Sapin-sapin Crème Brûlée

March 16 last week saw back-to-back events that tested the limits of my stomach.

The afternoon to early evening was spent mingling and standing in 4-inch heels (painful) at One Serendra’s social hall for the book launch of “Shadow of Doubt” by our editor-in-chief Marites Vitug.

There were many heavyweights from political, business and legal circles. It took every ounce of my being not to ask them all for their calling cards. You know, just in case.

The high points of that event were: helping former Sen. Jovito Salonga to a chair (and worrying that if he fell, it would be my fault if he shatters to pieces) and having a funny photo-op with former president Fidel V. Ramos who walked the streets of Serendra holding a glass of wine in one hand.

Also some high points: seeing my college friend Jam after so many years and eating such good food from Cafe Uno including delicious spinach lasagna, dainty cheese and herb quiches, and mini-pizzas.

Yummy No Doubt

While my officemates decided to eat a nearby Japanese restaurant, I had to head over to the Venice Piazza, a newly opened eating hotspot at McKinley Hills for Dad’s birthday dinner.

The Venice Piazza’s main building looked like a palace, with ornate facades and a balcony that curved inwards. It’s beautiful at night.

At the moment, it’s quiet and peaceful because not too many people have discovered it yet. But wait until it gets peopled by the dog-walking, Crocs-wearing crowds of Serendra and High Street.

My parents chose Kusê (short for Kusinero), a Filipino restaurant that has a wide menu of gourmet Pinoy food.

The restaurant fronts the wide plaza dotted with benches and palm trees. About 20 of us dined al fresco, to the wafts of gentle breezes. Everyone was happy.

Multiply these dishes six times over and you’ll have an idea of how much we ate.

Paco Salad sa Laguna (with Kesong Puti) – P165

I was told this is a mix of ferns, fennel and tomatoes plus crumbly kesong puti. It was an interesting take on the traditional ensalada. A must-try!

Pinangat na Laing Bicolandia – P 150

Laing is an Ilocano delicacy made of taro leaves cooked in coconut milk. I have never in my life tried this dish, but my Ilocano cousins had glowing reviews for the restaurant’s version. I’ll take their word for it.

Mini Ukoy with Visayan Sauce – P150

The menu describes this as a crispy fried mixture of taro, shrimp and vegetables that you dip into a sweet soy and vinegar sauce. It was crunchy and tasty like shrimp-flavored flat meatballs. Really good!

BBQ Beef Back Ribs Adobado (1 kilo) – P495

Fall-off-the-bone meat, sweet-and-spicy barbecue sauce, grilled to perfection. *drool*

Fried Suckling Pig Lechon (250 grams with kinilaw na labanos and liver sauce) – P495

Lechon with lots of that crispy bubbly skin and soft meat. By the time I got there, the plates were half empty. Says a lot!

Chicken Inasal ng Bacolod with Tomato Mango Ensalada – P225

Ox Tail Kare-Kare – P395

The best part of the meal, however, were the desserts which we got for free because it was my Dad’s birthday. (And the restaurant manager turned out to be the cousin of my Dad’s brother-in-law. Kamag-anak Inc. Hehehe.)

Pandan Cake with Macapuno – P95

Banana Langka on Filo with caramel sauce – P95

For the win: Sapin-sapin Crème Brûlée. Instead of heavy cream and sugar beneath the caramelized topping, there’s colorful rice flour and coconut paste (sapin sapin) underneath. Yummy!


The staff even threw in a song and a chocolate mousse cake with chocolate syrup script as a bonus.


You get huge servings for affordable prices and the almost doting attention of the Kusê staff. Definitely worth it!

Happy birthday daddy and Congratulations Ms. Marites!

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