Finally, I was able to find time to visit one of the best kept secret restaurants, the Cookbook Kitchen. Most of you may have heard about the place from other blogs and magazines. It is actually featured now in Yummy's April issue. You must know how to go to there since it's hidden in the middle of the labyrinth of Mandaluyong.
But it's actually easy once you know the directions. So here: from Shaw Blvd coming from EDSA, turn right at Torres, the street just before Nissan. Then at the end of the road, turn left to Araullo, then left again to S. Fernandez. It's just beyond the curve. It's beside Explorations as well, a pre-school that's supposedly known for its exceptional instructional scheme that makes kids geniuses.
Parking was a problem here, since it really had no parking slots, and you have to park along the road. With the pre-school also there, you have to fight for space. I was surprised to see that there were actually a handful of people having their lunch there on a Thursday. The place is not a secret anymore after all.
Anyway, I was with a friend, so I knew we won't be ordering that much to reach a verdict on their menu. Though short, the menu covers soup and salads, starters, meat and fish dishes, pastas and desserts. They didn't have Squash Soup that time so I skipped any starter. I knew what to order, the Parmesan Crusted White Fish (P230), which was recommended by everyone. It was succulent, silky and flavorful. The fish was baked right, and the top crust was burnt well. I did think though that the dish was "nakakaumay" and it needed something, like a condiment to level it off.
My friend Rach (owner of Peppered Cherry in Serendra, http://pepperedcherry.multiply.com) ordered the Chicken Pizzaiolo. It was a chicken steak served with chunky red stewed tomatoes, basil and olive oil. It was a good and simple dish, much like Parmigiana, but minus the cheese. I actually used the stewed tomatoes to wash off the flavor of the fish I was having.
Finally, the dessert. We were supposed to order two cakes, but got so full already from the sufficient servings. So, we settled in getting the cake that you can only find here: Kittin's Scarlet Cake. Now this is something that will take me back to the restaurant. I told Rach that I bet the cake would be chocolate flavored, just colored red. Or perhaps cherry or strawberry. It came out as a scarlet red cake as the name implied. Its color reminded me of the pan-de-regla's of your neighborhood bakeshops. But no, it didn't taste like that. I was challenged by Rach to give the best description of the cake. Well, it was leaning more on being a butter cake. It was a moist sponge cake that had the right texture. I could taste all the glory of the flavor and calories of the rich buttery filling and icing as I savored a slice. I took a while to analyze the taste in my first take, then, it had me. I was already full but I couldn't stop tearing a slice off bite after bite. Needless to say, I enjoyed it much. The cocoa powder also added a slight and interesting twist to the flavor. Honestly, I still don't know how to describe the cake. I just liked it.
So come and join in the bandwagon. The Cookbook Kitchen deserves the hype it receives. It's charm and good food is perfect for bringing the entire barkada, office or the family on Sunday lunches. One thing bothers me though, there's a gym next door - makes you guilty after pigging yourself out in great home cooked food.
8 Socorro Fernandez St., Mandaluyong City
724 3595 (landline)