Newly-Opened Karen’s Kitchen in Kapitolyo Mimics Home Dining at Its FinestJune 28, 2015
Foodie haven Kapitolyo is home to a plethora of dining destinations that have elicited outpours of excitement from Metro Manila’s food-loving folk. Open Kitchen gained the attention of the crowd with bizarre yet tasty offerings such as a pumpkin vanilla ice cream soup and a pan-roasted mahi-mahi with salted egg and strawberries. Locavore has quickly become a neighborhood favorite as they pushed the comfort food card even further with their indulgent take on Filipino classics, while the newly-opened Estancia Mall houses a number of new dining concepts that are sure to attract a steady following.
Modern concepts and new ways of dining frequently make it to food news headlines, but in the midst of the flurry, Karen Young of Karen’s Kitchen decided to go the other route, and put up a quaint and cozy restaurant where she churns out dishes that remind her of home, and most importantly, of family.
Stepping foot into the restaurant is surreal. The borderline between the modern world and Karen’s restaurant is clearly defined as a lot of rustic elements and vintage items come into play. Given its contemporary location, Karen’s Kitchen is an old soul down to the core. Having been known solely for her desserts—her irresistible red velvet cupcakes have made her a household name for years—Karen decided to venture into the unparalleled dining experience brought by a home-cooked meal.
A chunky tomato soup with meatballs and pasta ribbons, topped with a Parmesan disc, Karen tells us, is inspired by her mother’s home cooking. A squash soup with squash flowers that’s a bit heavy handed on the spice holds a consistency that lies on the thicker side, but Karen says that this is how she cooks it for her family—less cream, more vegetable. A shitake mushroom dip is straightforward and earthy down to the last bit. It is served with crispy heart-shaped pastry shells that deliver its purpose of mopping up the tastiest bits that settle at the bottom of the ramekin.
Onto the mains—Karen is very meticulous about the cooking techniques involved in her dishes. As much as possible, nothing deep-fried comes out of the kitchen. She makes use of an air fryer for crisp marble potatoes that are served as a side to her Angus beef slider set, and a bed of quinoa takes the place of rice in her squid dish. Made with tortillas instead of dough, Karen’s take on pizzas, which she playfully coins as ‘Crispizzas’ come in a variety of Summer Garden, Chicken Pesto, and an Asian Pulled Pork.
Pastas are also available on the menu. An aligue pasta tempts with a tandem of creamy orange sauce coupled with a kick of spice. A classic mushroom truffle angel hair pasta plays on the safer side, while a sundried tomato pasta with garlic and basil makes for the healthiest alternative in this series.
But at the end of the day, Karen still plays to her strength in pastry. Her desserts are as good as I remember them—better, even. Her zucchini cake and red velvet cakes are by far some of the best I’ve had in the city. Japanese cheesecakes that come with thick swirls of raclette are a respectable attempt, while her scones and beignets that come freckled with powdered sugar are imperative to partake of when in Karen’s Kitchen. The latter comes with the thickest, gooiest hot chocolate that clings onto a spoon like honey.
They say that there is no place like home—but Karen’s Kitchen comes close. Mimicking the environment and vibe of the place that evokes warmth and pulls at your heartstrings the most, dining at Karen’s Kitchen will leave both your heart and your stomach full and satisfied.
Have you tried Karen’s Kitchen before? Which of her desserts do you like the most? Sound off with a comment below!
Pepper.ph was invited to feature the above establishment. Therefore, the feature includes no rating whatsoever, which can be influenced or biased.
Address: 17A San Rafael St, Kapitolyo, Pasig