Thursday, December 13, 2012

Restaurant Verbena at Discovery Country Suites

What makes for a good vacation?

For me, a good vacation should be a perfect balance of being able to recharge yourself --physically, mentally and spiritually, as well as to satisfy your tummy with the yummiest dishes too. :)

It was pretty obvious that Paul and I had the time of our lives as we enjoyed the room, jacuzzi and the DVD collection in Discovery Country Suites. After enjoying our wine and cheese cocktail, we also had dinner at Restaurant Verbena where we were given the chance to choose a set menu. It was so hard to choose as we each had something we wanted to try from the other set menus but the Verbena's Classics was mutually agreed upon as THE ONE.

Restaurant Verbena is Discovery Country Suites' in-house restaurant. I've been wanting to try this for the longest time for two main reasons -- first, it was listed as one of the top restaurants in Miele Guide and second, the restaurant features a number of Chef David Pardo de Ayala's culinary creations and after enjoying a meal prepared by him before, I have been wanting to try more.

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Our Verbena's Classic dinner began with a basket of bread. I love Discovery's mix of spreads ever since I first tried it at 22 Prime and here at Restaurant Verbena, the spreads again came in threes namely -- Tomato Sofrito, Creamy White Beans and Chicken Liver Butter. I love the warm crusty bread that's really soft and fluffy inside.Yum!

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I always love starting my meal with some fresh salads. Given that we're in Tagaytay, it was just perfect that Paul and I had the Herb Marinated Mushrooms and Organic Arugula. Among all the leafy greens, arugula is my top favorite. Pair this with roasted warm mushrooms and this perfectly sets my meal to a good start.

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The weather was just right the night we decided to dine al fresco at Restaurant Verbena. A bit chilly but still manageable. Nonetheless, I happily welcomed the piping hot Garlic Roasted Potato Soup that was dramatically served to us. First, we were given a deep soup dish with garlic croutons and potatoes. After which, the server carefully poured the creamy hot soup into the bowl. The soup had the right flavor of garlic and it was fun biting into the creamy potatoes too.


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For our mains, Paul chose the US Angus Beef "Goulash" which was quite far from his intended manly-man steak plate. However, he commented that the beef was so tender and this stew-like dish was very flavorful and rich. I can just imagine how long Chef had to cook this to bring out all the yummy flavors.

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I, on the other hand, went for the Pan Roasted Seafood which was a colorful platter filled with three kinds of fish fillets- Chilean Sea Bass, Salmon and Snapper, Prawns and Mussels. I quickly nixed the mussels and snapper over to Paul's plate after he gave me a spoonful of his Goulash. I loved the Pumpkin Puree which I happily ate with the yummy seafood.

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Just as we had a good start to our meal, our ending was pretty memorable too. Initially we were eyeing the Ice Cream option from the other menu but I'm glad we just trusted the Chef to wow us with his Chocolate Marquise. He successfully did that for a while there we forgot about the ice cream all together. We both swooned as we tried the delicious chocolate terrine that literally melts in your mouth and will leave you wanting for more. We ate our dessert in silence up until our plates were all scraped clean.

After our delicious dinner, we both retreated to our room and excitedly anticipated for breakfast the next day.

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The next day, all in-house guests of Discovery Country Suites have the option to either have their breakfast at Restaurant Verbena or to have it served in their rooms. Initially, we thought we were in for a grand breakfast buffet but what greeted us was a simple set-up of breads and fruits at the center. Since everything was so laid back at Discovery Country Suites, you order your breakfast a la carte and you may help yourselves to the breads, pastries and fruits available too. I went for the Corned Beef while Paul had the Steak and Eggs.

My Corned Beef was served in a skillet bowl similar to where last night's Goulash was served. I love how it managed to keep the dish piping hot. The garlic rice and scrambled egg was then served on a regular plate. Look at how creamy my scrambled egg was! It was really good. The corned beef was obviously homemade and not the kind that might have came from a can. Paul was also very happy with this as he couldn't help but crossover from my side of the table. The serving was big so I gladly shared my breakfast with him. :)

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As for Paul's Steak and Eggs, he was just a bit disappointed that it wasn't served with rice. Being the manly-man that he is, he definitely wants rice for breakfast more so seeing me eating my garlic rice with gusto. We eventually gave in and asked me to share some rice with him. His steak was tender yet the cut was quite thin. I think the Corned Beef was still a better option compared to this in my opinion.

Nonetheless, both dinner and breakfast was truly remarkable at Restaurant Verbena. It's not wonder why it has been getting a number of awards and acknowledgements from the foodie world. Next time I visit, I'll also make sure to try their Fondue and Oysters which I heard are truly fantastic.

Restaurant Verbena is located inside Discovery Country Suites. 300 Calamba Road, San Jose in Tagaytay City. Call them at (046) 413-4567 / (02) 529-8127.

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