Updated: Apr 12, 2022
Enjoy healthy eats, amazing cocktails, and sweet endings
For a team who are literally opening new stores every week in various locations in the Philippines, the day was just another working lunch for the guys and gals behind Visum Ventures restaurant group: the same team that brought us our favorite brands such as Manila's favorite drinking yoghurt, Koomi, Oh My Greek! and Zig Healthy Happy Food.
From meeting Founder/President and CEO John Michael Hilton (or better known as Mike) for the first time in 2020, who at that time has already opened a number of stores, not to mention smack in the middle of a pandemic, it's amazing to see how his team have expanded and continues to thrive right before our eyes. And finally, after opening more than 50 grab-and-go Koomi stores and a long list of Oh My Greek/Zig branches waiting in line to open, they decided to finally venture into a full-service restaurant with signature dishes and cocktails to boot, and strategically located in the hottest spot in the city: the ground floor of the IKEA Building in Pasay City.
Visum Ventures Inc. continues to stick to what it does best which is coming up with a mix of classic and innovative ways to bring healthy food and drinks to customers without being too pretentious or too meh. It's much more than trying something new; but giving you that level of satisfaction that what you're getting is worth your time, buck, and most of all, your health.
But without execution, ideas pretty much don't matter, right? Of course, it wouldn't be possible without Mike and his trusted team of chefs, partners, and friends, who helped in developing an array of dishes for Meraki and Sante, two new brands that are considered the more upscale version of Oh My Greek! and Zig, respectively.
The food is mainly inspired by his travels, growing up in Sydney, Australia and being able to experience Sydney's vibrant and health-conscious food scene.
And the best part? Both concepts are neatly housed in one location, which makes it very easy to cross order. The menu is definitely inspired by different cultures but mostly Mediterranean/European and the food of the Pacific, with an all-day selection of breakfast, tapas, salads, mains, desserts, and drinks.
For someone who has gone back to IKEA a number of times, Meraki and Sante is easily your best option for flavorful, indulgent food that's not too heavy, especially if customers get hungry from all their home furniture and storage organization thingamajig shopping. They can easily attract the health-conscious folks who would instead opt for a yogurt or cereal bowl or some fresh healthy toasts in the morning / Greek coffee instead of the usual meatballs with lingonberry jam upstairs.
From their Meraki menu, not to be missed is their take on a Greek favorite, the Beef Moussaka. They also have the Salmon Tzatziki, fresh salmon lightly pan-seared, served with crunchy asparagus and fresh thyme. For meat lovers, the Filet Mignon is served with herb butter, olive tapenade, grated cured egg yolk, and peppercorn sauce.
From the Sante menu, start off with their delectable Tapas selection. Their Tuna and Avocado Tartare has fresh tuna and avocado drizzled with sesame oil, topped with micro greens. The crowd favorite Squash Blossoms is a delightful starter of squash flowers with goat cheese, served on a bed of Napoletana sauce and topped with micro greens. Their Pumpkin Ravioli is pumpkin-filled ravioli with fresh zucchinis, roasted pistachio, and burnt butter and sage noisette.
A few of the signature dishes of Sante include their whimsical Signature Mini Croissant Cereal that has homemade mini croissants, fresh strawberries, edible flower, served with T2 Tea-infused Very Berry milk. The Chicken Marsala is a moist chicken breast with cream and Marsala wine, adding depth and contrast, topped with fresh mushrooms.
Something we don’t see more of in our local restaurant scene is a good Beef Pot Pie, made the traditional way with the comforting combination of beef, potatoes, carrots, and red wine in a puff pastry
Their dessert menu has something for everybody. For chocolate lovers out there, the Lava Cake is perfect for you, served with almond dacquoise, vanilla bean ice cream and dehydrated strawberry.
Their Mike’s Mess, Hilton’s take on the Eton Mess, has fresh cream, strawberries, and passion fruit in a crunchy merengue.
The Mango Crème Brulee Cheesecake is delightfully light and airy, not the usual dense cheesecake that can be found on most dessert menus in Manila. It’s T2 Mangoes & Cream Tea-infused cheesecake, with macadamia & almond dacquoise crumbs, that’s gluten-free to boot.
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Be kind to yourself and take the time to eat/drink something amazing today. See you there!
Sante & Meraki are located in one charming space at MOA Square, Seashell Lane, Mall of Asia Complex.