A weekend foodie fantasy getaway at Chateau Hestia

Every year, The Girl and I take a very special trip, sometime around the end of March.  To be able to afford it, we put away a little cash every pay day, and come March, it feels so good to be able to splurge on something special without feeling guilty about bills and stuff.

This year, we didn’t go very far.  We hopped off to Tagaytay upon the recommendation of a friend, to an absolutely lovely little place for weekend getaways – Chateau Hestia Garden Restaurant.   Not only was this little restaurant-slash-bed-and-breakfast perfect for dropping completely off the grid for a couple of days, but it also served food that we still daydream and talk about.

When visiting Chateau Hestia Garden Restaurant, prepare to forget your diet.

When visiting Chateau Hestia Garden Restaurant, prepare to forget your diet.

It’s never easy getting away, though.  Work was crazy for both of us and there were loose ends to tie up, so the weekend began a little late – we left Manila at around 9 am on Saturday and ended up standing in line at a bus terminal to Nasugbu for almost an hour.   We were also blessed with a ton of traffic.  We arrived way past lunch time (and late for our reservation, I might add), and I was glad that the restaurant was still open, because I was starving.

You might want to get to that bus station a little earlier.  There's always tons of people when you least expect it.

You might want to get to that bus station a little earlier. There’s always tons of people when you least expect it.

Ask the bus people to let you off at Olivarez, right in front of the famous Amira's Buko Tart shop.

Ask the bus people to let you off at Olivarez, right in front of the famous Amira’s Buko Tart shop.

After a few confused minutes of wandering around, we found the nice lady that had taken our reservation.  She gave us the key to our room and had one of the staff take us though narrow paths in the jungle-like garden to our suite.   He took us through the foliage, up and down a stone path, directly to a hanging bridge that led straight to our rooms.  Yes, rooms.   The suite was made up of three rooms – a huge bathroom and toilet, an expansive bedroom, and an airy lounge area.  The place was a little larger than our entire apartment, and because it was so open and uncluttered, it seemed even bigger.

Hello... anyone there?  Aslan?

Hello… anyone there? Aslan?

Kuya, I trust you... .

Kuya, I trust you… .

Your very own hanging bridge takes you to your rooms in style.

Your very own hanging bridge takes you to your rooms in style.

Gratuitous bridge shot!  :D  Sorry guys, but this was too good to pass up.

Gratuitous bridge shot! 😀 Sorry guys, but this was too good to pass up. You have to admit, I have the body of a god. What? Isn’t Buddha a god?

There was no air conditioning in the room, but leave the windows open at night and you will freeze in the chilly Tagaytay air.  During the day, you can rely on the ceiling fan above the bed, and if it’s really hot, just open all the windows.   It was aggressively hot when we left Manila, but in the Chateau Hestia room, it was nice and breezy.

I know the suite was meant for two, but it could sleep up to six people comfortably.  The huge mattress on the main bed was gloriously soft (but with too many pillows for my taste), and the day beds in the lounge area were cool and comfy.  I’m a little embarrassed to say that we spent most of our time at Hestia taking naps and lounging on the day beds playing Candy Crush or reading.

You'd sleep all day too, if you were here.

You’d sleep all day too, if you were here.

The bathroom included a steam…er… cubicle?  Even with the printed directions that they thoughtfully provided us with, it took us a while to get everything just right.  We also had to let the water run a bit every time we changed the direction of the shower head since it smelled a bit sour.  It must have been a while since the last time the shower was used, and the water had gone sour in the pipes (uh… not the scientific explanation, but I’m a publicist, not a scientist).  Regardless of that, bathing in the little plastic capsule was a pleasure.  The bamboo floor that it sits on drains well, so you won’t have to deal with large puddles on cold tile floors.   There are beautiful sinks, a towel rack, a glass cabinet with towels, and hooks, hooks everywhere to hang your clothes on.  They even provide fuzzy hangers for your clothes!

I loved the little touches that made our stay so much more comfortable.  A vintage writing desk, an umbrella, and the fabulous shower.

I loved the little touches that made our stay so much more comfortable. A vintage writing desk, an umbrella, and the fabulous shower.

But it was the food that really made the whole experience perfect.   While a bit on the pricey side, it’s definitely worth it.  Lunch was hefty helpings of carbonara for me and the pasta di mare for The Girl, followed by coffee and a couple of the house specialties, limoncello ice cream and panna cotta with passionfruit puree.  Dinner was a single dish because we were still stuffed from our late lunch, a rich and savory rinds rouladen (beef roulade) and creamy mashed potatoes.

Everything was simply delicious.  The seafood pasta, in particular, was mind blowing.  The tomato sauce was light, subtly flavorful, and there was a distinct, clean taste that I couldn’t even begin to identify.  The shrimp was plump and fresh, and the noodles perfectly al dente.

Light and yet oh so filling, Hestia's Pasta di Mare, or seafood pasta, has this elusive quality that makes it 20% more awesome than anything else on the menu.

Light and yet oh so filling, Hestia’s Pasta di Mare, or seafood pasta, has this elusive quality that makes it 20% more awesome than anything else on the menu.

Hestia does well by one of my favorite pasta dishes, carbonara.

Hestia does well by one of my favorite pasta dishes, carbonara.

The beef roulade was not pretty, but it was a masterpiece nonetheless.  Thin, tender strips of beef are lovingly wrapped around onion, bacon, mustard and parsley then braised in its own juices.  It then gets served on a large plate with buttered fresh veggies and mashed potatoes.  Everything was melt-in-your-mouth creamy, with a rich, beefy taste.

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, says this beef dish.

