Kusina Salud

Tucked away in the greenery of San Pablo City in Laguna, Kusina Salud offers a unique Filipino dining experience that you should not miss. Hailed as one of the ten best restaurants in the country, I must say that the place has all the elements of a successful restaurant: great food at good prices served in great ambience.

I was able to sample Salud's fare when we came home from Camarines Sur. It was already nearing dinner time and I knew that this was the time to experience Kusina Salud. You'll find their signage lighted up on the highway leading to Tiaong, Quezon. It is actually just outside the center of San Pablo City. Once you see the signage, just drive down the road, until you see their quaint entrance to your left.

Kusina Salud offers fabulous and unique Filipino dishes. They put a twist into the normal Filipino fare. I wouldn't call it gourmet, but more of comfort food with a twist. It's not really fine dining, but has a more casual atmosphere. It's great having lunch or dinner here with friends and family. However, the place can be romantic as well at night, as I have seen, during my visit, when a guy proposed to his girl in an arranged special dinner.

The menu was rather short but very interesting. We ordered their signature salad, the Ensaladang Pako (P145) to start. Just reading its description made me excited. It was a salad of wild fettlehead fern with salted duck eggs and local sweet red onions tossed in fermented fish sauce and calamansi dressing with shavings of white cheese. And it was great, the fettlehead fern was refreshing and the balance of flavors were perfect.

We then ordered 3 main dishes that we shared amongst each other. My favorite was the Sinampalukang Manok (P220), which was served Hainanese chicken style. It was a 1.4 chicken slow-boiled in a sour tamarind broth, just like sinigang, but served separately with the broth and other sides for flavoring, like some vegetables. It was interesting that they presented it like how they present Hainanese chicken, but tasted better.

I also liked the Pinaputok na Pla-Pla (P235), which is tilapia, steamed in banana leaf served with a spicy sarsang laing and garnished with a small red egg and tomato salad. The laing sauce added flavor to the already fresh tilapia that was oozing with its natural juices.

Finally, we sampled the Peanut Braised BBQ RRibs and Corn (P225). I just love how the pork was marinated and seasoned. It was laid on a bed of corn. The meat was tender that you don't even need a knife to cut the meat.

I wouldn't say much on their dessert though, as I wasn't impressed at all. We got the Mango Crepe and the Brownie ala Mode. I think they didn't have what we really wanted, and these were one of the only ones available. You can even choose your organic rice to be white or brown. You should also try their guyabano iced tea and their pandan infused coffee.

I have actually visited Salud twice in two months, and have also tasted their Buffet Lunch. I didn't know they were only offering buffet, so that disappointed me, as I know that buffets tend to be of lower quality. And it was. the food wasn't as inspiring as my first visit. I enjoyed though, the Kalabaw Salpicao that tasted like crispy tadyang. It was served with garlic spaghetti aglio oilo, which was surprisingly a great duo. I sliced my beef into smaller and thinner pieces, and topped them with the noodles. It was great. The garlic flavor was in full blast though, but the spicy and marinated taste of the meat fought well with it, giving it a nice combination.

Kusina Salud deserves to be called one of the ten best, and being tucked away in the heart of San Pablo City, it is indeed a foodie's paradise. The old house ambience charms and relaxes you, while the modern take on food keeps you excited and wanting to come back for more.

You can also visit http://kusinasalud.multiply.com


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