those who cannot stand eating that much pork as I showcased above, here are some alternatives that I recommend. Flying Tilapia is just as healthy and satisfying, with it's crispy but not oily crust and inside a soft and almost melt in your mouth fish meat. It is served with three kinds of sauce such as chili garlic, soy vinegar and an unusual but rather interesting combination of honey bagoong.

Nines vs. Food - Romulo Cafe - Tofu and Amapalaya in Tausi Sauce.jpg
Tofu and Ampalaya in Tausi Sauce (P140.00)**
This dish made with bittergourd and topped with silken tofu is light yet filling as well, as they cooked it with a soy and tausi combination of sauces. It's not as salty as it may look, and the vegetable is just cooked through as it still retains its bite to it. And look, it's just a hundred and forty pesos and it's good for three to four persons already!

The only complaint I had was two things: First, it's waiting too long for our orders, but soon enough I realized that it was a busy night and orders were piled up. All the waiters are busy and what we can only do that time was to wait. We finally got our orders after almost 30 minutes, as everyone on our table has already initially updated each other with stories about life, music, politics and such.

And the last thing? It's not really a big deal, but the waiters at Romulo Cafe Tomas Morato don't take good souvenir pictures (but I have to commend then for doing a wonderful job in accommodating a packed restaurant) and I actually got desperate that night as I long for a clear shot. Yep, I'm not a photographer guys, so don't expect good pictures on this blog. ONLY GOOD REVIEWS. Hahaha! At least we got a couple of good pictures before leaving Romulo Cafe.

From left: Bong, my younger brother, Franco,
mama, Tito Pablo, me / Papa, lola and my cousin
Here are just some tips for me to share:
- Romulo Cafe Tomas Morato is great for dinner dates, a family dinner or even dinner with friends. Anything goes at Romulo Cafe.
- Comfort food is their specialty, but getting too comfortable is not allowed at Romulo Cafe. That means dressing up (there is a dress code, and you can check this out on their official website)
- Make reservations - walk-ins are okay if you know how to wait;
- Order anything you want - there's always new a new dish to discover so don't be afraid to explore their menu and again;
- Don't expect good pictures from the servers.

And just to end my article: My family is the best thing that I have with me right now. It's where I discovered my talents and I'm happy that each and everyone in it supported me in my endeavors and trusted my instincts. I consider them as my outlet in times of criticism from other people. I owe my life and everything to them on why I have this love of writing about food and eating. Thank you for giving me this upbringing. Not all families are perfect, but I hope that you as a reader would always or soon realize the importance of having one :)) 

To spot their menu and how Romulo Cafe began, check this out:
and official Facebook page here.

**prices are subject to change without notice


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