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, says this beef dish.

You cannot, must not miss dessert when you visit Chateau Hestia.  They have a separate menu for it, and the waiters can usually recommend something that’s especially good that day.  In our case, I already knew what I wanted – panna cotta and limoncello ice cream.   The panna cotta was just how I liked it – just firm enough and meltingly creamy.  The tart sauce was the perfect counterpoint to its rich, milky taste, and the little pops that you got as passionfruit seeds burst between your teeth were like flavorful little gasps of surprise.

A dream of panna cotta made real.

A dream of panna cotta made real.

Have liquor with your cream and coffee.  :)  Highly recommended limoncello ice cream!

Have liquor with your cream and coffee. 🙂 Highly recommended limoncello ice cream!

But, lush that I am, what I remember best was the limoncello ice cream.  Cool, refreshing, and citrusy, with just enough kick, it was a good complement to the panna cotta and the coffee.  In the evening, I ordered a glass of the homemade liquor, which I eventually had to dilute with a whole can of Sprite, it was so strong.  But I enjoyed the drink immensely, and was happy to discover that the restaurant also sold bottles of the stuff.   The Girl advised me against getting one, though, promising we’ll buy one when we come back and we weren’t carrying so much stuff with us.

Gorgeousness, made from the owner's own recipe.

Gorgeousness, made from the owner’s own recipe.

Now here’s a funny story.  I don’t know if the staff was thinking that I wasn’t happy with my drink , but they offered me a free shot of something.  I can’t even remember what it was, but I’m thinking it’s the same spirit that they make the limoncello with.    Man, that stuff is STRONG.  The second it was in my throat, my entire system reacted to reject it.   I had to clamp my hand over my mouth and force myself to finish swallowing the stuff.  I’ve been drinking since high school and can’t remember the last time a drink triggered my gag reflex that violently!  After a couple of minutes of coughing and trying to keep my dinner down, the apparently combustible liquid I had just poured down my throat had me sweating bullets.  So while I really appreciated the waiter’s efforts at getting me to try something new and off-menu, the experience was not pleasant.  I can’t even remember if the alcohol tasted good.  All I can remember is the burning in my lungs and the oh-my-god-I-can’t-get-drunk-here panic.

The moral of the story: be careful what strangers say you should put in your mouth. Say yes, but be careful.

I'm pretty sure he didn't *want* to kill me... .

I’m pretty sure he didn’t *want* to kill me… .

Speaking of the staff’s good intentions, I’m kicking myself for forgetting the names of the staff – they gave excellent service, and took every opportunity to make us feel at home.   That’s more (and sometimes, much more) than some of the better known bed and breakfasts in Tagaytay can claim.

The next morning, they had set up our breakfast in a nook in the garden, with flowers and coffee and sunlight streaming through the filter of the leaves of the trees. Hestia lets you have breakfast for free if you’re staying over, but be warned – the portions are very generous. If you’re not a big breakfast eater, get one dish to share for two people. We had coffee, two sausage dishes and french toast, and it was exquisite.

Breakfast al fresco.

Breakfast al fresco. The dried fruit was a bonus side dish, a nice complement to the french toast.

Sausage fest for brekky!

Sausage fest for brekky!

One view of Hestia's quirky, homey dining area, empty in the wee morning hours (8am).

One view of Hestia’s quirky, homey dining area, empty in the wee morning hours (8am).

This place is so charming, the staff are friendly and accommodating, and the food is excellent.  I'm sorry I don't live closer to it.

This place is so charming, the staff are friendly and accommodating, and the food is excellent. I’m sorry I don’t live closer to it.

I strongly recommend visiting Chateau Hestia Garden Restaurant for an excellent meal.  Stay a couple of nights if you choose to do the bed and breakfast route, because one night is just not enough to completely detoxify from city life.  Make sure you budget for your trip, because you’ll be tempted to buy up a lot of goodies from their deli store, too.  There’s all sorts of cheeses and special vintages to be had, and hard-to-find ingredients for when you want to dabble in the kitchen.

Chateau Hestia is located at Purok 5, Brgy. Bukal, Silang, Cavite. You can make your reservations through 0929-711-32-89.

To get there, take the Nasugbu bus at the station near the MRT terminal, and ask the conductor to let you off at Olivaros, in front of Amira’s Buko Tart shop. There’s a tricycle terminal right across the road from where you get off. You can take a tricycle from there straight to the Hestia gate. Expect to spend around P200 for the bus and trike rides combined.

When you do get there, don’t forget to ask what the specials of the day are – the menu changes regularly, and new or seasonal dishes are displayed on an easy-to-miss chalkboard in the dining room. Also, be prepared to wait a bit for your food, as it’s cooked as you order.

We weren’t as lucky as some bloggers who came to Hestia and met the owner, Johaness.   Maybe next time, I guess.  I’m definitely going back for that bottle of limoncello.

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    posted on by Little Bunny posted in noms and nibbles, travels and trails

    3 Responses to: A weekend foodie fantasy getaway at Chateau Hestia

    1. itsberyllicious

      the place looks lovely! and that panna cotta is just divine.. 🙂 I’ll definitely check this out when we visit tagaytay 🙂

      • Little Bunny

        Hi Patricia! It really is gorgeous out there. Hope you have as great an experience as we did… but avoid the blind shots, hehehe.

    2. tala

      Hi, we’re planning to visit chateau hestia after reading your blog 🙂 Just a few questions lang, after sa amira, walking distance na lang po ba sya sa chateau hestia or another ride pa? What about pagpauwi na? Wala po kasi kami car, magccommute lang din kami. TIA 🙂

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