I heard and read about La Cocina de Tita Moning but have never had the chance to eat there. When I chanced upon a Deal Grocer coupon good for two persons for P2500, I asked Janey if she was interested also. She was, so we planned to go together.
La Cocina de Tita Moning is located at the Legarda ancestral home in San Raphael St., Malacañang, built in 1937. It was one of the first art deco houses built in Mania by Dr. Alejandro Roces Legarda and his wife Ramona.
When we arrived at the house in San Raphael St., we were ushered into the patio to have some appetizers, quezo de bola cheese bread and lemongrass ice tea. I liked the crunchy bread with the sharp quezo de bola taste, but I did not like the lemongrass ice tea, it reminded me a lot of lechon.
After a while of sitting in the patio, we were beckoned into the main house to start the tour. Stepping into the hallways of the old house, I could not help but marvel at the way they have preserved everything. We toured the library, Dr. Legarda’s OB clinic, the living room, as well as the bedrooms. I saw a lot of antique radio equipment and cameras, Dr. Legarda was a founding member of the Camera Club of the Philippines.
We were finally led to the main dining area and our table. The place setting was very nicely done, and I really loved the plates with its red designs all around. Bread and butter were served as they prepare our 7 course meals.
Since each pair had to order one menu only, we decided to each order a different one so there were more dishes to try.
Gazpacho with Fresh Crab Salad. Despite being a cold soup, I liked this one a lot, the freshness just lingers in the mouth. The crab salad adds a creamy and sweet contrast to the soup.
Gambas al Ajillo/ Grilled Eggplant Salad with Wild Rice Truffle Risotto. Irene had this one and loved everything on the plate. I got a taste of the gambas, the shrimp was very crunchy and garlicky.
Paella Valenciana. The paella was highlighted by two large prawns on top, one of the better ones I’ve had. This was served for both menus.
Slow Roasted Pork with its own Chicharon/ Sauteed Fresh Ubod (heart of palm).This dish reminded me of asado from Binondo, different from HK style asado. The skin was really crispy, a cross between lechon skin and chicharon. FYI, the picture above was not the whole serving since it was served family style.
Lengua cooked in White Wine with Organic Brown Rice. The lengua was very tender and the sauce matched the hearty brown rice perfectly.
Caramelized Bananas with Vermouth.
Fresh Fruits and Assorted Cheese Platter
Quezo de Bola Cheesecake with Fresh Mango Sauce. This cheesecake had a little more sweetness owing to the mango sauce but Irene and I still liked the one from Bagoong Club better.
Bread Pudding, Leche Flan and Fresh Mango Crumble with Ice Cream. I loved the leche flan, I would have bought one order to take home if not for our over flowing fridge.
Native Chocolate. This was very pretty native chocolate drink with the colorful marshmallows on top.
It was really a wonderful dining experience in a beautifully preserved house. The service was very good too, we even felt awkward since the service staff held the food beside us while we put them on our dining plates instead of setting it down in the middle of the table.
The food is quite good and servings are large enough that we were filled to the brim, even taking home some of the dishes.
I highly recommend the place especially for special occasions. Try it out and be transported to the old world of the 1930s with stories of the family that lived there.
La Cocina de Tita Moning
* Reservations are required.