As a writer, it’s always my goal to find the story behind an event, and this case, uncover the story behind good food. Everyone loves a story. I may praise how perfectly crisp the pastry melted in my mouth, but without a story, it will end up like “just another” food feature.
Well, this ain’t just a food feature. Let me tell you a story --- more than 14 years ago, there lived a lovely couple in Antipolo. The wife is a potter while the husband is a successful lawyer who’s also a fine cook. The couple lived in a haven full of trees and flowing ponds, and because of its beauty, they decided to put up an open-air restaurant. With the little money they had and with the help of their relatives, they put up a modest restaurant in harmony with nature.
From a distance, the Crescent Moon Café looks like a Japanese house.
After lunch, don’t scamper off. Try exploring the garden.
One day, the inevitable happened. The husband fell seriously ill and had to stay at home. The wife continued her craft as a potter, while tending to her husband’s needs. They hired a midwife to help the husband with his dialysis treatments and assist him in his cooking. Despite continuous medical treatments, the husband’s condition worsened and eventually, he died, leaving the restaurant to his wife and daughters.
That was more than 14 years ago... The restaurant continues to live on as a remembrance of a dearly departed. The midwife, Ms. Rose Bacayo, is now the resident cook. She picked up the late husband’s cooking style. The wife is Lanelle Abueva-Fernando, the niece of National Artist for Sculpture, Napoleon Abueva, and daughter of former University of the Philippines President Jose Abueva.
Large 12-year old Koi fishes greet customers
Crescent Moon Café also sells unique pottery and offers pottery lessons
The garden restaurant follows a non-set menu --- just like home, you’ll find out what’s cooking once it has been served on your table. You can have a dining experience here for P350/person during weekdays, and P500/person during weekends. It mainly accepts reservations and in some cases, accepts walk-ins. Every day, there’s always something new being offered. The restaurant sources its food supply from four major markets near the area. The food is guaranteed fresh because it is cooked on the spot.
Screen walls separate you from the restaurant’s garden
Some of the pottery being sold in the garden restaurant
Artwork can be found in every nook and cranny of this place
Make your own appetizer with a carousel of fresh ingredients
The alagaw leaf looks like a heart with confetti topped on it.
The pumpkin soup’s halfway state is already a testament of its deliciousness.
The sweet and sour pork is delicious; it was the kind of dish you’d want to use your hands with as you separate the flesh from the bone. The squid on mango coconut cream is savory. It was my first time to try squid dish cooked this way -- most of the time it’s adobo. The sauce is creamy and sweet and I could almost lick the plate dry.
The squid dish’s colors remind me of pizza.
Topped with sesame seeds, the braised water spinach with tofu is so savory.
Fresh pineapples make this sweet and sour pork yummy.
For refreshments, we had some lemon grass tea which I find naturally refreshing. Unlike the ones that came in teabags, this one tastes so real. It had lemon slices in it but it wasn’t too tangy to make your face scrunch up.
Gotta love this creamy carbonara
Coincidentally, the mango’s sliced like a crescent moon
Aid digestion with this warm brewed coffee with milk
Map to Crescent Moon Café: