Thursday, September 18, 2014

Home style Filipino in a fine dining setting.

La Cocina da Tita Moning,
315 San Rafael St., San Miguel, Manila, Luzon, Philippines.
Tel. +632.734.2146/+632.734.2141

Cuisine: Home style Filipino in a fine dining setting.
Cost: A meal for two would cost approx. 6,000 INR excluding alcohol.
Reservations: Strongly advised.

Not a restaurant you are easily going to stumble across, it was fortunate that a local recommended it to me. We virtually drove into someone’s driveway and parked our car in their back garden as this incredibly unique eatery is set up in the heritage house of a Filipino Doctor and his wife.
Their granddaughter Suzette Montinola runs the place now. I fell in love with the format, a sit-down welcome alongside a refreshing lemongrass tea to have the menu explained, followed by a tour of the ancestral house built in 1936, with well-preserved original structures, furniture and fixtures and even the lifestyle and hobbies of the doctor during the American and Spanish era. It was interesting to see old cameras, a quaint library, an old clinic replete with a human skeleton and an old X-ray machine. The radio room was used by the owner to communicate with his relatives abroad was my favourite.

Coming to the food, the table setting is regal and elegant. Being an exclusive place, it’s popular for private business meetings and family gatherings. The background music is very relaxing, playing the oldies…a total package of the Bygone era. And no surprise, the place offers sumptuous Neo-Filipino, Spanish dishes. The warm and creamy potato-leek soup is incredible. Followed by their traditional Filipino dishes of chicken relleno, braised lamb shank, lengua cooked in white wine and whole baked lapu-lapu.The paella is to die for. The polvorones with fresh mango and ice cream is a decadent concoction of two beloved Filipino dessert favourites while their quezo de bola cheesecake is one of the best I have ever eaten. The servers wear the traditional Filipina patadyong and kimono. Dining here is truly an experience not to be missed.

published in India Today Travel Plus