Good food. Good company. Good times.
After spending an entire day with my cousins, we ended it with a great dinner at Napa. It was pretty rare for me to venture out North so they wanted me to try their latest restaurant of choice. The restaurant was actually a big old house that they transformed into a picturesque dining place. Upon entering, a small, cozy nook greeted you with a mural right out of a Napa Valley setting. A couple of upholstered booth chairs on one side, and two rattan plus one red accent chair on the other, the table seats a party of six with a chandelier of wine bottles hanging over it. Off to the side are racks of wine bottles before descending upon a short staircase opening to the main dining area.
Such a charming site to behold! My eyes were immediately magnetized to the left corner where a huge arched hemicycle couch sat across two green distressed wooden chairs encircling a small round table. Leaf vines were artistically drawn across the adjacent walls while arresting paintings of dramatic maiden and European streets adorn them. A crystal chandelier dangles overhead, completing the perfect ambiance for a romantic dinner.
Straight ahead was another dining area with huge wooden slat doors that can be closed off for privacy. But my eyes immediately go back to the main hall. At the center was another intricate chandelier with warm lights; in fact, every section of the area seemed to have a unique one. There was a big picture window on the left where I could see a group of diners eating al fresco, all enjoying the cool night breeze. I love the country landscape paintings mounted in clusters on the walls; its different sizes and orderly mess arrangement adding more character to the place.
Further inside was the brick oven they use to bake the pizza. Outside at the front was the bar and an open-air roofed dining area dotted with dark brown picnic tables and chairs, and lit by rows of drop light lamps with cylindrical shades. Thank you to my cousin Michael for these two photos he took while I was busy scouting the menu and eating.
We started off with the Rustic Caesar Salad (P195). Crunchy croutons sit on a bed of romaine lettuce leaves, with tiny bacon bits scattered all over. A shower of powdered parmesan cheese falls on everything just like the first few signs of snow. The greens were crisp and the cheese sharp; a nice prelude of things to come.
The Seafood Chowder (P150) had a good viscosity, it wasn't too thick, neither was it watery. A piece of shelled shrimp was afloat while the rest were submerged in a pale yellow pottage of savory seafood stock. It was hearty and rich, and I would've eaten more had I not been aware that this dish was just the tip of the iceberg. I better pace myself if I wanted to have a go at everything.
The plate of Buffalo Wings (P190) was quite interesting to look at. Piled on top each other, these fiery-red coated wings looked so juicy and just begged to be bitten at, so I happily obliged. Dipping it in the tartar sauce, I munch along the length of a bone, relishing the heat brought by its slightly spicy skin.
I totally loved their Salpicado (P270) that I had to bring home another order of it. Dark brown pieces of tender beef piled abundantly in an oval dish, with garlic bits and slices of green pepper peeking in between slices. Half is submerged in sebaceous sauce that hints of garlic and yummy umami. It is quite spicy but pleasantly so; I dip the slices of toasted bread into the sauce as I poke more meat with my fork. With appetites whetted tremendously, we looked forward to the next dish.
Having been cooked inside a brick oven gave this Cinco Formaggio (P380) a rustic smell and look with its dark brown crust and sporadic tanned marks of the cheese. Deviating from the usual Quatro Formaggio, this pizza also had blue cheese which I adore. Aside from this, it also has kesong puti, mozarella, swiss cheese and cheddar cheese. A thin, crispy base with a melange of oozing hot cheeses -- ultimate cheese heaven!!
The Napa Special (P430) was a cornucopia of pizza ingredients -- pepperoni, cheese, black olives, onion rings, slices of red and green bell peppers, mushrooms, ground beef. There were even a few sprays of fresh basil. It was also good, but I'd rather go back to my formaggio.
Their Carbonara (P195) was so creamy and abounds with bacon bits and mushrooms splattered with powdered parmesan. But then this trait isn't rare at all. Still, it was a classic and a good one at that.
Chopped pink salmon bathed in white sauce interlaced with al dente penne pasta topped with yet again a sprinkle of powdered parmesan cheese constitute the Salmon Capers in Light Cream Sauce (P240). The sauce wasn't thick albeit still rich in flavor, I appreciated the lightness of the Salmon's taste as it complemented the cream. I would've had gotten more forkfuls but it was my cousin's order so I had to mind my manners.
The Pork Skewers (P150) had slices of grilled vegetables in between chunks of meat. Charred grill marks mar each piece, yet it stays tender and juicy.
My aunt wanted to order some Tod Mun Goong or Fried Prawn Patties (P335 for 5 pcs.; P215 for 3 pcs.) from 8 Spices, and though the two restaurants have different owners, they do allow cross orders. Pounded and grounded shrimps shaped like large cooked prawns are deep fried and ensconced in a hardened edible bowl. I cut a small portion and dip it into the accompanying sweet chili sauce and bask in some ambrosial breaded seafood. I cut a couple more bigger portions before finally stopping myself and giving the others a chance to taste it as well.
Again, these two photos of the 8 Spices interior are courtesy of Michael since I wasn't able to explore the abutting restaurant anymore. Now back to Napa...
We watched with anticipation as the waiter slowly placed the plate of Lava Cake (P190) on our table. Its gradual descent seemed to go on forever as the aromatic smell of chocolate wafted in the air. I could almost see a cartoonish wisp of smoky scent in the shape of a hand with that come-hither signal pulling all our noses simultaneously towards the dish. A globular scoop of vanilla ice cream is perched on top of a circular ladyfinger, a bright red cherry on its apex. A round chocolate cake dusted with powdered sugar rests nearby, like a dormant volcano about to awaken from its sleep and explode. A gradual slice of the fork triggers a graceful eruption of molten chocolate. We observed in awe as hot liquid poured forth from its confines, eliciting drooling faces from the table. I took a forkful of the warm chocolate cake, scoop a little of the sweet syrup and gingerly brought it to my mouth. My palate was relishing the soft and moist sponge as my hand was concurrently reaching for a forkful of ice cream. A rush of coldness hit my gustatory organ before it all melded into a beautiful symphony of flavors. Word of advice, order this beforehand (together with the other dishes) as it takes about 25 minutes to prepare this cake.
Everyone was already full from all the food when out came three more complimentary cakes for us to try out and share. Apparently, they've just recently introduced these and weren't even on the menu yet. I started my second round of voracious indulgence with the Espresso Cheesecake (P150) which had a strong coffee flavor. That bold taste rode on a creamy texture curbed only by a tiny dollop of whipped cream. A generous amount of blueberries threaten to fall off the cheesecake cliff. This Blueberry Cheesecake (P150) was dense though the tartness of the berries saved it from being cloying. I have yet to try a cake akin to Dayap Dulce De Leche (P95). The first thing that caught my eye was how the red syrup swirl didn't exactly mesh well with the greenish blue color of the cake. Slivers of almonds clutter the icing perimeter, while a layer of cream spread with a tincture of dayap flavor is sandwiched in between sponges. I like the citrusy taste the dayap lends and the texture the almonds bring. Among the three, this was what I favored albeit it still lacks some visual appeal. I'd still go for the lava cake, hands down.
What a gluttonous group, and with such good food, it was hard not to be.
Napa Restaurant and Bar
Spot: 12 Scout Borromeo St. South Triangle, Quezon City
Contact No.: 414.8272
Spot: 12 Scout Borromeo St. South Triangle, Quezon City
Contact No.: 332.1896