AFTER a major makeover last year, one of the first shopping malls along EDSA — Robinsons Place Galleria — is this year highlighting its many restaurants as it positions itself as one of the city’s foodie destinations.
“Currently, 23% of our spaces is for food and beverage though the goal is to make it at 30%,” Myron Lawrence T. Yao, regional operations manager for the commercial centers division of Robinsons Land Corp. (RLC), told the media during a food crawl last month.
Robinsons Galleria has a gross floor area of 215,000 square meters spread across five levels and is considered RLC’s flagship mall.
After the renovation which took two years to complete, the mall unveiled its new food court, called Eat Street, which was meant to evoke the feeling of hunting for good eats along streets in tourist destinations.
“We named the food court ‘Eat Street’ because most of the time, when travelers go out to find good food, they walk through streets famous for peddling traditional dishes or street food,” Mr. Yao said.
From the yellow-toned lights to the tables and chairs and selection of tenants, Mr. Yao said they made it a point to make their food court “unlike other food courts” inside malls.
“We wanted variety… [so we curated] a not-your-typical food court mix. We also want to push and inspire people to eat together,” he explained.
The food court has 50 restaurants in all, 25 of which are in-line while the other half are kiosks.
Among the restaurants there are Sincerity, a Binondo-original known for its fried chicken, oyster cake and lomi (a Chinese noodle dish); Above Sea Level, a seafood restaurant which serves fried butterflied giant squid; Binalot, which serves Filipino favorites on banana leaves like adobo (pork and/or chicken stewed in vinegar) and tapa (cured meat); Sonoya, a Korea-based Japanese restaurant known for its freshly-made udon noodles; Hap Chan, a Chinese restaurant which offers unlimited shabu-shabu (a hotpot dish) and a buffet spread; and BKK, a Thai restaurant which serves pad thai (a stir-fried rice noodle dish) and other Thai favorites.
One has to take note that only a few Hap Chan stores nationwide offer buffets and shabu-shabu.
“Typically, when a group or a family goes out to eat, one of the biggest questions is where to eat so in ‘Eat Street’ we strived to provide a wide and varied selection of tenants. We have Japanese, Thai, Filipino, Chinese, among others,” Mr. Yao said.
Set to open at Eat Street within the year is a Japanese unlimited barbecue restaurant, Yakiniku-san. The restaurant is from the same group that brought in Hainanese Delights, which is also available at the Eat Street.
Then there is the Veranda, which was meant to provide “a more relaxed dining experience” where people can enjoy “long, leisurely meals,” according to a press release.
The Veranda covers nearly the entire length of the mall facing Ortigas Ave. and spans two floors (the mall’s second and third floors).
Mr. Yao described the Veranda as being more “relaxed” with an “al fresco feel” because of the indoor glass waterfall, softer lighting, and natural wood-finish floor,
“You come here for a more upscale experience or when you’re celebrating an occasion,” he said.
The Veranda is home to casual dining establishments like Ramen Nagi, Fat Fook (a Taiwanese restaurant famous for its dumplings), Birdhouse (a chicken restaurant known for its chicken wings and “dirty rice” or rice with spices and minced chicken liver), dessert shop The Lost Bread, and Japanese bakery Kumori.
Soon to open in the same section is Crisostomo, an upscale Filipino restaurant from chef Florabel Co-Yatco.
The third floor of the Veranda includes Kisoya, a Japanese casual dining restaurant from the same owners of Sonoya; Nonna’s, which offers Neapolitan-style pizza and hearty pastas; Cabalen Plus, an elevated Filipino buffet experience from the group behind Cabalen and Mangan; and Korean barbecue chain, Samgyupsalamat.
Soon to open there is the Portuguese grilled chicken joint, Peri-Peri Chicken, and Meat Depot, a steak house. The same section will also welcome a large international buffet concept from Singapore within the year.
Meanwhile, the fourth floor of the mall is meant to be a place where families can come and enjoy kid-friendly fare.
“The fourth floor is our entertainment floor so we put food concepts that would appeal to children and families,” Mr. Yao said.
Among the selections available there are S&R (known for its New York-style pizzas), Pancake House, Max’s, Vietnamese sandwiches place O’Banh Mi, Mad Mark’s ice cream, ChaCha Go which serves Thai milk teas, and Go Salads. — Zsarlene B. Chua