Mary Grace: Homemade Goodness

Location: Upper Ground Level Corte de Las Palmas, Alabang Town Center, Ayala Alabang, Muntinlupa City, Metro Manila, Philippines

My husband and I had some errands in Metro Manila and a nephew had an early morning appointment at Alabang Town Center in Muntinlupa City, so we decided to accompany our niece for breakfast at Café Mary Grace, a homey café, while waiting for our nephew.

This branch in Alabang Town Center is open 8am-10 pm (Monday-Thursday) and 8am-11pm (Friday-Sunday). You can contact (02) 828-8476 or cell no. (0917)515-7524.

Historically, this café started with its first kiosk in 2002 which offered Mary Grace’s freshly baked ensaymadas1 and cheese rolls daily. I have tasted its cheese roll, and will taste its ensaymada, and other baked products, and make a post about it too.

Z-MG-3Ensaymada-Cheese Roll-Hot Chocolate selection, Café Mary Grace

You might be asking, dearest Seniors, who is MARY GRACE? Well, here is a brief biography. Mary Grace Dimacali, the founder and president of MARY GRACE FOODS, Inc., is a wife and mother of five children. She took AB Psychology, and graduated Cum Laude, from St. Scholastica’s College Manila in 1978. She loved baking and pursued a 12-month baking and bakeshop management course in the USA in 1991. She also finished Masters in Entrepreneurship from the Asian Institute of Management in 2001.

Z-MG-5

Ensaymadas and cheese rolls were her signature products and offered them in her first bazaar in 1994. She opened her first Mary Grace kiosk in Glorietta 4 in 2002. The first Café Mary Grace was established in Serendra in 2006. Her immediate family is involved in the business. Go to the bottom of this post for the list of outlets, other than this branch.

Visit Café Mary Grace’s website: www.marygracecafe.com. For its menu, simply click “menu” or “download menu”. All food items are made in a commissary. For a complete list of outlets, locations, operating hours and contact numbers, click “shops”.

The café exudes a homey and cozy atmosphere. It is a comfortable place to have meals with family/friends, and to talk endlessly while savoring food and beverage orders. Books were displayed, and I noticed that these were covered with plastic (the way I used to cover my school books)and were not new. I am sure they were read and treasured. There were also thank you notes from previous customers. I think this restaurant is a relaxing place to dine alone, with a companion, or with one’s family.

Z-MG-2breakfast menu, Café Mary Grace 

The restroom is clean and has all the necessary supplies, a feature that I appreciate a lot when dining out.

We chose three kinds of homemade breakfast orders(which they claim to be marinated fresh daily and without preservatives): Fried Boneless Bangus2, Sirloin Beef Tapa3 and Vigan Longganisa4.

Z-MG-8Fried Boneless Bangus, Café Mary Grace

The customers are given a choice for the eggs included in the order: either scrambled eggs or sunny side-up (for a total price of 320 pesos, 398 pesos and 380 pesos, respectively), or omelette: smoked ham and cheese, or mushroom and cheese (for a total price of 387 pesos, 460 pesos and 458 pesos, respectively). Prices are inclusive of VAT5 and exclusive of service charge.

 

Z-MG-7                                              Sirloin Beef Tapa, Café Mary Grace                                                  (notice the guest’s note inserted under the glass)

The orders are served with either the Signature Rosemary Fried Rice or Garlic Fried Rice, along with coffee and 3 accompaniments(a dip of seasoned vinegar, and 2 kinds of relishes:tomato-wansuy6 salsa7 and homemade pickled mangoes).

Z-MG-9                                                Vigan Longganisa, Café Mary Grace                                                   (notice the guest’s note and stampitas inserted under the glass)

We all ordered sunny side-up eggs, Signature Rosemary Fried Rice and coffee. Next time, we will try the three other kinds of breakfast items: Brioche8 French Toast with grilled peaches, cashews and cream (305 pesos); Chicken Inasal9 (305/398 pesos), and Pork Tocino10 (305/398 pesos).

I studied the menu while waiting for our orders. It is quite an extensive menu. This café also offers:

  • Perfect Plates (a combination of pasta, salad and the dessert for the day; i.e., Chorizo Plate, Dory & Saffron Cream Plate, and Fresh Tomato and Herb Plate, with prices ranging from 420-440 pesos); they can be paired with an additional soup(Summer Squash or Wild Mushroom) (80 pesos);
  • Savory Starters (168-262 pesos) and Hearty Soups (170-190 pesos);
  • Fresh Salads with homemade dressings (205-390 pesos);
  • Sandwiches served with homemade potato chips and dip (248-305 pesos); they can be paired with an additional side salad or soup (70-80 pesos);
  • Flavorful (Cream-based, Oil-based, or Tomato-based) Pastas made with 100% extra virgin oil, real stock, and served with garlic bread and Edam cheese garnish (310-420 pesos);
  • Pizzas with fresh dough made daily, premium mozzarella and homemade tomato sauce (498-540 pesos); and,
  • Beverages: Homemade Iced Teas (using Mary Grace’s original recipe made from scratch using premium tea leaves and fresh fruit juices, sold by the glass for 95 pesos or by the pitcher for 285 pesos; Premium Coffee and Teas (95-185 pesos).

All orders were served at the right temperature. Service was reasonably fast, and the servers were courteous and even inquired if we enjoyed our orders or wanted additional items.

