Sunday, August 14, 2011

Casa Roces

Chic, colonial, interior, great Spanish-Filipino food at a price way less than a fine dining restaurant are words I have to sum up my Casa Roces experience. It’s not hard to imagine that this converted ancestral home in San Miguel, Manila must be the go-to-place of ambassadors and the old rich since Malacanang sits right its front yard.

The Place           

If you go through the garden entrance, you will be greeted by this intricately designed blue door.

To its left is the garden, with the steel lawn chairs laid on wooden planks. Doesn’t this remind you of the lawn sets in old provincial homes? This is what childhood memories are made of.

Going back to the blue door, I was so amused by it that I showed my child-like, toothy grin. The little girl is 25, by the way. Person A is not being punished (think “face the wall”), he’s having some geeky conversation with the door.

I find the interior very lovely and chic, just my kind of thing. The ground floor palette is gray with sprays of yellow in very soft hues.

There are old, wooden chairs

Nooks with knick-knacks

And wild orchids serve as floral centerpieces.

Even inside the comfort room

The glass, sliding doors open up to the garden outside. The interior is so beautiful that if I am to decorate my (future) home, this place will definitely have a page on my inspiration book.

 This is the view from the foyer.

This is my second visit to the place, and this time around, Person A and I invited two more friends. We can happily report that we enjoyed the place (and food) immensely.

Warm-breaded goat cheese salad (PhP 195)

Pan-fried goat cheese with rocket and salad mesclun

Based on its name, this is arugula with assorted young leaves salad mix and balsamic vinegar-based dressing. The breaded goat cheese is matchbox-sized. It is okay but Person A and I like the sweetened balsamic vinegar dressing.

Crispy Lengua Ceasar Salad (PhP 145)

I don’t normally order salads with cream-based dressing. Think calories.  We tried this caesar salad because of the crunchy lengua that doubles as a crouton replacement.

This is a really a good one. The dressing is light and doesn’t drench the greens. Plus the lengua tastes divine, renders the salty taste. Must try.

Sopa Molo Castilliana (PhP 145)

Garlic soup with pork dumplings, poached egg and noodles. The garlic compliments the pork taste and is a good meal starter. The bowl is enough for four people. It would be nice to enjoy this when it is still warm.

Fettucine with Bleu Cheese and Roasted Mushroom (PhP 185)

Cream sauce and mushroom always mix well and this is no exception. The sauce is very creamy, there is a generous serving of mushroom that gives the dish its taste but I did not taste the blue cheese at all. My friends said they do.

Bouillabaisse de la Casa Roces (PhP 210)

Squid, mussels, and other seafood stew in tomato broth. The sour tomato taste dampens the salty flavor of the seafood mix. It’s so good, a must try. This comes with bread but I prefer it with rice.  This is good for 2 people, by the way.

Callos Ala Abolita (PhP 260)

Soft tripe stew with chorizo and chickpeas. This one is my favorite as well. The fat (my friends say it’s not fat) is well cut, very soft while the flavors in the stew make you forget how greasy the dish is. This is served with rice and can serve 2-3 people.

Kape Chino Desserts

The restaurant has an in-house coffeeshop which serves coffee and cake. It is named after Don Chino Roces (Pasong Tamo) – his family owns the house.

White Chocolate Sansrival (PhP 135)

The meringue base with the white chocolate, buttery frosting is not too sweet and has a good texture to it.

Laguna Cheesecake (PhP 150)

This is one of the better cheesecakes in town. It’s very cheesy (I think it is made from local cheese, it has that taste to it), creamy and again the texture, it has a subtle gelatinous feel to it.

Malacanang Souffle (PhP ~300)

This a dessert soufflĂ©, the “lift” part is very light but has a strong citrusy taste to it. The base part is soft. This is a citrus-flavored dessert and is a good palate cleanser or should be eaten last.  I like the two cakes better. I like to end my meal with a sweet taste in my mouth.

We also had coffee, this is my cappuccino (PhP 130) 

And this is Kat’s Bailey’s coffee (PhP 125). Good coffee, worth the order to compliment the cakes.

This is Person A’s Frosted Mocha (PhP 130), the blend has a strong coffee and the whip cream is divine as well. This pairs well with the main dishes that we had.

In Summary:

1. With its architecture, very chic interior and great food, Casa Roces is a value-for-money restaurant. Bottomline, I think dining in this place is a steal.

2. The food is good, most dishes can be shared by 2 persons and is priced around ~PhP200.

3. You can have just anything here: lovely brunch with friends, dinner with the special someone and celebration with the family. They have function rooms in the second floor that can seat from around 10 to 40 people. Perfect for those intimate gatherings.

1153 JP Laurel
San Miguel, Manila

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