SOMETIMES, living in this high-tech world can be scary—especially since fast-food and instant food have become the go-to convenience food of quite a number of people. Burgers and fried chicken with soda, and instant noodles, frozen meals and processed meats… Regular consumption of such takes its toll on your health in the long run, and you become yet another statistic added to the growing number of people suffering from lifestyle diseases.
Thankfully, there is also an emerging movement towards achieving a healthy lifestyle by eating healthy and taking up an active lifestyle—and, thanks to conscientious restaurateurs and chefs, this is slowly but surely coming into fruition.
One of those in the forefront of this healthy revolution is Earth Kitchen, a restaurant that espouses fresh, farm-to-table dining. It serves light and healthy dishes using locally sourced organic and sustainable ingredients. Since Earth Kitchen forms part of the Got Heart Foundation, an outreach program whose major advocacy is natural or organic farming, Earth Kitchen sources its ingredients from the Got Heart Farms in Tarlac and from its partner communities from Luzon to Mindanao, thus assuring its diners that the food is truly fresh, organic and healthy. It is owned by four young and idealistic Filipinos—Melissa Yeung-Yap, Joseph Hizon, Chef David Hizon and Chef J.R. Trani—and since two of its owners are chefs, the dishes on the menu are not light and healthy but delicious and flavorful as well.
The food at Earth Kitchen is not cuisine-specific. The menu carries a wide selection of appetizers, soups, salads, pasta dishes, risotto, soft tacos, main dishes, desserts and fresh fruit and vegetable juices. Almost everything is made from scratch, from the pasta to the tortilla, risotto, soup and ice cream. Chefs David and J.R., who collaborated on the menu, have come up with specifically crafted dishes that highlight the freshness of the ingredients used.
Must-tries include Fish and Mango (Php230), loro fish fillet with ripe mango, cilantro and chili plum sauce; Shrimp Spring Rolls (Php220 for a regular serving andPhp325 for a large serving), which have shrimps, organic herbs and greens, and peanuts wrapped in spring rolls and served with lime hoisin sauce; Tempura Salad (Php330), which has ebi and fish tempura on top of organic vegetables drizzled with roasted sesame dressing; Watermelon and Rocket Salad (Php300), arugula, edible flowers, pili nuts, homemade kesong puti and balsamic vinaigrette; and Milanese Risotto (Php640), which has saffron, Parmesan cheese, butter, organic braised beef short ribs and gremolata.
Since the restaurant makes its own pasta, Earth Kitchen is able to offer nine varieties of pasta dishes that range from classic selections, such as Ragu ala Bolognese (Php320), handmade fettuccine, organic beef, organic tomato sauce, and mixed herbs; Spaghetti Pomodoro (Php220), organic tomato sauce, spaghettini, basil and Parmesan cheese; and Spaghetti Meatballs (Php330), organic beef and bacon, organic tomato sauce on spaghettini; to contemporary concoctions like Scallops and Aligue (Php480), local scallops, crabfat, anise liquor and mild chilies on squid ink pasta; and Sweet Potato Tops Ravioli (Php400), camote tops, white cheese, pili nuts, Pomodoro sauce, basil and Parmesan cheese.
Soft tacos are also a must-try at Earth Kitchen, with five variants to choose from—Beef Bulgogi (Php210 for 2 pcs./Php310 for 3 pcs.), boneless beef ribs, kimchi rice, salad greens and seaweed; Braised Pork Shoulder (Php205/Php300), which comes with cucumber, peanuts, cilantro and lime hoisin sauce; Pumpkin and Kesong Puti (Php170/P240), with salad greens, aioli, radish, edible flowers and peanuts; Mushroom (Php190/Php270), shiitake, button and milky mushrooms, salad greens, radish, seaweed and lime hoisin sauce; and Fish and Roasted Sesame (Php190/Php270), battered and deep-fried loro fish fillets, salad greens, cucumber, seaweed and roasted sesame dressing.
Dessert is basically ice cream, which diners can order in scoops at Php110 per scoop, but there are three ice cream creations to choose from: Vanilla Peanut Butter Crunch (Php200), homemade carabao vanilla ice cream with peanut butter and turon; Tablea (Php200), homemade carabao tablea ice cream and chocolate chip cookie crumble; and Goat’s Cheese (Php270), goat’s cheese ice cream, wild honey, dried figs and cashew nuts.
As for beverages, Earth Kitchen serves a variety of teas by the cup or teapot, hot coffee and chocolate drinks, red and white wine, and fresh juices. Health-conscious diners order either the Got Heart Mix (Php200), which is a combination of beets, carrots, cucumber, apple and honey; Mango Yoghurt Shake (Php130), Organic Calamansi Juice (Php110), Organic Sugarcane Juice (Php120), or a Pitcher of Fresh Dalandan Juice (Php260) or of Fresh Guyabano Juice (Php280).
With restaurants such as Earth Kitchen emerging from among the fast-foods and restaurants that serve sinfully unhealthy food, we can hopefully still reverse the alarming trend or state of health among Filipinos.
(Earth Kitchen opened its first branch along Katipunan, White Plains, Quezon City, in July 2003; and recently opened its second branch at Bonifacio High Street Central, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, in July 2015. For inquiries or reservations, call 577-9138 or 0917-5843278 for the Katipunan store and 0925-6888951 for the BGC store.)