Lunch at the Manila Polo Club


If you asked me a few months ago to recommend a place where you could get a nice lunch in a pleasant, unharried atmosphere, where you can actually converse, with a gentle breeze and a aapolo2view onto a massive verdant grass field, 10 minutes from the heart of Ayala Avenue and reasonably priced without a parking fee, I would have looked at you like you had had a recent lobotomy. But take a good look at that photo above, a reasonably good osso buco on a bed of pasta with more of the sauce mixed in. Lots of chopped parsley and actual slivers of lemon peel. Where? The Manila Polo Club Sports Lounge on McKinley Road. The cost (besides the cost of the share)? An amazing PHP400; easily half of what a noisy, all tile, no acoustics, expensive parking, neighbors in your armpits mall alternative would charge. Hah! You scoff, Marketman has lost his marbles, you say… The Manila Polo Club has never been known for its food. But if you are one of its 2,500+ members or have a friend that is a member, give it another try on a weekday lunch.

I have been a dependent or member of the Polo Club for over 35 years and yes, it is not known for fine dining, but a recent effort to upgrade the food is yielding very encouraging results. aapolo3I have started to take some of my luncheon meetings there. If it’s during the week, I take a cogon hut beside the expansive Polo Field and have our lunch served there. It beats most restaurants by a mile. And it is usually a better value proposition. And while most of the fare can still be described as “club food,” some recent specials and other efforts are a welcome improvement, and I for one, am grateful. I hope other members take notice and bring one or two or more luncheons or dinners during the week (weekends are a zoo, no matter what) so that the restaurant volume builds up and a positive upward cycle of improvement takes root. Besides the osso buco special on offer at the moment, our table had a plump Saragani Bay sizzling bangus (a favorite, but sometimes with too much garlic) together with an ampalaya dish with generous amounts of shrimp or prawns. Finally, we tried a steak sandwich but I am not fond of a heavy meat on bread so I was instead intrigued by the side dish of what seemed to be hash brown potatoes with lots of garlic…yum. Considering the very reasonable price points, ancient membership, and other issues that typically hamstring a club of this size and nearly century old history, I was truly pleasantly surprised to see things foodwise heading up a couple of notches…



14 Responses

  1. Manila Polo Club used to be like a second home to me when I was in HS. All my HS friends from San Agustin were members and we would hang out at the cogons almost everyday after school. We still do once in a blue moon now. My favorites are the Army Navy sandwich topped with what looks like melted cheez whiz (is it cheez whiz?!) – I dream of this sometimes I swear, the garlic french fries eaten with gravy, and the Hainanese chicken! The Polo Club Sunday buffets was also something I frequented with my family and member-relatives and what I loved most about that were the lobsters dipped in lemon-butter sauce. I also love their buko juice which is always served cold and from the husk, just how I like it. It’s good to know they’re improving their lunch menu, though I never felt it needed any improvement hehe.

  2. Truly surprised to learn that they lagged. I just assumed they would have been serving impeccable cuisine bourgeoise all along. But is not all this ought to be kept under wraps? I hope this all too rare glimpses of how well those in the far side of the bell curve are being coddled in luxury’s lap will not be seized upon by those who would just as soon want to lead them away in tumbrils.

  3. Wow! I thought it was just me who noticed the improvement. I usually had lunch there with some friends because we like the ambiance but lately, truly the meals have improved and I like the osso buco pasta too.

  4. I LOVE the Polo Burger with cheese and fries (which I order toasted garlic bits)and Chicken Ala Kiev with garlic rice! Yum.

  5. Halata mo ba, MM? Pag sosy ung post, kaunti lang ang nagco-comment? Gives you a clue on your “readership’, huh? But useful din naman kasi it gave me an idea on how to “add a twist” to serving my osso buco. Yun lang. Hope this comment doesn’t stir up a class war or sumthing!

  6. CecileJ, sosing-sosi naman yung copper frying pan ko…all time world record sa comments siguro yun. Not counting my Pinoy top dishes or desserts… it just depends on the mood of the readers… Actually, what is more interesting is the extent of the comments left…compared to many other food sites, the readers of Marketmanila really get into it!

  7. Good service too! We had a get together last month and stayed until 1:00 am but the waiters were so patient. I recommend their tapas selection.

  8. Marketman, also VERY good in polo club’s sports lounge: the hamburger (juicy!), garlic chicken, THE BAGNET (cholesterol overload – but terrifically yummy!). taken with ice-cold san miguel beer after a vicious badminton game, the best!

  9. Had a mtg there the other day – it was supposed to be an Italian buffet (every thurs) but my companions & I thought it was hopeless. Didn’t help that one was Italian, the other two were members of the slow food movement – ie. into their food. some of the antipasti were fine(serving slices of tomato w/cheddar & not mozzarella was v cheap but it was just a buffet and I suppose they Had to be cheap) but the main dishes…weren’t even Italian. So we just stuck to the salad mainly.. I heard they were going to change the Italian buffet into something else like Middle eastern. I guess it really was “club food”.

  10. great service!!! the waiters attend to you in a flash! its my greatest paradise! my home away from home!

  11. Miss the old menu of the club… the original polo burger, the submarine sandwich, and the army navy i grew up with. Makati Skyline just doesn’t cut it.

    Well, CHANGE is always uncomfortable, even with my insignificant preferences in life, hahaha!

    Need to learn to be grateful!

  12. Manila Polo Club– yeah, they’ve got yummy food! I love their tandoori chicken pita, Polo burger, boneless crispy pata, inihaw na tuna belly, Saranggani sizzling bangus, and pad thai! Yummmm :) Their banana bread’s good too!



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