Go to any Filipino-themed restaurant and for sure, you will find kare kare. I thought that by now, I’ve tried all of its different interpretations. And after having good kare kare at many places, it has become hard to say which restaurant has the best kare kare in Manila. Well, this is a tall order. But recently, I tried one version that really stands out. I’d call it one of Manila’s best kare kare’s.
At driving distance from Greenbelt, Rockwell, Serendra, and the villages of Legaspi and Salcedo opened My Family Kitchen. It’s a simple but cozy place hidden along Kamagong Street, and it opened last July.
We met owner Dada Dayrit, who has an inspiring story. After 21 years in the IT industry, she decided to retire, take the plunge and go full time with her real passion — cooking. The cuisine: Spanish-Kapampangan. Now, home cooking is something easy to claim, a look at the menu shows real stories behind each dish, and how each dish came about.
My favorite is Peping’s Oxtail Kare Kare (P400), which is the recipe of Dada’s father-in-law. What makes it stand out is the use of banana, which Dada claims, gives it an authentically Kapampangan twist. The peanut sauce is made from scratch, and so is the bagoong. The meat is very soft. I just love the use of banana, and it adds a hint of sweetness that is wonderfully complements the nutty flavor of the sauce. The dish can serve two to three people, even four.
I also love their Gambas (P350). The shrimps were cooked just fine — soft and tender. If you love garlic like me, you will love this dish.
The Beef Salpicado (P400) is also a favorite of patrons. On the menu, guests are “warned” about the presence of obscene amounts of garlic. You’ll love this one too.
We had two kinds of dessert. The first is Cocoa Loco’s Butter Finger Bars (P75) — food for the gods with white chocolate meets Butterfinger chocolate.
The second is EnsaimaDADA (P150) — a play on Dada’s name. Actually, prior to opening My Family Kitchen, Dada has already received very positive reviews for her ensaymada. MFK’s ensaimaDADA is topped with grated queso de bola (edam cheese), and it’s perfect with MFK’s thick hot chocolate. If you go to the place on a Friday, you’ll be able to to try ensaimaDADA with nutella and pastillas.
It’s a very cozy place, perfect for a lunch or dinner with a small group of friends. It truly is a homey place. Dada says her three kids help out. Her youngest, Nathan, is six years old, and enjoys entertaining guests. I think it was kind of cute to see Nathan and his mom doing homework on a nearby table when we were there. You’ll enjoy the warmth of the owners and their staff, just as much as you enjoy your food. Dada takes pride in being hands on. She says she does the cooking herself to ensure consistency and quality.
Here are the contact details:
My Family Kitchen
9723-A Kamagong Street
San Antonio Village, Makati City
Telephone: +63-2 903-6069
As of this writing, My Family Kitchen is open for lunch and dinner from Monday to Saturday. They are closed Sundays and holidays. It is best that you call ahead to reserve a table.