If there is one thing that would best describe my Foodventure Series, it would take a form through a two-word idea called food parks.
Popping like mushrooms in the metro last year, the presence of this kind of dining place in Manila will seem to last for a while as more food parks has opened and will be opening this year and one of these is The Yard Underground at Pasig.
Situated near the city’s business district, The Yard Underground at Pasig is the month-old sibling of the popular food park, The Yard at Xavierville, which just only opened last January 15 and ever since, people have never ceased coming in and out of this park every night.
Curious and keen to experience my first food park experience (The Yard at Xavierville was supposed to be my first but did not transpire), I decided to visit the new talk of town and discover myself whether the place is truly credible for its new title.
The yard or the place itself is a three-level establishment that features big container vans that houses the park’s concessionaires. The owners have retained the same design that made their food park in Quezon City popular and decided to step up the game by adding a faux train in the middle of the park as inspired by the London underground railway system. Different designs of tables and chairs are scattered throughout the park which were patterned based on the food stall in front of it. Music blasting the latest hits completed the food park’s ambiance to give a festive mood to the diners.
The place’s main highlight which are the food stalls offers a variety of choices to the people. From Fillipinos’ Asian-favorite cuisines down to the sweetest desserts in town, The Yard Underground does not let a person leave the place without a full stomach.
For our first visit, I decided to settle for three of the food stalls in the place which were mainly selected based on their appeal and impression to me and these are Amo Yamie Crib, Halal Kabab Express and Ta Ke Ho Me Sushi Stand. Above Sea Level was very appealing to me but decided to skip this one since I was not in the mood to eat squid during our first visit.
Amo Yamie Crib
Pasig residents and people living nearby do not need to travel to Pampanga and Manila City just to taste the desserts that Kampampangans and college students have been enjoying in their areas as Amo Yamie Crib has found its home in The Yard Underground. Having an exclusive set of menu which is not available in its restaurants, The Yard’s Amo Yamie serves soft serve ice creams that are sure to fulfil one’s craving sweet tooth.
For my first time, I decided to go for their outrageous Pea’tter Pan (P139) which was immediately prepared upon order.
Pea’tter Pan was a definition of sweet. From the ice cream itself down to the caramel popcorn, one’s sweet tooth will be delighted with the taste of this dessert. The ice cream was so tasty that vanilla-flavored ice cream lovers will find heaven in it along with some chocolates that comes with the dessert. The churros tasted good along with the chocolate dip that comes in its tips while the salted pretzel balances the sweetness with its saltiness. It would have been better though if Amo Yamie has been more generous of putting pretzels as the ice cream can get really sweet and give an umay feeling to the person eating it.
Halal Kabab Express
Specializing in Middle Eastern cuisine, Halal Kabab Express is the go-to place in the park if your taste buds want to try something familiar and different at the same time. The stall mainly serves chicken and beef dishes partnered with an ample serving of Persian rice at the side. Bestseller of the place is their Chicken Biryani (P249) which is a basmati rice with chicken saffron topped with shirazi salad. However, I decided not to settle for this and went for their Chelo Jujeh Kabab (P189) instead as I was not that confident to try something different and foreign and pay the corresponding price. After ordering, the food took about 10-15 minutes before it was served.
Chelo Jujeh Kabab boasts an ample serving of Persian rice and grilled chicken partnered with two kinds of condiments at the side which were good for two to three persons. The rice and accompanying condiments tasted very foreign and different to the kind of taste a typical Filipino will be accustomed to which both produced a strong combination of sour and saltiness. The small grilled chicken atop of the rice balances the foreign flavour as it resembled a taste that is similar to our own inihaw na manok. Brave diners would sure be delighted with this dish as I personally think that the food is an epitome of an authentic taste of Middle Eastern cuisine.
Ta Ke Ho Me Sushi Stand
Sushi lovers will rejoice as Ta Ke Ho Me Sushi Stand has found its place in The Yard Underground. Serving sushi in small food boxes, this food stall caters takeaway orders of diners who want to try their signature dishes or for those who want to bring their sushi at home. From rice balls to sashimi, be prepared because your Japanese cuisine craving will be fulfilled by this sushi stand.
For my first time, I decided to go for their 8-piece Cali Maki (P99) which can serve up to two people. The food can take up to 30 minutes to be prepared so better hold your horses if you have a grumbling stomach. Also remember that Ta Ke Ho Me is a food stand so expect to serve the condiments that you’ll need by yourself.
