You must check out this new restaurant called Cazuela that I was invited to try a few weeks ago. I had dinner there with my family and even my picky dad loved the food! The food was absolutely delish, and I can’t stop recommending Cazuela enough to anyone who asks.
I had dined at Cazuela before at a food tasting. I totally loved the food and I was so excited to get my family to try it, too, that I kept bugging them until we agreed to go on a Friday night. And here we are.
My sister, who was complaining about traffic and didn’t want to go until I exerted my sisterly coercion, was so happy after the meal and is a total fan of Cazuela now.
The prices are also quite reasonable, and we had a veritable feast, even if there were only 3 of us that night, all totaling about P2,000, considering how much we ordered. Don’t fear, average check per person is around P350-500.
CAZUELA SPANISH COLONIAL CUISINE
Cazuela is named for the shallow, terracotta Spanish cooking pot they use often at the restaurant.
Cazuela serves Spanish Colonial Cuisine, the flavors of the different countries colonized by Spain. The restaurant is small, and seats 60 including the al fresco tables. It is decorated with a bit Spanish Colonial flair, with vibrant paintings, wines, wrought iron chandeliers and balconies reminiscent of Zorro movies.
The restaurant is located on Sapphire Bloc, a strip of restaurants just across from The Ortigas Building if you are familiar with it, or across from the Marco Polo Hotel along Sapphire Road. Parking can be a bit tricky, the parking on Sapphire Bloc is quickly filled up, and you can’t park on the street without the risk of being towed before 10 pm. There’s a paid parking lot nearby if you can find a slot. We ended up parking at Robinsons Galleria and walking to Sapphire Bloc, a block and a half away, not too far. Just find the Galleria exit near Gold’s Gym, cross the street, and keep walking for a block and a half.
Cazuela is managed and operated by Cazuela JV Corp which includes Atty. Gener Sansaet, Marissa Ebdane, and John and Ces Manalo. The recipes were conceptualized and developed by executive chefs Mon Urbano and Day Salonga with the assistance of sous chefs Andre Espiritu and Cristina So. Cazuela also accepts functions and does catering service.
For starters, we ordered the Tuna Ceviche (P229). My sister was all like, why did you order the tuna ceviche?! She thought it was just going to be raw tuna dipped in vinegar. After her first bite though, she was a convert! Cazuela’s Tuna Ceviche is amazingly good – sweet, tangy and perfectly balanced. Aside from generous slices of raw tuna, it has pomelos, onions, alfalfa sprouts, and a sweet and sour dressing that reminded me of a Thai pomelo salad, but it’s not Thai, it’s Spanish colonial. It’s like a circus in my mouth! I highly recommend this!
We also had the Manchego Croquetas (P256), 6 pcs of breaded & fried nuggets of bechamel, manchego cheese, and spinach. No potatoes here. I sliced one open to show you the soft inside.
Next up, the Lengua (P400). Oh. My. God. I am so glad I ordered this. The lengua was tender and flavorful, coated in a creamy mushroom sauce. Lengua lovers will explode with delight once they bite into it! It doesn’t look like much but it’s soooooooo freakin’ good!
This is definitely on my MUST ORDER when I go back. It is that good that I am already making plans to be back for it! Definitely going on my list of what to order if I had to choose my last meal. Generous slices of lengua, too.
I had the Callos on a previous visit, and while the callos was also very, very good, for me, this Lengua is queen!
We also had the Cerdo al Horno (P395), a 3-hour roasted pork belly stuffed with chorizo de Bilbao, served with saffron rice. The pork belly was well-seasoned and tender. Pork belly lovers will probably weep with happiness on first bite.
It is also served with creamy beans, crunchy skin, and mango salsa.
I couldn’t resist the Paella Negra (P365) – I was surprised that it did not have any hint of fishiness at all (hindi malansa). It’s just like eating seafood paella, but creamier and without the acidity from tomatoes. It doesn’t have that squid-ink-funky-taste that many people don’t like. Don’t skip squeezing some lemon over it! Very delicious.
The desserts to try are definitely the Gypsy Cake (P160) and the Kesong Puti Cheesecake (P220). Check out the generous portions that are good for sharing, although I don’t think anyone would want to share!
The Gypsy Cake is like a Brazo de Mercedes, but a chocolate version. It’s not too sweet and the meringue is not just puffy and fluffy, but has a bit of bite to it. The yellow filling is rich and sweet. It’s so good my sister decided to order 2 slices for take out right then and there. FYI, this Gypsy Cake, aka Brazo de Fernando, is on Inquirer Lifestyle’s list of Best Desserts 2015!
The Kesong Puti Cheesecake with Salted Egg Dulce de Leche sauce is a dense cheesecake lover’s dream. Some like their cheesecakes light and fluffy, while some like their cheesecakes dense and heavy with cheese. This one uses Laguna’s farmer’s cheese (kesong puti) instead of cream cheese, and the cheesecake tastes a bit like it has a bit of the whites from salted eggs (itlog na maalat), but in a good way. The saltiness and the texture cuts the richness of the cheesecake and provides a good contrast.
The cakes are baked by Gel Salonga of Ted’s in Sta. Cruz, Laguna, and you can order them by the tray!
Cazuela has a Wine-All-You-Can for P799 ever Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 9 pm until 12 midnight.
Sangria & Mojito lovers get 50% OFF their 2nd pitcher every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 9 pm to 12 midnight.
I seldom super rave about a restaurant, but the food at Cazuela is that good and Cazuela now has a place as one of my favorite restaurants. The prices are affordable for what you get, I think it’s value for money to get such delicious, good quality food at these reasonable prices.
Prices already include taxes, and you’ll only be charged an additional 10% for the service charge. It’s a small restaurant, the staff was attentive, and our orders came out quickly, probably because we arrived at 9pm and they weren’t as busy in the kitchen.
I highly recommend their Tuna Ceviche and their Lengua, and if you don’t mind squid ink, the Paella Negra. Then, definitely, definitely, try their Gypsy Cake and Kesong Puti Cheesecake. You won’t be the same afterwards!
CAZUELA SPANISH COLONIAL CUISINE
G/F The Sapphire Bloc, Sapphire Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig City
Contact: (02) 590 4560 (0995) 551 0424
Hours: Mon – Wed 11 am – 12 mn ; Thurs – Sat 11 am – 2 am. Closed on Sundays.
I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please feel free to leave a comment below, I love hearing from you!