August 22, 2011 3 Comments
I don’t have enough words to explain how pleased I was with our stay at Nurture Spa Village in Tagaytay. As mentioned in the earlier posts, the place was picture perfect, the staff were very commendable, and the food did not disappoint as well.
Oh, the food. It was so good, it deserves a separate post. This one.
Nurture’s in house restaurant is called Dulang. If my “extensive research” is correct, Dulang means “an earthenware dish which later evolved to mean table where dulangs are placed”. Again from my “study”, it’s possibly Indonesian for a food tray.
The resto is just a few steps away from the lobby of Nurture. The interiors are a bit dark but I feel it was appropriate for the place as it sets the mood for a romantic dining experience. We loved the capiz shells and other native, tribal elements which were consistent with the overall aesthetic of Nurture. We appreciated all the small, subtle details that aren’t too obvious, but one would definitely see if one paid attention. For one, look for the small beaded trinkets that adorn the table’s vases. It really screams the fact that this place was very well thought of.
We also both noticed the menu. UP much? Haha! Luntian at pula! I kid you not.
For dinner, in keeping with my philiosophy of ordering food that can’t be found elsewhere, we had Kakaibang Lumpia as appetizer and Chicken Kare-Kare Roulade and Tilapya sa Laing for the main course.
Kakaibang Lumpia is described in the menu as “fried spring roll stuffed with smoked mackarel, green mango and cheese, served with sweet chili sauce”. On the first bite, one gets hit with the strong smoked flavor of the mackerel. Tinapa fans would approve of this. Two things that I wish they did was to balance that flavor with the green mango and cheese. Also, that the servings include four rolls, instead of three. We were kinda bitin. Hehe.
The Tilapya sa Laing, “seared fresh water tilapya fish filled with taro leaves braised in coconut cream, wrapped in a banana leaf”, on the other hand, smelled really fragrant because of the wrap. The laing component was mildly spicy and the fish, if my memory serves me right, was boneless. Really nice. One small aspect I missed though was the crispness of the skin, mostly because it was described as seared. I assumed it got a bit saggy because of the banana leaf.
Finally, the most interesting dish that night, the Chicken Kare-Kare Roulade. “French chicken breast stuffed with julienned kare-kare vegetables, under peanut puree sauce”. I think the picture can explain it better:
I was seriously in awe when I saw this. What a pretty and creative way to present kare-kare! The chicken was moist and the vegetables were crisp. To be honest though, it wasn’t the best kare-kare I’ve had – I found the peanut paste lacking – but a million points for uniqueness. Here’s another angle.
We weren’t able to sample their desserts but the menu continued to tease. They had Panna Cottaho – scalded soy milk under carmelized sugar and tapioca pearls. Now I scold myself for not trying this out. I wonder how this was executed to be different from the common taho, arnibal and sago. For drinks, by the way, we had coffee and their house iced tea. Both were good. By default, they serve the coffee with Equal, while the iced tea I found to be just appropriately sweet with hints of pandan.
The morning after, breakfast was served at the open-air café behind the main restaurant. If the night beforehand was romantic, the succeeding morning was tranquil. Imagine having breakfast and seeing a huge garden in front of you. As if that wasn’t enough, the tables had potted plants, behind us was a sink fitted with a poso for the faucet, while to our side, was a huge wooden wheel. It really felt like we were eating in the middle of our own hacienda. Haha!
We ordered Vegetable Frittata and Tinapang Bangus for our first meal that day; the former “traditional Italian omelette with sauteed Tagaytay vegetables accompanied with toasted bread”, the latter “crispy fried smoke milk fish sided with pineapple salsa, served with fried egg and garlic rice”. We were both served coffee too, this time with muscovado sugar.
The omelette was like a huge torta brimming with the good stuff, while the sizeable smoked bangus was amply seasoned and had that crispy skin I craved for the night before. Both servings were huge, and obviously were very filling. Oh, the pineapples were sweet too! Well, we were in Tagaytay. They should be.
Goodness. Just recalling all of our meals at Dulang got my appetite all worked up. I tell you, it really was at par with the quality of everything we experienced at Nurture during that overnight trip. It was even consistent with the wellness aspect the place promotes. The food offerings are generally healthy, cooked and presented using European techniques with the use of locally sourced ingredients, and was no doubt delicious.