Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Our Fiesta at Ilustrado

Three Kagay-anons in Manila missing Cagayan de Oro (that's me, my husband and our friend Eric ), dined together to celebrate the town fiesta. We decided to go to Ilustrado Restaurant, located at the Intramuros last Friday night. We were actually enticed to try the place, because of Eric's high recommendation of the Sampaguita Ice Cream.

I was initially hesistant of the place, because I read somewhere that the place preferred reservations, and I figured a place like that would be too expensive. In fact, when Queen Sophia of Spain visited the Philippines, she was tendered a dinner there by the former President Fidel Ramos and his wife.

Since there were three of us, we figured the damage (on our wallets) wouldn't be as bad. So off we went to the walled city.

The restaurant is located along Calle Real de Palacio. There's a vertical sign on the left side of the street with the name Ilustrado in red and black. A little path will lead you to the restaurant. The place echoes the whole of Intramuros- of antique Spanish furniture and design. I love the smell of old wood and old houses. There are tables and chairs for those who want to eat al fresco. We went inside the main dining room. The place looks old and rich. I dare say though, it wouldn't hurt to renovate some things in the dining room.

When we went in, we were surprised there was nobody else dining there at 8 in the evening. It felt eerie. It didn't help either that the waiter wasn't so smiling. Ilustrado, eh? A waitress came in next to take our order and she wasn't so nice either. Maybe we just had gotten used to eating in nice places with smiling waitresses.

They served us bread ( 2 pieces each person). One was a slice of a baguette and the other a soft bread roll with raisins. Good bread. The liver pate was alright.


Liver Pate and Butter

The boys ordered the appetizer- Calf's Brain Meuniere . It was lightly fried, and the soft brain can still be tasted in the middle. It was done medium well, actually. I would have preferred it a little more cooked, as the exterior was really flavorful with the lemon butter and caper sauce. The boys liked the soft, juicy interiors though, Hehe.

Calf's Brain

Cross section of the Calf's Brain

For the main course, we ordered the Paella Ilustrado(P600+) . I think it was a signature dish, and is meant for sharing. I think it was alright. I've tasted better a better Paella. Mention must be made also of the crab claws. It was observed that the crab meat was dry and not fresh, and we had to have it cracked open in the kitchen, upon request.

Paella Ilustrado

Paella Ilustrado

Now, for the piece de resistance... the Sampaguita Ice Cream (P90) . It was a small scoop in a margarita glass, but it was all one ever needed. Such a lovely, lovely ice cream. It tasted strongly of sampaguitas. My mind was floating while eating it. It's the perfect dessert for a date! If one was going to propose to a girl... I think you'd get a yes if you make her have this dessert first before you pop the question! Hehe

Sampaguita Ice Cream
Sampaguita Ice Cream

For all that it's worth, the experience sucked because of the service. There was a careless manner in the way they handled us. Hmmmm. Even when they had to dish out the appetizer plates and replace them with dinner plates, there was seriously a careless manner about them. Please allow me to be honest, it was supposed to be a fine dining experience. I guess they are used to Ilustrados (a.k.a. foreigners or bigger "a"'s) as customers, who came in a little after the appetizers. Or maybe it was just another bad day. Lady luck...where are you?

Do go for the Sampaguita Ice Cream. It's worth the wait.

Another dessert saves the evening!!


mikky said...

oh dear... and from the pic, i thought the paella was good... wonder if that's the reason why you guys were the only customers that time... just a thought... :) btw, i hope to be able to get the chance to visit CDO...

Shalum said...

may 2 groups dumating at less than an hour after we arrived.

you know, the paella would have been a little better kung fresh yung crab. medyo mas mataas lang ang standard ko sa paella because i was able to taste one that was absolutely good.

please do, there are a lot of things to try there lalo na kung food. i was able to post a blog on that in my multiply account. i might cross post it to here some other time. thanks!

Anonymous said...

service should really be a priority

Shalum said...

gourmandtales, you're so right.