July 31, 2006
I always love to find secret restaurants. The ones that are out-of-the-way quaint places and you have to find it like having a treasure map with X marking the spot. I also want to surprise my wife every time with these few secret places that's becoming rare these days. I always love it when you really have to drive and maneuover your way through the city maze not knowing exactly where the place is. My wife would start to sermon on how expensive gasoline is but I just had to satisfy my thrill of looking for these places specially if the only clue I have was "it is just along shaw boulevard." Even though we traversed the entire shaw boulevard, we cannot find Cook book kitchen and it is just a stroke of luck when we just happen to pass by the place when we are becoming desperate.
Once you arrive in the place, you would instinctive realize why it is called cookbook kitchen. The place is right in the middle of a residential community in Mandaluyong with a house turned into a cozy restaurant. It was a dream of Chef Gen Capati to open his own restaurant that serves home-cooked dishes and it came true almost one and a half years ago. Beside the restaurant, there is a home-based gym that one of the son is operating and it probably make sense to co-locate them :) The lovely couple is always there with the husband cooking the best sellers of the house and with wife, Liza, manning the cash register and entertaining the guests. We had fun chatting with Liza and I caution you not to start a conversation with her because she has so much stories to tell :)
This is one of those feel good places where you enjoy very good food, nice ambiance, and nice company. It does not feel pretentious or trying-hard to be cool. You'll be greeted warmly by Liza and her staff, Christy and you'll immediately feel at home. The place is starting to get a following via word of mouth. It is not easy to go here via Shaw Blvd and it is seldom that people would go here by chance. We had a nice time eating lunch here because our son was free to roam around without us being too concerned of him being bumped around. I do hope it remains a quiet place but I'm pretty sure that once people get to discover this place, this place would be jampacked! I heard that this was featured in Us Girls on Channel 23 but I have not seen the actual episode. At least the Us Girls are starting to feature honest to goodness restaurants because usually they feature restaurants for marketing sake even if the food is not that good (I have a few restaurants to prove it!)
There is a cool mural painting on one side of the wall which adds to the overall homey ambiance of the place. " The large mural depicts a colorful Parisienne night scene where diners meet and experience the flavors of local cuisine similar to what Cookbook Kitchen would like to convey. " (from the cookbook kitchen letter)
Parmesan Crusted White Fish (P 230). Rich, Succulent, and baked! This is THE best seller of the house and my wife and I agrees :) The tender fish is coated with parmesan and Kraft mayonnaise with a blend of italian herbs baked in olive oil. Yummy! This is definitely good for two and we find ourselves scooping the last piece of sauce remaining on the plate. The only downside is, you have to break your diet for this one. As with any homemade goodness, sometimes you prioritize superior taste over the consideration of fattening ingredients.
Pork Steak with Honey Mustard Sauce (P220). Grilled Pork Steak in light soy with rosemary and spices served with honey mustard sauce. The meat is tender and has been marinated pretty well. I think the secret in this dish is the honey mustard sauce.
Kittin's Scarlet Cake (P120). This is a specially made red cake (you cannot find anywhere) by Chef Christine "Kitting" Constantino - Zenarosa. She is a culinary management graduate of the Daytona Beach College and of the Culinary Institute of America with a 2-year stint in an LA restaurant. Frankly, nothing special, and all I can remember is the sweet calorie-filled icing that dominates the rest of the cake and its price.
All prices in the menu does not include a 10% service charge and the 12% VAT. Click here for the Menu (large version). Actually, I just realized that this was expensive and we ended up paying P400/ head. If you don't order any starters or dessert, you would still end up with P300/ head. I think there is something in the food that would make you forget how expensive it is :)
Gen and Eliza Capati, owners of Cookbook Kitchen. Let me know what you think about cookbook kitchen. It seems that not a lot of people have been to this place and it is just starting to be discovered by some foodies.
8 Socorro Fernandez St., corner Luna Mencias St. (near Shaw Blvd),
Tel. +632 724 3595
Mobile: +63 916-2765257
Directions: If you are coming from Shaw from the Edsa end, you have to turn right on Torres St along Shaw Blvd before reaching 9 de Febrero. Turn left in Araullo treat and left again immediately in the Socorro Fernandez st. If you are coming from Greenhills, It is a lot easier since you just need to pass P. Guevarra st. in Wilson towards Shaw Blvd along the Luna Mencias st. Turn left to Socorro Fernandez st and you will not miss it.
Other Hole-In-The-Wall Restaurants: