Monday, October 11, 2010

first love never dies

Daphne Oseña-Paez has been tempting me with her new toy, the Ricoh GR Digital 3, even though I have sworn that the Panasonic Lumix LX3 would be the last camera that I will ever buy.

But my trusty little camera still has some chops. Of course, everyone always raves about the low-light loveliness of the LX3 (a little alliteration there-- couldn't resist).

Dusk, my house, 10-10-10.
I sometimes forget how wonderful the daytime shots can be, especially with really good lighting.

Lamb chops at Cibo.
Served with a little stack of grilled vegetables.
Penne Florentine. Or something like that. Can't remember.
Cream sauce with fennel and sausage.
To date, I have eaten at four branches of Cibo. The very first one was Glorietta in Makati-- back in the day when there was only ONE Glorietta. Then Shangri-la Mall in Mandaluyong, bringing it closer to home. Just recently, Trinoma in Quezon City-- practically next door. The above meal was... experienced... at the Gateway Mall in Cubao.

First, let's talk about the interiors. So chic-- light and airy, but in a weirdly industrial way. (Dammit, I forgot to take a picture of the giant clock on the wall!) And the lighting was fabulous, baby. One wall was open to the late afternoon sun, and the window blinds bathed everything in this perfect glow.

Not exaggerating. I swear.

The service was impeccable, as always. They truly deserve the People's Choice Best Service award on The wait staff was knowledgeable and articulate when asked about the menu. You never have to ask them to refill your water glass. And you get this level of service in EVERY branch.

The food is good. I suppose that there are other better Italian restaurants out there, and cheaper ones, too. But Cibo's dishes are comforting and at the same time, luxurious. They evoke home cooking but are also decadent and slightly naughty. Going to Cibo is actually very sexy. Eating at the Gateway outlet, in particular, is like participating in a Fellini black-and-white film set in the year 1993.

Oh, did I mention the lighting?

Verdict: The lamb chops were tender and well-cooked, although it was medium well instead of the medium rare that I asked for. Maybe the cook was trained to do it that way? The sauce was at first surprisingly fruity and delightful on the tongue, until it gave way to fatigue. I should have asked for it on the side. The grilled vegetables were excellent. At first, I thought that the portion was too tiny, but it turned out that I was too full from the meat to eat all my veggies.

The pasta was very, very nice. I'm a big fan of simple pasta with just a few ingredients, but with really bold, complex tastes. I was a bit wary of the cream sauce, but it was flawlessly unctuous and yet without any cloying heaviness. The fennel scent and taste were very distinct and the sausage satisfied the carnivore in me.

Is Cibo at Gateway going to be on my permanent To-Go list?

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