Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Lovely Dinner at Casa Roces, Malacañang, Manila

There's this newly-opened restaurant just outside our office building and we were all really tempted to try it out. I had the chance last Tuesday night (July 5) when I had a lovely dinner there with the fiancee's family and some of my co-workers at my part-time job. The name of the restaurant is Casa Roces. It is actually a restaurant and cafe as upon checking out their extensive menu, I found out they serve a lot of things from breakfast and snack fares to entrées and dessert items.

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I think the letter G is missing here, it should be Malacañang (if they're referring to the entire complex)

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Casa Roces offers valet parking!

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the lobby

We were eight in the group and we chose a table overlooking the garden outside where guests could opt to dine al fresco. The garden is made more attractive with the addition of a wooden deck that gives it a modern yet earthy feel.

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Casa Roces is a huge house and it's right in front of the Malacañan Palace. The restaurant is very spacious and well-lighted inside. I love their choice of light fixtures here!

The interiors of the restaurant look classy and well-maintained, giving out a cheery vibe and an ambience that is elegant and cozy at the same time. I hope they keep it that way. I also hope I'm not seeing all this only because the restaurant is still new.

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While waiting for our orders (mostly heirloom recipes of the Roces family), which were "more than enough" for us as we would find out later, one of the staff offered to show us around the house. Yes, Casa Roces was an ancestral house before some genius converted it to a profitable venture a.k.a. a restaurant. (Casa, by the way, is Spanish for "house.")

The second floor was spacious and had several function rooms for a more private lunch or dinner. I dunno if they charge extra for reserving those rooms but I assure you they're all nice and cozy.

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dining area at the second floor

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yours truly posing for a souvenir shot

Their restroom was clean and roomy. And air-conditioned, too.

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They also had a small accessory shop, a bar and a cake display case in one corner.

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Minutes after we went back to our table, plates after plates of warm food started to arrive. One bite and I could easily tell Casa Roces was into Filipino-Spanish cuisine. We started off with three kinds of soup, two kinds of salad and one appetizer.

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Sopa Molo Castiliana, P185

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Onion Soup Gratin, P125

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Truffle Mushroom Puree, P190

The Sopa Molo Castiliana was good. I liked the dumplings in it more than the soup itself, though. The dumplings were tasty and flavorful while the soup tasted bland. I appreciate onion soups in restaurants but Casa Roces's Onion Soup Gratin was a revelation. I couldn't get enough of the raclette cheese they put on top of the Melba toast! Haha. I think the Truffle Mushroom Puree was okay but it didn't have a lasting impression in my head.

Casa Roces currently has three choices of salad on their menu. We ordered two from the list. They tasted okay but nothing special. I hope they offer better-tasting salad dressings in the future.

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Marinated Artichoke Salad, P160

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Crispy Lengua Caesar Salad, P

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Choritos en Balsamico, P295

Their Choritos en Balsamico was yummy! Chorizos are great on their own but I think what makes this appetizer appealing to the palate is the sweet and sour flavors in the balsamic syrup complemented by the rich and salty pork sausage slices.

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some drinks to wash down our food

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When the entrées came, I made it a point to taste each of them. Presentation wise, all the dishes deserve a good grade. The Casa Roces kitchens really took the effort to plate their food beautifully. Sorry but the pictures here don't give enough justice to how nice they look in the flesh:

I do not want to play favorites but I really liked their Bouillabaisse de la Casa Roces and Oven-baked Salmon Wellington. The bouillabaisse had a generous serving of various seafood in a flavorful stew of fresh tomatoes and spices. I loved the sweet, sour and salty flavors of this French dish. The salmon, on the other hand, was a delight in itself. Wrapped in what seemed like thin pastry crust with a slightly-thick spinach cream sauce, the tender, juicy and fatty goodness of the salmon were bursting in my mouth. The serving was big, too, which left my tummy very satisfied. Now I know what dishes to order on my next visit!

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Bouillabaisse de la Casa Roces, P210

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Oven-Baked Salmon Wellington, P380

I'm a big fan of lengua but I didn't like Casa Roces' take on this delicacy. I usually like my lengua to have this "melt-in-your-mouth" texture. Their lengua that night was quite far from that.

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Lengua in Mushroom-Cognac Sauce, P330

The Pork Stew Binagoongan, Grilled Pork Ribs and Pork Belly Humba, though very tasty and flavorful and best eaten with rice, were just too salty for my liking. I could imagine the amount of sodium from these two dishes going down my throat after taking a spoonful of each. To each his own, I guess.

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Pork Stew Binagoongan, P265

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Pork Belly Humba, P245

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Grilled Pork Ribs, P235

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As for the other entrées, I thought they were all okay but my satisfaction with each dish wasn't enough for me to rave about them on this blog. By the way, I heard the Casa Roces kitchens are run by the Cravings group that operates Cravings and C2 Classic Cuisine restaurants.

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Ox Tail Kare-Kare, P240

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Bulalo Steak Ala Pobre, P285

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Callos Ala Bolita, P260

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Pan-Fried Sole Ala Beure Noisette, P220

We capped off our heavy dinner with three kinds of desserts: Chocolate Caramel, Laguna Cheesecake and Leche Flan Brulee. Among the three, I was smitten by the brulee. It was creamy, had a very smooth texture and the sweetness was just right. I think I can finish a serving of this on my own!

