Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Lola Maria Restaurant at The Legend Villas

With the exception of a couple of malls, I hardly ever go to Mandaluyong unless I'm passing through to get to Makati. So when I was invited for a food-tasting session at Lola Maria Restaurant at The Legend Villas, I had visions of Subic or some place equally far from Manila. Then I read that it's actually just on Pioneer St. -- so I confirmed.

The Legend Villas is a Filipino-themed hotel which is located right across Robinsons Cybergate Center. My friend Frannywanny told me that Summit Media usually holds business meetings there. Not surprising since they have function rooms in all shapes and sizes, plus team suites in case you need facilities for overnight stay.

Lola Maria Restaurant in The Legend VillasAnyways, I proceeded to Lola Maria Restaurant on the ground floor of The Legend Villas. It was quaint and cozy, so it felt more like visiting an acquaintance's house.

Lola Maria Restaurant in The Legend VillasI was immediately served a drink sampler to start off the Degustation (P1,350 per person net for all the dishes shown here) as soon as I was settled. The drink sampler consisted of three small glasses of Dalandan Slush, Pandan Iced Tea, and Pomelo Slush. I picked the refereshingly unique pink Pomelo Slush as my full-sized drink.

Lola Maria Restaurant The Legend VillasAppetizers were brought out shortly after. The surprise of the night was we were going to be sampling eight (8) new dishes for 2011, and they were all celebrity recipes! First in line was Vegetable Quiche (P155 for 5 pieces a la carte, pictured above and below) by designer Randy Ortiz.

Lola Maria Restaurant The Legend VillasCrisp and flaky outside and filled with assorted minced veggies (asparagus, mushroom, bell pepper, onion) enrobed in a mixture of eggs, cheese, and cream. It's recommended that you have it with a bit of sour cream on top. Delicious! I think this is a good way of feeding kids vegetables as it does not come across as a veggie dish.

Lola Maria Restaurant The Legend VillasPrawn Cakes (P225 for 6 pieces a la carte, pictured above and below) were served next. This dish is by Atoy Llave of A-toy Bodykits, a known show car maker.

Lola Maria Restaurant The Legend VillasI was expecting the usual shrimp balls but was blown away by the unique texture of the filling. I could actually taste the firm yet juicy chunks of prawns, it was like eating actual whole prawns.

Lola Maria Restaurant The Legend VillasFish Pinipig (P210 for 6 pieces a la carte, pictured above) by actress Iza Calzado was another interesting appetizer -- cream dory fillet covered in crispy pinipig flakes dipped in tartare sauce. Crunchy outside, soft and tender inside. I also loved the homemade potato chips served on the side.

Lola Maria Restaurant The Legend Villas

To cleanse the palate, we were all given a small scoop of zesty calamansi sherbet.

Lola Maria Restaurant The Legend VillasThen we pressed on with the main dishes, headlined by blogger Anton Diaz's favorite dish, Cocido (P360 a la carte, pictured above). No, it's not Anton's recipe... it's a Lola Maria creation. Beef ribs stewed in rich tomato sauce with chorizo, fresh vegetables, and sweet saba slices. I may not always agree with Anton's opinions on food but this is a really lovely dish. The beef is melt-in-your mouth tender while the vegetables are fresh, crisp, and sweet. A bowl of fragrant Pandan jasmine rice is served on the side.

Lola Maria Restaurant The Legend Villas

There's this yummy eggplant dip that comes with the Cocido too.

Lola Maria Restaurant The Legend VillasRosemary and Garlic Rib-Eye Steak (P650 a la carte, pictured above) by actress Ara Mina was the star of the night. I was asked if I wanted garlic rice or mashed potatoes, I couldn't decide because I wanted to try both so I was given a little of both. The steak is cut to just the right thickness so it was tender and easy to slice into. The doneness was perfect too -- I asked for medium well and that was exactly what I got. I loved the subtle flavor of the steak, it's great even without any sauce or gravy. Garlic rice was tasty while the mashed potatoes were a dream.

Lola Maria Restaurant The Legend Villas

Dessert came in the form of three different treats.

Lola Maria Restaurant The Legend VillasUbe and Langka Panna Cotta (P120 a la carte, pictured above) by actress Sherilyn Reyes-Tan. Creamy and not overly sweet, nice! The ube halaya topping is an added bonus.

Lola Maria Restaurant The Legend VillasWe were told that Ensaymada Pudding (P80 a la carte, pictured above) by Ford Supermodel winner Danica Magpantay is the most popular dessert of the three. It's day old ensaymada with custard inside, baked and topped with grated queso de bola.

Lola Maria Restaurant The Legend VillasI thoroughly enjoyed Fried Suman at Tsokolate (P155 a la carte, pictured above) by TV personality Wilma Doesnt. Crispy outside, chewy and sticky inside. You should dip it in the rich chocolate sauce before taking a bite.

My dining companions and I agreed that Lola Maria Restaurant was quite a discovery. I never would have thought that such a charming, rustic restaurant could be found in the middle of a bustling city. Good food, lovely ambiance, and excellent service made the whole dining experience pure pleasure. I look forward to returning with my family soon. :)


Lola Maria Restaurant
G/F The Legend Villas
60 Pioneer cor. Madison Sts., Mandaluyong City
702-2700 to 04
http://www.legendvillas.com.ph


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