From Food Park to Resto, Flat Bread Satisfies Your Comfort Food Cravings
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Tasty and affordable comfort food served inside a restaurant that strongly evokes a homey feeling is what Flat Bread is all about.
“We wanted a homey place. We wanted to be a community restaurant where the neighbors can come in wearing short pants and shirts. They come here because they are not in the mood to cook. We serve mostly comfort dishes,” says Fiona Flores, one of the owners of Flat Bread, the restaurant that evolved from a stall in food parks.
Housed in a charming bungalow along Sparrow St. in Marikina City, Flat Bread used to serve its now famous variety of flat bread in food parks including Crave Park along Gil Fernando Ave. also in Marikina. In May last year, the owners decided to set up a restaurant so it could offer more dishes other than flat bread and its varieties.
“Since flat bread is a snack item, we incorporated rice meals in our menu. We have everyone’s favorite, the hickory barbecue ribs, beef pot roast. We have this now becoming famous crispy pork fries. It’s very thin strips of pork served with our own gravy. Everybody likes it and it’s priced at around P200,” says Fiona.
Flat Bread Varieties
Of course, flat bread remains the star on the menu -- longganisa (flat bread, garlic longganisa and salted egg dressing), pepperoni (flat bread, pepperoni and cheese blends), Korean beef and kimchi (flat bread, beef bulgogi, cream and cheese, kimchi and cheese blends), Spanish callos (flat bread, callos dip or rice), cheese steaks and onions (flat bread, cheese blends, beef steak and caramelized onions) and chili cheese dog (flat bread, cheese blends, chili con carne and American hotdog).
“We wanted to showcase the flat bread. It’s very versatile. So we made it into chili cheese dog, longganisa or the Filipino flat bread,” Fiona says. “We adapted it to go with dishes from different countries. We even made a burger out of it.”
Aside from the flat bread, the restaurant offers a whole gamut of food: Soups, salad, main course or the main meal, desserts, drinks. It also serves all-day breakfasts such as its homemade chunky corned beef (not from the can found in supermarkets), gourmet tuyo, crunchy bacon silog, Cabanatuan longganisa, among others.
Flat Bread also sells its housemade tuyo (dried fish) in a bottle. She recommends tossing it with freshly-cooked past and voila! A meal.
All of the dishes on the menu are conceptualized by the chefs, who don’t want to serve food that they themselves won’t like.
“What we want to serve are dishes that we enjoy. So even us (the owners), we come over and we eat here. We crave our own food,” she says. “The essence of a restaurant is to serve our customers with the food that we love.”
Famous Marikina-made Cake
Fiona wants to come up with cakes that Marikina will be known for. A good bet would be its own version of tres leches, a sponge cake soaked in three different kinds of milk – fresh milk, all-purpose cream and condensed milk – thus the name. The longer it is soaked in the milk, the better it tastes, she says.
The tres leches, served with rich whipped cream, is its best seller, though some customers find it weird that it’s moist, Fiona says, smiling.
Turning serious, Fiona says Marikina “should have its brand of cakes. We want to be able to create that cake that will become popular. So that when there are special celebrations such as birthdays, we don’t have to go out of Marikina just to buy one.”
Aside from tres leches, which we tried and enjoyed along with freshly-brewed Kalinga coffee, Flat Bread also offers warm chocolate cookie and milk, red velvet crinkles and milk, very moist chocolate cake and crème brulee cheese cake to finish a meal.
As sweet as the desserts, some of its customers who love the place also give out art pieces to the restaurant that Fiona and company proudly display.
Food Park Origin
“We started in food parks. We were in The Yard in Katipunan in 2016. Then Crave Park. But when food parks started to proliferate, we opted to open a restaurant. We already have our following,” she says. “With a restaurant, we can serve more dishes. In the food park, it’s very limited. If you say you will sell only flat bread, you are limited by that because you also have to protect the interest of other tenants.”
From a purely family business (her husband is also a chef), Fiona says they invited their friends, mostly chefs who teach at PACE (Professional Academy for Culinary Education), which they also own, to be part of the group that owns Flat Bread.
She is happy that after only a year (it celebrated its first year anniversary on Mother’s Day, May 13), the restaurant is slowly becoming popular not only within the neighborhood but also in other parts of Marikina and nearby cities. To mark the Mother’s Day celebration, Flat Bread offered a buffet to customers.
“Around the area, it’s slowly becoming known. It’s gaining a following,” she says. “You know how it is in Marikina, they are very enthusiastic about food.”
While it closed its stalls in food parks, the restaurant still bears traces of its predecessor. Fiona says they used old furniture and other things from the food park to decorate the restaurant. The top of the table where we were doing the interview used to be the cover of the counter in the food park. The rolling pins were used as wall decors.
To keep customers and gain new ones, the restaurant keeps on updating its menu. On its first year, she says Flat Bread has changed its menu three times as they keep adding new offerings from time to time.
Fiona says she wants to see Marikina becoming a center for culinary tourism. She says Marikina is now known for its variety of restaurants, attracting people not just from Metro Manila but also outside of it. This is also the reason why PACE is opening up schools in other parts of the metro.
“What we really want to push is to elevate the Filipino food cuisine to the world. We are trying to push culinary tourism. Meaning, the tourists will come here to learn how to cook Filipino food and not just to go to the beach. We are proud of Marikina. Marikina is really very strong when it comes to food,” says Fiona, who was born in the city.
She says tourists could learn how to prepare and cook one of the famous Marikina dishes called Everlasting, its own version of meatloaf.
In the meantime, she is busy running the business along with her husband and other partners. The restaurant, which can sit up to 60 people, also hosts special occasions such as birthdays, baptisms, weddings and corporate events. Customers have a choice whether to go with the package of dishes prepared by the restaurant or pick items from the menu.
18 Sparrow St., New Marikina, Marikina
Monday to Sunday – 10:00am to 10:00pm
0997 683 5627
For more about the restaurant, please check out its Facebook page:
(Photos taken from the Facebook page of Flat Bread)
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