MANILA, Philippines – There aren’t too many straight-up healthy food options in the Tomas Morato area, but actress Bianca King and fashion photographer Xander Angeles are looking to fix that with Runner’s Kitchen, a restaurant that serves healthy food and uses organic ingredients.
According to a press release, Xander and Bianca started running together 3 years ago, causing Xander to change his lifestyle and lose 50 pounds.
But the decision to open up a restaurant wasn’t random. At a lunch with the press in early April, Bianca shared that she always loved to serve her friends and family dishes she made up, and they would always tell her that they felt they were eating at her restaurant.
The food at Runner’s Kitchen is an extension of Bianca’s home cooking, things she make at home for herself or for her loved ones.
Bianca added that the ingredients used at her restaurant come straight from local farms, and that they prepare their food in healthier ways too.
Filipino dishes, which are known to be oily and salty, are served with black rice, organic eggs, and a side of salad. Their meat is either prepared in-house or sourced locally – the chicken tocino is made with pineapple juice and azuete, for example, and their native boar sausage is a farmed local species of boar.
“The closer the source is to your plate, the fresher the food is,” explained Bianca.
Here’s a look at what we tried at Runner’s Kitchen during the press lunch in April.
Spicy tuna quinoa roll (P295)
This tuna roll is an old Runner’s Kitchen favorite and one of Bianca’s as well, because of its uniqueness – she hasn’t seen any other restaurant do a similar dish.
Instead of rice, this spicy tuna roll is stuffed with quinoa, along with cucumber and mango, sriracha aioli, coconut cream, ginger soy reduction, and of course, raw sushi-grade tuna.
Tahini quinoa super bowl (P330)
This large bowl of greens is new to the Runner’s Kitchen menu, and it’s filled to the brim with mushrooms, chickpeas, carrots, bean sprouts, cucumber, lettuce, cashew candy, tomatoes, quinoa. Chili flakes add a spicy kick to the tahini dressing too.
If you’re having this on your own, it’ll be enough for a full, light meal – more so if you get it as a wrap – but it’s also great for sharing.
Peppercorn and sesame crusted tuna with black rice (P395)
Runner’s Kitchen’s version of seared tuna comes with a soy-vinegar dressing, zucchini carpaccio, and black rice cooked in tahini.
Paprika prawns and cauliflower rice (P410)
These huge pan-seared prawns lie on a bed of red radish, crispy basil, and spinach. We were served cauliflower rice cooked with tomatoes, onions, and mushrooms during the media event, but you can choose between that, black rice, roasted sweet potato or quinoa, too.
With so much going on in one dish, where do you start? Bianca suggests putting a bit of everything – prawns, radish, basil, spinach, and rice, dipped in the sauce – and eating it all in bite.
Run365 marathon special (P460)
This breakfast plate sampler is named after Run365ph, Xander’s running group. In it, you get a little bit of their delicious organic chicken tocino, grass-fed beef tapa, and native boar sausage together with black rice, an organic egg, and some salad.
You can order each of these dishes on their own too. The chicken tocino is the 5k breakfast plate, the tapa is the 10k breakfast plate, and the native boar sausage is the 21k breakfast plate.
Runner’s Kitchen’s breakfast menu is available from 8 am to 1 pm.
Chili beans and beef wrap (P370)
The chili beans and beef wrap is a good option for a heavy, filling meal. Aside from spicy Mexican beans and ground beef, this wrap has fresh tomatoes, red onions, cheddar cheese inside a whole wheat tortilla.
Adobo whole wheat nachos (P320)
Bianca used fresh, natural ingredients for the food, and serving salads with the dishes. Photographed above: nachos topped with lean organic pork, pineapple mango salsa, cheddar cheese, fresh corn, and house-made mayo.
Gluten-free chocolate waffles (P380)
These waffles were a hit at the media event, and Bianca admitted that these are a favorite of hers, too. Runner’s Kitchen uses their own gluten-free mix for these waffles and tops them with glazed bananas, coco syrup, and cashew nuts.
Masigla smoothie (P160)
Wash all of that down with Runner’s Kitchen’s fruit and veggie smoothies. We tried the Masigla smoothie during the media event – kale, mango, and pineapple with no dairy or simple syrup, like all of the restaurant’s smoothies.
Coco sugar cheese cake (P250)
For dessert, Runner’s Kitchen served a cheesecake, and a cashew flat white (P135).
Their cashew milk is made in small batches every morning, while their cheesecake is topped with strawberries or peaches, depending on what’s available.
Have you tried Runner’s Kitchen? Tell us what you think of Bianca and Xander’s restaurant in the comments! – Rappler.com
Runner’s Kitchen can be found at Creekside Square, Tomas Morato Avenue, Quezon City.
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