Sunday, March 11, 2012

Villa Cafe

Do you ever wonder why I haven't featured any Filipino restaurant? The honest reason is I am not a big fan of spending on Filipino food. Since I am Pinoy, I get to have Filipino food on a daily basis at a fraction of a restaurant meal. Second, the good Pinoy fares are cholesterol-laden and too flavorful for my taste, hence Person A has to find a good selling point to take me to a Pinoy restaurant.

In the case of Cafe Villa, Person A highlighted that it is run by one of the 2 Green chefs in the country - Chef Sau del Rosario.  Green chefs promote sustainable and locally-sourced,  organic ingredients. On top of that, he has cooked in international kitchens: Le Devellec in Paris, Raffles Hotel in Singapore, and Luna in Shanghai. He made waves locally  working the kitchens of Edsa Shangri-la, Manila Peninsula and my favorite restaurants M Cafe and Chelsea. 

So Who am I to turn down a dinner invitation at Cafe Villa?

The Place

Located in the growing foodie street, Yakal in Makati, Cafe Villa is a small place that can sit around 30 people in its ground floor space. It has a casual vibe with light-toned interior, warm lighting and homey furnishings.

The Food

Like in most restaurants, complementary bread is served once order has been placed. In this case, this fresh toast and tinapa pate.

The pate has a nice moist yet crumbly texture. The tinapa flavor makes the lightly-salted pate great with the fresh bread.

Tinapa Caper  Pasta (PhP 375)

The restaurant serves pasta dishes with Filipino sauce. This is what I fancied the night we dined.

Fettucine with garlic confit and fried tomato sauce. The pasta is al-dente, cooked to the right texture. The sauce tastes like fresh tomato, with just the right saltiness from the tinapa while the capers and olives add the occasional interesting flavor. All in all, the flavors are subtle taking away the "umay" factor. 

I recommend this. Serving size is good for one person.

Boneless Crispy Pata (PhP 495 )

Pork with farm vegetables and drizzled with kare- kare sauce.

The pork is tender, juicy and fried just right. The texture doesn't taste like it has been deep-fried in oil but it has all the goodness and more of a good crispy pata. Without the rest of the garnish, the pork can stand on its own. I do like putting a bit of the kare-kare sauce. It tastes very peanut-y bordering peanut buttery. It's good on its own. Again, it's good even without the bagoong.

The serving is huge, good for 2-3 persons. I recommend this.

Strawberyy Lassi (PhP 165)

Now onto the Indian twist. Lassi is tricky to make as it tends to get too sour. Presenting the best Lassi I've had so far. 

For those who are not familiar, Lassi is an Indian traditional drink made by blending yogurt with water and Indian spices. In this case, instead of putting in spices and roasted cumin, strawberry is added. It still has that sour taste but enhanced by the strawberry and tempered by the milky undertone. Very refreshing. 

A must try!

Watermelon Silken Tofu Smoothie (PhP 145) 

Person A ordered the previous drink, which I immensely enjoyed, I made gaya-gaya so I requested another red-colored drink.

If you love watermelon, this is a good try. The fruit dominates with the coolness of the smoothie. Not too milky.

I like the lassi more. That's just me.

Pandan Sansrival (~PhP 150)

The dessert is gotta be a fusion.

This is predominantly sansrival sans the sweet, umay taste. Add the undertone of pandan, I say this is great!

In Summary

1. Cafe Villa is one of the best Filipino fusion restaurants in Manila. All the dish we ordered tastes great if not awesome. The crispy pata and lassi are a must try. We're coming back for the lamb calderata, it wasn't available when we ordered it.

2. The place is small, but I overheard Chef Sau (he was at the restaurant when we dined) that he's expanding. It is perfect for a casual date, catching up with friends and a small family gathering.

3. Prepare to shell out at least PhP 300 per person excluding the drinks. Considering the taste and the portion size, I say it is reasonable.

Villa Cafe
7427 Glory Building
Yakal St., San Antonio Village
Monday to Sunday, 10AM to 10PM

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