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this Leche Flan Brulee (P95) is made of awesome!

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Chocolate Caramel, P150

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Laguna Cheesecake, P150

Our dining experience that night was pleasant and tummy-filling. And it looked like we had a mini-buffet right there because we shared everything, from the soup and appetizers to the entrées and desserts.

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Dining at Casa Roces made me feel like a VIP. The staff looked like they work in a hotel with their gray and white uniform. The manager was nowhere to be seen, though. There were only us and two more groups that time.

The service was generally good. The staff who attended to us may have gotten a little confused with our orders and wasn't oriented well as to which dishes were available or not that night, but he was very polite and eager to please. The restaurant is still new. I'm sure they'll improve more on their service in the coming days.

Casa Roces serves a la carte items and according to one of the staff, set menus will be on offer soon. FYI, their food prices are already VAT-included! Service charge is added once you get your bill. I suggest allotting P300 to P500 per head for breakfast and snacks and P500 to P1,000 per head for lunch or dinner. A bit pricey, yes, but the good food and the lovely ambience are definitely worth the money you'll spend here.

Casa Roces
1153 J.P. Laurel cor. Aguado Sts.
San Miguel, Manila.

(+632) 735-5896
(+632) 708-4020
reservations@casaroces.com


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13 comments:

  1. Very nice interiors, pictures are vivid thanks for sharing, if you may, how much did you actually spent for such an extravagant dinner, I'd love to try it as well!

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  2. Hi. I have a question Mam. Is the dish good for just one person? Casa Roces is also near my workplace. I'm planning to celebrate my birthday there. Thanks :)

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  3. Hi! i live near malacanang, and i am interested in dining at casa roces with my family. I just like to ask if the price indicated on each dish is per plate, or they served it in a large serving plate or bowl?

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  4. @Joy: I think our bill amounted to around P5k plus (8 people). But that's only because we ordered a lot! It's really affordable there as you could see in the prices I shared here. :)

    @girltalker: ideally, for one. but sharing is allowed, that's what we did! celebrating your birthday there sound slike a good idea. go! :)

    @mitch: yes, per plate. just normal plates but the servings are big and for me they're meant to be shared. :)

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  5. I am Carlos Roces, from Gijón, Asturias , España. Spain.

    www.telecable.es/personales/carlosrf1

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  6. Wow very nice venue and food...I would just like to ask if they cater for special occasions like weddings and birthdays???is the place big enough???do they have packages...thanks ;)

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  7. wow nice page, i would just like to ask if they cater for specials events like wedding and birthdays????love the interiors...

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  8. I, together with members of my family, ate at Casa Roces last July to celebrate my birthday. The previous year, we ate at a steak restaurant in QC that turned out, well, to be a forgettable experience. Our night at Casa Roces proved to be worse. My reasons:

    Food (which according to press releases and blogs) was supposed to be good:

    (1) Caesar's salad: the kitchen skimped on olive oil, egg, anchovies, capers, etc. The predominant taste was lemon (kalamansi?).
    (2) French onion soup: very bad soup stock (Knorr?), undercooked onions, hardly discernible cheese.
    (3) Lengua: bland, soggy mashed potatoes. Served cold.
    (4) Bouillabaisse: Gordon Ramsey once said that it takes two days to cook good bouillabaisse. Casa Roces probably did theirs dish in two minutes. Tasted absolutely like spaghetti sauce with predominant tomato flavor.
    (5) Kare: Syrupy. You get better at less-hyped restos. Your Lola definitely cooked better.
    (6) Crepe: Placed order. After about 20 minutes, the waiter advises that the kitchen had run out. Of what? Pre-prepared crepes? Batter?
    (7) It goes on...

    Service: Borders on acceptable. You have to ask for bread and butter. Service for four is about 30-45 minutes. Bring a pocketbook.

    Decor: Acceptable retrofit of an antebellum? space. The restaurant chatter is, however, irritating. The interior designers should have written this in. Nonetheless, the interiors are the restaurant's only redeeming value.

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  9. @Anonymous: That's quite sad. The restaurant is still pretty new, though, so let's give them time to improve. :)

    P.S. Please leave a name to provide identity to your comment next time.

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  10. @bhadz23: I think they do as the place has function rooms and overall, looks big enough to hold parties. But to be sure, you may want to call them directly.

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  11. Hi I so love the place and the food..and the company..The ambiance is luxurious but the cost of food is affordable..i love the flare and I intend to bring my mom there..i appreciate the interiors and the old stuffs!

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  12. Gilyanne BlancaflorOctober 11, 2011 at 11:27 PM

    @bhadz23: Yes, we can cater to special occasions as our 2/F has several function rooms. For more info, you may check out www.facebook.com/casarocesphils or call 7355896.

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  13. Went out of our way to try this restaurant. Mediocre food. Bouillabaisse tasted like marinara sauce. You can barely taste truffle in the mushroom puree and you can make better Kare Kare at home. This didn't surprise me since I never liked the food the Cravings group churn out. STAY AWAY.

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