The enjoyment of our breakfast orders was enhanced by the dip and relishes. I personally savored my order because of the two relishes: the tomato-wansuysalsa7 and the homemade pickled mangoes. The eggs were cooked just right. Portions were generous for Seniors, but I think they would be just right for an average customer.

Z-MG-4Order Confirmation Slip given before payment to check accuracy of orders

 

Z-MG-6Official Receipt presentation after payment, Café Mary Grace

I paid for our orders and all the comments are based on my dining experience. I will definitely go back to try the baked products!

While some might consider this place a bit pricey, I personally feel that I got my money’s worth in terms of quality of food and service.

Café Mary Grace has many branches (cafés* or kiosks**), other than the branch I went to: SM Southmall* in Las Piñas, Makati (Cash and Carry**, Century City Mall*, Enterprise**, Enterprise Center*, Glorietta 4**, Greenbelt 2*, Makati Medical Center**, Power Plant Mall**, RCBC Plaza** and Steps Dance Studio*), Mandaluyong (Robinsons Galleria**, Shangri-La Plaza* and SM Megamall**), Manila (Robinsons Place Manila*, Lucky Chinatown Mall*, SM Manila* and SM San Lazaro*), Muntinlupa (Festival Supermall*), NAIA Terminal 3 (Level 4*), Parañaque (Okada** and SM BF Parañaque*), Pasay (MAAX Bldg Mall of Asia* and SM Mall of Asia North Wing**), Pasig (Estancia Mall*, Rockwell Business Center* and SM Hypermart**), Quezon City (Ayala Fairview Terraces*, Eastwood Mall*, Gateway Mall – Ground Level** and Upper Ground Level*), SM North EDSA*, SM Fairview* and Trinoma*), San Juan (Unimart*), and Taguig (Serendra*, SM Aura*, St. Luke’s Medical Center*, Uptown Mall* and Venetian Mall*). Wow! Definitely a lot to choose from wherever you are in the Metro!

Please note that the information in this article was around January 2018 and may differ from the latest information. Visit its website: www.marygracecafe.com.

Did you find this post informative? Did you dine in any of the outlets of Mary Grace? Would you like to share your dining experience? I would like to hear from you. Simple scroll to the upper right part of this post and click “Leave a comment”. Follow me by clicking the “Follow” bar at the bottom right corner of your gadget. Thank you!

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For foreign readers, I hope these footnotes will help you understand the terms used:

1Ensaymada is a soft, fluffy pastry made with butter, topped with granulated sugar and upgraded with a generous topping of finely grated cheese (using even queso de bola11 during Christmas season), butter cream, and sugar. It is a popular Filipino snack, introduced by the Spaniards (associated with the Spanish town of Majorca).

2Bangus is the Filipino term for milkfish, the national fish of the Philippines. Dagupan City is known for producing quality bangus. It can be fried, smoked, fermented and further processed (bottled, canned or frozen). The boneless version is popular to save the trouble of removing (especially the small, finer) bones while eating.

3Tapa refers to the thinly sliced, tangy, sweet-salty, Filipino dried beef, which is cured using salt and spices. Chicken, fish, horse meat, mutton, pork, or venison may also be used. It is usually fried but can also be grilled, then served with garlic fried rice and fried eggs for breakfast.

4Vigan longganisa is a (2-inch) small, plump, spicy, tangy, Ilocano pork sausage delicacy made with lots of garlic and spices. It is not sweet and is typically made using sukang Iloko (a native Ilocano vinegar). It is then fried before serving and is best enjoyed with fried rice and fried egg for breakfast or with sliced salted eggs and tomatoes.

5VAT stands for value added tax, a type of sales tax which is levied on the sale of goods, services or properties. In the Philippines, twelve percent (12%) is added to the selling price of a local/imported product/service or sale/lease of properties.

6Wansuy is the Tagalog term for the herb called coriander, Chinese parsley or cilantro.

7Salsa is a spicy/piquant sauce made of chopped, usually uncooked, vegetables/fruits (e.g., chili peppers, onions, tomatoes), commonly served with Mexican food as a condiment.

8Brioche is light-textured, soft, slightly sweet, French yeast bread, typically formed into a small, round bun/roll, and made of butter, cream, eggs, flour, milk, water and yeast.

9Chicken Inasal is a Filipino variant of roast chicken marinated in a mixture of annatto, lime, pepper and vinegar, then grilled over hot coals while being basted with the marinade. It is enjoyed when served with rice, (sinamak12 or white) vinegar and soy sauce. It is a specialty of Bacolod, a highly urbanized city and the capital of the province of Negros Occidental in the Western Visayas Region (Region VI) of the Philippines. “Chicken Inasal,” accessed March 12, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicken_Inasal.

10Tocino is a Filipino-style cured meat, often sweet, and is usually made of pork, but chicken and beef can also be used. It is fried and served for breakfast along with fried rice, and even with fried egg. It is traditionally colored red using saltpeter.

11Quezo de bola is a popular, pale yellow cheese with a red rind/coating made of red paraffin wax, served during the Christmas season in the Philippines (perhaps due to its red rind) and is a traditional treat for Noche Buena (the traditional midnight feast with one’s family at home during Christmas Eve), similar to the Netherlands’ Edam cheese. It is usually served with cured ham and hot pan de sal (a traditional yeast-raised bread, rolled in fine bread crumbs, served during breakfast in the country).

12Sinamak is a kind of vinegar infused with lots of garlic, chili peppers and langkawas (a kind of ginger), according to the Wikipedia page “Chicken Inasal”.