When In Manila, we’re always on the lookout for restaurants that have something good to offer. We crave for dining places with good food, good ambiance and good service. I just found all that and more at a hidden paradise in Horseshoe Village, Lemuria Gourmet Restaurant.
I’ve been eager to visit Lemuria ever since I first heard of its remarkable ambiance and delicious food. Unfortunately I’ve been too busy that it had been left on my to-do-list for over a year! Thankfully last week, I was finally able to visit Lemuria with my fellow writers, Alessi Brugada and Philippe Villareal. My first impression? WOW! PERFECT date spot! PERFECT place for an intimate dinner. Just WOW.
The name Lemuria is derived from the hypothetical lost land of Lemuria said to be located between the Indian and Pacific Oceans. I have no idea how that lost land must’ve looked like but if it is anything like Lemuria Gourmet Restaurant, then it’s a huge loss!
As soon as we arrived in Lemuria, the guard immediately asked for the key to Philippe’s car. Apparently, all customers are urged to use their valet parking services to spare us from the hassle of parking along the street. The place was well lit with yellow lights, giving it an instant romantic feel.
Welcome to Lemuria! How can you not fall in love with this?
Before entering the restaurant itself, Sommelier Ava Sarfati Araw took us for a sneak peek at their wine cellar. The bottles of wine are all places in a temperature controlled room to make sure it stays in perfect condition for the guests to enjoy. Their wine cellar can hold up to 20,000 different wines from all over the world! Nice.
“It started in the late 1980’s when the choice of wines in the local market was limited. This became the opportunity that led husband and wife Klaus and Kitt Schroeder to start the import of German wines. Setting the trend for the modern day wine company, The Winery, became a venue accommodating private parties, personal and corporate, held in the private lush garden or in the fully airconditioned function room.”
“In June 2006, our gourmet restaurant, LEMURIA opened its doors to an enthusiastic and appreciative clientele. Expressive French Mediterranean cuisine created from scratch by our executive chefs is the main focus complemented by a vibrant service from the restaurant staff. In December 2007, LEMURIA, widened its base beyond its own appellation offering catering services for private parties, corporate launches and wedding celebrations with menus of your choice from our creative kitchen.”
Lemuria used to be part of the owner’s home. It was like the 2nd home inside their small compound, however, the owner with her love for wine and food decided to convert the 2nd house into a restaurant instead. They didn’t change much hence still giving the place a feel of home. To give couples some privacy, they also converted the balconies into small open rooms for a table of two. The balcony is covered with glass windows so couples can still enjoy the view and spare themselves from the pesky mosquitoes.
The great thing about Lemuria is that is isn’t just the ambiance that will lure you in and keep you coming back, but the food itself. I’ve been to restaurants with good food but regular ambiances and restaurants with amazing ambiances but regular food. Lemuria however sets itself apart with its beautiful garden and amazing menu.
Lemuria serves their meals in courses. You can opt to include wine in your menu or not. However, if you prepare to just grab a quick meal and split, you might fancy their ala carte menu more. Then again, you can always mix and match.
While waiting for our meals, we were given a complimentary bread basket. The complimentary bread or salad in most restaurants are oftentimes very plain and just really served so that you’re not kept waiting. In this case however, we really loved the bread and even asked the chef if we could take some home! We were served with a some Walnut Bread and Cereal Baguette, all of which are homemade. The Cereal Baguette changes from time to time, however, the walnut bread has become one of Lemuria’s signature dishes.
Lemuria Gourmet Restaurant: Appetizer
For our first course, we had the Lemuria Pate which is part of Lemuria’s Infinite 8 Degustation Menu. I’ve had Foie Gras a couple of times before and my reaction was often, “what’s the big deal?” I know so many people who love Foie Gras and I just never figured out what made it so special… that is until I tasted Lemuria’s version. Now I’m CRAVING for more!
The Lemuria Pate is dressed with fig salami and apricot compote which tastes and feels almost like jam. It is topped with a petal from the Butterfly Pea Pod flower that grows straight from Lemuria’s own garden. The flower has grown to be part of Lemuria’s signature and is completely edible. This dish is best eaten in one bite to fully taste its flavors as explained by Chef Kevin Andaya. The Snow Pea Spout on the other hand are to be eaten afterward to cut through the richness of the pate.
We then had the Seared Veal and Tuna Tartare (PhP 525) and again I was left speechless! The veal, being young, didn’t have much muscles yet hence making it really soft and tender. It was served rare because as Chef Kevin explained, it has no fat to hold the moisture. Cooking it any longer would result in a catastrophe.
See that circular thing on beside the veal? That’s actually fresh tuna topped with avocado! Wow, could you imagine? The avocado complemented really well with the tuna, something I wasn’t really expecting. I’m a beef lover, but in this case, I wasn’t really sure if I enjoyed the veal or tuna more! They both just tasted superb!
Lemuria Gourmet Restaurant: Soup
Moving on to our soup, we each had a delicious bowl of the classic Onion Soup (PhP 315). “Classic French Soup with caramelized onion, savory broth and toasted sliced of baguette topped with gruyere cheese.” French Onion Soup is very common, however what makes Lemuria’s version special is their decision to switch from Swiss Cheese to Gruyere Cheese. Gruyere has a stronger taste but I found it matched perfectly well with the soup’s sweet flavors. I love caramelized onions! Having it in my soup and mixed with Gruyere Cheese made it 10 times better!
Continue reading to the next page to see what we had for our main course! Plus, more details on our giveaway!