Irene and I have been wanting to eat at Lolo Dads Cafe by Chef Ariel Manuel for more than 12 years already. We’ve always wistfully thought about when we were going to have a meal there after hearing both wonderful stories tinged with a warning of expensive costs. So when a deal coupon popped up at Deal Grocer, we immediately took the plunge even though it meant a discount of only P400 for each person.We set a date and went there together with Fran and Paul.
We got there after a relatively traffic free drive, and stepped through this concrete arched door leading to a mini garden with glimpses of the restaurant peeking through. We were led to our seats, too bad it did not afford a view of the open kitchen so we could watch the chefs at work.
We browsed through the menu, picked our orders. The menu even included the story behind the name Lolo Dad’s, quite an interesting read.
They had a tasting menu available but we chose individual dishes instead. Bread with roasted garlic butter was served to tide us by while they prepared our orders. The butter tasted a little bitter so upon closer inspection we found it was the garlic that was the culprit.
Irene started off with a Double Espresso of Mushroom and Tomato Soup (P320). Its served in two small espresso cups hence the name, with a side of salted fleuron sticks. I got a sip of both and the flavor is intense as the concentrated liquid hits your taste buds. Of the two I preferred the tomato while Irene liked the mushroom better, a nice bit of sharing potential in the future.
I started with a Ahi Tuna Loin and Marinated Salmon (P390). Beautifully plated, with a bunch of mixed greens serving as the dividing line between the salmon and tuna. The tuna slices sat atop a piece of roasted watermelon, which was refreshing and smoky at the same time.
A smoking interlude courtesy of the complimentary Raspberry sorbet was served before the main course. The cold tarty delight served to cleanse our palates to better appreciate the flavors to come.
I was supposed to have their popular Venison dish but it was so popular the night before they ran out of it that day. So I picked Stuffed French Quail and Moulard Duck Breast (P1290). The quail is stuffed with something similar to bread pudding, like how a turkey is done during Thanksgiving. The quail meat tasted quite similar to pigeon and is actually a substitute used in Chinese restaurants in the west for fried pigeon.
The duck breast was cooked perfectly medium, reddish breast meat all throughout, maintaining its tenderness. The Moulard duck is the one bred especially for foie gras, maybe the same foie gras used in the sinful rice dish on the side. The small bowl of rice sat quietly on the side almost forgotten in the meaty center stage, but it packed a world of flavor with the bits of foie gras mixed in.
While I was happy with my main course, Irene could not help but gush over her Herb de Provence Crusted Rack of Lamb (P1340). She does not eat beef so is very familiar with all forms of lamb dishes. Her comment with this dish is this is the best lamb dish she has ever had. There’s two chops each about an inch thick but the meat is super tender, a masterful show of cooking technique. Irene gave me a few pieces and I was green with envy as her main course completely overshadows mine, its that good.
A wonderful meal courtesy of Lolo Dad’s, exquisite flavors matched with deft cooking technique. Prices are a little on the high side but nothing earth shattering. We’ll definitely be back, and not after 12 years again. My tummy has been thinking of that aborted meeting with the venison dish.
Lolo Dads Café
899 Pres. Qurino Ave. cor. Leon Guinto St.,
For reservations: 522.2941/524.2295/526.7151
Closed during Sundays
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