When I was in Legazpi, I announced in Facebook that I was there when suddenly, Denden Villanueva, my grade school batchmate in St. Scho Manila messaged me to visit her restaurant in Daraga. I felt excited about it because it’s been ages since we’ve seen each other. Imagine, we were in prep when we became classmates. I didn’t realize that she’s now managing her family’s restaurant. The restaurant started years ago and was dormant like the Mayon Volcano nearby and just recently opened last May 2009, now with my schoolmate managing it.
The restaurant is called Balay Cena Una (in Filipino, Sinaunang Bahay) which is situated in Daraga, Albay. From the name itself you’re going to get a hint what the restaurant is all about. It’s a two-storey restaurant which used to be an old colonial house. The interiors of the place is a combination of the old and modern colonial theme. The place felt very relaxing and with the delicious food, you’re definitely not gonna go wrong with this. Actually, this is a fine dining place especially during dinner time because most guests from high end hotels in Albay dine here.
Heart of Palm and Apple Salad @ Php 85
Now the most important part is the food. They serve European-Asian fusion cuisine. Of course they have the usual Bicolano dishes but they added some twist. The owners of the restaurant boast their chefs who were trained in Europe but Bicolano at heart: Chef Dick and Connie Condeno.
We started with our appetizers. The first one was the Heart of Palm (ubod in Filipino) and Apple Salad. Actually the apple in there is Makopa (Java apple or Mountain apple in English). This is my first time to eat a dish which has Makopa in it and the most interesting part is that it’s combined with ubod. The salad indeed is very refreshing because of the hint of light vinaigrette.
Makopa Shake @ Php 60
We were also served Makopa Shakes. This one is mixed with coconut milk to add flavor to Makopa because it can’t stand alone. The Makopa gave texture to this very delicious and refreshing shake. Good job on the makopa shake, I really loved it!
Another appetizer is the Fresh Lumpiang Ubod which is a very common Filipino dish. This one is just like your home made lumpiang ubod which can’t go wrong.
Pasta Cena Una Especial @ Php 180
This one is really my favorite, Pasta Cena Una Especial. It’s made of fettuccine mixed with coconut milk, taro leaves, saffron and shrimps. Mmm. I really love this (did you realize that I said this twice??). This pasta is really unforgettable. Now this is European-Bicolano fusion cuisine.
The next dish is the Marinated Boneless Chicken. The chicken was marinated with fresh lemon juice. This dish is complimented with rice. I liked chicken because it was very tender and tasty. The mixture of sweet and sour is very pleasing to the palate.
Cena Una Chocolate Cake @ Php 80
Now we go our favorite part of the meal, desserts. Balay Cena Una is famous for its scrumptious desserts. Denden sampled us with 2 of their best desserts: Cena Una Chocolate Cake and Mt. Mayon’s Choco Boulder.
The Chocolate Cake was very moist and it’s so delicious! It wasn’t that sweet.
Mt. Mayon’s Choco Boulder @ Php 60
If you’re a person who likes fruity desserts as well as rhum, now this is the dessert for you. I also enjoyed this dessert but I like the Chocolate Cake more 😉 .
Albay food tripping is incomplete without going to Balay Cena Una. For urban people, this fine dining restaurant is way cheaper than what we have in Manila. Every centavo is well spent in this restaurant. By the way, they have lunch buffet on Sundays for only Php 395 (?).
Balay Cena Una is also a venue for private functions and gatherings. They have a big function room at the back of the restaurant. Also, they have a small house wherein guests can stay overnight. The room can accommodate a family. Very cozy.
For inquiries, you may contact Lourdes (Denden) Villanueva at 09178684030 or you may email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can visit their Facebook page here.
Balay Cena Una
Calle F. Lotivio Street