When Jason and Mich told me that there was this new resto in Greenhills, I immediately asked if it was good there. I think I have been on a bad restaurant streak these weeks, and I just couldn't find anything new and worthy of true praise these days. So, off we drove to Greenhills, trying to find the newest kid on the block, Cucina Gayuma.
Not to be mistaken for the now closed Gayuma Restaurant in Katipunan, Cucina Gayuma is located just after the intersection of Santolan and Ortigas in Greenhills. You wouldn't miss it, going to Gilmore. Parking is a problem since it's in a row of shops situated in front of a very busy road.
Ok. When I saw the sign and got a peak of the inside, I must admit I became hesitant. It was those types of restaurants that was in a wrong place, with a bad taste for design. The place was small, but had two floors. There was a function going on upstairs, and there were other big groups dining downstairs with us. So it was pretty packed and that was impressive for a new restaurant. So, despite the poor ambience and taste in design, I hoped that the food would compensate.
The place had a Filipino design, which made me think their menu was Filipino. However, there were only a few Filipino dishes. There was no theme, so it fell under those fusion restaurants. The waiter gave us a special menu, which surprisingly was half sold out. We ordered the Laing Cheese Spread (P80) to start. It came out served with hard to chew tortilla triangles. The cheese spread was good, but I ordered it for the laing flavor which was just a hint.
Next, we ordered the Seafood Aligue Pasta. They told us that the Laing Pasta was a bestseller, but since we wanted laing more as an appetizer, we got the super-calorific dish instead. At first, it was promising. The sauce was evenly mixed with the pasta. The taste can be likened to Pancit Malabon or Palabok, and since I was already craving for palabok since yesterday, that was a welcome treat. But if I didn't have that craving, I would be truly disappointed. The menu looked so inviting, and out comes a seafood palabok dish. It didn't taste bad, but I just expected something different, having tasted other aligue pastas.
So, with a disappointed mood, I was served the Baked Ribs. You can notice the variety of dishes offered. I decided between the Baked Ribs (P280) or the Inihaw na Liempo with Ginataang Santol (P195). The waiter again advised us to take the Baked Ribs as it was a bestseller. And since I am in the hunt for the best ribs, I gave in to his recommendation. The dish turned out to be the worst of them all. The BBQ sauce was so overpowering. The dish looked dull and the streak of sauce in the middle of the plate made me laugh. I wish they'd put some greens on the plate. The meat was tender though, but I just couldn't stand the enormous burst of BBQ.
Finally, we had the Baked Parmesan Crusted Fish, since we were comparing the resto to Cookbook Kitchen for some reason. This dish was okay for me, except that it was overseasoned with pepper. You could feel the pepper spiking down your throat. You had to wash a bite down with water. The mushroom was a good touch to the dish though I was bothered thinking if they used Campbell's for the sauce. The fish was also small, and didn't fill up the entire baking dish.
So, verdict? I was disappointed, and we actually didn't get dessert anymore. I was afraid that the Turtle Pie wouldn't be Turtle Pie, or that the leche flan would be store bought. I really wanted to give this resto a chance, since it was a good effort. I assume it was owned by a young chef who wanted a restaurant of his own to share with friends. But the place was horrible, not that comfortable, and the food was below my standards. Maybe I came on a bad time, since it was full. So, it's up to you to decide and tell me if I was just in bad luck.
Cucina Gayuma is located along Granda St., just after the Ortigas-Santolan intersection.