Tagaytay has always been regarded as a short getaway from the busy streets of Manila. In just an hour or so of driving, you are transported to its lush, cool and fragrant embrace. No wonder so many garden restaurants are popping up to cater to Manila’s ever expanding gourmet demands.
Hubby and I often travel here, usually on a whim since it’s just an hour’s drive from where we live. Last Sunday, we decided to go an a culinary adventure, if you will. We wanted to eat somewhere where we’ve never eaten before.
As were driving by the highway, we noticed the sgn “Good Shepherd Sisters”. They’re quite famous for their ube jams. The original store is located in Baguio and we were pleasantly surprised that such store exists in Tagaytay. We bought some of their famous ube (purple yam) and some ube dimples, sweetened ube yam rolled in sugar. Yummy! Although nothing beats the ube that my mom makes, Good Shephers is a close second :-)
I’ve read some nice blogs about Chateau Hestia Garden Restaurant and Deli, a European themed garden restaurant found near the rotunda. The property is smaller than Antonio’s or Sonya’s but charming nonetheless. Flowers abound its fragrant passages. Their showpieces are the lovely hanging flowers of different colors that has hubby catching his breath and wondering if such flowers can be transported to our garden.
The restaurant proper is cozy and comfortable. Sofas and reading materials are available and encourages you to lie down on the chaise, read, maybe sleep a little. The cool breezes certainly encourage you to take it easy.
I highly recommend the fresh Dalandan Juice (local oranges), sweet on its own, no syrup or sweetener needed. Although, hubby still felt compelled to add syrup.
Complimentary Foccaccia bread with eggplant dip is given to every table. The eggplant dip is outstanding! Light and not too strong (or garlicky), a great way to start your meal. The bread basket is refilled for free.
Now, down to the food. For starters, we had the cheese platter which includes Pecorino, Asiago, Seamorza, Gorgonzola, Talleggio cheeses served with dried fruits and herbed liver pate. I love all the cheeses. They’re mild and just very tasty. The liver pate was not very good though. I usually like liver but I find this particular version is too strong. It doesn’t help that it looked like a hairball coughed out by my stray cat :-)
We were given complimentary Limoncello and Vin d’ Orange which is made within the property. Both wines pack a punch. I’m not much of a wine drinker so I’m not an authority to review this.
Of course, a Tagaytay trip won’t be complete without having some freshly picked salad greens from the garden. This was nice and fresh. Although the dressing at Sonya’s is much better.
Hubby and I split the Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup. I liked this very much although hubby said it was a bit salty for his taste.
For main course, I ordered the Roast Pork with Caraway Seeds. Um, how will I say this delicately, the flavor of the caraway seed is too strong and I didn’t like any single thing about it, even the presentation. Have you seen a dish quite so brown and blah?
Hubby had better luck with the Osso Bucco (Osco buko, as hubby called it). He finished all of it but took pity on me and gave me the marrow :-)
For dessert hubby couldn’t resist the Ferrero Ice Cream. Home made ice cream made with Ferrero Rocher chocolates. Really wonderful, we would definitely order it again.
Chateau Hestia also has a small deli shop at the back where you can find some European wines, beer, chocolates and other pantry items.
I would recommend Chateau Hestia to everyone because the staff is super friendly. The food is great too except for the Roasted Pork.
They also have a honeymoon suite that they are renting out for couples. Here is a picture of the bedroom, in case you’re interested. I wouldn't recommend this because you'll get bored after a few hours.
After our meal, we had to burn off some of those calories! The best way to do that is to explore the meandering pathways around the garden property. The chateau is a modest property with still a lot of areas to be developed. But it was fun walking around with all the flowers and the trees.