Thursday, November 5, 2009

Grilled Tomato (Tomas Morato)

Today, our company ate at Grilled Tomato—a somewhat hidden Mediterranean restaurant in the middle of Tomas Morato. Me and beloved have been searching for this store for quite a while, but have never found it even though we practically travel the road all the time. It has a black and white sign, so it doesn't really stand out.

Anyway, Mediterranean means kebab, gyros, and the like. The store specializes in these. I found that Ox Brain was part of the menu, and is probably their specialty. I didn't dare try it, though, since the last time I had brain wasn't a pleasant experience (pig, not ox, though). I decided to get a 2-Piece Kebab Meal with Rice and refillable iced tea (130 Php), so that I can compare with another Mediterranean restaurant I used to frequent. Price-wise, this store is a bit steeper, but if the servings are greater and better tasting, then it might justify the tag. I also ordered a side of Pita Bread (15 Php) and Grilled Tomatoes (20 Php), so that I can turn one of the kebabs into a burrito-gyro.

Beloved ordered a Fried Dory Meal with Rice (130 Php) and Iced Milk Tea (50 Php). The rest of our company practically ordered the entire meal menu, one of us ordering the Ox Brain. We didn't manage to taste or take a picture of that though, but it still piques my curiosity.

I was expecting some onions in my plate, but there's only a small grilled tomato in the side. However, the kebab was much larger than the comparative restaurant. The buttered rice had a generous serving as well, justifying the 130 Php price tag, since it also has refillable drinks.

The tomatoes weren't sliced, which I would've liked. But since I practically eat these things raw, it didn't matter much. I placed half my rice, a couple of tomatoes, and one of my kebabs in the thin, slightly charred pita bread, squeezed in a few splashes of yogurt sauce and a smaller dash of hot sauce and rolled it up into a burrito. The first bite was hot, just right for my taste. The yogurt sauce didn't do much, but the kebab was filling, hot, and meaty. Not juicy, though, since this is char grilled, but you can practically taste the flame it was cooked it. I would've liked some onions to add a bit hot and crunch in the sandwich, but it's okay. I ate the other burrito smothered in yogurt sauce. No luck, still a bit dry, but still quite filling.

Beloved's plate consists of the same amount of rice, a big fillet of dory, fried to golden brown, a side of chopped tomatoes, and a side of chopped onions. The dory was okay, tasted like your usual fried fish, only a bit creamier. Beloved loved it.

Her Iced Milk Tea came in a very tall glass, beating the venti-sized cups of Starbucks. I didn't taste it, but just for its size, I'm sure it's a good deal. All the other drinks came in the same glass for the rest of our company. Other drinks include Milo Overload and fruit-flavored Yogurt drinks. The Strawberry Iced Yogurt drink was sweet and tasted pretty good and cost only a few more than what beloved ordered.

All in all, this restaurant was a pretty gem hidden at a street filled with all sorts of weeds and treasures. It's a place you'd like to pass by every once in a while when you miss the taste, but probably not too often. I find Mediterranean dishes a bit plain, albeit quite filling. As far as a Mediterranean face-off goes, the store I used to frequent is far from this one. While its prices are steeper, Grilled Tomato's servings are quite larger and better than the one I compare with. Their meals would probably make great pulutan, not that I drink casually. Thumbs up for the starving.

Worth a try

Tomas Morato, Quezon City, beside KopiRoti and across Brothers Burger.
100-180 Php
Recommended for:
Starving Kebab lovers.
Not recommended for:
Those who have exquisite tastes.
Smart nomnomnom tip:
The yogurt sauce doesn't do much, so use tomatoes and onions to garnish.