As Christmas comes, our thoughts turn to the places we could gather our relatives and spend quality time eating, talking about good times, and celebrating the year that’s about to end.
Tagaytay is our place of choice. Most of our relatives are in the south, after all, and the popular holiday town south of the metro is a place of happy memories.
Tagaytay now has numerous hotel and food options, but we prefer a tried-and-tested brand for our holiday splurge.
Restaurant Verbena is top of mind because it has the perfect holiday menu. Located in the boutique hotel Discovery Country Suites, the dining place has a warm, homey atmosphere ideal for family gatherings and celebrations, as well as bonding time with friends.
Guests will feel right at home as the tables are casually laid out—it’s really like you’re just visiting the home of your favorite tita.
The place was formerly a vacation house of the owners of the Discovery hotels group.
Overlooking Taal Lake
Its most striking feature is the dining area overlooking Taal Lake. This is where we had a taste of executive chef Gerwin Bailon’s culinary delights for the holiday season.
“The menu we’re featuring now was created because of the successful reception of our 22 Prime Steakhouse items here in Verbena,” said Bailon, who’s also the executive chef Prime Steakhouse at Discovery Suites Ortigas.
“Our guests loved it, so this holiday season, we thought of bringing it back.”
The choices are many and can be daunting.
Available for preorder, dine-in or takeout, the Christmas Feast Set (P3,700) includes a USDA Shortplate with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Truffle Potato Gratin; Roasted Turkey Roulade with Sausage and Herb Stuffing, Giblets Gravy and Cranberry Sauce; Seafood Platter with Jumbo Prawns, Mahi-mahi, Salmon, Green Mussels, Squid served with three signature sauces; and Pork Cracklings served with Caesar Salad, Roasted Marble Potatoes and Mushroom Sauce.
Also available this season is a three-course holiday menu (P1,285+/person). We started with a Roasted Chestnut and Carrot Ginger Bisque served with Turkey Croquettes and garnished with Smoked Paprika and edible flowers.
For the mains, we had the Braised Short Ribs with Truffle Sweet Potato Puree, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Aged Balsamic and Kale Cracker. We also tried the Steak Platter, which featured a trio of meats—wagyu, ribeye and striploin.
We wrapped up our meal with Pumpkin Pie with Bacon and Parmesan Ice Cream. Particularly good, and an absolute must-try, is its limited-time dessert, the Queso de Bola Cheesecake. It’s savory-sweet, and the queso de bola shavings impart a nostalgic yuletide taste.
Restaurant Verbena is at Discovery Country Suites along 300 Calamba Road, San Jose, Tagaytay City; tel. (02) 85298172, [email protected] discovery.com.ph, http://www.discoverycountrysuites.com