It's not wonted for us to feast on Thai and Indonesian fare especially on Sundays. Yet, for adventurous gastronomes (that's me and my hubs), the aforementioned kinds of comestibles is always a welcome feat.
However, even an exhausting plane trip from Davao didn't thwart us from driving all the way to Victoria, Laguna to nose out on to something urban dwellers have yet to take joy in. I'm sure you might balk off the idea of a resort that has been existing for years already in the area. Well, that's already a common thing in the country, as we have many places of interests that has to be unearthed.
One of them is Dewi Sri Farm.
DEWI SRI FARM: A Profile
Okay, it's a farm, however, it has that resort-vibe which will allure you with it's Bali-inspired villa and cottages nestled graciously amidst an agrarian living.
Arriving late, in time for lunch due to the seasonal rain showers, Bhogs and I were welcomed by a semi-rugged narrow road, over a small bridge (with a river which defines the boundary between Pila and Victoria) and an intricately-carved wooden door.
I beseechingly walked towards the gate as Bhogs maneuvered to the parking slot and what do you know, it enchantingly transported me to a blissful state of mind.
As the clouds showered us mildly, and the wind subtle, the sound of birds chirping, an open area surrounded with fruit trees and lush ornamental plants highlighted the pool area seating majestically beside the cabana. The cabana, was filled with a joyous crowd enjoying the Weekend Special Sunday Brunch and of course the scent of spiced, cooked food wafted through the air.
|Our view from the table we were eating at|
When the opportunity arouse, they bought a property, one after the other in Victoria and had them interconnected over the years which turned out to into hectares of farm. So don't be confused when you get to enter the gate along the national highway in Pila, Laguna, you will still end up in Victoria.
They first had the land where rambutans and lanzones grow and built a huge "kubo" (hut). Then bought the piece of land in Pila which became their main entrance. According to Ms. Fe, the owner, they used to pass by a narrow, unpaved road in one of the barangay in Victoria to get to the farm.
So, do take note when coming here that you will reach the arc of Pila with a few meters more before you get to see the signage of Dewi Sri, which will be on the right.
Aside from orchards, Dewi Sri, have a rice plantation, a developed hydrophonic farming and many others. It was also their love for hydrophonic produce that they decided to bring the craft and science of it here. Learning from an Indonesian friend, whom also became their consultant when they were building up the green house, the green house holds green leafy veggies such as lettuce, Chinese Kangkong, spinach and my favorite, kale.
With all the crops they get from the farm, they have become the major supplier of such veggies at SM Aura and some SM hypermarkets. And with the farm's rich produce, including herbs and spices (some were imported from Indonesia) the next best thing was to develop the farm's own menu.
WEEKEND SPECIAL SUNDAY BRUNCH
The farm had invited an Indonesian chef into their business and he's the one behind the menu of Dewi Sri's authentic Thai, Indonesian dishes, though they do serve Filipino dishes on occasional times.
Invigorated by this glass of Roselle juice, after being introduced to the farm's marketing manager and owner, our brunch began.
Also known as Java juice, this was not juiced from a fruit, but from the calyses (sing. calyx) of a roselle flower. This juice tastes a bit like cranberry without the tang, it's not only refreshing but healthy as well.
|See the huge square glass jar that holds the Orak Arik?|
While waiting for the crowd in the buffet to settle down, we were served with Orak Arik. It's an Indo-Tagalog fusion where the peanuts were fried with dulong.s I love muching on them, as they were spiced just perfect and not overly covered with salt and oil, plus the taste of subtly sweetened dulong gives additional flavor and texture.
Yes, how I wished I could have taken home a lot of it...
Nothing beats a comforting meal when started with Tom Yum soup. Spicy, sour and piping hot altogether make this famous Thai soup well-loved. I was happy that the farm also plants the herbs that makes up the full flavor of the soup, such as galanggal, kaffir lime and lemongrass, which btw, can also be bought here.
I'm a mango lover, so whatever dish you serve me with mangoes, whether sour or sweet, I would definitely love it. This salad isn't an exemption. Sambal Mangga, also mango chili relish, a perfect example that mango blends well too with chilis and other spices. A spoonful of this goes well with any grilled or fried meat and fish.
Had a lot of these Crispy Fish Fillet with the Sambal Mangga. Dewi Sri also have their own fish ponds with tilapia, so it's not a question anymore whether they'd have a fish dish or not. It also was served with a sweet and sour Thai sauce.
As you can see, Dewi Sri's menu is such a haven for veggie-lovers, with it the farm boasts of their organic or natural way of farming, so you are assured that what you are eating are free from any pesticides or toxins. All the ingredients comes only from the farm, except from some spices which are only available in Thailand or Indonesia.
I'm glad to have known a farm that plants Chinese Kangkung, the real one, that is. What's great is that Dewi Sri have been planting these green babies using hydrophonic system of planting. Which may mean, no use of dirty, muddy water, not even a speck of soil in it. What you are getting is the nutrient-rich, really green and fresh Chinese kangkong. Knowing that, I was pleased to have had a chockfull of the garlicky Stir-fried Kangkung.
You can buy Dewi Sri Farm's veggies at SM Aura and some SM Hypermarkets, including the beautiful kangkong.
If you think the menu only makes a vegetarian happy, think again, I'm sure these Indonesian version of chilly wings can make anyone smile.
Ayam Goreng Mentega, roughly translated as Ayam = Chicken, Goreng = Fried, Mentega = Butter. Get it?
What differs these from other chicken dishes is the melding of gingery and buttery flavor mixed in the sauce that severely coats every chicken parts. Honestly, if we weren't surrounded with other people, I would have eaten these wings with my fingers and after which cleverly licking the sauced finger, just like a child...
Sour Pork Salad was new to me, not only have I made a salad with pork meat on it, except for delis made of pork. The chunky pork smothered in red chilli powder was a shock, but something for spicy-dish lovers, while the fresh lettuce gives off that crunch.
If you prefer to be different, you can have all with a mound of Nasi Goreng instead of rice. It was equally good, a staple in every Asian resto in Manila, thus, I'm guessing this is quite familiar. What was special here is knowing how it was prepared and where the ingredients come from.
But why would you not eat rice? Specially if it had been steamed with lemon grass and coconut milk?
My Instagram -worthy plate of lunch.
The meal ended utterly well with Coco Pudding, something I'm so willing to go back to even with hours of drive. It's an urban escape in itself, the smooth, silky texture of the pudding and the mildly sweetened young coconut is as soothing as the Dewi Sri ambiance.
THE CHARMED PROVINCIAL LIFE
Enjoy the architectural pieces and the vintage and Indonesian furniture the owners have curated and flown in to the country.
|The hydrophonic farm|
Dewi Sri offers a one of a kind farm tour, where you can not only learn but have fun while communing with nature.
|The fish pond|
My kids would love to feed and play with these geese.
They also have accommodation and event packages for a more memorable experience at a farm no less than an hour and a half drive from the busy Manila.
The farm resort, discourages anyone to bring food, as they can customize your meal to have that exquisite slice of Indonesian culture. Inquire about their menu.
An accommodation package includes, welcome drink and snack, dinner and breakfast, morning snack before checkout, free coffee or tea for the duration of your stay, Pool, pavilion access and farm tour.
I have more photos to show you, will post more about Dewi Sri soon, do get updated with what's new and about around town...
Dewi Sri is indeed a tranquil oasis!
DEWI SRI FARM
Address: Banca Banca, Victoria, Laguna,
Contact Details: 6349.576.2651