We had been meaning to try out Romulo Café for so long, its just that its located in the Tomas Morato area which we don’t frequent. So finally for G’s birthday, she decided to treat us there and made sure to secure a reservation well ahead of time. The place gets packed most of the time.
Set in the beautifully restored old house, decorated predominantly in black and whites and adorned with old photos of Carlos P. Romulo all around.
G arrived first and ordered a couple of appetizers before we got there. We got a look at the menu and decided on the other dishes since A and S were going to be running late, coincidentally G, A and S were also our companions when we ate in Bagoong Club.
Pinoy Nachos (P85).Sweet Potato and Taro chips drizzled with white cheese, quezo de bola and tomatoes. We all like this one but had a little complaint that the chips at the bottom did not get any sauce at all since all of the sauce was drizzled on the top and side.
Vigan Longannisa with cheese triangles. I don’t have and idea how much this cost and if this is the correct name since I can’t find it it the menu list I have.The triangles looked and tasted like an Indian samosa with the flaky puff pastry but instead used Vigan longanissa as stuffing. A little dip in the cheese sauce on the side served to lessen the saltiness of the longanissa.
Tinolang Manok (P230). Lauren liked this so much she requested Irene to cook it the next day at home. The chicken was tender while the soup was smooth and flavorful.
Baby Pusit in Garlic (P230). This was the winning dish of the night. The small delicate squid was very tender and well flavored with garlic that it went well with our rice. The last time I had squid this small was in Singapore’s No Signboard restaurant.
Bangus Belly in Banana Leaves (P275).The bangus was crispy but the fatty part was too small for me, almost to the tail end of the fish or it just had too little fat to really be called belly. I barely tasted the sisig sauce served on the side since it tasted weird to me.
Boneless Crispy Pata Binangonaan (P635). This dish is very pricey, and yet nothing to rave about. It tasted like good crispy pata, crispy skin with juicy meat
Tito Greg’s Kare Kare (P385) Their version of kare-kare just looks too orange for me. It was also quite bland seemingly lacking in the peanut taste that I experienced with Bagoong Club’s version.
Kalkag Rice (P135). “Kalkag” is toasted dried shrimp. I love the color of this rice dish, yellowish with tinges of green and dark red, it looked festive. The taste did not lag behind too, the kalkag was spread evenly throughout imparting a rich salty taste with each spoonful.
What’s a meal without dessert. We picked two from their dessert selections, Crispy Suman sa Latik (P65) and Tropical Turon (P145). I skipped the suman since I like mine fresh, soft and covered in sugar. The tropical turon had pineapples instead of banana hence the “tropical” in the name. The calamansi sherbet and lemon sauce imparting yet more tartness to the already tart pineapple triangle. Although it served to really clean the palette of the rich dishes earlier, it was a little too much tart for me, as I was reaching for my glass of water immediately after eating.
Ambiance wise, Romulo Café is a clear winner but its with their food that they suffer a bit. I was expecting traditionally cooked Filipino dishes thinking they were aiming for that with the old photos of Carlos P. Romulo, instead what I tasted was the modernized version.
I think this is a nice place to bring foreign guests because of the nice place and the more palette friendly taste. I would rather eat at Bagoong Club, a stone’s throw away which has a more homey ambiance coupled with food that S described as “Nora Daza Filipino food”.
Scout Tuason cor. Sct. Dr. Lazcano
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