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. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  3. 12 other things you can do at Pico de Loro Cove
  4. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  5. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  6. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  7. Summer treat for your aspiring astronomers
  8. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  9. This is not just a farm
  10. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week?
  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. France makes work beyond 6 p.m. illegal
  5. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  6. South Koreans crave Asia’s smelliest fish
  7. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  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. Ex-Givenchy model fights for ‘Yolanda’ survivors


  • Firetruck rams California eatery; 15 injured
  • 9 confirmed dead after ferry sinks off South Korean coast
  • Aquino to public: Learn to sacrifice
  • 20 killed as Islamic extremists rampage in Nigeria
  • Drug firm Novartis to help Leyte firefighter
  • Sports

  • Walker leads Bobcats over Bulls in OT, 91-86
  • Man City slips further out of title contention
  • Federer would skip tennis to be with wife, newborn
  • Manny Pacquiao in PBA? If so, he’ll wear No. 17
  • PSC sets Blu Girls US training
  • Lifestyle

  • 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
  • Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  • Entertainment

  • American rapper cuts own penis, jumps off building
  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Why Lucky has not bought an engagement ring for Angel
  • Derek more private with new girlfriend
  • ‘Community’ star happy with return of show’s creator
  • Business

  • Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work
  • PH presses bid to keep rice import controls
  • PSEi continues to gain
  • Number of retrenched workers rose by 42% in ’13
  • PH seen to sustain rise in FDIs
  • Technology

  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Tech company: Change passwords or suffer ‘Heartbleed’
  • Filling the digital talent gap
  • SSS to shut down website for 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

  • Syria most dangerous country for journalists, PH 3rd—watchdog
  • Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
  • First Fil-Am elected to Sierra Madre, Calif. city council
  • UC Irvine cultural night to dramatize clash of values in immigrant family
  • Filipino sweets and info served at UC Berkeley Spring Fest