Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Last Hurrah for Buona Vita Ristorante, Daang Hari

It's confirmed!  Our friends from Morocco are moving  here in Manila.   After their short vacation last June, the couple, my friend Merna and her husband Didier, have planned to settle here in our country and establish a food business.   Me and Merna have been friends for years, and my memory of our first meeting was still fresh.  It was during our second child's baptism (she is now grown to be a fourteen-year old teen who is taller than both of us).  She is the best masseuse, as far as I am concerned. A masseuse if you don't know, is a woman who provides massage as a profession or occupation .    Didier on the other hand  works as the Executive Pastry Chef at Palmeraie Hotels and Resorts at Marrakesh (also Marrakech).
This is the resort where they work and yes, they live here!
Chef Didier at work in Marrakech
Didier Derouet, is an acclaimed French chef, being the previous Executive Pastry Chef at Hyatt Regency in Dubai.  Along with his extensive line of background are that follows:  Executive Pastry Chef at Sheraton Club des Pins, Executive Pastry Chef at St. Regis in Washington, Executive Pastry Chef at Westin Hotels, Houston, Texas, Executive Pastry Chef at Sofitel Houston, Texas, Executive Pastry Chef at Westin Hotel Renaissance Center, Detroit, Michigan.
One pastry critique described his style as 'classic and very traditionally grounded, he's very strong with chocolate...have always been committed to trying to end the meal well (Steve Klc).'
So when they got here in Manila for a visit, Merna called me up to meet her husband and we had our time to tour them around.   The fun-filled Manila tour to Fort Santiago and Manila Ocean Park led to another day tour at Tagaytay and Los Banos, Laguna.    Not the best timing though, since we got rained on at Tagaytay cliff and the majestic Taal volcano view was far-fetched, however, a cliff-side hike at Monte Nevoso Resort in Los Banos, Laguna made a mark.  
To end the long day, we brought them to Buona Vita Ristorante Italiano, at Daang Hari, Molino, Cavite.   It is one of the best Italian restaurant we've been to and probably the only one in Cavite.   
This is one of the reason, I kept coming back here, the flat bread, known to Italians as piadina.  A crackle defines its freshness, not salty but tasty enough to prepare your palate.  As I was told before, they bake and make everything from scratch, providing authentic Italian home-cooking at its finest.
Knowing Didier's background, we indubitably contended with his choice of food.    
We then had the Antipasto Assortito, an assortment of cold cuts, cheese slices and olives.
The Crostini alla Romana, it is typically a toasted bread with sage butter, melted cheese and hams, but the ones served here are just toasts with parma ham and arugula, though still gratifying.  
These cheese assortment from Italy were absolutely superb.  In the menu it is Antipasto di Formaggi.  Formaggio is Italian for cheese,  formaggi then connotes pluralism.   If you are a seasoned foodie or gourmand you know what Antipasto means right? (Appetizer)

Caprese, a summer salad also known as Insalata Caprese, should be made only with local vine-ripened tomatoes that are red, juicy and flavorful but not overly soft, and preferably unrefrigerated.   Another  ingredient should be truly fragrant, flavorful young basil ( green basil grown in the earth and sun).   The next essential ingredient is good quality fresh, moist mozzarella. Good fresh cow's milk mozzarella (called Fior di latte), can also do.   Finally, you need genuine extra-virgin olive oil and only olive oil.  Simple yet playful, with the chewy and bit sweet and salty for the cheese, a zesty tang from the tomatoes and that earthy herbal sensation from the basil.  This can actually be made at home, come tot hink of it, just follow with what I have written.   Also, I think this was served with more breads.
This however is the winner on the table for all of us, the Cozze Pesto.   It's just baked mussels topped with mozzarella cheese and pesto sauce.   
As you can see Italian dining really is simple, natural but the experience goes beyond one's expectation.

There he is again, doing his thing, making every definitive touches on a simple plate of baked mussel where he took a piece each of the bread stick and the  piadina and elegantly added height to the plate.  One can see how admirable he is when comes to his culinary gestures.
Thanks Buona Vita, you gave us one truly enticing night of dining with friends and talking more about food...this time Moroccan food and more on Moroccan culture.   
However, you will not be able to find this restaurant at Daang Hari, they moved at a better place but still along the course of Daang Hari, actually the road leading to Alabang.

Buona Vita Ristorante Italiano
New Address:
 Unit 19, Cluster 3 @Molito Lifestyle Bldg., Muntinlupa City

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