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Thailand is not the only place with that crazy Bangkok Jam! Philippines jam is equally scary, and the best part was that even Google gave up on us.🚦🚦 According to Google, it was an hour drive from Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport to Hotel Monticello but turn out that it took 3 hours? Not even kidding, it was 6:30 pm when we board our van and we reach at 9:30 pm? Sit until backside pain sia!😩 Do buffer more time for traveling in the Philippines!
After a bloody 3 hours jam, we were starving! So the first thing we ask after checking in Hotel Monticello was
“Is there anything to eat around here?”
So there is a Macdonald 800m away. 🍔Problem is… The road is dark without street light with cars driving past. We decided not to take the risk. Room service was our last resort. Before settling for room service, we went out to look for better options hehehe. And that’s when we found Cafe Carmencita which was astounding and comforting. 🤗
A serene, peaceful, relaxing, homely cafe…
The restaurant was empty as it was 930 pm and they close at 10 pm. Obviously, we were the last customers, so glad that they took our orders. You know some restaurants stop taking orders and close their kitchen 30 minutes before closing. 😏But Cafe Carmencita was nothing like this, they were extremely welcoming and made us feel homely.😊😊
Honestly, Filipino cuisine is so strange and distant to us. Even after we ordered, I had no idea what was those dishes on our table. Plus, we were all super tired from the plane and 3hr ride was crazy.😧😧
For those that are clueless like me, Lechon Kawali is Crispy Pork Belly. And, Filipino Lechon Kawali is one of the greatest pork dishes in the world. Looks damn sinful and fat la. But when you’re on holiday, who cares?
The first mouth – HMM Nice!
The second mouth – Soso only
The third mouth – Abit too much and mouth tired of biting…
The Lechon Kawali from Cafe Carmencita was slightly disappointing – the crispy pork was very tough and very hard to bite. But the rice made up to it, the bagoong rice caught our attention. Initially, we couldn’t determine what it is, I have never heard or tried bagoong rice before. It tasted like salted fish fried rice in the Singapore ‘zichar’ context. It was so soft and fragrant. Even though I am not a rice person but the bagoong rice was that good!👍
Mom’s Beef Stew
Short ribs simmered until creamy & tender… This was one of the house specialty dishes. Personally did not really like it as there were too many ingredients mixed together with the short ribs in the pot. It was confusing and I didn’t know what I was eating. The sauce was very rich and overpowering, slightly too spicy to my liking at the same time.
Callos with Chorizo
Beef Triple, “callos” in Spanish is a very traditional dish cooked with chorizo. Trust me, we had no idea what this was but we ordered because the review was good. We were a bit worried when it was served that thankfully it tasted quite good. This is a Filipino-Spanish dish made from ox tripe and veal shanks (ox feet) with lots of vegetables. We like it because we like the beef. The rich and fresh tomato sauce mixed with Chorizo was appetizing but a bit too strong (saltier than usual) for Singaporean! It is good to enjoy it with rice!
Grilled pork with Satay Sauce
Since we had enough of beef, we choose grilled pork for our next dish! This simple plate of grilled pork turns out to be our favourite dish among all! The grilled pork was cooked perfectly, tender and juicy.✨
One thing that you should enjoy with any meal is local Philipines Beer! San Miguel is one of the best selling beer! So you should definitely try!🍻🍻
Cafe Carmencita is a beautiful, homely cafe set in a residential home serving Filipino-Spanish dishes and desserts! A lot of food in the Philippines is influenced by Spanish which ruled the Philippines for almost 400 years. Cafe Carmencita was the only cafe available for us that night! It could have been worse after the 3hr jam. Thank You for serving us despite arriving so late! We also had the privilege of meeting the owner, Mr. Gerry Mazano. He was extremely welcoming and hospitable! He shares with us his plans to transform Cafe Carmencita into a bed and breakfast! Every bed and breakfast is unique and we foresee this place to be the next up-and-coming bed and breakfast in Tagaytay! Looking forward to what Cafe Carmencita has to offer! Do keep a lookout!👆👆
Address: Aguinaldo Highway Brgy. Kaybagal South, Tagaytay
Tel: (0917) 588-7913
Tuesday – Friday 10am – 9pm
Weekends & Holiday 8am – 10pm