I’ve never really tried any establishment that promotes Marikina’s specialties as their flagship dishes before, until Mariq Restaurant and Cafe came along! Inspired from Marikina’s old name, Mariquina, the owners who grew up in the same city wanted to share the traditional dishes of Marikenyos with a modern upgrade.
They serve not only Marikina dishes, but also Filipino cuisine in general as well. What’s notable in our visit here other than those, though, were their unique and original cake recipes! Here’s the gist:
My dad being a true-blooded Marikenyo, our family would have Everlasting every now and then on our dining table. And I can say that the Marikina-style meatloaf version of Mariq catches that traditional taste I liked as a kid. Never was able to try Pininyahang Manok before (not a fan of pineapple), but it’s surprisingly good! Juicy and tasty, the meat is tender as well. The Pork Hamonado is just okay. What I really loved is their Beef Kare-Kare! Cooked from scratch, you can really taste the authenticity of the raw ingredients used.
Regrettably, I wasn’t able to taste the Ampalaya Salad (absolutely not a fan), though I found myself gorging on their Crab Aligue Rice. It’s not for the health-conscious, but it’s addicting and you can even eat it on its own! Paired with the other ulams, including the Prawn Salpicao, it was a brief moment of bliss. But for those who like to eat healthy food, there’s the Malunggay Pesto (among other many dishes). I can’t quite taste the malunggay, but that’s probably the pesto overpowering it. Good for me, ’cause I don’t like Malunggay haha.
Here comes the highlight of the day! Mariq’s own specialty cakes, which are VERY scrumptious if I do say so myself. I was given the opportunity to taste four of the many variants, and three of them immediately became my favorites. The Langka Sansrival was the least I liked, but that’s due to my personal taste that it isn’t ‘sansrival’ sweet enough for me, but yes, the langka taste is there!
Third place goes to Quezo de Bola Cheesecake and it is what it is- cheesecake with the creaminess and fluffiness of Edam cheese. The Chocolate Caramel Cake, as described by Lei, is quite similar to Goldilock’s premium Chocolate Caramel Decadence cake. Number one spot goes to the Halo Halo Cake! It’s stupendous how they were able to perfectly make a cake out of the Filipino dessert. On my first bite, I was surprised how similar the taste was when you eat a spoonful of halo halo, and it’s P65 per slice to boot! Truly wonderful.
The Houseblend Iced Tea is legit- made with brewed black tea, lemon cucumber juice and grenadine syrup. Their banana loaf is a must-try as well! Perfect to go as your appetizer.
Mariq is also a sister company of Academy Asia School of Technology and the Arts Inc., a technical vocational school that primarily focuses on preparing its students for the hospitality industry. Offering culinary arts, baking and pastry arts, food and beverage, and bartending programs, the school gives further training to its students, even possible employment, in Mariq. You can see these on-the-job trainees across the dining room separated by a transparent glass prepping your food with love.