My brother and I like Indian food, the aroma from the spices and the simplicity of the chapati or naan are reminders that there is a cuisine out in the world worth exploring. And since we love exploring, my brother took me out to enjoy India Garden Cafe, a restaurant beside Barangay San Antonio in Pasig serving authentic Indian vegetarian food.
Before we begin I want to remind you readers that this place used to and is still a dingy, seedy bar and even with the addition of India Garden Cafe the entrance is still a bit daunting. But once you reach the back of the bar compound and see a painting of what might be a scene from the Mahabharata or Rama Sita, the cafe is a welcoming sight from seediness of the bar nearby. Indian tunes belt out from the cafe’s speakers trying to drown out the out-of-tune karaoke songs belting in the background. The cafe fails in that aspect but don’t let those visual cues stop you from ordering their good food.
India Garden Cafe doesn’t serve neither hide nor hair of any animal, keep looking for that all-time chicken tikka masala and you’re better off in New Bombay. But what they do serve are some traditional Indian vegetarian dishes that will make you wish you had these for breakfast, lunch, and dinner all day everyday.
Since I wasn’t familiar with Indian cuisine, I ordered 4 pieces of samosas while my brother ordered a masala with naan bread and an Indian dessert. Oftentimes I wonder what or imagine the taste of the food we had just ordered, I know Indian food is aromatic, tasty and has that intense flavor from a mixture of spices. What got me worried though was the absence of meat in any of the dishes, I was going to subsist on chickpeas and potatoes for the duration of the meal.
What came out were simple dishes mirroring the place where we were, an old bar converted into a place where people come to enjoy plain comfort food. That is what India Garden is all about a no frills place to have good Indian vegetarian food. Flavored with all the wonders of Indian spices, loaded with protein harvested rather than killed, and heavy enough to be surprised I was already full despite having eaten so little.
Despite its location and atmosphere, India Garden Cafe falls under the “hole-in-the-wall” restaurant. With its affordable prices (Php. 300-500) for two people, Indian Garden Cafe is a great way to explore the other side of Indian cuisine in a healthy and filling way.
India Garden Cafe
India Garden Cafe is located at 12 Shaw Boulevard, Pasig City.
Open every Tuesday – Sunday from 11am to 11pm and closed on Mondays.
Telephone number: +63 923 534 7195