Latest Stories

In chilly Tagaytay, a culinary flame kept alive–especially on Valentine’s

Restaurant Verbena ‘was–and still is–my baby,’ says former chef and now hotelier David Pardo de Ayala


Fresh Oysters with Limoncello and Caviar

“You can take the chef out of the kitchen, but you can’t take the kitchen out of the chef.” So said Discovery Suites’ former corporate chef and now resident manager David Pardo de Ayala, prior to a recent lunch at the group’s property in Tagaytay.

He was reacting to a comment made by this writer about his apparent refusal to leave the kitchen entirely and focus on his new tasks.

“When I joined the Discovery group in 2006, I was responsible for Verbena, the restaurant at Discovery Country Suites in Tagaytay. It was—and still is—my baby,” he said.

The large house located on the ridge had been converted only a year before into a boutique hotel with seven guest rooms and a full-service restaurant. Restaurant Verbena ranked second in the Top 5 Philippine restaurants in the 2011-2012 edition of the Miele Guide.

Spinach-ricotta Dumplings flavored with Bacon and Balsamic Vinegar

Every February since then, Pardo de Ayala has been coming up with a His and Hers Valentine menu that he would begin preparing four months in advance.

“We’ve always offered this Valentine-theme menu. Although we already have a new corporate chef, he only came on board recently. It takes a lot of preparation to design the menu that will only be available for a week at Verbena,” he said.


Spanish, Italian flavors

This year, the His and Hers menu will feature Spanish- and Italian-inspired flavors, respectively. At the press preview held last week, those who chose the menu for him sampled an oyster croquette tinted with saffron; a creamy rice dish flavored with mushrooms and Idiazabal cheese; either chorizo prawns with fideos (thin noodles) and an aromatic pimenton sauce or Chilean sea bass with vegetable pesto and black olives; a slice of US rib-eye; and a sweet orange dessert.

Prawns with SicilianMarsala condiment

Those who opted for the ladies’ menu started their meal with a trio of fresh oysters followed by an appetizer of Spinach-ricotta with bacon and balsamic vinegar. They then chose between prawns and sea bass before being served a slice of US rib-eye with truffle mashed potatoes.

Dessert was a chocolate panna cotta flavored with amaretto and strawberries.

Now that corporate chef Anthony Raymond has joined the group, Pardo de Ayala said he will help him “keep the culinary flame alive,” adding that all he really wants is “one finger in the pie.”

Restaurant Verbena is at Discovery Country Suites, 300 Calamba, San Jose, Tagaytay City. For inquiries, call tel. 6346-4134567 or 632-5298172.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: dining , Discovery Country Suites , Food , Lifestyle , Restaurant Verbena , Tagaytay

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  2. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  3. This is not just a farm
  4. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  5. Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  6. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week?
  7. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  8. 12 other things you can do at Pico de Loro Cove
  9. Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  10. The truffled mac ‘n’ cheese, eggs benedict, chicken leg confit are excellent
  1. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  2. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  3. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  4. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  5. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  6. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  7. France makes work beyond 6 p.m. illegal
  8. Ever heard of HydroBob?
  9. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  10. Boots Anson-Roa to wed in Eddie Baddeo
  1. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  2. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  3. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  4. Manila in shock over model Helena Belmonte’s death
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer
  10. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?


  • Anti-gay demo in Ethiopia cancelled
  • Obama launches measures to support solar energy in US
  • Nebraska toddler gets stuck inside claw machine
  • Philippine eagle rescued by Army turned over to DENR
  • Gunmen attack Iraq military base, kill 10 soldiers
  • Sports

  • Vietnam says it will not host Asian Games
  • Nadal passes clay landmark with 300th victory
  • Wawrinka waltzes through with Monte Carlo walkover
  • Power Pinays smash India in Asian Women’s Club volleyball opener
  • PH youth boxers off to stumbling start in AIBA World tilt
  • Lifestyle

  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Entertainment

  • Cannes film festival launches race for 2014 Palme d’Or
  • Jones, Godard, Cronenberg in competition at Cannes
  • Will Arnett files for divorce from Amy Poehler
  • American rapper cuts own penis, jumps off building
  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Business

  • Total says makes ‘very promising’ oil find off Ivory Coast
  • ‘Chinese Twitter’ firm Weibo to go public in US
  • World stocks subdued, Nikkei flat on profit taking
  • Asia stocks fail to match Wall Street gains
  • Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work
  • Technology

  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Malaysia quarantines 64 villagers over MERS virus
  • DFA: 2 Filipinos survive Korean ferry disaster
  • PH asks airline passengers to check for MERS
  • Syria most dangerous country for journalists, PH 3rd—watchdog
  • Japan says visa-free entry still a plan