Valentines at Esca’s Garden Restaurant

Iloilo City is indeed the City of Love as it offers countless places where lovers or even singles on a group date can show love for one another on a lovely dinner this Valentines. I headed next to the one of the most sought after outdoor function venues- Esca’s located at Aurora subdivision, Iloilo City. A well-trusted restaurant brand along with Afrique's and as a catering brand in the City, it was surely a place to be. Everyone were surely having a good time having dinner there while being serenaded by a band with love songs.
As I headed towards the buffet selections, the savory, open-faced pastry crust dish with a filling of creamy custard and cheese or the Spinach Quiche (pronounced as ‘keesh’) was one of the most enticing entrée that I had to try. The Pizza squares were also delectable, it was made of thin crust with cheese topping on every ingredient. 
A large platter was also filled with assorted sausages and cold cuts. Cold cuts are precooked or cured meat, often sausages or meat loaves that are sliced and served cold. I really made sure to taste at least one of every kind in that platter. 

The cheese fondue also had a striking taste. A unique dish from Switzerland and Italy that made of melted cheese served in a communal pot and eaten by dipping forks with bread into the cheese. A tradition says that if a man loses his bread in the pot, he buys drinks all around, and if a woman does, she must kiss her neighbors. Most writers recommend that each morsel be put in the pot only once (no double-dipping) and that the dipping fork be used only to transport the food from the pot to one's plate, not to eat. 

A platter of crudités were also there. These are traditional French appetizers comprising of sliced or whole raw vegetables. I loved the soft “marble” potatoes that were just perfectly streamed – soft to perfection. 

The special soup that was served was Arique’s Cream of Mushroom soup. Chef Miguel Cordova really made sure that it wouldn’t taste something like any ordinary soup. 

The kind of salad completely tantalized my taste buds was the Greek Watermelon Salad. The cool, crunchy watermelon is the perfect base for the greek flavours - it's a perfect balance of savoury and sweet. There were also some Salad Greens and the Apple Potato Salad. 

Among the main entrees was the Callos- or ox tripe stew. It is a Filipino-Spanish dish made from ox tripe and veal shanks (ox feet) that were boiled and simmered until tender and well-cooked with the other ingredients that really made the viand pleasurable to eat. More entrees were the Garlic Rosemary Chicken, Pork Napolitana, glazed vegetables and the streamed & herbed rice pillaf. The fish fillet in lemon sauce was also inviting. 

The Ox Tongue ala Afrique’s was the one entrée that I observed to be the crowd’s favorite. It was already familiar to most of our taste buds most especially for those who love to dine it at any Afrique’s restaurant. 

Guests also lined up and waited for a few minutes at the cavery for the slices of the Porchetta and the Roast Beef to be heated. It was also served per tables most especially for those who requested it. 
Lined up in the Pasta serving area were the Spaghetti Bolongese with the sauce comprising of tomato and ground-beef and topped with cheese, the Pasta El Pesto which originated from Genoa, the city located at north Italy that traditionally consists of crushed garlic, basil, and nuts blended with olive oil and topped with cheese.

The flat form of pasta known as the linguini had a white sauce with tomatoes and some basil as the main ingredients. 

I ran out of choices on what to try next since trying every menu even just in small amounts were a must. But of course, I had to get back and try some more ox tongue and porchetta that I really liked the most. 

The dinner can never be complete with just the appetizers and the main course- I invaded the dessert area located near the playing band saw the huge platter of assorted bars first. These sweets were really tempting that I had to bring back to my table 3 mini slices of brazos de Mercedes, but before I retured I made sure that I had the chewy choco bars melted in my tongue and the tart with some colorful toppings. 
What I had not missed also was the chocolate fondue in the mini fountain with the assorted slices of fresh fruits right next to it. 

This memorable Valentines night was perfectly spent with friends at Esca’s Garden Restaurant. Though it was a group date for us, most guests who came were really in pairs - the night to dine out and celebrate love for another. 

Call 3383477 to inquire for their schedule of regular buffets and inquiries for catering and hosting of special events such as birthdays, debuts, reunions and other occasions at a wonderful garden setting only at Esca’s.
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