Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Romulo Cafe, Quezon City

The other night, my family and I were going out for the afternoon and for dinner as well. We've decided where we wanted to spend the afternoon but we had some issues when it came to deciding where to eat for dinner. I, for one, strangely felt like eating Filipino food.* My parents both suggested Cafe Romulo.** Even though I'm quite the foodie, I haven't heard of the place.***

Al fresco dining area!
From the outside, the place is breathtaking, this is considering it's a restaurant. From the looks of it, it was a house before and it's been renovated to accomodate the form and features of a restaurant. There's a spacious outdoor dining area and a couple of divided dining areas indoors.****

Indoor dining area with memorabilia.
The menu is largely on traditional Filipino favorites given some twists and flares. It's quite a task to pick a dish cause it seems that they're all equally enticing. I trusted my parents' judgement since they've been there before and they've already had some dishes in mind.

Gambas- P235
Baby Gambas sauteed in roasted garlic.
The gambas was overcooked according to my sister.***** I also observed that the so-called "poop-shoot" at the base of the shrimp wasn't taken out. I had a taste of the sauce, it was greatly garlicky which I thought was good, but it lacked a hint of chili though.

Crispy Crablets- P160
Crispy crablets are very common to have with beer. But I think that crispy crablets alone are tempting enough. Oh wait, even better with some vinegar! They kept this dish simple highlighting the crablets alone.

Tinapa Roll- P140
Tinapa Rolls have been gaining ground in the restaurants these days, you see them up on the menu often. These speared-ones are crispy and they have been fried well, therefore, no oiliness. A nice medley of fillings, served with a slightly spicy sauce that was just perfectly suiting.

Boneless Crispy Pata Binagoonan- P635
Served with eggplant.
Crispy Pata as we all know usually is a huge ham hock with a humungous protruding bone and it has to be shamelessly deconstructed- it's a pain. Their version was a boneless one with a relish on top that was just phenomenal. Eggplant was on side but it seemed out of place.

Flying Tilapia with 3 sauces- P295
It seems like all of the things we ordered has that adjective "crispy" attached to it. Anyway, the flying crispy fish was really fresh. It had sweet, succulent meat. It was served with 3 sauces that equally complimented the fish.

Tuna Sisig- P220
Gen. San Tuna Belly cooked in sisig sauce.
Everybody likes sisig. My friends in Australia pronounce it zi-sig. We had a tuna one and it had a creamy sort of sauce with it, no fat meat since it was tuna after all. It was cut my the acidity of calamansi in the dish. YUM!

Seafood Kare-Kare- P595
Crab, shrimp, squid, and mussels with vegetables.
Cooked in peanut butter and
served with our special bagoong.
My personal favorite Filipino dish is Kare-kare. Every time I describe it to my friends in Australia, they wince cause a peanut butter stew does in fact sound a bit odd. The truth of the matter is, it's a gorgeous combination of flavors that mesh together beautifully. It was oh so tasty.

Spicy Tuyo Pasta with Red Eggs and Tomatoes- P230
The spicy tuyo pasta is a new invention perhaps combining several Filipino flavors and incorporating them into other more common Western elements such a olives, tomatoes, and a bit of a dash of pesto. In my opinion, it tasted good, but it definitely didn't jump off the page.

Choco Lava
Do you remember the chocolate java cake that you used to order in Chili's? The choco lava cake in Romulo's is like 10 times better and 10 times more sinful (or not). The chocolate cake is a fondant, and it was oozing in the middle, much like chocolate fudge according to Shaye. It was rich and dark. Pairing it with ice cream is the most obvious but perfect choice.

Buco Pandan
As for the other dessert, it definitely took the back seat in the realm of their dessert menu. All of us were disappointed since it wasn't really a buco pandan per say. It was vanilla ice cream with bits and pieces that would actually form buco pandan. 

Overall, I reckon Romulo Cafe is good value for money. It's a sophisticated transformation of Filipino food but still retaining the integrity and focus of it. They do their food well. The presentation is careful and elegant. The whole experience was lovely.

Romulo Cafe

32 Scout Tuason corner Dr. Lazcano
Tomas Morato, Quezon City
Telephone: +632 332-7275

Ps. Make reservations unless you intend to have an early meal.

* If you really know me, you'd know that I'm hardly one to raise my hand when it comes to this cuisine. And I haven't been in the country for a couple of months, so I had a slight craving for it.

** When my parents both suggest the place, it means that the food is absolutely pucker.

*** This hardly ever happens.

**** I reckon the divisions are for private functions.

***** I didn't get to try it cause I'm particularly sensitive when it comes to shrimp.

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