Garden of Filipino flavour|
Mai Al Khatib
Posted On » May 23 - 29, 2012 (Volume:10 / Issue 73)
Pinoy Turo Turo Garden restaurant in Hoora has been reborn and is still serving up authentic meals cooked straight from the heart.
The quaint eatery symbolises the warmth and hospitality that can be found all over the Philippines.
Turo-turos are quite popular in the Philippines and are known for being small, budget-friendly eateries. The word ‘turo’ translates to ‘point’, referring to the customers’ tendency to point to the food that they want to eat’ and that is what has been replicated in Marjorie Bennett’s restaurant.
The happy-go-lucky Filipina, from Tubli, launched her ‘dream’ eatery 10 years ago and as her customers’ appetites grew so did her restaurant.
The venue is now located 30km from the old one and sports a fresh new paint-job and there is a lot more room to roam.
Mrs Bennett said: “My restaurant caters to a mixture of customers – Arabs, expats and especially the Filipino community. I have a very loyal customer base and my customers used to say ‘if only your restaurant was bigger we would come more often’.
“When this new spot became available I jumped at the opportunity and now we have more room for our customers. Earlier, a lot of them were taking food to go but now they can sit in peace and comfort and eat to their heart’s content.”
According to Mrs Bennett, Filipino food is unique with Malaysian, Indonesian, Spanish, Chinese and Pacific Island culinary influence. Dishes range from the very simple, like a meal of fried salted fish and rice, to the elaborate paellas and ‘cocidos’ (stews) created for fiestas.
The Pinoy Turo Turo Garden’s menu, designed by Mrs Bennett, includes breakfast, a wide selection of appetisers, a medley of main courses and a set buffet on Fridays.
During the restaurant’s recent unveiling, guests were treated to a buffet of barbecued chicken, fried pork (lechonkawali), grilled fish (Inihawna Isda), tom yum soup, valenciana (paella), plain rice, leche plan (caramel dessert) and banana turon.
The chicken was smoky and flavourful, the fish was tender and the paella was filling as well as satisfying.
The food was complimented by the venue’s cheery ambience. There was a mixed crowd on the night I attended, with many people sitting together and sharing the dishes. Newcomers immediately felt welcomed into the community.
The kitchen team includes two experienced Filipino chefs Hil and Jamie assisted by Mrs Bennett’s sisters Analie and Maryvic Delco along with her niece Jannel Dumolong.
Mrs Bennett is also supported by her husband Stuart, a managing director at Expat Careers International, a recruitment company.
Mrs Bennett said: “Our re-opening was a great night. Everyone enjoyed the food and while this is a big undertaking from our previous venue, let’s see where it will take us. We welcome everyone to come and try our menu.”
Pinoy Turo Turo Graden also does catering and delivery.