BATAAN, Philippines – After a 3-hour car ride with friends, we finally arrived at Anvaya Cove in Morong early Saturday morning. I was trying to save my appetite despite the number of stopovers along the way. You could say I was preparing myself to taste the food at Anvaya – but I was more than ready.
When we arrived at the Beach and Nature Club, I could already tell that this would turn out to be an amazing experience. The view, the weather and the company were a perfect combination. I even had to remind myself that I was there for work and not for a vacation.
I was led to the Bamboo Cafe where all meals were going to be served.
BAMBOO CAFE. All photos by Adrianna Mejia
The modern tropical Asian design of the interiors allowed natural light to flow in. You can opt to have your meal inside with air conditioning or outside with a view of the pool area and a glimpse of the beach.
POOL SIDE. Enjoy your meals with this view of their amazing pool.
I knew that the food will exceed my expectations. I think when you go on vacation the food will be, or should be, one of the highlights of your trip.
PAWIKANS. Notice their salt and pepper shakers shaped like sea turtles.
The table setup was elegant with quite a unique touch – the Pawikan-shaped salt and pepper shakers. One of Anvaya Cove’s most anticipated visitors are the Pawikans or Olive Ridley sea turtles that make annual visits to its shores to nest and lay eggs.
I was given the privilege of chatting with the Executive Chef of Anvaya Cove Chef Vladimir Lorilla. He is responsible for their 3 restauarants – Bamboo Cafe, Pawikan Bar and Grill and Tower Bar. Each restaurant has its own specialties and I was about to find out which one was the best.
Chef Vlad was very welcoming and I noticed how excited he was by the tone of his voice. He served all the dishes himself and always gave a story behind each one. I only wish I could write down everything he told me but I'll let his creative creations speak for themselves.
LAGUNA SALAD. Assorted greens with White Cheese of Laguna, Roasted Capsicum, Adobo Flakes and served with Guava Vinaigrette.
The Laguna salad was a great start. Instead of croutons, the adobo flakes added the crunch and the guava vinaigrette gave it that sweet and sour twist. I ate all of the cheese. It was too good to resist.
BAKED CHILEAN SEA BASS. Walnut and herb crusted Sea Bass with garlic vegetables and mashed potato
This was my favorite. The mango sauce at the bottom added more flavor which complemented the herb and walnut crust. And it was great with the mashed potato.
See the skin of the sea bass? I thought it was just a garnish but Chef Vlad said to try it. It was still crunchy even if it was the last thing I took a bite of.
BINAGOONGANG LECHON KAWALI. Crispy pork belly with shrimp paste served with fried eggplant and green mango.
Who says no to Binagoongang Lechon Kawali? Just by hearing the name you can already tell that this Filipino dish will be very filling. The bagoong or shrimp paste was spread on top of the pork belly. This dish is the specialty of one of their 3 restaurants, Pawikan Bar and Grill.
ANVAYA BURGER. Anvaya's all-time bestseller prepared the classic way with a 200-gram pure ground sirloin patty and fries on the side
Your classic cheeseburger plus bacon and egg makes every bite more satisfying. The fries were also very tasty. No wonder this is a popular choice among guests.
ANCHOVY AND GARLIC CONFIT PIZZA. Fillet of anchovies and slow cooked garlic bulb with sour cream Italian herbs on a thin crust pizza.
This did not disappoint. The anchovies were the right kind of salty and one slice just wasn’t enough for me.
ANVAYA ICED TEA. Something refreshing to drink during your meals.
Every month, Anvaya creates a drink of the month. I was able to try two of their best-sellers: Anvaya Colors and Green Lantern.
ANVAYA COLORS. Inspired by the traditional Filipino dessert halo halo, blended strawberry, mango and ube ice cream layered in a tall glass.
GREEN LANTERN. It tastes exactly like a buko pandan salad but with bits of black gelatin.
WELCOMING COMMITTEE. Chef Vlad (in blue) joined by his kitchen crew and the food and beverage staff of Anvaya Cove made the trip worthwhile.
Anavaya Cove is a definite go-to place when you want to just sit back and relax. Keep your stress in the office or back at home and have a vacation even just for the weekend. I wish I could have stayed longer, but it was still a great experience. Even if we left in the wee hours of the morning, I went home with a happy tummy.
If you find yourself here, you should try at least one of these dishes. My only regret? I couldn't finish all the food even if I wanted to. – Rappler.com
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