Lolo Dad's Café: A Timeless Fine Dining Gem in Malate

Tuesday, September 11, 2012
As a foodie, I have my own bucket list of must-visit restaurants, one of which is an ancestral home-turned-restaurant in Malate by the name of Lolo Dad's Café. Tucked in the corner of Quirino Avenue, this fine dining destination is owned by the Ayuyao family and headed by renowned Chef Ariel Manuel together with his award-winning team.
Lolo Dad's

Ever since I first heard of Lolo Dad's Café, I have always wondered why they named the restaurant as such. Turns out, this ancestral home used to be the old house cum office of Atty. Conrado “Dodo” Ayuyao who was fondly called by his granddaughter, Lolo Dad. By February 14, 2000, the house was converted into the restaurant that we know today -- a foodie's haven, a dating spot, and a home to Lolo Dad's favorite gustatory delights.

Upon entering Lolo Dad's Café, I can't help but notice the relaxing atmosphere with its warm ambient lighting. You'll really feel that this restaurant is somewhere peaceful, away from the busy streets of Quirino and Taft Avenue. Then, there's also an open kitchen where you'll get to see Chef Manuel and his team in action. A truly wonderful sight!

Complimentary Bread and Butter Baked Oyster on Angel hair pasta with silvers of seared Duck Foie Gras

We started off our meal with a complimentary basket of bread and butter. And while I don't generally go gaga for free bread, it was a different story with Lolo Dad's Café's freshly-baked dinner rolls. They were so soft, airy and with a slight crisp on their beautiful brown crust. Paired with the restaurant's savory butter spread, these were simple yet very satisfying treats perfect to start a meal. I actually got to eat three pieces that night!

To whet our appetite even more, we had some Baked Oyster on Angel Hair Pasta with silvers of seared Duck Foie Gras (P160 per piece). I know, I know, paying over a hundred per piece is really expensive especially if you're a big eater. However, this beautiful gustatory baby is one of the most delightful creation I've ever had. I love oysters and foie gras, but I never thought they'd taste more wonderful when combined!

Soft-Shell Crab Fritters on Gribiche Sauce with Dungeness Crab, Mango and Cucumber Salad

Next, I had an order of Soft-Shell Crab Fritters on Gribiche Sauce with Dungeness Crab, Mango and Cucumber Salad (P378) in modest portion. The fritters were so crunchy on the outside and soft, savory and packed with seafood goodness on the inside, while the salad didn't only taste fresh and summery but was also very flavorful.

Double Espresso Soup P350

We were then served with the Double Espresso Soup (P350), a cup each of cream of mushroom and tomato with salted fleuron sticks. Between these two, I preferred the savory cream of mushroom soup as it had just the right flavor to be sipped on its own. However, the tomato soup was probably the better dip for the accompanying pastry.

Calamansi Sorbet

Before we had the main course, we were first served with a Calamansi Sorbet sitting atop a clay pot filled with dry ice. First of all, I love how adorable the presentation was. The teapot and the smoke, they made eating the sorbet more interesting. And second, I love how refreshing the sorbet actually is. It has just the right blend of sweet, tangy and zesty, serving its purpose as an effective palate cleanser, while still being a yummy treat.

Confit of Kurobota Pork Belly, Arborio Rice with Chorizo, Prosciutto and Pancetta, Garlic Aioli and Melocoton P650

For the main course, I had the Confit of Kurobota Pork Belly, Arborio Rice with Chorizo, Prosciutto and Pancetta, Garlic Aioli and Melocoton (P650) in modest portion, as personally recommended by Chef Ariel. This plate of Kurobota pork belly is definitely a winner especially for pork lovers like me. The meat is so tender, so moist and so succulent that cutting it to smaller pieces was a breeze. It also had a straight-forward taste, savory but nothing too overbearing for the palate, making it a perfect viand to go with the flavorful Arborio rice which was somehow a cross between paella and risotto.

Sampler of Chocolates P260

For a sweet ending to our pleasurable dinner, I got the Sampler of Chocolates (P260) in modest portion, a platter of white chocolate off-mold brûlée, dark chocolate terrine, chocolate flan, white chocolate, caramel ice cream and berries. And when this long plate of goodies was served, I was surprised 'cause it seemed so big for one person to finish. If this is just the modest serving, then how big is the regular one? But of course, we still managed to clean the plate off since every treat on this serving is so chocolatey! My personal favorites though would be the chocolates on the upper-left and upper-right.

THE VERDICT

Some might perceive gourmet dining as mere food sampling to satisfy the palate and not the tummy. However, my experience at Lolo Dad's Café can prove that even with modest portions, you can still leave the place happy and full. In fact, General Manager Ding Ayuyao even recommends to order the modest servings so diners can enjoy multiple-course meals without stretching both the stomach and the wallet too much. And with a cozy and romantic ambiance, impeccable service and excellent selection of culinary masterpieces, a trip to Lolo Dad's Café, even just once, is definitely a must!

