A visit to San Pablo, Laguna would not be complete if you missed stopping by for a gorgeous Filipino meal at Patis Tito. When I first saw it in some blogs when I scoured for places to eat in San Pablo, it gave a familiar ring. It was formerly known as Kusina Salud, which I soon remembered that we were frantically searching for it years ago when we explored the seven lakes of San Pablo. On the face of it, the garden cafe was left to be closed long ago and re-opened as Patis Tito Garden Cafe.
The old signages were stored away at the parking space just inside the vicinity.
Even before you enter you know what to expect. The house is like your old granny's place, though it has that heritage house in an eclectic way look. The huge house, wide open, where the indoor is married with the outdoor, filled with life-sized paintings of men and women dressed in traditional baro't saya. Some old wood carvings dotted here and there. I was literally, or more like visually "busog-already."
The place is tucked-away from the main road of San Pablo and going there is not a snitch since you needed to have a map, else you might get lost, though there is a sign posted on the corner. Also, you have to make due reservation, making sure you will be served accordingly, they do host events as well, so it's better to be aware of their availability, after all it's a long drive from Manila.
If you have been to Kusina Salud, you might know who owns it. If you don't, well, from it's namesake, Patis Tito, comes from the couple Patis and Tito Tesoro. Patis Tesoro, the "Grand Dame of Philippine Fashion" for her creative and iconic usage of Philippine indigenous materials for making her elaborate gowns and clothes, whom also organizes Viaje Del Sol. It is through reading blogs about Viaje del Sol that made us come and penetrate Laguna and Quezon.
It was last Holy Friday that we found it suit to drive to San Pablo then to Sariaya, Quezon with our three girls. Let me share you the photos I took on our trip there a few years back here.
We stayed at the mezzanine, since my daughters were a bit wary about the dogs roaming around the resto. They are said to be the owners'. It was a good decision though for we have the top floor all by ourselves. My kids pointed out that the place looks like our Lola's place in Bohol, with the wooden flooring, wide capiz window's all around, vintage furniture and accessories and lots of huge paintings.
Do you think my Banana Peel Flip Flops harmonizes with their Ifugao hand-woven table runner?
I'll stop writing for now, so you can enjoy the sights I was able to capture, this will prove that the place is worth visiting and that I'm an ultimate shutter-bug and wanderlust.
AT THE GARDEN
AT THE GALLERY, where you can see some collected plates and knick knacks which you can buy as souvenirs.
The Litmus Test, time to try their menu offering, known as the best Tagalog dishes the owner's have chosen to serve to their diners.
For appetizer, we had Tuna Balls. My kids were the ones who ordered these, the only dish that had ensnared them. A teaspoon scoop of minced tuna, covered with mashed potato and formed into balls. The crusty outer layer comes from the panko covering and having it deep-fried in really hot vegetable oil. Each bite is a mix of different textures, crusty skin, creamy and rich inside and the tuna from the core oozing out. Served really hot, my kids almost ate it, enough to burn their mouths, good thing I have to stop them so I can take several photos.
Of course, I have to order more for this was a long travel for lunch.
Patis Tito almost disappointed my little girls for not having Carbonara on their menu, till these came...
Forgive me, I'm such a poor writer, I wasn't able to note the names of the dishes we had.
As you can see, the bowl is filled with vegetables for Sinigang. Afloat are pieces of tamarind pods, the souring agent for this soup. Lastly, those bright orange prawns (slightly smaller in size though). It was the perfect dish to give warmth to our growling tummies.
Another dish they boast of is their version of Chicken Inasal. Smothered with a velvety sauce made with anato oil and chicken drippings. The plate is a splendid serving of a quarter of a chicken, grilled till perfectly done with a trio of side dishes and soymansi (that's soysauce and calamansi) dip. San Pablo, Laguna is known for their Kulawo. I first have encountered this dish when we went to Sulyap Gallery/Cafe. It was however prepared differently from the ones I had at Sulyap. Kulawo, is an eggplant dish (or a banana blossom version) with a smoky coconut flavor. Coconut meat is grilled before squeezing out the milk to get that smoky taste. You can split the nuts first before grilling or grate the coconut and grill it by placing hot coals on it. . Either way, you’ll get that rich smoky flavor.
This plate can serve two by the way and most of their other dishes.
Last that we ordered is this bowl of Kare-Kareng Dagat. One of my fave Filipino dish is Kare-Kare so it was so fitting to try theirs not only for the experience but I got to see whether seafood can work well with peanut base sauce. Hands down to this, must I admit! Mussels, clams, squids and these tempura topped above complimented so well with the whole Kare-Kare taste. It has all the veggies that comprises a regular Kare-Kare which are still crisp, except that the peanut sauce does not overwhelm the whole dish. The nutty taste comes more from the roasted and ground peanuts scattered above the whole dish. The sauce isn't sweet, just savory enough to blend with the "bagoong" served together with it.
As much as possible, when eating out with the family, we veer out of the local Filipino serving cuisine, since we love Italian dishes and American comfort food, except for special cases like this.
With this kind of food trip, my kids get to be oriented the local dishes from every regions and they get to appreciate our rich and delectable cuisine.
After your meal, don't leave the vicinity yet, have time to explore the Tesoro's garden and check out their rare collection of birds and plants.
They also have an aviary...
To get more dibs on Patis Tito Garden Cafe their contact details are listed below.
Address: 285 Brgy. Sta Cruz, (Putol)
4000 Laguna Philippines San Pablo City
Phone: 725-2686/724-4231/ 0906-4439092
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ,email@example.com