Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Quezon City, Philippines -> Romulo Cafe

My university best friends are fond of dining out and eating just like me (Birds of the same feather flock together, of course).  Being away from my hometown made me wanted to check out eating  places serving good Filipino food and good dining experience.  My best friends are experts on this aspect so it was not difficult to decide where to meet up.

Hubby and I trotted our way to Tomas Morato.  For those of you who are not familiar with the place, it is a long stretch of restaurants, cafes and bars in Quezon City, the biggest city in Metro Manila, Philippines. 

As unique as it is, Romulo Cafe is situated in the same area but not in the said stretch.  We went inside small streets, mainly residential which made me wonder if we're still going to the right place, until, we saw one beaming light written 'Romulo Cafe' at the corner of Scout Tuazon and Dr. Lazcano Street, we were both relieved that we found it.

Without the big light, the place looks like a big house.  My friends told me that it was a residential home being rented by the Romulo's family, who's running the said restaurant, to showcase Filipino food at its finest.

A bit of a history, Carlos Romulo was an active politician serving 8 presidents (from 1930's till the 80's)*

The moment we entered the place, outdoor seats as well as bar type tables were available for waiting.  It looked nice dining outside, but with the extreme heat plus, my friend was wise enough to make a reservation inside, we were escorted by one of the waiters to our table in an air-conditioned room.

love the minimalist interior and relaxing ambiance

showcasing family heritage and contribution to Philippines

It was Wednesday night, and I didn't expect a lot of Filipinos are already dining out in the middle of the week (usually it starts on a Friday).  The place was very crowded with big groups per table, eating and chatting at the same time.

A one-page menu was given out to us, which is unusual for me, as I'm used to having several pages of menu when dining out in the metro.  Thus, it was not difficult to choose what to order.

For starters, we had...

Cheese with Vigan Longganisa Dumpling (5/5)  - Longganisa is the Philippine version of chorizo sausage, with distinctive sweetness of cured meat (usually pork).  Vigan, a city at the Northern part of the Philippines, gave this sausage its unique oomph, by curing the meat with vinegar.  The cheese in this dumpling balanced off the sourness and sweetness, giving its perfection.  They provide homemade vinegar dip if it's too oily for your taste.

Monggo Soup (4/5) - green bean soup with Malunggay (moringa or sajina) leaves.  Their version was with small shrimps and crispy pork skin.  This is my favorite and the dish that I always request from mom everytime I go back home (our version is with smoked milkfish). 

Bistek Tagalog (3/5) - Philippine's beef steak, Romulo uses beef tenderloin in this dish making the meat soft and tender.  It was delicious though hubby prefers my cooking, as I would marinating it with calamansi (lime), giving its tangy twist.

Lola Virginia's Chicken Relleno (4/5) - Romulo's family recipe now available for every Filipino's palette.  Relleno is spanish-inspired, where meat (chicken, fish, etc) is stuffed with minced meat (usually pork), raisins, chorizos and peas.  The stuffed chicken pieces were extensively done and delicious.  This is one proof how Filipinos love their pork *wink*

Boneless Crispy Pata Binagoongan (3/5) - Pork knuckles with shrimp paste.  This is another unique offering of Romulo's as Filipinos are used to dipping pork knuckles meat in soy sauce.  Though, shrimp paste is not unique to us, as we have several dishes where the said paste plays a big part.  The dried bagoong (shrimp paste) was giving the taste to the meat, therefore, the pork alone was quite bland.  I prefer the good old version of making the pork knuckles tasty and dipping it in a light soy sauce.  Plus, there's not much meat only fats (which is subjective, as some Filipinos prefer more fats)

As true blue Filipino, we cannot skip rice with all this yummy dishes. (we had a big plate of it...sorry no pictures...i was a bit hungry then :D)

Cool as a Cucumber (5/5) - a mojito mocktail, this refreshing drink was made up of cucumber (with fresh slices), lime and mint leaves making this an all-time favorite among the diners.

It was a great dining night.  Though, service was not that good as the house was consist of several rooms and they had a few large groups, making it difficult for the waiters to attend to all the other diners.  I do believe that the waiters were doing their best, its just that the place needs more of them.

Price Summary (estimated in SGD)
Cheese & Vigan Longganisa Dumpling = ~$3-$4
Monggo Soup (green bean) = ~$3-$4 (serves 5)
Chicken Relleno = ~$20 (1/2 chicken)
Crispy Pata (pork knuckles) = ~$20 (1 pc - serves 5-6)
Rice ranges from $1-2 per serving
Drinks = $3 - $4
*12% VAT and 10% Svc Charge apply

Romulo Cafe
32 Scout Tuazon
cor. Dr. Lazcano
Tomas Morato, Quezon City
+632 332-7275
reservation is recommended

*Information from Wikipedia


  1. Hello! Sorry this might not seem very related to your post but i have this burning question that i wanna ask! Is Jollibee really that fantastic? My friend misses it so much after her trip to the Philippines.

  2. Hi Foodoshoot! Jollibee is our home-grown fastfood and is catered to Filipino taste. There's burgers, fried chicken, french fries,etc. An analogy would be: Americans miss their McDonalds and KFC, we, Filipinos miss our Jollibee :)

    You should try it when you're in the Philippines :)

  3. Ah hah! Thanks so much :)
    And see you on saturday!

  4. omg, how I wished that I could eat that Cheese with Vigan Longganisa Dumpling! Don't really see such dumpling in Singapore. Btw, nice photos of the restaurant! It looks stunning! :)

  5. Oh, and one more thing, if you want to try the tiramisu from BLIC, try calling them and see if its available. It's your last few days in Sg! Try asking Ben to see if he can do one for you :)

  6. Hi Foodoshoot! See you on Saturday! :)

    Hi Bella V, yes, even Filipino restaurants here in SG don't offer that dumpling...Thanks for the nice words :)

    I'll try to call them so i can get that tiramisu...:) Thanks again!