Ties between the Philippines and Indonesia date back from the era of antiquity; both were trading partners in the pre-colonial period. Both archipelagos fell under European rule–Indonesia under the Dutch, the Philippines under the Spanish crown. Bahasa loanwords making their way to the Filipino lexicon is an evidence of cultural ties between these Southeast Asian neighbors.
I’m no stranger to Southeast Asian food, Indonesian cuisine in particular. Having tried out Malaysian and Singaporean cuisine in the past, I surmised that the archipelago’s dishes would possess qualities found in that of the two. Nowadays, one would have to go all the way to Makati or Pasig just to try out authentic Indonesian food, but it would be unfavorable distance-wise especially for a Northerner like me.
Enter Marindo, a new Southeast Asian restaurant that opened late last year in Cubao. Marindo is situated along Manhattan Parkway in Cubao (in the same side as Gateway Mall and Isetann), and is competing with more established joints in the row like Today X Future, Giovanni Bar & Ristorante, Ally’s All-Day Breakfast, and more.
From the outside.
A poster depicting the predecessor of Satay Club, the site of today’s Esplanade.
Clear glass separates diners from the outside.
White chairs give off an air of simplicity and cleanliness.
Marindo’s interiors do not scream of Asian exoticism. Its simple white and pastel colors give off a clean impression much like how the Little Red Dot is organized. The only decorations you’ll find on the walls are novelty plates and posters from the 1950s, which give the place a rather hipster-ish vibe. The dining area is situated at the left side once you enter, with the counter greeting you. Marindo can be rented out for various functions; just coordinate with the manager on duty for details.
Initially offering an exclusively Indonesian menu, Marindo has changed its repertoire of dishes to accommodate the denizens of Cubao. There were some instances that the restaurant ran out of certain menu items, due to the lack of ingredients – which initially discouraged me from trying Marindo out. However, a quick chat with its Singaporean owner revealed that they are now addressing this one alongside the menu revamp. Kudos to her dynamism!
Enough with the text, and on to the pictures! Stop by their Facebook page and their website. Until the next review, selamat makan!
Home Made Iced Tea (P65): Just your regular iced tea, but th sweetness level is toned down. You can still taste the black tea used.
Iced Calamansi Juice (P55): Your regular calamansi juice. Good for cutting the savory taste of some food.
Bandung (P65): Rose-flavored milk syrup with pink food coloring. I found it a bit sweet, so I diluted it in water.
Cold Milk Tea (P70): Now this is how milk tea should be done; just the right amount of cream and sweetness, not too cloying with the taste of tea still evident.
Batagor / Bakso Tauhu Goreng (P195): Fried tofu mixed with surimi fish cakes and vegetables, cooked in peanut sauce with kaffir lime leaves. Very flavorful, and merits a cup of rice! (Sadly, this is absent from the new menu.)
Laksa (P195): Felt disappointed with this one; too much noodles, too few toppings. I was overwhelmed with the amount of noodles in this bowl.
Ngoh Hiang (P155): The Indonesian version of Philippine kikiam (the version wrapped in tofu skin), served with chili sauce. Ground meat with five-spice powder is formed into dumplings rather than a roll.
Extra Rice (P30): Simple plain rice, but the bawang putih goreng (fried garlic) adds texture.
Ayam Penyet / Marindo Fried Chicken (P230): Indonesian-style fried chicken served with sambal, krupuk (fish crackers), and tomato and cucumber slices. The crispy kremes (flour bits) adds extra crunch to the tender chicken.
Nasi Goreng / Fried Rice With Satay (P155): Meat skewers with egg-topped Indonesian fried rice, served with satay sauce and cucumber and carrot pickles on the side.
The satay has some burnt parts, which I removed and set aside – alongside the pork fat slices in the fried rice. Other than those two minor setbacks, this dish gets a thumbs-up from me.
Traditional Martabak, Large (P450): Indonesian filled pancake with cheese, chocolate, condensed milk, and nuts inside. Marindo offers this by the slice nowadays, but larger versions can be made to order.
Unit 022R, G/F Manhattan Parkway
Brgy. Socorro, Cubao, Quezon City 1109