Seven Reasons why Bistro Charlemagne, Nuvali is your road trip foodie stopover

The Santa Rosa – Tagaytay Road is just teeming with strip malls with various dining options as well as standalone restaurants. Any foodie would be faced with the dilemma of where to eat with so many food choices available.

May I present the Bistro Charlemagne in Nuvali as a viable option? Here are seven reasons why which became even more apparent when my extended family made our way down here after our Tagaytay sojourn.

Bistro Charlemagne, Nuvali

Bistro Charlemagne, Nuvali

Bistro Charlemagne, Nuvali

One: It’s where the cuisines of the East and West come together and have a ball

Being a third-generation restaurateur, owner Charlemagne Lim achieves the balance between tradition and novelty in cuisine. The offshoot of Little Asia, Bistro Charlemagne features a little bit of the well-loved dishes its mother-restaurant popularized and a whole lot of new or innovated-upon dishes developed specifically for this new concept resto.

Take the Ceasar Salad (Php295) for example: the crisp Romaine lettuce, classic dressing, shredded chicken breast and slivers of parmesan cheese are to be expected and quite yummy… but add delicate boiled quail eggs into the fray? Say what?!?

Bistro Charlemagne, Nuvali

How about the Crispy Lumpiang Hubad (Php305)? The classic shredded and sautéed vegetables that make up the local fried vegetable rolls of our childhood are served on top of a crisp pastry while doused in garlic sauce and sweet soy dressing.

Bistro Charlemagne, Nuvali

The much-raved about Beef Tenderloin Rolls with Cheese (Php405) did not disappoint either. Our group loved the finely rolled tenderloin slices stuffed with melting cheese on top of authentic teriyaki sauce that we ordered for another plate of these goodies.

Bistro Charlemagne, Nuvali

Or consider, a new favorite of my daughter #ExhibitA and myself, the Drunken Lengua in Mushroom Brown Sauce (Php405). Those melt-in-your-mouth tender morsels of pan-seared ox tongue are served with mushrooms and asparagus spears on a bed of rich buttery brown sauce. If you had misgivings about eating the more exotic meat parts like ox tongue, this will change your mind.

Bistro Charlemagne, Nuvali

The Japanese Beef Fried Rice (Php125) tasted the Kamameshi Rice of Japanese restos but had a lighter feel. It went so well with our viands that we consumed three bowls of it.

Bistro Charlemagne, Nuvali

Two: Your favorites are here too!

Missing the taste of the familiar? No need to fret because old-time favorites are also available on the menu for those seeking more of the flavors they loved and less of the adventure into the unknown.

These include the Tuna Tataki (Php305), an appetizer made of lightly seared tuna loin lightly coated in a crust of sesame seeds and served with the traditional Japanese ponzu sauce. (And yes, we got two orders of these.)

Bistro Charlemagne, Nuvali

The Chinese food staples Salt and Pepper Spareribs (Php345) and Salt and Pepper Squid (Php365) rounded up our mains.

Bistro Charlemagne, Nuvali

Bistro Charlemagne, Nuvali

And because we Pinoys, for some reason, can’t fathom a family meal without a vegetable dish, there’s the Brocolli with Prawns and Mushrooms (Php445). We had one of these as-is, while another was made without the prawns to suit the taste of one of the little ones in our party.

Bistro Charlemagne, Nuvali

Too bad the Chicken Fingers (Php345) did not make it to our table on time so we just had that wrapped to go.

Three: There’s something for your sweet tooth

Knowing the kiddos’ predilection for peanut butter, I ordered a serving of Reese’s S’mores (Php245). It turned out that dipping crisp graham crackers into warm toasted marshmallows resting on a ganache of peanut butter chips is a decadent treat, not just for the young ones but also for the grown ups!

Bistro Charlemagne, Nuvali

And wouldn’t you know it; we had another serving of this yummy dessert because…

Four: Birthday celebrants get a special treat!

As Hubby’s natal day was within seven days of our visit to this resto, we were given a free serving of the house special Little Asia’s Crispy Chicken, one of the recipes passed down from Charlemagne’s forebears. (We simply had to present a valid government-issued ID as well as reach a minimum single-receipt transaction of Php1,995.)

Bistro Charlemagne, Nuvali

A candle was placed right smack in the middle of another Reese’s S’mores for Hubby to blow out while the restaurant staff sang a Chinese version “Happy Birthday to You.”

Bistro Charlemagne, Nuvali

Five: Did you know Bistro Charlemagne catered to international stars?

When top musical acts such as Katy Perry, Ariana Grande, Smashing Pumpkins and Paramore had their concerts in the country, Bistro Charlemagne was in charge of keeping the stars and their entourage well-fed.

Six: On a budget? No sweat!

