My latest advocacy is to make healthy food look cool. In Manila, we don’t appreciate healthy restaurants so much because of the perceived bland or mild taste of vegetarian/healthy dishes. There was only one vegetarian hole-in-the-wall restaurant in UP that was full of flavor because the kitchen was run by a Kapampangan but, sadly, it closed down.
Thankfully, we did find another healthy alternative. But before I share about it, let me introduce you first to kefir…
The Kefir Culture
“There are two types of kefir: water kefir – small transparent grains that ferment sweetened water;and milk kefir – white or cream coloured grains that look rather like cauliflower florets that ferment milk.”
“Kefir is a living culture, a complex symbiosis of more than 30 microflora that form grains or cauliflower-like structures (sometimes called plants) in the milk. As the culture ferments the milk these structures grow, creating new grains in the process. Real kefir from live culture is an endlessly self-propagating process.”
Arama is probably the only restaurant in Manila that serves Kefir-based goodies. Despite the fact that it’s
a struggling store in Serendra, it still decided to offer mostly organic dishes in its menu.
Arama used to be the Manila branch of Chocolate de Batirol in Baguio. They turned it into a garden restaurant. I don’t like the uncomfortable tables and chairs, though. A veteran vegetarian cook runs the kitchen, so expect healthy organic dishes, which are good for those with special dietary requirements.
You can choose to eat on the second floor for privacy but the tables there are leftovers from Arama’s Chocolate de Batirol days. You would have to stoop down to eat with such a low table. The acoustics of the restaurant are also lousy — you can hear the people below and vice versa.
Despite those, I like to hang out in Arama because the Wifi is FREE and not a lot of people go there. Before, I would go to Kape Isla. But ever since it turned into Echo Store, I don’t go there anymore. Arama is now the Blogger’s choice in Serendra.
Pasta Set Meal (P280)
We usually order the set meals. My favorite is the Pasta Set Meal.
Soup and fresh herb tea from Cordillera are served, good for one person. For most people, the serving portions might be a little bitin.
The Organic Garden Salad is served with a Kefir-based sauce. The sauce is light and yummy. You won’t feel guilty when putting more sauce into your salad. Arama makes its own sauce, so you can order a bottle for your salads at home.
(I think lactose-intolerant people can take the milk-based kefir sauce.)
The Spinach-Ravioli is composed of spinach tofu-stuffed pasta with your choice of white sauce or fresh tomato sauce. The pasta set meal serves the half size of the Spinach Ravioli Ala Carte version. The serving size is enough to get you 80% full only.
The best part of the meal is the Frozen Kefir (mango-flavored in this case), which tastes like Frozen Yogurt (sometimes even better, depending on the flavor). Arama and David of Froyo had a “falling out”, so he removed his Froyo Cart in Arama. A Chinese friend of the Arama owners gave them a Kefir culture and they started to experiment with different Kefir concoctions.
Kefir is super healthy. It has antibiotic and anti-fungal properties. It contains many vitamins, minerals, amino acids and, especially, enzymes!
Strawberry Frozen Kefir
Try the Vanilla Frozen Kefir first, which has a consistency similar to frozen yogurt but with a more tangy taste. The fruit-based Frozen Kefir has a consistency like shaved ice. It feels like eating sorbet rather than ice cream. I would also recommend the Choco-Berry Frozen Kefir for kids. 🙂
The other organic dishes are just OK. Don’t expect too much in terms of taste. I highly recommend the set meals.
14 thoughts on “Arama’s Kefir-licious”
I like their Organic Garden Salad.
It’s really good!
I just wish that they would make their portions bigger… hehehe!
My mum bought bottles of kefir water and kombucha tea about a two months ago and she made the whole family drink one glass of both drinks everyday. After 2 weeks of drinking, I’ve noticed that my allergies have gone down (which is quite a relief because I used to have sneezing fits every morning and night). My ashtma hasn’t been back to rear it’s ugly head since I’ve started drinking the tea and water combo. So maybe it really is beneficial to our health. 🙂
Never been to Arama though. Will tell my mom about it. I swear, she’s going to go nuts about this place once she finds out that they use water kefir in their dishes. Thanks Anton! 🙂
@ Issa, where did your mom buy those?
I have skin asthma, it might help me out 🙂
You can probably ask some Kefir from Jeren. I’m sure she would give you some
and give instructions on how to eat it to help you skin asthma.
You’re welcome Issa 🙂 Thanks for letting me know. Alam mo rin pala yung
my aunt taught my parents to “grow” their own kefir. while i can’t tolerate the smell of milk kefir (smells really sour, even if they tell me it’s yogurt), the water kefir is better. they taste somewhat like vinegar.
oh and they tell me that kefir is good for the skin.
ill have to let my aunt and my parents know about this place. the frozen kefir looks good.
just for your info, Kefir is also known as Tibetan snow lotus. :d
She buys it from one of our neighbors here in the village (East Fairview). From what I know, Kuya King makes the kombucha tea and kefir water himself. I think they charge us around 250php for one pair of the tonics(tea and water). But I think you can also get them at the Bread of Life (Delta). 🙂
If you marry carbonated water and weak vinegar, the resulting taste would be that of the kefir water. But I’m not complaining. At least I’ve already bid my asthma and allergies goodbye. I hope it works for you too. 🙂
Hmm, I almost tried this resto when we were in Serendra because of the different ambience it evokes.
Some 4 years ago, I tried being a vegan but it’s so difficult to stay one with only a few choices of eats. Good to know that it’s not such a limiting food regimen anymore.
I’ve been to Arama last month and their food is pretty good! I love their tuna sisig, beef estofado and grilled tuna belly! Serving is good for one person though and it’s priced reasonable considering you’re at Serendra! I’ve tried their frozen yogurt and they’re really good and refreshing…..the soup is to die for!!!! Don’t forget to order their Organic Lemon Grass Iced Tea coz its the best tea ever…better than any other ice tea! I’ll definitely recommend this place and I will definitely come back to ARAMA when I go back home…
Thank you. I have been looking for some place where me and my friends can go out and eat lunch/brunch after the Valentines. Found this site very useful. You have a very wonderful and informative site here.
Does anyone know where to get Kefir Grains?:)
Please update this. We spent a great deal of time, fuel and effort to find this place in Serendra only to discover that it closed over 4 years ago according to some guards. Even the phone number is still registered in Smart as belonging to ARAMA. The call connected and some rude girls answered and thought we were crazy asking whether it was ARAMA. Several calls on the cellphone = wasted money. *** Bad ***
Sorry for this… they have a new place already called Earth Origins.