Taste - 5/5
Ambiance - 4/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 3/5
Overall Value - 4/5


Lolo Dad's Café, Malate
899 President Quirino Ave. cor. Leon Guinto St.,
Malate, Manila
Philippines
(02) 522-2941; 524-2295; 526-7151
Official Website
Facebook Page

37 comments:

  1. Drooling over the chocolate samplers!
    Love that photo of the calamansi sorbet. No, actually, I love all the photos! :)

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  2. I miss lolo dads na!! :) triple date tyo next time? hahaha :))

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    1. Tara! :D Then share-share nalang sa appetizers!

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    2. don't forget the dessert! I'm Drooling over those chocolates. =/

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    3. Sarap din yung dessert that you guys had when you visited Lolo Dad's! :D Hopefully it's still on the menu on our next trip.

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  3. Sarap naman nyan... You're making me drool! Hirap talaga when you're trying to diet and lose weight! Hahaha

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  4. Oh Gosh! You are killing me with this post... I am trying to lose, Sumi and seeing this post makes me wanna go to Lolo Dad's!

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  5. I've only tried Lolo Dad's Brasserie in Makati. I wonder if their menu is different from this one? Kurobuta pork looks sooo good. XD

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  6. I often passed by this restaurant but I heard that it's quite pricey. DH is so stingy, he would rather take his cash somewhere else lol

    xoxo
    MrsMartinez

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  7. Lovely restaurant! The baked oyster looks delish! I would love to try the Crab Fritters, too!

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  8. I think this was featured in Pop Talk and I instantly planned in going there. I haven't been there though, since Quirino Ave. isn't really near our place...

    XO,
    Miss April

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  9. I want to try their calamansi sorbet and crab fritters looks interesting and love the chocolate samplers.
    i also have a list of place to dine and visit but i'm more on the BGC, ayala side since its near my work and place im renting but I'm can always go out of my way like when we went to malabon for the culinary fest.

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  10. i like the name of this cafe... sarap for sure ng foods dyan

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  11. Everything looks so yummy. I was hoping you took pictures of the restaurant interior, though :) Would you recommend Lolo Dad's for a romantic dinner, or is this more of a family restaurant? Thanks :)

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    1. ei pepper txt me..09151018396 im a chef at lolo dad's

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  12. I am thinking of opening my own resto but i am not a cook i dont even spend so much of my time in the kitchen. So kakain nalang ako. Hahaha 4/5 ang over all grade mo for this resto kaya i'll check that out if makakapunta ako sa manila

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  13. Lolo Dad's Cafe looks like a good place to dine. Parang masarap ngang i-try ang mga foodies nila.

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  14. that is such a cool restaurant to dine in and great idea for converting an ancestral home into a restaurant... well, for a change... foods look delicious!

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  15. 5/5 taste ,wow!this is restaurant is best recommended for the best review.Goood food and best palce to relax and fill out hungry tummy.

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  16. Oh my the foods are mouth-watering. I've read about this restaurant featured in one of the food magazines I have that I purchased before.

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  17. The food looks delectable. I will definitely ask my husband to bring me here.

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  18. The foods looks all very delish and makes me drool too :-) I only been in Malate once and am sure I will get lost if I visit the restautant.

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  19. Oh, the food looks so delicious! and your picture made a justice out of it too! I'm hungry! I will probably visit this someday when i had a chance to visit PI again.

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  20. Wow..the food looks amazing and just as you described it I can almost taste it in my mouth. The chocolate samplers definitely makes me drool :-)

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  21. this looks like a fancy restaurant. oh boy! look at those food. delicious indeed. normally name of the restaurants has significant history and named after the owner's ancestors or something like that.

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  22. Wow, looks really good dishes they have in there! That's what we called the best fine dining experience!

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  23. mouth-watering foods especially the chocolate samplers :) great review!

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  24. so yummy looking food. hope i could encounter this restaurant when I visit back to Philippines.

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  25. this is on my list of must-vist restaurants too. does the food really tastes as yummy as it looks on the photos?

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  26. calamansi sorbet, that's something new for me and i would really love to try it. I have been malate girl for almost half of my life but i haven't been here, too bad, maybe when i come home again, i'll try to go there with my siblings.

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  27. Looks like everything's worth trying and with you giving 5/5 means it really is worth visiting!

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  28. the calamansi shorbet also caight my eyes..thoughts it was a tea or something :)

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  29. you can't really judge the book by its cover...:) these dishes made me hungry...yum! they look so appetizing.

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  30. Look's like everything is delicious! This makes me wanna try all! haha

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  31. Do you just go in? Or you need to reserve a table? Thanks!

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