Call me a snail or a turtle, but sometimes it really takes me a long time to get things done.
I’ve been wanting to visit La Cocina de Tita Moning since it opened to the public more than years ago. Fifteen years later, I finally made it.
“Why did you go?” my friends have been asking.
Because I love old houses or anything nostalgic. La Cocina de Tita Moning is a restaurant inside the old Legarda mansion near Malacañan.
It belonged to Don Alejandro Legarda and his wife Ramona (Moning). It was their granddaughter Suzette who loved cooking, who decided to open the place as a restaurant.
I wanted to take my boys because I wanted to share my fascination of old houses with them.
We invited my husband’s BFF Joris, his daughter Dani, and their yaya.
When I reserved a table for eight on Friday afternoon, I didn’t expect to get a table for Saturday night. But we did. It was so easy.
Jeroen and I preordered the dishes from a menu listed on their website and was told the bill would be around Php 14,000. I thought, OK, that’s not cheap. But I really wanted to see the house and I don’t mind supporting home-based businesses.
We arrived at the Legarda mansion around 7 PM.
As soon as we stepped in the front door, the smell hit me. It smelled like old house or “kulob”.
“This is creepy,” Christian said. My stomach started to turn.
We were led to the veranda outside where we were supposed to enjoy starters and cocktails. But none of us drink iced tea, except for Dani’s yaya. The two Dutch daddies, Jeroen and Joris, had their cold beers. We were also given small cubes of quezo de bola on toast.
Another kind of smell hit me in the veranda—like canal smell or elephant katol. My stomach turned again. I prayed that my kids wouldn’t beg to go home.
Instead, Jeroen and I appreciated the retro outdoor furniture, which I pointed out to Ben.
The veranda has a bar setup and a small display of already dried food, like dried roast chicken. Seeing this, I became doubtful of the food quality that awaited us.
I hoped for the best and marveled at the architecture of the house.
At 7:30, we were led back to the house for a brief tour before dinner (to be continued).