Outside the busy city lies this secret little treasure. I want to call it secret since only few people know it. We got the chance to eat at this private dining place called LAYA. Thanks to my gorgeous friend, Carina, who introduced me this place. Laya, in our native tongue means freedom. I have to say, based from our personal experience, we did have the freedom to do anything we want (just don't damage anything please!!) when we dated in this admirable place. Formerly a family's rest house, it was converted into a restaurant on weekends. Their service is ala carte. (you can book them too on weekdays but they only accept the couple's package and family's private dining with a special rate) Now, it's managed by husband and wife, Chef Ricci and Ms. Irene. Chef Ricci works at the kitchen while his lovely wife entertains the guests. The couple were once members of a rock band. How cool!! Chef Ricci studied Thai cuisine, making it the signature of the restaurant. The place has an Asian inspired architecture.
Here are Ms. Irene (our outfits are almost the same) and Chef Ricci.
one of Laya's wall panel...
the guest book and bill bin were also Asian Inspired
Laya is a serene place.
Here's the entrance
Bryan thought we were going on a buffet. And was speechless when he saw this....
We were immediately welcomed by Ms. Irene and introduced us to our butler, Teo. The dining area had a chamomile scent. It's so relaxing.
Infront of the rest house lies a pool, bar and a wide cedar parquet, overlooking the city. If I'll remarry again, of course with the same man, I will definitely choose this place. And I bet, years from now, (engrave this on a stone) this place will be a destination for beautiful, intimate weddings and I can't wait this to be featured on magazines!! Just weeks ago, they already gathered a wedding for about 95 guests.
The rest house
While waiting, we asked Teo to shoot us some photos. I brought Bryan beside the pool and showed this tarpaulin.....You see, Bryan taught me how to swim...and he felt the message...
Then we started right away with the dinner. Here's our personalized menu for the evening. Sorry, blurred!
Pandan iced tea was immediately served.
Warning: This drink is bottomless, thus highly addicting. Just have small sips so you won't get full right away and be able to enjoy the rest of the enticing meal.
The Amuse Bouche was served. This is not really part of the menu. More of like a bonus! Its goal is just to tease your palate..We had a cantaloupe and tomato with a pesto-like sauce--(sorry, I forgot the sauce's name)
Then for the appetizer. It's a trio, consists of Crab Ranggon with Spicy Mango Sauce, Stirfried Kaffir Lime Pork in Lettuce Wrap and Thai Golden Bag with sweet chili!!! Ms. Irene explained each of the menu, giving us tips on how to eat them.
Curried Pumpkin and Cashew Nut Soup with coconut cream froth followed..If you find the soup too spicy, you can request to have it milder. The soup also has this distinct citrus taste.
The salad followed...Asian Caesar Salad Sticks with Ginger Garlic Aioli..You'll enjoy eating this one with your fingers. The dip is yummy too!!
After the salad, we had a sorbet. Originally, we should have the Lychee Sorbet with Spiced Berries, but the sorbet melted and instead, Ms. Irene offered us other homemade flavors. I chose the Mango and Lime flavor while Bryan had Calamansi with honey. Another treat!! Yum!!
mango-lime sorbet for me
Calamansi with honey for Bryan
Now here comes the main course!!! Yehey!!
I chose Cashew-crusted Salmon in Ginger Honey with Saffron Cashew Rice Pilaf and Crisp Sweet Potato Strings. I'm not really good in describing food. I only know two words--delicious and not. This is crunchy, because of the cashew and potato strings, but the salmon's tender and just simply scrumptious. See, I told you I'm no good in food description. :(
Bryan had Grilled US Hanger Steak with Trio of Sauces (Red wine and rosemary sauce; Peppercorn gravy and red curry and Coconut cream sauce) served with Spiced Crushed Potatoes...Our favorite among the sauces is the peppercorn gravy. The sauces are on separate rectangular plate.
Wine was also served, as well as the Kapeng Barako. (native coffee)
Of course, the meal won't be complete without a sweet treat! For the dessert, they served Cashew Mango Kesong Puti and Chocnut Banana Spring Rolls with Creamy Chocnut Dip. I wanted to grab Bryan's share. I love it!!
Since it's our anniversary, we had a bonus!!! Dark Chocolate Tart with candied ginger and basil-infused creme anglaise. Dark chocolate is actually an aphrodisiac and good for the heart. Bryan's name was misspelled but it's not obvious anyway.
And ladies out there, if you have this crazy idea of surprising your boyfriend or husband, then do it!! It doesn't mean men should always do the first move, especially if we have a much better idea..haha..And just look how satisfied my husband was.
Meanwhile, if you are interested, click here for the details. Laya is turning 1 year this May, just in time for my parents' 28th anniversary. We're going to have an Antipolo trip. Can't wait!!!
Thank you Ms. Irene and Chef Ricci for the awesome experience!!!