There are discoveries you want to keep all for yourself because if everybody knew about it, then gets interested with it, you feel robbed of your comfort places. It becomes mainstream until the once quiet place with relaxing ambiance becomes just a regular hangout for everyone else. Nonetheless, my business is likely not the owner's and I decide to share this find anyway as show of support to keep the restaurant open "FOREVER".
|The alley leading to the barely visible La Bouna Forchetta restaurant.|
It is a hideaway. It literally is.
A secret known only for those chasing after the unknown. A find only those who labor looking are rewarded with. Thanks to Laagholic. Her buyog instincts led us to the restaurant. Acacia Street in Kamputhaw is rather long, however, if you keep walking --- at the cul-de-sac (where the road ends) resides La Bouna Forchetta Da Paolo.
Without the glowing signage at the gate, it is nearly impossible to find the restaurant. Outside, it looks like a vintage home under a canopy of tree branches. The house is combination of concrete, glass and wood elements. Although it feels like trespassing, a waitress actually opens the door and welcomes you in like an expected guest. It is very spacious inside and the wooden chairs and tables can be rearranged to set up long tables retrospective of Jose Rizal era where big high profile Spanish families dine together but it can be setup for guests of two if you needed some privacy, isolation, or a feel of romance.
We settled on a spot near the glass wall where the faint bustling sound of the insects tapping outside the window is audible. It must be the burning lamp on our table and the heat it exuded that attracted them to huddle close. We didn't mind. They were a pleasant disturbance from the plain darkness outside that night. Sensing that we needed to get busy or we'll just be hanging out, the waitress approached us with their laminated menu. I found myself silently guessing and imagining the looks and taste of the dishes in Italian names but couldn't figure them out so I asked for the house specialties. They endorsed Salsiccia e Funghi Pizza and their seafood pasta. Buyog wanted to try arugula topping on pizza and the waitress gladly accommodated the request to halve the pizza flavors.
|Buyog, the Explorer!|
|Focaccia, their complimentary pastry.|
|Insalata Caprese, mozarella on tomato.|
We also ordered their antipasti so we could start off on something while we wait for the pizza and spaghetti to be served. Unknown to us was their complimentary thin focaccia crispies. We nibbled on it, very delighted about the herby treat. Then came Insalata Caprese ( an italian salad consisting of tomato and fresh mozarella cheese ) which was paired with focaccia bread. The mozarella which tastes neutral paired well with the sour-sweet taste of tomato. I had trouble knowing how to eat it with the pastries. I decided I'd top it on the biscuit or the bread but the flakes fell off and I got embarassingly messy that I ended up eating them separately. Needless to say, it was "delizioso". That was a plateful of fresh yummy ingredients.
|Alla Dino Seafood Pasta|
Halfway through the antipasti came their seafood pasta mixed with olive oil. Cooked al dente, the pasta was inexplicably tasteful. I go nuts over it like I did with most pasta sauted in olive oil. This was very redolent of Dong Juan's Gambas Aglio Olio but tastes even better. Mind-boggling to me is the manner their squid meat tasted. Its texture was somewhere between fresh and rotten (without the smell) that it could have been lobster or crab meat. I was over the moon as the salt, butter/oil, herbs, prawns, mussels, squid and fresh tomato blended to create that oddly glorious flavor. I am literally salivating at the thought of this.
Lastly, we had the pizza served. True to customer specifications, they delivered it in two flavors. One topped with the arugula herbs and the other with sausage and funghi cuts. Of course, the cheese! As a pizza maker myself, capsicum and onions were always a necessary topping. This defied my stereotype. I did not see capsicum on it. The pizza was mildly hot when I bit it and "lala-la-lala" it was like honey on my tongue and "symphony to my ears" ---- except arugula. While others describe arugula's taste as "peppery", "like mustard", "oompphh flavor" -- still others say it tastes like "soap" (hahaha). If you are the type that picks the capsicum toppings, you will do the same (with disgust) for arugula. The flavor is so strong but chefs and food lovers whose taste bud looks for adventures certainly marvel on its use. It is mostly mixed in green salads. Personally I think it was distasteful, too -- only in the beginning -- but the more I took in, the more my palate became accustomed to it. It is the type that belongs to "acquired taste" as some would describe. We finished with a glass of red wine.
As far as I am concerned, everything was delightful as it was educational. Nowadays, food tastes pretty much the same. Lechon, steak, liempo, humba.. they are available almost everywhere - the same pork meat cooked differently. The arugula, despite it's freakin' strong taste, was key to understanding that there is a lot more beyond the usual flavors.
|That's focaccia between me and my bubeh...|
I've gone back since my first --- with Kris this time. And like the first visit, the waitresses are still the same giddy fellas. They were courteous to the formal customers but they were ecstatic to the crazy ones. We had fun talking with them about the Mona Lisa painting and the frowning portrait hung on the wall, and then about Manny Pacquaio and life in general. I still have the same good things to say about the food (meaning they cook consistently) and I got to share it with my baby who mused at every bite. Our conversation were like "uuhhms" and "ohhhs", "nomnom", "namnam", "chompchomp", -- JUST WOW!
|After the "ohhhs" and "uhhmmss". Just WOW!|
La Bouna Forchetta da Paolo, they say was originally located along Jones Avenue beside Angelica's bakeshoppe but they have since transferred to the new location for quite a number of years now. I was tipped that the food are now being prepared by Filipino chefs who took first hand training from the original Italian chef. True or not, I care less. The food sold for itself. It is raking 4 to perfect 5-star ratings in TripAdvisor. You shan't miss.
Wallet Watch: P874 each ( 2 pax )
La Bouna Forchetta de Paolo
ADVENT BUSINESS CENTER
139 Acacia St. Kamputhaw, Cebu City, Cebu City