For a surreal experience of a 19th Century dining, try and taste the good food at the La Cocina de Tita Moning located at 315 San Rafael Street, San Miguel, Manila.
San Rafael Street is formerly one of Manila’s most elegant street and the address of the affluent families in the early 1900s. It is situated near the Malacanang Palace, the official residence of the Philippine president.
Experience 19th Century-style dining at La Cocina de Tita Moning right inside the Legarda Ancestral Home in the San Miguel District. The house is said to be the venue of extravagant parties and dinners hosted by its occupants Alejandro Roces Legarda and wife Dona Ramona (also known as Tita Moning) during the Commonwealth Era.
It is at the Tita Moning’s kitchen where you get to dine in the antique China plates used during the 1930s.
The family’s collection of Meissen plates hanging on the wall of the dining area reflected how extravagant the dining in this house used to be.
Each of the blue Meissen plate in this set is handpainted, and lined with gold. There are no two plates in the entire set with exactly the same design.
Through the generations, members of the Legarda-Tuason-Valdez and Prieto clans have said to have divided this treasure among their families which showcased them in their own homes.
The plates were part of the set of china custom-made ordered by Don Benito Legarda for the banquets during that era, which included as special guests William Howard Taft, the first commissioner of the United States assigned to Manila.
Each time the Meissen plates were used, the servants were not allowed to touch them. Instead, the Legarda children were tasked to wash and dry each plate after the banquets.
For starters. my colleagues and I tasted Sopa de Molo, which is also known today as Molo Soup, followed by fresh kangkong salad from the garden with grilled peppers, cilantro and homemade walnut vinaigrette.
The main course is made special by an original recipe of the ‘slowly roasted pork with its own chicharon’, with candied sweet camote, Paella Valenciana, sauteed vegetables and organic brown rice.
This appetizing meal is followed by servings of pleasantly sweet dessert that includes caramelized saba bananas with Vermouth and a fresh fruit platter.
The best is the bread and butter pudding with caramelized pili nuts lollipops, which taste is made more amazing with the cup of hot chocolate.
They also serve condiments known as “Salsa Monja”, a special recipe which nuns used to make for the Spanish friars to accompany their meals. We were told to eat this together with food to enhance our taste buds and make the food extra delicious.
Other Filipino-Spanish food specialties include Kare-Kare de Pata served with exceptional bagoong, lengua cooked in white wine, chicken relleno, La Cocina Gambas Al Ajillo, whole baked lapu-lapu, Osso Buco Gremolata (traditional beef shanks braised in white wine and tomatoes and served with a traditional risotto), and Solomillion a la Tita Moning served with potatoes in their jackets (beef tenderloin baked in oven to perfection.
To add to this fine dining experience, the La Cocina staff provides personalized service since the place caters only through reservations, and they do not entertain walk-in customers. Get in touch with them at 632-7342146 or 632-7342141 or at their official website: http://www.lacocinadetitamoning.com
Your fine dining experience is not complete with the customary tour of the decades-old structure more popularly known as the Legarda House. (which will be the subject of my next blog)