Thursday, March 28, 2013

Gourmet's Cafe - A Relaxing Pit Stop En Route to Tagaytay

Tagaytay City is one of the most frequented out of town destinations, mostly because of its great weather, beautiful views, and it's an easy one to one and a half hour drive from Manila. 

Unfortunately though, since it's summer season, getting to Tagaytay means facing horrendous traffic as well as mile-long queues at restaurants (unless you leave super early) in the area, as in bonggang-bongga, especially if you head there on the weekend. And last weekend (March 17), that's exactly what we were afraid we'd encounter, being a summer, after-payday weekend and all - the chances of getting good seats at Bag of Beans (where my mom wanted to go) looked grim.

Our other choice was a restaurant just along Aguinaldo Highway, right before the Tagaytay boundary - Gourmet's Cafe. Hubby and I have been there once before with my in-laws, and we loved the rustic cabin look and feel of the place. However, we only had coffee and pastries at that time because we were already on our way home from Tagaytay then. Last Saturday, we decided to give it another try and lo and behold - it looked TOTALLY different!

Ambiance: The interiors were actually a refreshing sight, they kept the homey wooden chairs and tables, whitewashed walls made the look simple yet elegant, and they just accentuated the decor with pretty paintings. And they did not lose the big piano too, it was placed in something like an elevated place in the front part of the dining area, so customers get relaxing music (none of the pop, piped-in tunes thank God) while they're enjoying their meals. My little girl even got a go at the piano.:)

Layout: The Dining Room's layout was really conducive to family dining. They had big tables in the center area, and  the smaller tables good for two to smaller groups of four were placed in the 'wings'. There was ample space in between tables so there was a lot of room to move around in, and this a super plus if you had a kid like mine who loves to dance around.  We picked a round table, which I was glad they had - I find round tables better for family conversations.

Facilities: Restrooms were daintily decorated, and well-maintained too. I liked how the 'look' of the restaurant resonated even in the restrooms. I remember visiting a cafe with shabby chic interiors, which had like urban graffiti on the restrooms wall - total disconnect. The entire restaurant was really clean and well-organized too. 

My family and I, especially my little darling K, enjoyed their spacious garden. It had a playground with Little Tikes toys (they were a bit old though, could use some replacing na), well-manicured grass, and to our delight, clean picnic tables with canopies!  Little K had a little 'accident' on her way to the garden though, which earned her two glaring goose egg lumps on her forehead (ouch!), but resilient little one that she is, she was up and running again in no time.  

It was a hot summer day last Sunday (thank God.) and it was the perfect time to enjoy a walk, a run, and hours of playtime in their garden - oh and it was the ideal venue for afternoon conversations over freshly brewed coffee (which we had there after our meal. Life is good!)  Hmmm coffee in the garden, K squealing with delight, being with family - bliss.

They also had an area with a little stage, and an expansive lawn, which is most likely used for events or functions. I can totally imagine a garden wedding reception there, or perhaps a fairy-themed kiddie party.

Food & Beverages: Of course, the food. :) Let me just say I'm no food connoisseur, so my expectations are pretty low. I do love to eat though, same thing with my beloved brothers, and in our ratings, The Dining Room's fare is actually pretty good. And most of the meals had a siding of crisp, fresh, greens - my health buff mom was overjoyed. :)

Let's start with their soups, Dad got the Cream of Lettuce Soup(PhP150) and my hungry brother R went for the Pumpkin Soup(PhP 170). Both tasted divine, and were obviously made of the freshest ingredients. They tasted so good, we totally forgot about taking pictures. Nyarks. 

Spicy Penne Salsicia and Pasta Amatriciana

Pasta - I had their Spicy Penne Salsicia (PhP 250), and R had the Pasta Amatriciana (PhP 300). The Spicy Penne was scrumptious, though not as spicy as I wanted it to be - a sprinkling of chili flakes helped. It was a nice mix of fresh tomato sauce, basil, and fresh ground beef. Menu said it had Italian sausage - I didn't notice (too hungry perhaps?) R's choice, the Amatriciana, judging by the way my brother wolfed it down, was also good enough to be consumed in a matter of minutes. This one had bacon, fresh herbs, and a healthy dash of parmesan cheese. 

Roast Pork(top), Fish and Chips (L), and Filipino Breakfast(R)


For my darling K, I ordered Fish and Chips (PhP 300.00) plus extra rice. Their fish fillet was, as expected, tasted like the sea - with light breading and seasoning - it was definitely part of a fresh catch. :) The fries that came with it, not the commercial variety (yey!). Oh but what made it truly special was Gourmet Farm's very own preservative-free tartar sauce. Oh it was superb! Creamy, tangy, with just the right bite of salty - and by bite I also mean literally, as it contained fresh finely chopped herbs and cucumber. Too bad they only include a small serving with the dish. I didn't get to check if they sell it at their Cafe/store though (which is right along Aguinaldo Highway), but if we ever come back and they do, I'll absolutely grab myself a big bottle. Hehe.

Another main entree we got was Roast Pork  (PhP350.00), which I didn't get to sample. My other brother Y, who's still a 'growing kid' just made it disappear without saying anything.

I did get to try their Filipino Breakfast (PhP 280.00), which hubby got. You have a choice of Tagaytay longganisa, beef tapa, or daing na bangus - hubby got curious what makes their longganisa different, so he went for the first option. It came with two eggs and garlic rice. So was it different, the Tagaytay Longganisa? Hmmm, it was just the right flavor - not too spicy, garlicky, salty or sweet. It was a harmonious mix of all tastes actually. And it wasn't oily at all. So in that sense, we find it worth the try. :)

We didn't go much for special drinks to go with our meal, so we can fully enjoy the taste of each dish. Mom did have their special herbed lemonade though. Its citrusy zing was refreshing, but it did have a bitter aftertaste - I personally didn't enjoy it much, but my mom and little K seemed to find it delightful.

What we did opt to have were after-meal drinks in the form of caffeine. The Dining Room's caffeine selection was actually quite affordable, ranging from 60 to 155 pesos. My dad started with cappuccino, which he said was perfectly brewed, with just the right amount of froth.  We also had the Black Forest brew, which tasted exactly like the Black Forest cake only in coffee form - I found it too sweet for my taste. I like my coffee strong. Hubby had the Hazelnut brew - it had a tinge of nutty - unfortunately not obvious enough to be appreciated. My other brother R went for the infamous Civet coffee, which was surprisingly tangy and rich at the same time - mom didn't like the idea of drinking something made from droppings, me and my brother just enjoy good coffee. :)

Unfortunately, I didn't get to visit their bakery and farm (there's a 100.00 peso charge per person to tour the farm) as I was busy tending to my little girl's playtime needs, but we'll definitely check it out when we come back. :)

Will we be back? YES! Hopefully soon... we want to try out their desserts next time. :) 

Make sure to check out Gourmet's website here


No comments:

Post a Comment