Discovery Country Suites
Contemporary country cuisine
By Earl D.C. Bracamonte
‘Tis ‘home suite home’ at Discovery Country Suites in Tagaytay as the seven-room bed-and-breakfast prepares for a homey Valentine experience for sweethearts and couples alike. Fifty six couples will be seated comfortably in and around the gardens. And as an added treat, those who book to stay will receive a couple’s massage for an hour.
“February in Tagaytay is still a cold month so most dishes in our Valentine menu are braised. It is the only spring month in the Philippines before the season transforms to the hot summer months. This time around, there are no aphrodisiacs. Food’s not too homey so it doesn’t get lethargic after the meal being a romantic evening. Thus the portions are controlled.
“We are preparing lighter dishes from what’s in from the farms; working closely with the farmers of gourmet produce in Batangas. Ninety per cent of our ingredients are sourced locally; like the parsley we used in our couscous which gives off a peppery and spicy aftertaste. This happens when they’re grown and harvested out of its normal season.
“Our direction takes a casual spin on the menu options, working with our Verbena theme all along. These dishes work hand-in-hand with our regular menu. We’ve done four to five tries to perfect the execution and prepared them six months before; leaving no stone unturned, so to speak,” shared corporate chef Anthony Raymond.
The quaint manor home welcomes food lovers to relish a romantic Valentine lunch or dinner menu at Restaurant Verbena on Valentine weekend. The a la carte selection features a medley of the freshest local produce and choicest continental ingredients to give diners a taste of Tagaytay’s bounty. Corporate chef Anthony Raymond’s culinary creations start with a localized rendition of a French favorite, Asparagus and arugula veloute prepared with fresh kesong puti, basil oil and fried capers. The savory cream soup is sprinkled with rose petals of varying hues. The starter option comes with a side plate of appetizers containing potato croquettes and fried kesong puti with pesto.
The main course is something to look forward to! It’s Chilean sea bass poached in aromatic lobster oil with basil, tomato couscous, marinated olives and parsley puree that’s delicately garnished with shellfish emulsion just before serving. “Lobster oil is not available commercially so you have to prepare it. Simply roast shrimp shells with carrots, onions and garlic then crush them with tomato paste and canola oil. Strain the mixture then can for a month prior to initial use. The longer it is stored, the longer is its shelf life,” shared chef Raymond.
And to end the repast on a sweet note, there’s Bittersweet chocolate pudding with crumbled walnuts, fresh strawberries and chocolate shavings. The countryside’s cool climate, coupled with the newly-renovated sound-proofed rooms make for the ultimate Valentine experience.
“The color scheme of red in the dishes is shown with the presence of strawberries, cherry tomatoes and rose petals. The Valentine menu also pairs well with Valdevieso de Chile 2012 Chardonnay as the wine’s notes perfectly complements our straightforward, bistro-style offering,” concluded the chief toque.
Discovery Country Suites is a boutique hotel along the Tagaytay Ridge with a tranquil view of the lake. It has seven themed suites, each with a distinct character inspired by country living. Discovery Country Suites is known for its intimate garden weddings, with Taal Lake as backdrop. For more information, simply visit the company Web site, www.discovery.com.ph.