The craze all started when a foodie uncle brought us to this place as a stopover from Punta Fuego a few years back. The dishes we ate can be categorized as Filipino comfort food just because the food you can always find all over the country and is really normal but reminds you of the good old days. Those days when sago't gulaman was a labor of love, at least for me, and part of it was melting sugar on the stove at our old home, perhaps? The place was cozily big and quiet. There was a time when Sonya's Garden just became popular and everybody started regarding Tagaytay as a quick escape from Manila. It's nice to find another hangout place and it's still in the same direction, only a little further where people don't go very much. Part of the journey with Jeff involved years of yearning to go back on our own and finding the place, with no set directions and taking hours to get there. Ever heard of Kainan sa Dalampasigan? It's somewhere in Nasugbu, Batangas.
Let me tell you all about the food and drink then the place. This Sago't Gulaman's secret ingredient is probably muscovado sugar (from sugarcane juice). I'm definitely a fan.
There are plenty of seafood to choose from. I love their Baked Tahong (Mussels) and we didn't get to eat their bestseller again, the Tanigue Steak, because we arrived late for dinner. We did have this Bouillabaise Soup (good enough for more than 4)
and it was overflowing with shrimp, fish and squid. We also went on a rainy night so the warm soup was really good and comforting for the tummy.
I believe they also grow their own fish.
The place had a forest-y feel to it and was set up like a big banquet style Sonya's Garden venue.
There are benches set up and I think it's better to bring a bunch of people there for lunch or dinner. This is just one-fourth of the venue. I think the place can accommodate hundreds of people.
There are old newspaper clippings in the entrance too that had featured this hidden restaurant in the past.
The next time we go there again, I'd prepare myself to re-order my favorites (especially the Baked Tahong and Sago't Gulaman) and try out more of their menu. My first time was a blur but I believe there was fresh lumpia and crispy noodles on the table. I just remember thinking we had to go back to this place and eat more. Haha. The place and journey reminded me of a trip to find The Orchard in the outskirts of Beijing with a friend around 4 years ago... It's like a find that's always worth the trouble. It could have been nice if I was already a blogger then.
For Kainan sa Dalampasigan, I only have this direction to tell you and the rest you have to find your way. After the Welcome to Batangas sign take a right then take another right at another fork. The drive from Tagaytay's Bag of Beans to the place takes around an hour to an hour and a half. When you see gas stations on your left after the 2 rights, you'll soon reach a town. I think you can start asking for directions at this point. The small road to Kainan sa Dalampasigan is on your left. You'll pass by a cemetery and a small bridge where a lot of tricycles pass through. To your left on the bridge, you'll see the big roof of the restaurant. If you see hanging vines on the left, that is the entrance to Kainan sa Dalampasigan. Enjoy =)
Me at The Orchard, Beijing (2007)
P.S. If you've reached Punta Fuego or Costa Hamilo, you've passed the restaurant already. It's a long way back.