Tiny Kitchen started out as a small outlet for husband-and-wife team, Vincent & Donna Rodriguez, and their handful of choice delicacies. One of the first that they introduced was the Gourmet Tuyo — dried fish bottled in olive oil and garlic. They also started operating a modest bakery, since Vince is in fact a baker. My mom is a huge fan of their Ciabatta and the Rosemary Focaccia Bread.
Today, despite its small size, Tiny Kitchen is a gastronomic giant in the eyes of their patrons. The dining area can accommodate only about 16 people, but a lot of folks — like Christian (who took the photos here) and myself — often order out. So that means they’ve developed a separate niche clientèle of people who go there to order bring-home items. Another thing my mom often asks me to buy there is pesto cream, which they make without salt, so you can season your dishes to taste.
This mom-and-pop shop offers a mix of Italian, Spanish and Filipino cuisine. They have a fine selection of pastas, such as the Catalonia Penne (₱190), which Vince’s kitchen prepares by cooking the pasta and the sauce separately, then cooking them together once over. There are other pasta dishes that deserve two thumbs up: Chorizo Tomati (₱175); Gourmet Tuyo Pasta (₱140), which is a must-try; Paella Fideos (₱185), which Donna tells me is the pasta version of paella; Verdura (₱185), a vegetarian pasta dish.
Talking about paella, Tiny Kitchen’s Paella Valencia is absolutely delish! I’ve had it and the rice was perfectly steamed and cooked in their secret sauce (Vince has his own recipe). And it’s a complete meal in itself, with generous helpings of fish (malasugui), tangy shrimp, succulent squid, crab, and sweet-tasting red & green bell-peppers. The fish chunks I truly enjoyed because it was moist and tasty — malasugui (black or white marlin) tends to dry out if not cooked well. The small paellera (₱410) is good for 3 people (possibly 4 if you have other orders). They also have Paella Mariscos and Paella Negra.
Eating at Tiny Kitchen gives you that warm and fuzzy feeling that you get only from home-cooked food. Their waitstaff are well-versed in their wares and look like they’re part of a happy household. Many of their dishes do have homemade ingredients. Take their chorizos, for example: they make their own and it’s mouth-watering, I tell you!
Two of my favorites are their Caldereta Español (₱225) and the Salpicao en su Salsa (₱240). The beef caldereta is obviously simmered for hours, because I could even eat the bones they were so tender and crunchy. The salpicao is not as spicy as I normally like it, but its rich sauce offers an undertone of French cuisine — Vince reveals that he cooks it with white wine. The first time I had their delectable salpicao, I couldn’t help but eat more rice than I should have!
They have pizzas, too. What I want to try next time I’m back is their Ming’s Blush Special, because they prepare it with blue cheese from the Malagos Farmhouse.
Let’s hope that Vince & Donna decide to open a more spacious restaurant someday soon. In the meantime, with only 5 tables, I suggest you call ahead to reserve for lunch or dinner. Their landline number is 305-9232.
Tiny Kitchen is open Monday to Saturday, from 10:00am to around 9:00pm (last order at 8pm). On Sundays, the dining area is closed, but their takeout counter for frozen items, bread and pastries is open from 11:00am to 6:30pm.