So we were going to celebrate our Grandad's birthday, and the task of finding a restaurant usually falls on me, being the clan's resident food blogger and all. I'm thankful for my relatives' tolerance of my need to shoot almost every edible thing in sight before they finally get to eat, but that's not without the occasional rolling of the eyes from two or three of my cousins, albeit done in jest.
Since we were having mass in Alabang, I voted for having lunch in Molito. I scanned through my memory for restaurants that I haven't tried yet, and chose Con Gusto. Turned out to be a pretty good choice, too. Con Gusto is a sister restaurant of Buon Giorno, which has quite a good reputation hailing all the way from Tagaytay.
Here, it has a modern, relaxed vibe with an open kitchen on one side, and a mural of Italian countryside on the other. Bricked walls and wooden accents like hanging lanterns and dividers make up the interiors, and to spruce up the ambiance, there are little potted plants in cute, colorful tin cans acting as table centerpieces.
For starters, they have a few appetizers, salads, and soups like the Wild Mushroom Soup, which my cousin swears by. As soon as she tasted it, she began to proclaim it as her favorite soup, given that she has been on the hunt ever since her last favorite one from another restaurant was taken out of the menu. And when I tried it, I couldn't blame her. It is filled with that earthy mushroom flavor that comforts the soul, and assures you that everything will be alright in the world. They have a roster of the popular soups one would usually crave for: French Onion, New England Clam Chowder, Cioppino, Tomato, Shrimp Bisque, Pumpkin, and even Chicken Binakol.
The Roasted Garlic Caesar Salad is a twist to the ubiquitous salad, having fresh parmesan cheeseflakes, bacon and roasted garlic. Or you might want to try their signature Con Gusto Salad which has a mix of their best salad ingredients, topped with candied nuts and crumbled blue cheese.
Their pizza and pasta selection may not be as abundant as other Italian restaurants, but they've got the usual classics covered: Canneloni, Seafood Puttanesca, Aglio e Olio, Carbonara, Chicken and Mushroom Risotto, Salmon and Asparagus Risotto, Spaghetti Vongole e Gamberretti, Penne All'Arrabiata, and Spaghetti Bolognese for the pastas; and Margherita, Four Cheese, Vegetarian, and Prosciutto for the pizzas.
The pastas were generally well received, although there were a couple of comments from others who wish that they had more flavor. Theirs is a thin crust kind of pizza, and the Prosciutto Pizza sports a generous amount of toppings on a circular crisp bed that left no room for any complaints.
Con Gusto does a fine job with their steaks. The Steak Diane is seared and drenched with brandied mushroom sauce. Each bite is so tender, it almost melts in the mouth. My mom can't stop relishing each piece she slices, dangling it in front of me, and it would have elicited envious glances if I weren't happy with my own Southwestern Tenderloin Steak as well. This one has a thicker cut, with a more peppery flavor, but still retained that tender property, and thus, I had to give myself a mental pat in the back for choosing well. The herbed butter is also a nice touch. The servings are not that big, but still enough to sate a person's appetite. While the Steak Diane is served with mashed potatoes, and side vegetables, the Tenderloin Steak has sauteed spinach, cherry tomatoes, and mashed potatoes (which is creamy and good, but loaded with too much slices of onions that I finally had to take some out).
They have tea, coffee, wine, and a host of shakes and smoothies. I adore their Orange Cream Smoothie that has this subtle, sweet fresh orange taste that's enclouded with cream.
For desserts, they have an array of gelato flavors, and my cousins agreed to share an order of Pistachio Gelato. Some liked the authenticity that emits from each bite. As one cousin pointed out, it tastes like the burnt pieces of pistachios that you chance upon sporadically in a bag. Others didn't like it as they're more familiar with the sweet pistachio flavor marketed by other gelaterias. I'm on the fence, some bites I like more than others, but in the end, I wish it had less of the bitter aftertaste as well.
The Apple Strudel has uneven chunks of cooked apple peppered with cinnamon, and enclosed in a flaky pastry jacket. My mom opted to have the scoop of ice cream changed to coffee gelato, which I have to say is far better than the pistacio. The tug of war between hot and cold leaves a nice sensation on the palate. The Chocolate Cheesecake, on the other hand, is this decadent mousse-like creation with a mantle of dark chocolate embellished with chocolate shavings, which garnered oohs and aahs from those of us who shared a slice.
It was a great birthday celebration for the clan patriarch, concluded by a round of the obligatory birthday song complete with his own complimentary plate of apple strudel. Everyone was happy, and my mom and I couldn't wait to go back and have another go of their steaks.
By the way, if you find yourself in Molito early in the morning, Con Gusto has light and hearty breakfast fare available from 7:30 AM to 10:00 AM. Dishes like Buttermilk Pancakes, Kaya Toast, Salmon and Cheese Omelet, Prime Bangus Belly, Tender Beef Salpicao, and US Sirloin Tapa are enough to make anyone haul himself out of bed to break the fast.
Con Gusto World Cuisine by Buon Giorno!
Spot: Unit 16 Molito Commercial Complex, Alabang, Muntinlupa
Contact No.: 478.9874 or 0917.584.3188