Having my first bite of the Cali Maki made me realize that the 30-minute wait was all worth it as the sushi tasted very good most especially if you partner it with soy sauce and wasabi at the side. The dish was really tasty and makes you want to order for another one if you’re brave enough to wait for another 30 minutes. The sushi is definitely a must-try and the very thing I am going to recommend you to try right now if you find yourself in The Yard Underground soon.
Finding my first experience at The Yard a positive one, I decided to schedule another visit and try the other food stalls in the park. For my second time, I became picky and chosen the stalls that I really want to try disregarding whether it is appealing or not. Eventually, I decided to settle for The Good Tapa, The Cheesery and Antarctique.
The Good Tapa
One of the noise makers in the park is a food stall that caters to Filipinos’ favourite, tapa. Serving different kinds of cured meat, The Good Tapa distinguishes itself with their signature bowls such as the Beef Garlic Salpicao, Pork Thai Mama and Chicken Sweet Bulgogi whose prices range from P100 to P250 –depending on how hungry a person is. The stall also stepped up its game by allowing diners to create their own dish by choosing the size, meat, sauce and egg they prefer in their meal.
For my first time, I decided to settle for their signature and regular Beef Good Tapa (P100) in which, I was asked for my preferred way of cooking the egg and my name afterwards. The food can probably take up to 10 minutes to be prepared so expect to see yourself wandering around the park if you don’t have the patience and want to see the other stalls in the place.
Contrary to the usual taste of a cured beef, The Good Tapa has managed to create a signature in this dish with its own beef mixture which I personally think was delicious. In addition, the appearance of the stall’s beef is also different to the typical tapa Filipinos use to see as the meat comes in a brown color. The sunny side up egg, on the other hand, tasted well but looked a little brownish. Generally, the dish tasted good but can be a little expensive for their “small” regular serving most especially when it comes to the tapa itself.
Aside from its cheesy dishes, people also line up in front of The Cheesery because of its freshly squeezed lemonade. Depending on your choice of serving, this food stall can serve up to 1.5 liters of lemonade for your thirsty barkada.
For the first time, I decided to try their 32-ounce Freshly Squeeze Lemonade (P95) which took a couple of minutes to prepare.
If you are looking for a new way to fight the approaching heat of the summer season, this lemonade is going to be the answer. Boasting a towering height of probably six inches, this 32-ounce drink is contained in a big paper cup which is good for sharing of up to three people. The lemonade may be a little sweet for others but its delicious taste along with the actual squeezed lemon that comes in it is enough to take away the heat one can feel. Another must-try I am going to recommend if you find yourself in the area.
Close to the temperature of the place in which this stall’s name may have originated from, Antarctique is a stall in the second level of the park that serves cold desserts to its diners. Ironically inspired by the popular Korean dessert, this food stall specializes in making bingsu (Korean shaved ice cream) for all dessert-lovers out there. They even serve a bibimbap (Korean mixed rice)-inspired dish made entirely out of fruits!
For my first time at Antarctique, I decided to go for their Mango Cheese Bingsu sampler (P100) which did not take long to be served.
Almost the same with my expectation, this bingsu boasts cubes of mango at one side and a small scoop of vanilla ice cream, cubes of cheesecake and crushed graham crackers on the other. The taste is almost similar to that of Café Seolhwa’s own Mango Cheese bingsu except that Antarctique’s was sweeter. As usual, the mango tasted well with the cheese and the bingsu itself. The only small downside of the dessert was that one cannot fully feel the shaved ice cream in it. Nonetheless, Antarctique’s Mango Cheese Bingsu is going to be a delight of people who love anything sweet and want to beat the heat.
Although it has just only opened last month, do not be deceived by this fact as The Yard Underground can get really crowded especially during dinner time causing other diners the trouble of looking a place to sit. It is best advised to drop by the place during its opening hours in which there are less people and allows you to choose a place where you want to sit. Synonymous to the crowd is the line of cars parked in front of the place which may become another problem for diners who want to pay a visit with their vehicles. It is also strongly suggested to arrive during the park’s opening time if you do not want to park your car far from the area. Also make sure to park your car properly otherwise the management will announce your car’s model and plate number through the place’s speakers and look for you.
In addition, people who want to flaunt their OOTDs in the place is also advised to choose clothes that are easy and light to wear because the park can get really warm due to the stalls cooking the food and the crowd coming in and out of the place. Of course, don’t forget to bring your mobile phones, selfie sticks, fish eye lens and everything you need to step up your instagram game because the place is very instagram-able.
The Yard Underground is located at #207 Christian Route Hill, Oranbo, Pasig City and is open daily from 4PM to 12MN. Tip: It is behind the green Nice Hotel if you’re coming from Shaw Boulevard.