Dining with Crisostomo (a weekend at Nuvali, Laguna)

On our way back from Tagaytay, we stopped by for lunch at Solenad Nuvali, the new commercial area along the Sta. Rosa – Tagaytay road. It’s developed like a mini-BHS, with the added attraction of having a lake and boat rides.

Present were the usual suspects Italianni’s, Conti’s, Brother’s Burger and Starbucks, among others. This time around, we decided to try a restaurant that we only saw for the first time, Crisostomo. Named after Crisostomo Ibarra, our National Hero’s hero, the place had a Noli and El Fili theme. Their menu was nothing else but Filipino, and it was filled with names of Rizal’s characters. The place was filled, so it must be good, we thought.

We had the Mais ala Sybila (soup with corn, shrimp and malunggay), sinuglaw (kinilaw with grilled pork), Binagoongan ni Pia (binagoongang baboy), and halo-halo for dessert.

As we sat at the table, they gave us a bowl of green peas and cornic, which was nice. Then came the soup. It tasted good, but we found only two pieces of shrimp, and for the price we would have expected a bit more. There was not much malunggay either, but there’s an abundance of corn (To be fair, the soup was named mais anyway).

Next came the sinuglaw. The fish came in rather small slices, which quickly got “cooked” by the vinegar. For people coming from the south, who are used to getting their kinilaw very fresh, that’s never a good sign.

Next came the binagoongan. It is as one would expect for a binagoongan, though I found it a little “soupy”. You could see in the picture that there’s a lot of liquid in the dish. Maybe it’s just a different way of doing binagoongan, but I preferred the “drier” ones.

Last came the halo-halo. I would not hide the fact that when I saw them bringing our halo-halo up to the counter, I thought they were still going to add more ingredients, before sending those to our table.  But, I was wrong. The waitress just picked them up and headed straight to us, tall glasses of ice with little “sahog”. To be honest, we found the “sahog” inadequate.

The place had a catchy and interesting concept, which was why we chose it. There was also another restaurant there that we haven’t tried yet, but its name I already forgot (see how this place stuck to my mind)?

When the food came though, we were…er…underwhelmed. The serving sizes were nothing to brag about, and for the price, we would have expected more shrimp on the soup, bigger slices of fish, and more sahog beneath the halo-halo. The taste of the dishes were generally good, but not something we’d go out of the way for either.

Still, we left the place with my hunger satisfied. But are we likely to be seen dining there again? Not very  =(

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