Dining is an adventure. You have to be brave enough to sample dishes that you have never tasted before or even those that don’t appeal to you. Sometimes you can be rewarded, but other times you just have to shrug and say “at least I tried.”
My recent dining adventure took me to Binukid Cafe, a relatively new restaurant in Marilog District, Davao City. Going there was an adventure in itself because it was an hour’s drive from downtown Davao.
Just like most of my adventures, it was unplanned. Lunch was supposed to be at the nearby Wildberry Diner in Buda (also known as Bukidnon-Davao), where I know how the pork tenderloin tips can bring a happy sigh of containment with every bite. But my friends and I were hungry and Binukid was closer. We had to try it. (Be sure to click on the gallery above for more photos.)
We ordered chicken in herbs and butter sauce, adobong alugbati, and a pitcher of lemonade cucumber. The lady said we had to wait for 30 minutes because she has to cook it first. That sounded promising. Freshly cooked meals equals good chow.
The wafting aroma of the chicken being simmered in butter and garlic sauce made my mouth water. Butter sauce is lovely to the palette. Garlic is one of the foods of the gods. They make for a good combination.
The rice arrived first. The presentation was good, hinting at the sumptuous meal that I was about to have. We eat with our eyes first, after all.
The chicken and alugbati came next. So far, so good. They were all pretty to the eyes. Then came the lemonade. It looked legit with the slices of cucumber floating around the pitcher. I was excited to take my first bite.
There’s wisdom in the adage “don’t judge the book by its cover,” or in my case, the food by its presentation.
Although the cook took the time to plate the dish well, she did not take the time to taste it. It was too salty. I could see the bits of garlic and rosemary in the sauce of the chicken, but all I could taste was salt. It was like chicken had been cooked in seawater.
The adobong alugbati was a little bit better. It was not as savory as I imagined it to be, but at least it was not too salty. It was supposed to be cooked in “Japanese seasoning” but all I could taste was soy sauce. Well, the cook was not lying, Kikkoman is a Japanese seasoning, after all.
What was supposed to counter the food’s saline taste was the lemonade, but we found that it was simply made from a sari-sari store-bought litro pack — all sugar and flavoring. The few pieces of sliced cucumber were the only non-synthetic ingredients in that drink.
It was one of those oh-well-better-luck-next-time dining experiences. It would have been a complete disaster had the view been awful, but the scenic green valley across the resto was really delightful to the eyes. So, all was well.