Back for more : Lolo Dad's Cafe in Malate, Manila

Remember the first time Paul and I dined at Lolo Dad's with friends Richard and Irene? Let's say that it was indeed love at first bite and just like how one gets struck by cupid's arrow, both Paul and I have been wanting to go back to Lolo Dad's for more.

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Finally, we made time for our much awaited return and there we were back at a place so familiar and once again truly warm and inviting. This time, I tried the Tasting Menu (Php. 2,220++) as I wanted to try more of Lolo Dad's specialty and I think this is the best way to go. Paul, on the other hand, wanted to order ala carte as he wanted more variety.

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During this visit, we saw Chef Ariel Manuel and I couldn't help but request for a photo op with him. I'm glad he was so nice to accommodate my silly request. You can say I was indeed chef-strucked!

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Our meal began with a basket of Lolo Dad's homemade bread. I really love this and had it not for the 6-course meal ahead, I would have requested for more warm bread. This one goes so well with their house garlic butter spread. This is really good stuff, believe me.

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Our meal began with two different starters. Mine was the Sweet Chili Glazed Black Tiger Prawn with Tuna Nicoise Sesame Salad in Kaffir Lime Vinaigrette. I love starting my meal with some greens as it's very refreshing and light allowing your tummy and taste buds to warm up for the food battle ahead. The tiger prawn was perfectly grilled and was so tender and juicy. The tuna was fresh and goes well with the salad greens, cheese and quail eggs.

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Paul wanted to try Lolo Dad's famous oysters and so we had the Baked Oysters on Angel Hair Pasta with Slivers of seared Duck Foie Gras (Php. 160/piece). One piece is definitely not enough as you'll end up wanting more. I normally don't eat oysters but I just have to give this a try after seeing how Paul excitedly gave his nod of approval. Prepare to sink your teeth into something so good and buttery. mmm...

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We love how Lolo Dad's always serve their soup in small espresso cups. Don't underestimate the size of one serving as one small cup is packed with flavors so rich we made sure we finish it down to the last drop. The Tasting Menu included an Espresso of Two Pea Soup with Truffled Cilantro. Now, you all know how much I love truffle-flavored dishes and this one perfectly hits the spot. I love this savory soup made of green and chick pea served with chorizo and topped with truffled scented cilantro foam.

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Paul tried the "Double Espresso Soup" Cream of Mushroom and Tomato with Salted Fleuron (Php. 350). This is actually perfect to be shared by two where one can have the mushroom and another the tomato soup. Paul preferred the Tomato soup while I had my eyes on the Cream of Mushroom. Maybe next time.

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Before heading to our main entrees, we tried the Seared Duck Foie Gras and Spiced Mushroom Pie. This was also included in the Tasting Menu. Really, I experienced a lot of firsts and have broken a number of rules during this particular dinner. After eating oysters which I normally don't, I also made an exception and had not one but two foie gras dishes. I used to abstain from foie gras as I believe in protecting those poor ducks but I gave in just this once. I promise..just this once. Really, only at Lolo Dad's.

I'm glad this dish was worth breaking the rules of as we enjoyed the delicious, melt-in-your-mouth foie gras on top of a bite-size mushroom pie. To be honest, the pie was just so-so, nothing exciting about it but the foie gras really blew us away. Imagine having fireworks in the background after taking your first bite. Yes, that was exactly how we both felt. It was amazing!

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Similar to our first visit, we had a brief intermission in between courses with Lolo Dad's Calamansi Sorbet. I love how smoke comes out from this tiny tea pot. I wonder if the food genie is hiding inside.

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As for our main entrees, I went for the Fillet of Halibut with Sauteed Scallops. How can you go wrong with these two delicious seafood? The halibut was very fresh and juicy while the scallops was simply perfect. I also enjoyed the potato mochi croquette that sat on top of a small serving of creamy truffled mashed potato. Oh I'm in food heaven!

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My dear husband, on the other hand, went for a very predictable choice (hehe!) -- US Angus Beef Tenderloin, Eye of Rib Eye and Corned Ox Tongue (Php. 940 / Php. 1565). This is perfect for all meat lovers out there. Three of the best types of beef all in one plate! Don't worry though, the cuts are pretty manageable so it can easily be handled by one person or two if you have really small appetites.

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For dessert, I had the Mandarin Orange Frozen Timbale with Thai Basil - Raisin Jam, Deep-Fried Praline and Rose Syrup. To be honest, I was a bit hesitant to have this as I'm not a fan of raisins and rose-flavored items. I was afraid that this one might just ruin the delicious flavor on my taste buds. However, as they say, a true foodie is not afraid to try new flavors and so after taking a deep breath, I took the plunge and was surprised that I actually liked it! The frozen timbale topped with mandarin orange was light and juicy. It was actually perfect to remove all savory notes on your taste buds and cleanse it with the sweet mandarin orange and cream. The praline was also very good too and definitely no yucky, overpowering taste from the raisins or rose. Yay!

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Paul, the meat and choco lover, went for the Sampler of Chocolates which was also very good! I particularly liked the deconstructed creme brulee as well as the berries scattered around the plate.

That was our romantic date at Lolo Dad's. How I wish we can do this more often where we pull ourselves off our hectic schedule, dress up and have a good meal. This was not our last visit to Lolo Dad's as we found ourselves back there again a month after for my parent's wedding anniversary. Let me save the details for my next entry.

Lolo Dad's Cafe is located at 899 Pres. Quirino Avenue corner Leon Guinto street, Malate, Manila. For reservations, call them at (63 2) 522-2941, 524-2295, 526-7151.

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