10.28.2014

Tayo Na Sa Antipolo Part 2: Crescent Moon Cafe

Crescent Moon Cafe in Antipolo started out as a small pottery studio by artist/ceramist Ms. Lanelle Abueva-Fernando before it eventually blossomed into a full-blown restaurant-cafe. Lanelle happens to be the niece of National artist Napoleon Abueva and daughter of former UP president Jose Abueva (she is totally legit coming from this long art lineage) so it's no surprise that she ended up in the field of the arts and pottery. 

We arrived quite early for lunch as I estimated about 2 hours travel from the South but since it was a Sunday, it only took us about an hour and half to get there. It was perfect though because it gave us time to explore the place and roam around the grounds.


The main restaurant is found at the heart of the property alongside the pottery house/workshop which unfortunately I didn't get to visit (this gives me a reason to come back!). Lush refreshing greens envelope the naturally idyllic area together with beautiful lily ponds, a koi pond and a small fountain area which produced that soothing calming sound of flowing water...truly music to the ears!







The pathway going towards the main entrance. As you could see, my darling daughter was all too exited to get in!


She wanted a photo with the koi fish and she gave me the biggest sweetest smile. 

 While waiting for the buffet to be ready, the kids were given a small bowl of fish pellets so they could feed the koi. They were giddy with excitement and had a real blast interacting with the fish.






Inside the main dining hall, one can find a small area where Lanelle sells her products. 



My friend Dianne gave me a tip to go to the back of the restaurant and view the SALE items there. They have a whole area of the ceramic products with slight (almost unnoticeable even!) defects but still very much functional which they sell by bulk (Php 200 per kilo). I was able to get about 7 different items (tea cups, a small serving plate and two bowls) for just Php 300.00! 

After roaming around and shopping, it was finally time to eat. We were escorted by our friendly server to our table with the view of the koi pond.

Dining under a crescent moon (literally)

They do not have a standard ala carte menu but instead serves a different menu per day depending on the local ingredients available. The chef creates daily specials so you won't know of the menu until you get there. The only constant dish on the buffet is their signature appetizer called Alagao.  


The Lunch Buffet Set-up that welcomed us. They serve daily buffets : Monday- Saturday Php 450.00/head and on Sundays Php 550.00/ head




This is their signature appetizer "Alagao wraps" which is inspired by the Thai dish Miang Kham which literally means "eating many things in one bite" from miang (food wrapped in leaves) and Kham (bite). It often consists of fresh leaves that are filled with roasted cocout shavings and small pieces of ingredients such as shallots, fresh bird's eye chili, ginger, garlic and lime. Roasted peanuts and small dried shrimps are also added to the mix. The leaves are then topped with a special syrupy sauce made of palm sugar cooked with lemongrass, galangal, ginger and fish sauce. 


Known as the restaurants specialty, they served their own version of this Thai appetizer at the center of the buffet table as a DIY (or should I say warp it yourself) station where you get to pick your leaves and top it with the sidings you want : chilies, chopped basil, fried coconut flakes, roasted peanuts, ginger, green mangoes, shallots and their own sauce. 

 Voila! Roll, Wrap and Enjoy! It's an experience getting your hands dirty and eating this unique dish. The back of the alagao leaf has a cottony and slightly furry texture which might seem a bit daunting to some but you just have to give it a shot! No regrets because not only was it a delight to eat, the Alagao/Alagau leaf is healthy and medicinal as well. This leaf can only be found in the Philippines and for many years has been considered a "drug" used to loosen phlegm and relieve cough. It is also claimed to benefit tuberculosis and headaches. Win-win situation if you ask me!

I really enjoyed this heartwarming Spiced Pumpkin Soup with Buko/Coconut Meat : vibrant silky textured soup with the gentle bite of sweet coconut meat. 


 Pork cooked in Green Mango

 Penne with Peas, Asparagus and Brocolli

 Grilled Salmon

Suman and Mangga (Sticky Rice with Mangoes)
The sweetness of the ripe fragrant mango and the glutinous texture of suman is always a winning combination to me. What a joy to end the meal with this native treat!

As always, one of the best parts about doing a restaurant feature is getting up and personal with the people behind it. After our satistying lunch meal, I had the privilege of meeting and chatting with the owner/artist/ceramist Lanelle Abueva-Fernando herself. She imparted the story about how Crescent Moon started, the legend behind their bestseller "Alagao", her precious family, her late husband who was the genius behind the menu offerings of the restaurant, her two wonderful daughters and so much more... We were joined by my friend/co-yoga teacher Dianne who happens to be Lanelle's Ashtanga instructor as well. One afternoon was definitely not enough since there was so much more to learn about this genuinely lovely lady. I invited her to come visit our family resort in Lipa (www.coritosgarden.com) and our newly opened restaurants in Manila and she promised to drop by when she finds the time.  

Crescent Moon is a must-try in Antipolo if you want to enjoy a day of nature and some healthy hearty food that warms the heart...unpretentious, charmingly rustic and uniquely authentic. 


Cheers,
Pattie

Crescent Moon Cafe
Ascension Road, Barangay Dalig, Antipolo City
Tel No. 630 5854 
Mobile : 0917 523 2356
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CrescentMoonCafeAndStudioPottery
Website : http://lanelleabuevafernando.wordpress.com/


Directions/Map:
Via Ortigas Avenue 



Via Sumulong Highway :




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