Once, I was casually browsing through my social media account’s news feed when I chanced upon an interesting video. My curiosity was captured by the frozen cheesecake-on-a-stick that it featured. Needless to say, being the cheesecake-o-phile that I am, I was salivating at the dessert in an instant. Hence, I immediately asked my high school buddies if they wanted to try this delectable craft. Fortunately for me, my squad was available; and off we went to Mercato Centrale in Bonifacio Global City on that Saturday night to try the eye-catching dessert.
In the heart of the busy Bonifacio Global City life, amidst the booming skyscrapers, is Mercato Centrale – a food park which takes inspiration from outdoor markets in Europe (Mercato Centrale in Florence, included). It offers a wide selection of promising late night munchies from around the globe – from Filipino street food to other Asian specialties and even Italian delicacies. Surely, you would not run out of food choices at Mercato Centrale.
When we arrived at around nine in the evening, the whole place was jam-packed! We really had a hard time finding seats. We even had to keep watch of guests who were already leaving – we were like vultures circling around their dying prey. To add to our misery, we were already famished. Some of us had not had dinner yet. Thus, the moment my friends were able to secure a table for all four of us, we immediately divided ourselves into two pairs – the first goes off to find their food, while the second stays at our table, then we all switch positions afterwards.
Mercato Centrale has loud pop music blaring from its speakers which kind of sets the mood. Well, this April, they are specializing on ‘beer nights.’ Meanwhile, the air smells strongly of takoyaki and grilled food. Surely, your perfume would surrender to the fragrance of Mercato Centrale. Hence, I recommend that you make this place your last stop whenever you are at BGC. Otherwise, you will smell like isaw whilst partying at The Palace when you go here first.
To my dismay, Crave It, the stall that sells the mouthwatering cheesecake delights, was closed during our timely visit. Sigh. Anyway, I did not let this drown me into further misery. Looking at the bright side, there were still a lot of food items to choose from; and I am sharing with you now my top five picks:
Grilled Filipino street food
When we passed by the stall of Cuisiniers and saw what they sold, I shared my friend’s sentiment when he decided to skip this stall as we did not want any food that we can easily buy somewhere else. That was a wrong move though. Luckily, the other pair bought themselves some hot-of-the-grill goodies; and I had the chance to taste one of them. Yum! Their barbecued pork ears were sweet, savory and chewy – not something you would find in the nearest kanto. Indeed, their freshly grilled Filipino street food is the perfect pulutan!
Meat Lover Pizza
“Whoa” – that was my reaction when I saw how thick the Meat Lover Pizza from Chicago’s Deep Dish was. It was as if a second layer of pizza was placed on top of one. The crust is soft, not crispy; and the taste is somehow sweet and salty. Truly, one slice alone can hush your stomach’s grumbles.
Honey Dew Lemonade
For my refreshment, I bought a large cup of Honey Dew Lemonade from City of Drinks. It is the best way to quench your thirst, I assure you. The fresh lemon squeeze gives it a perfect blend of sweetness and sourness. The honey dew meanwhile spikes the flavor. This drink actually saved me from my main course which was the Tuyo Aglio Olio from The Beef Barn. It is just too salty that it made me drop this item from this list (3 over 5 stars). So thanks to my refreshing drink for rescuing my taste buds!
Toasted Marshmallow Homemade Gelato
To compensate for the unavailable frozen cheesecake, I had a small cup of Toasted Marshmallow Homemade Gelato from Mio Gelati for my dessert. The taste is reminiscent of Dairy Queen – it is milky, and somehow thick as well. One drawback was that my gelato did not have toasted marshmallows on it. Not even a single one! Were all of the marshmallows for display only?
I am saving the last item on my list for the Frozen Cheesecake-on-a-Stick of Crave It. I really feel compelled to try it some other time. Trust me, watching the video I saw before alone will make your heart desire for one of their cheesecake options. Hence, I could not brave myself to end my list without first trying this awesome-looking dessert.
There are times when the demands of living in a city can be too overwhelming. Sometimes, we just all need a quick break; and this is what Mercato Centrale, just like Encima Roofdeck Restaurant, is offering – an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city life. This food park is one good way to just chill and wind down with your friends, and even with your colleagues after a long and stressful week at work. However, if you are a foodie from somewhere away from BGC looking for something special, then Mercato Centrale may not be the right place for you. There really is nothing extraordinary in this food park (well, except the frozen cheesecake delights, I think). Or, you could try going somewhere else in the vicinity first before heading to Mercato Centrale to end your nighttime gala.
So yeah, would I come back? For the cheesecake, yes. For the other food, probably when I find myself in BGC once in a while. But I will not go there just for the plain reason of eating there.
Mercato Centrale BGC
Location: 25th St. cor. 7th Ave., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
Open: Wed to Sat, 6PM to 3AM