Sunday, July 21, 2013

Isabelo Garden

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I was looking for a nice restaurant to try and this place was recommended to me. It is located in Marikina, a good one and a half hour drive from home, and is owned by Portia Baluyut, an ad-agency-owner-turned-professional-chef. She turned her ancestral home into a rustic-style garden restaurant filled with various mementos and antiques. This restaurant strictly does not accept walk-in guests, you have to book your reservation online and order the dishes in advance on their website. Portia then sends an e-mail saying that your reservation is confirmed. After which, you have the option to pay a P1000 deposit or pay the amount in full either through credit card or bank deposit.

I arrived at this place having high expectations because of positive reviews. As for the food, I ordered dishes that received lots of praises online. Click the button below to see the dishes I ordered and what I thought of them! :)


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Spinach Artichoke Dip. The dip was amazing -- spinach + lots and lots of cheese! I wished there were more bread though.

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Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms. Tasted just like regular mushrooms, just bigger. Wouldn't recommend this one.

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Baked Oysters. This dish was awesome!! Freshly baked oysters with just the right amounts of cheese and herbs and a drizzle of chili powder. Just PERFECT.

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Quattro Formaggio. The pizza was good but there was nothing special about it.

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Roasted Pork Crackling. The pork was very tender -- the first thing I consider whenever I order meat dishes. Plus, it comes with 4 different kinds of dip to suit everyone's taste. I liked how it tasted but I wasn't able to eat a lot because it was a bit too oily. Warning: the serving of this one is huge -- big enough to feed 8-10 hungry tummies!

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Orange Herb Chicken (small). The chicken tasted good but it tasted strongly of herbs and no hint of orange.

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Lemon Parslied Rice. Love love love the parsley mixed with the rice! But no matter how much I wanted to, I didn't get to eat a lot because it was a bit too oily for my taste.

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Key Lime Mini Pie. This pie is different from your usual dessert. The key ingredient is lime which made the pie taste sour and bitter but still superb, especially when you mix it with the sweet graham covering. Definitely worth trying!

To be honest, I was disappointed with the food. The main reason was because some of the dishes were too oily. Also, almost all of the dishes I ordered tasted strongly of herbs. Don't get me wrong, I love the taste of herbs on my food but not on every single dish -- appetizers, entrees, and even the rice. I would definitely love some variety. But I'm not denying the fact that this could have been my fault; maybe I wasn't able to order the right dishes that would complement each other. Would I go back? Probably not. The place is too far and I think having been able to try this place out is already enough. :)

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