Kasarap sa Casa Rap!

Four hours. That's probably the longest lunch Your City Promdi has ever had. It was also one of the most satisfying. Welcome to my Casa Rap experience.

Entering Casa Rap in Barangay San Jose, Lipa City felt like entering a hedge maze. The signage was bordered on all sides by leaves, the entrance almost concealed in the thick foliage. After a bit of a stroll through a wine-covered walkway, Your City Promdi and her companions came upon this sign:

Slow food cafe. (Photo by Your City Promdi)

We then came to a harassed-looking receptionist, who quickly told us that we'd have to wait an hour before she can take our orders: the kitchen was too busy preparing food for the other folks who came ahead of us. Slow food cafe, indeed.

Halo-halo and Mais con Hielo in a Garden

However slow the food is, Your City Promdi and her companions are willing to wait, though, hoping to see whether reports of good food here is warranted. To stave off hunger, we asked for a couple of halo-halo, and a mais con hielo. We sat at a stylized wooden table with matching rustic chairs and enjoyed the scenery. 

The main dining area: carved out of a forest. (Photo by Your City Promdi)

Casa Rap was a cafe carved out of a forest. It seemed like the place was set and arranged wherever nature would allow–in a small clearing amidst bamboo, flowering shrubs, and old trees. Just outside the cafe was an untidy garden and, beyond that, a small poultry farm. It was all very interesting.

We were served our halo-halo and mais con hielo first. This serving certainly differentiated itself from the hundred and one other such treats in other places. Both had a creamy coconut sherbet in place of the usual crushed ice. There were no sago, gulaman, or Your City Promdi's hated beans in the halo-halo, too. The cold concoction instead had a whole lot of summer fruits to make halo-halo in the halo-halo. There were melon, bananas, ube, coconut, plus pinipig and macapuno. It was wonderful.

Feast for Four (Servings Each)

Over our conversation about girl things (and the aforementioned refreshments), we somehow managed to order something from the hand written. The same surly receptionist who talked to us before took our meal orders, only now much friendlier this time. We sampled the Salad Casa Rap!, the crispy pata, the ginatang tilapia, and the sinigang na gindara. And boy, was the food super delicious. For the next three hours, we three savored our very lavish lunch. All of them were authentically, typically Filipino, but they all also offered something different.

Salad Casa Rap! (Photo by Your City Promdi)
Crispy Pata. (Photo by Your City Promdi)

Ginataang Tilapia. (Photo by Your City Promdi)

The Salad Casa Rap was as beautiful as it was fresh–crisp and with a clean flavor. There was the usual lettuce and cucumber, but they were paired with shaved singkamas, crisp okoy, a beautiful blue-violet flower whose name I wasn't able to get, and eggs with the orangest yolks I have ever seen. It was complimented by an intriguing dressing that Your City Promdi suspects was made of native vinegar and bagoong. The ginataang tilapia was rich, with the coconut milk plentiful. The fish was fresh, with just a slight sourness from the vinegar it was cooked in and a bit of smoky flavor. The crispy pata was very good, with all the fatty gloriousness a crispy pata can offer. It had perfectly crispy skin and very tender meat inside. We marveled at how malutong the skin stayed three hours after it was cooked. The sinigang was also very refreshing, as is usual for sour soups imbibed in hot, humid weather. The gindara had a mild flavor and its white meat looked beautiful. 

All in all, our Casa Rap meal was very, very fulfilling and delicious. Yes, it went backwards–from dessert to main course to soup, but it worked out the way it did. The wait was fine and it helped us adjust to the laidback promdi pace. It was the perfect kind of vacation meal.

P.S.: If you are interested in eating at Casa Rap, try to make reservations first at +63 043 726 2873. They're quite well known and many travelers make it a point to try their place. They also have limited supplies on some food items, so a reservation will help you get the food that you really want to order.


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