What was once my bad habit is now my pet peeve: I just can’t stand it when people check their phones in the middle of an intimate dinner and rare family or barkada gathering. It takes so much effort and compromise to set a get-together, not to mention the amount of money we spend on food and beverage these days, and then some people would just waste the night with their heads bowed to their mobiles—what’s the point?
Dinner date with my fiance, where I only used my mobile to take photos of the delicious food, as you’ll see below
It’s interesting that Discovery Country Suites Tagaytay—one of my favorite places to stay when I’m in the cool city that’s an hour- or two-hour drive away from Manila (depending on traffic flow)—has an interesting Love Month challenge: Ignore your cellphone or any other gadget during dinner, and you might just win an overnight stay in one of their themed suites, P2,000 worth of food and beverage gift certificate, or a lovely pair of Miladay earrings. Take on the challenge any night between February 1 to 28, 2017 from 6PM to 11PM at Restaurant Verbena—whether or not you win a prize, trust me, it’s going to be a rewarding experience.
If I’m asked what my favorite restaurant in Tagaytay is, it would be hard to name just one, but Restaurant Verbena is definitely among my top picks. There’s nothing like dining with the cool wind whipping through your hair and the alluring landscape and Taal Lake for your view. The warm lighting and intimate ambiance of Restaurant Verbena makes it a top choice for your Valentine’s date and any romantic occasion you are celebrating: anniversary, first date, even engagement.
Mozzarella Cheese Pot
If I may make a suggestion on what to order, you may want to start with the Mozzarella Cheese Pot (P395+), with organic tomato sugo and warm focaccia. The huge pot of mozzarella is good for two to three persons. I’d prefer that they went lighter on the tomato because I’d really rather get more of the delicious cheese, but it does lend the dish a more interesting contrast of flavors with its acidity. The gooey, creamy cheese is warm, not scalding, perfect with the focaccia bread to complete the Italian experience and for scraping up all the cheese from your fork or plate—I imagine pizza or lasagna, but overflowing with mozzarella. Yum! I’d pair this with crisp white wine. When we ran out of bread, we used the complimentary bread that came with compound herb butter and tomato soffritto dip.
Sweet Corn soup
To bring extra comfort in the cool Tagaytay weather, you must order soup, and I recommend their Sweet Corn (P265+). The rich, creamy soup is poured from a pot onto your bowl, which has smoked bacon, charred corn, chives, and basil oil. It is so delicious, smooth, and thick, but not too much that it no longer feels like soup. There’s a slight sweetness from the corn, complemented by the savory flavor from the soft bacon. I’d definitely come back for this—it’s one of the best corn soups I’ve tried, just when I thought there’s nothing else restaurants could do to make it stand out.
Baby Back Pork Ribs
For our mains, my fiancé and I tried their Baby Back Pork Ribs (P795+), from the Verbena Signature Barbecue menu. The meat is really tender, and the extra sweet barbecue sauce on the side allowed us to add as much of it as we liked. All items on Verbena’s Signature Barbecue menu are served with generous portions of potato puree, corn on the cob, coleslaw, and their tabletop barbecue sauce. I particularly like the potato, which is so creamy and so thoroughly mashed without losing its fresh potato taste and leaving a bit of its texture.
Black Truffle Risotto
What I really keep coming back to Restaurant Verbena for is their Black Truffle Risotto (P670+), made of crispy farm egg, parmesan, and smoked bacon. It’s still as good as the first time I tried it four years ago, and it’s one of the best risottos I’ve ever had. It’s easy to mess up risotto, yet they made theirs perfectly: well-cooked with amazing texture. The poached egg on top, which is also hard to get right, was perfectly done, with a nice crust. Each spoonful of this risotto is packed with so much flavor, especially from my favorite black truffle oil and the smoky homemade bacon that’s generally tender, with light crispiness on the skin. This tasty and luxurious dish was generously portioned, and I can’t complain: I just couldn’t get enough of it.
Taal Lava Flow
We washed our meal down with their Signature Cocktails (P280+ each): Lemongrass Mojito and Taal Lava Flow. The Taal Lava Flow looks like lava indeed: fiery red strawberry syrup with coconut cream, pineapple juice, and strong vodka. You get a wholesome fruitiness (like a shake) with a kick of alcohol. It’s fresh tasting and sweet—something we ladies will definitely enjoy.
The Lemongrass Mojito is so refreshing and definitely an interesting take on the classic mojito. It has just the aroma and very slight flavor of lemongrass, so it’s not distracting.
The great service at Restaurant Verbena is definitely worth noting. They allowed us to preorder and asked us if we preferred to have it served by course, and this allowed them to serve each dish on time and without overwhelming us with food.
You may also want to avail of their three-course dinner from February 9 to 18, 2017 at P1,525 net per person. You may choose from Lobster Ravioli, Grilled USDA Beef Tenderloin, or Pistachio Crusted New Zealand Lamb Chops for your main course. You can also get premium tables at P5,000 net for two, inclusive of a hand bouquet and house wine.
My fiance and I had an awesome stay at Discovery Country Suites—watch for my separate travel post on that soon!
All of these should keep you away from your mobile phones throughout the night, but why not make it an overnight challenge when you spend the night in one of their themed suites? Your romantic stay even comes with wine and cheese at sundown, chocolates or cake at turndown, a 30-minute massage for two, and a 10% discount on food and beverage at Restaurant Verbena. You may book a Deluxe Suite for P10,800 net or a Premier Suite for P11,800 net from February 12 to 15, 2017.
I just noticed on our last stay that the wine and cheese is now a platter, not a buffet, which it used to be when I first visited. I was told they can serve a buffet when it’s a bigger group requesting it.
Discovery Country Suites is a charming seven-suite bed and breakfast in Tagaytay, which offers the little luxuries of a hotel. The idyllic weekend destination is an ideal location for intimate celebrations and quaint garden weddings overlooking Taal Lake. And it’s one of those places where you’ll gladly go on a digital detox.
Discovery Country Suites is located along 300 Calamba Road, San Jose, Tagaytay City, 4120 Philippines. For inquiries and reservations, call (+632) 5298172, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also book your stay via Agoda when you click this link.