Those who think that the all-organic phenomenon occurring nowadays is yet another excuse of restaurants to jack-up their prices and dig deeper into their customers' pockets will be forced to recant upon a quick browse at Sugarleaf's menu. At this little nook along Wilson Street, 200 Pesos (or even less) is all you'll need for an all-organic, filling meal.
What was formerly a restaurant serving hearty heirloom Pampangueño fare-- Butchie's, now named Sugarleaf, has re-aligned its menu priorities and decided to promote healthy eating, just this year. But unlike the rest of the establishments that jumped into the organic bandwagon then deemed it reasonable to charge P300 for a plate of salad, Sugarleaf thought well to keep its prices affordable for the greater market. That market is apparently thankful, as evidenced by the surprising full-house it does get even during rainy weekday lunch-times.
No junk food for this kid!
How affordable is affordable, you say? At Sugarleaf, a simple breakfast consisting of a bowlful of organic oats plus a choice of a serving of organic soy milk or Kefir (what they call as the extra-healthy super yogurt) will only cost you 60 Pesos.
Opt for an additional (medium-sized) bowl of that day's soup, and you'll be charged another sixty Pesos. Come in during your lucky day and you might just chance upon their impressive Pumpkin and Carrot Soup (P60)-- a thick puree of squash and raw carrots.
Pumpkin and Carrot Soup
Sans the adulteration of sugar-laden milk, a dollop from this potent concoction will reintroduce to you pumpkin's naturally sweet flavor and coarseness. The carrot's essence makes it more interesting by providing bitter pauses here and there. This soup tastes so raw and straightforward, a serving of this while suffering a bout with common colds or flu will convince you to feel better after a bowl!
A more potent sickness buster is their slow-pressed Detox Juice (P90)
Because salad is quintessential in any restaurant that is an advocate of organic fare, Sugarleaf ensured that its veggie line-up doesn't disappoint. Their Garden Fresh Salad (P150), albeit the most basic among the list, sits at the top-most spot as their best-seller.
Garden Fresh Salad
Ask for this dish and expect a plateful of a generous mix of vibrant lettuce; julienned beet root, carrot, and, radish; and sporadic crunchy roasted peppers. To liven up your vegetables, there are a variety of homemade dressings to choose from. Any of them is good but if you want your salad equal parts tangy and sweet, then passion fruit vinaigrette might be your best option.
Other choices for salad-lovers (who want more pronounced flavors) are: the proudly Filipino Salted Egg with Kesong Puti and Tomato Salad (P150); Berries and Greens (P180) that has fruit chunks tossed in; and the extra-filling Waldorf Salad (P205). If you're a hardcore herbivore and you're up for it, you may even want to sign up for an organic-all-you-can deal for P400. This will give you access to as much salad as you can handle in a day.
Although a healthy eating advocate, Sugarleaf is not a vegetarian restaurant. Ask for meat and they'd willingly recommend the Free-range Chicken Sandwich (P150), a homemade wheat bagel bread that barely holds together a lavish serving of shredded chicken and green apple dices, that will fill you up as good as a rice plus viand meal will do. Another great option, especially for the male clientèle whose definition of a satisfying lunch means mouthfuls of meaty goodness, is the Turkey Waldorf (P180). Packed with gluten-free turkey chunks, red apples, celery, and cashews-- this sandwich, reportedly, has made lots of men happy at Sugarleaf.
Free-range Chicken Sandwich
Coming in during merienda time? The Crab stick and Mango Goody Wrap (P140), a dish comprised of two wraps sliced into rolls California maki-style, is a filling fare which may be shared by two light-eaters.
Crab stick and Mango Goody Wrap
While the words “healthy” and “desserts” rarely see each other in one sentence, those with sweet tooth will not be disappointed by Sugarleaf's dessert options. Though their famous Cashew Sansrival (P50) made with coco sugar doesn't taste one bit close to its buttery and sugary calorific counterpart, it still serves its purpose of ending your meal beautifully with a sweet note.
A healthy Sansrival? Possible at Sugarleaf!
Sugarleaf's dedication to serving “foods that nourish” doesn't end in their menu. Doubling as an organic grocery-slash-deli, Sugarleaf houses plenty of essential organic food that will help you adapt the lifestyle into your own home. Chemically-untreated cooking condiments, fresh from farm vegetables, organic shampoos and soaps, and even the rare super foods (kefir, raw cacao, Maca, and Acai Berry extracts) can be found at the store.
While the burgeoning of health-conscious restaurants in the metro is good news, the sprouting of budget-friendly ones like Sugarleaf is better. Thanks to establishments like this, treating ourselves to healthy, non preservative-laden meals will not cost so much more than how much a fast (and junk) food will.
Here's to hoping for the success of Sugarleaf. May the other “healthy” restaurants follow its lead and realize that they should not over-charge a plate of salad just because it's organic. Because, really, P300 for a plate of shredded vegetables is a tad too much.