Around a few months ago, Lori Baltazar of the iconic Pinoy food blog Dessert Comes First posted about this new boutique hotel in scenic Tagaytay that served gorgeous food at reasonable rates, had cozy guest rooms with an elemental theme, and also had a spa that promised luxurious treatments for relaxation and detoxification. This little piece of heaven is The T House.
Ever since I read Lori’s entry on the place, I’d been planning to go there and have a look for myself. So, rather than head off to our usual celebration spots for my birthday yesterday, the family all got into the car and trekked over to Tagaytay.
The T House lobby
It’s a very pretty place: white pathways, pebbled/graveled grounds, grand-looking fruit trees (my dad noted lanzones and cacao trees on the premises) and ornamentals, and bamboo plants that swayed with the chilly breeze that blew in. I also noted a whiff of eucalyptus and sweet-orange wafting in from the spa area towards the back, so soothing!
The Dining Room
We were met at the lobby by their very cordial manager and immediately ushered into a white dining area that reminded me of an interior designer’s catalog. It was rather chic: jet-black tables with colorful plastic chairs set about them.
Since there were five of us, we were placed at a table by the windows. Our table was a solid hardwood affair and, rather than the multi-colored seats, we sat on heavy, dark-stained kamagong benches. (I don’t know if my brother, Fr. Jeff, noticed, but the table given to us reminded me of the refectory back at his high school alma mater!)
I heard that the breakfasts at T House are to die for, but our reservations were for lunch so we had their four-course set meal. This splendid repast began with a warm, crusty roll for each person with lashings of salted butter that melted seductively on the soft, fluffy crumb.
Whilst enjoying the bread, we were also asked to choose from the beverage menu. Mom and Isabelle chose the T House Signature Drink, an extremely fruity orange concoction made with four fruits (think Four Seasons on hyperdrive) but tastes predominantly of guava (and was that a papaya-ish smoothness in there?). Dad and Fr. Jeff are major iced-tea fans, so the deliciously tangy Iced Lemongrass Tea was right up their alley. I opted for April’s Mint, a house drink named after T House co-owner April Inocentes. This drink was an absolutely refreshing blend of citrus and chopped fresh mint that went perfectly with the meal.
Brown wild mushroom on the left; pale green broccoli and almond on the right
Shooters of soup – two choices per person – came after the bread and butter, served in Oriental teacups and accompanied by the skinniest bread-sticks. Diners have four kinds of soup to mix and match for their shooters: broccoli and almond, carrot and coriander, fresh tomato, and wild mushroom. The wild mushroom soup was much to our liking: creamy but not totally liquefied, fragrant, and the flavor had an earthy richness to it that went down pleasantly. The broccoli and almond soup had a pronounced broccoli flavor that may not exactly appeal to most people, though we did find it good. The almonds gave it a grainy texture, though the nutty flavor was barely detectable. I wasn’t able to taste the fresh tomato and carrot soups, but Mom and Dad agreed that one had but to throw a shot of vodka into the tomato soup to turn it into a Bloody Mary. Fr. Jeff was the only one who had the carrot soup, and he declared it good but not exactly remarkable.
What’s cooking in there?
Now, I’m pretty sure that some of you SybDive readers are starting to look a little worried at this point. Places like these that pride themselves on healthy food can’t exactly be counted on for hefty meals, right? On the contrary, the cuisine at T House was certainly satisfying – as I’ll show you in tomorrow’s post.