Put Baguio’s Signature Fruit and Zenz Restaurant Together; What Do You Get?
Baguio/La Trinidad is a cornucopia of fresh produce. If you think in terms of Baguio/La Trinidad fruits; the red, seed-studded succulent things known as strawberries come to mind. More than strawberry jam, more than strawberry taho and more than what you and your loved ones can happily fill your baskets with at the Strawberry Farm, you’ve got one more way of consuming Baguio’s signature fruit. Ready to read about it? =)
If you find yourself in the vicinity of Mines View Park and while you’re buying jars of ube/purple yam jam from Good Shepherd/Mountain Maid Training Center, you might want to make a lunch or dinner pit stop in Mines View Park Hotel. Look for the spruced up Veteran Pine and you’ll find the hotel right across the street. The hotel’s in-house restaurant, Zenz Restaurant serves sinigang na baboy sa strawberry.
Just like the Dulcinea at Chalet set up, the hotel lobby is in close proximity to Zenz Restaurant (bigger floor space for the resto at Mines View Park Hotel though). It’s a nice looking dining area with comfy attractive chairs and a nice high ceiling (another element I like in interior design =D). (I remember one of my friends describing this place as chapel-like. *hihi)
The Zenz menu is extensive enough where besides the strawberry sinigang, they also serve salads, pasta, viands, beverages and desserts (that are equally inventive and original as you’ll see in a few minutes). When Beth and I tried this establishment, we also got ourselves some pasta. I guess we were preparing ourselves for not liking the strawberry sinigang.
I don’t know why we even entertained that thought when sinigang has always been a hit for us. With the Zenz version, it was a kick-ass bowl of sinigang meaning it was truly tart (something that vinegar drinkers like us *hee …will love). One sip of the broth, we were done for! Come to think of it, strawberries can be pretty sour if they’re not ripe and I guess that’s what makes it a good ‘sourness intensifier’. We totally forgot about the pesto pasta until all the sinigang was consumed. \m/ Then, we had quite a feat with finishing the pasta because we were so full (most likely broth full but full nonetheless =D).
After chatting the time and the fullness away, we moved to the next joint, Half Moon. We tried their bibingcrisp – a cross between bibingka and crepe cooked to a crisp. Whoo-hoo, the sugar rush especially from the melted mallows in the middle that went stringy like cheese would in pizza!
Since I couldn’t get enough of this sinigang, I returned to Zenz a few days later. This time, I was with family. (So nice to know many foodies ^^, I could be a strawberry sinigang addict and no one’s the wiser. *heeharhar) We also tried their Cesar salad with grilled chicken and broccoli with oyster sauce. Grilled chicken on salad always makes for a fun starter. As for the broccoli with oyster sauce, the veggies were cooked just right – fresh, crunchy where the sauce flavors seeped in.
The kids (my sister’s kids) and my brother didn’t like the strawberry sinigang much. They avoided the strawberries in getting seconds. (More for my sister and me, weee!) You see, the sinigang tasted just like your regular sinigang if you didn’t eat it with strawberries. Taking a bite of the fruit, you squeeze the broth from it and then you get the strawberry essence. It’s like someone dipped a spoon into a jar of strawberry jam and you used that same spoon to eat sinigang. It’s an interesting flavor. (Probably, an acquired taste for some. *hihi)
For dessert, we also got the bibing crepe (way thicker than the bibingcrisp… could be bibing cake or bibing bread =b). (Half Moon has other stuff on the menu too – Asian snacks, e.g. wanton rolls, siomai, roti.)
A few months later, Race and I were back. Race was curious about the strawberry sinigang. =b *snicker snicker. I/we knew better then to just get the sinigang (and a couple orders of rice). It’s really a treat and again, it’s a filling meal.
X marks Zenz Café for good food (original meal options) in Baguio. Baguio’s signature fruit plus Zenz equals a deliciously inventive spin on a staple Filipino comfort dish.
UPDATE 05/05/2015: Here’s the Zenz Cafe and Restaurant menu.
Occupancy-based breakfast buffets are served at Zenz Restaurant, too. Please give them a call to inquire as to availability.
NOTE TO DRIVERS: The (looped) driveway going up to the hotel/restaurant is kind of steep. Especially for vans, it’s going to take some skills to make it to the hotel/restaurant entrance. (It’s up; then a sharp, narrow curve to get to the entrance, and then down the other side for parking.)
Mines View Park Hotel
#1 Apostol Street, North Outlook Drive
Baguio City, Philippines
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