A couple of weeks ago, we took a trip to Hacienda de San Benito located in Lipa, Batangas to dine at their resident restaurant, Terrazas de Barako. Behind the kitchen is a well traveled chef that hails from Britain, Chef Teresa Loeb who has cooked for royalty in her home country and most recently in Brunei.
The restaurant, designed by Jason Buensalido, is shaped liked a kite using native building materials to give it a nice modern look yet matches the overall theme of the property. The restaurant might be small but the big doors and windows offering magnificent views of Mt. Malarayat.
Chef Loeb, a proponent of slow food, delights in using the best organic ingredients available, most of which are available within the property. She finds inspiration for her dishes by sitting and admiring the many splendors of nature.
Our table was laid out nicely with a unique touch, chilis (red and green) were use.
A big basket of assorted breads was served, my favorite among all of them was the sweet onion roll, which was created by Chef Loeb just that morning while thinking on what to do with fresh onions. Malunggay butter is served on the side.
An amuse bouche of Crositini with Chicken Liver Pate topped with Mango Chutney. The chutney injects its sweetness into the rich and savory pate. A nice crunchy whetting for our taste buds.
Next up was a sampler plate taken from their current menu. Malunggay Lumpia with Crabmeat and Prawn, Cream of Roasted Vegetables and Fillets of Tambans encased in Crispy bacon. I enjoyed all of them especially the chunky, hearty soup. I even liked the tamban (sardine) with bacon, what can really go wrong when crispy bacon is around.
Spinach and Water Chestnut Roulade with Lettuce and a Spicy Chili Coconut Salsa. A nice interlude between the entrees and the appetizer is this quirky little salad cum roll that was complemented by the slight spicy nutty salsa.
Pan Fried Red Tilapia, Free Range Chicken Wing stuffed with Longganisa and Oven Baked Lamb with minted sauce. Each part of the entree selection was wonderfully done. The red tilapia (harvested on the grounds) was a revelation, tasting so fresh and flaky you’d swear its a different fish.
The chicken was tender and tasty as can be expected with free range chicken while the longganisa was a sweet surprise. I got a taste of the tournéd carrots and organic vegetables really are so much sweeter, its the best carrot I’ve ever tasted.
The lamb was cooked nicely but what I liked was the mint sauce, its not from any bottle or can, its made with real mint leaves that you could see the finely chopped pieces.
A trilogy of chocolate to end the meal. Mini Chocolate Hot Fudge, Dairy Free Chocolate Parfait and Chili Chocolate ice cream. I loved the mini hot fudge, high praise coming from a non chocoholic like me. I did not like the chili ice cream with its super spicy kick. The parfait was a bitter letdown, it looked nice but it tasted weird to me.
Chef Loeb has crafted a meal full of surprises, from the sweet organic produce to the fresh new takes on the usual dishes. A meal at Terrazas de Barako takes around 3 hours to fully enjoy each dish surrounded by serene and lush surroundings while enjoying the cool breeze. This is a great alternative to crowded and dated Tagaytay.
by Reservation only:
Terrazas de Barako
Hacienda San Benito
4217 Lipa, Batangas
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