When petsa de peligro comes along, you can still satisfy your craving for your favorite Bistro Charlemagne dish with a set meal at only Php215! This already comes with rice, soup and iced tea.

Seven: Check out its new Lenten Specials

Even if your road trip takes place in the days leading to the Holy Week, you can still keep your Lenten observance with Bistro Charlemagne’s new seafood offerings such as Crispy Fish Fingers, Octopus ala Pobre and Baked Salmon in Truffled Spinach Cream Sauce.

Bistro Charlemagne, Nuvali

Thanks to Bistro Charlemagne for serving as the tasty final stop of our Tagaytay weekend sojourn!

Bistro Charlemagne, Nuvali

This Bistro Charlemagne branch is located at GFF-6, Building B, Ayala Malls Solenad 3, Nuvali, Don Jose, Santa Rosa, Laguna.

Another branch is found at Fifth Floor, Ayala Malls Feliz along Marcos Highway, Dela Paz, Pasig City.

For reservations and inquiries, call +63 049 2580846 or +63 917 8334223.

Check out my review of its branch in Pasig here: East meets West at Bistro Charlemagne, Ayala Malls Feliz

Bistro Charlemagne Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Organic lunch treat at Kandle Cafe, Tomas Morato

I decided to treat a dear friend from the office to lunch at Kandle Cafe for her birthday.

Why?

Because a) it’s been years since I last ate there; b) I remember the place to be very Instagrammable and my friend and I are both IGers; and c) it’s reasonably near our office which means we can get back from our lunch break on time.

Kandle Cafe initially made a name for itself with its coffee brews and blends, given that the owners, siblings Khryss, Don King, Leslie and Eli Ong (from a play on whose names came the resto’s moniker – KANDLE), were all passionate about coffee culture.

The place is also marked by a design aesthetic that combines warm and homey interiors with nature’s beauty outside.

Along the pathway leading to the dining area, for example, abound plants and water feature installations. The steady sound of trickling water and the sight of verdant growths did have a calming effect on my work-frazzled nerves. Wood and metal furniture add a modern touch to the al fresco setting.

Kandle Cafe, Tomas Morato

Kandle Cafe, Tomas Morato

Kandle Cafe, Tomas Morato

Kandle Cafe, Tomas Morato

Kandle Cafe, Tomas Morato

Inside, the sprawling space is lit with warm lighting, showcasing the fun and quirky collection of bric-a-bracs and whimsical accents.

Kandle Cafe, Tomas Morato

Kandle Cafe, Tomas Morato

Kandle Cafe, Tomas Morato

Kandle Cafe, Tomas Morato

Kandle Cafe, Tomas Morato

This place is designed to be memorable, and to be a setting for great memories.

For our memorable birthday lunch, we ordered:

Chilean Mussel Pasta (Php380). Chilean mussels sauteed in a garlic and white wine sauce served on top of al dente tagliatelle and topped with grated parmesan.

Kandle Cafe, Tomas Morato

Kandle Cafe, Tomas Morato

Pork Tonkatsu (Php350). Tender pork loin stuffed with cheese, breaded and deep-fried to a golden brown, served with house-made teriyaki sauce, sesame cabbage salad and blue rice (yep, the color comes from the edible flower they serve it with).

Kandle Cafe, Tomas Morato

Kandle Cafe, Tomas Morato

For dessert, we indulged in a moist and heavenly Carrot Bar (Php100), a Lava Cookie (Php55) and a Maple Cookie with Bacon (Php80).

Kandle Cafe, Tomas Morato

Kandle Cafe, Tomas Morato

Kandle Cafe, Tomas Morato

Kandle Cafe, Tomas Morato

Kandle Cafe, Tomas Morato

While the food items were definitely a sight to behold, there were hits and misses upon eating them. I think that the pork tonkatsu may be better accompanied by the sweet and peppery tonkatsu sauce rather than a teriyaki sauce which does not bring out as much of the pork’s flavor as I would like. The lava cookie, on the other hand, was lacking the rich chocolatey taste and gooey texture that I’ve come to expect.

That said, we loved the interplay of textures and flavors in the Chilean Mussel Pasta and the moist and richly sweet Carrot Bar.

Kandle Cafe, Tomas Morato

The servers were also attentive and knowledgeable about their offerings, citing features or ingredients that make their dishes unique as they are serving them.

I definitely wouldn’t mind returning here for a nice and relaxed coffee break so I could try out the resto’s celebrated brews and more of its pastries.

Kandle Cafe is located at 113 Mother Ignacia Avenue, Bgy South Triangle, Quezon City, Sundays to Thursdays, 11am to 11pm and Fridays to Saturdays from 11am to 12mn. For reservations and inquiries, call +63 2 3724504. Or you can book your table via Zomato like I did. 🙂

Kandle Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato