January 19, 2008
The night was a bit foggy and cold but inside the restaurant it was warm and cozy. What once was a resthouse of the Tiu family (Discovery Management) was now a bed & breakfast/restaurant. The interior was like any other cabin-like resthouses in the Tagaytay and Highlands area. It was really cold that night but inside the main restaurant, it was really comfortable (unless the doors were open and cold air would fly into the restaurant proper). The servers were very knowledgeable with the dishes and were trained really well. They new everything we asked them and the service was superb! Well, they ought to have excellent service for the price! More about that later, first the food...
The food arrived shortly after we ordered hence the waiting time wasn't that long. Peachy and I decided to share an order of the Baby Back Ribs. The Ribs were great tasting but the meat didn't fall of the bone. Everybody who knows Baby Back Ribs knows that the meat should be so tender that it would fall of the bone. That wasn't the case here and I was a bit disappointed. Well, that was before Aileen's food arrived. She order the Sea Bass and I felt better, "schadenfreude-ish" even! :) The Sea Bass was definitely overcooked and the meat was tough! Looking at the Sea Bass for the first time, Aileen and I immediately thought that it was gonna be a dry Sea Bass. Perfectly cooked sea bass should be slightly crusted but still leaving the interior moist. The meat should melt in your mouth like butter. Which reminds me, I should look for the BEST Sea bass next! Anyways, back to Verbena's Sea Bass, it was definitely not what we had expected. In a lighter note: Both the side dish of the ribs and the Sea Bass was to die for! Pollenta for the ribs was so good! It accompanied the ribs taste-wise perfectly. Buttery taste with the acidity of the barbecue sauce. The Sea Bass was accompanied by an amazing seeved mashed potato. If you like your mashed potatoes like butter, this is the secret to it. I have tried making this before and it's awesome! It's not your conventional mashed potato but a finer more buttery textured one. It goes through a very fine strainer for about 2 passes and that is what makes it this fine. It's great and accompanied by the "tough" Sea Bass balances the dish out, I guess! :)
I tasted Jen and Elaine's appetizer of Mushroom Ragu with Emmenthal Cheese Croûte and it was probably the best dish amongst all the dishes we had ordered. It was simply divine! It is actually a simpler term for mushroom and cheese on toasted bread but it tasted like heaven! It was so good that I didn't bother tasting their main order when it came in. I think it was some kind of Salmon dish... Hehehe!
It was my first time in Verbena and I must say that it was quite an experience! I gave it an "A" with the ambiance and look of the place, I gave it a "B" with food and presentation, and finally an "A" again for service!
Oh I almost forgot to mention about the price! Hold on to your wallets because when you go to verbena, it'll not only be a place to remember for you but also for your credit card bill! Average price per person would be around Php 750 - Php 1,000 when you go for the complete course like if you order an appetizer, a main dish, and a dessert. Quite expensive so all you daters out there... Good luck! :)