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Enjoy a Holiday Feast at Cocina dela Casa

With restaurateur Stephen Aznar at the helm, the newly opened dining destination offers an interesting juxtaposition of local and international flavors.

Stephen Aznar has been a name that is associated with good food, what with his now closed Café Elysa in Parian a favorite dining destination for remarkable Filipino cuisine. It was only natural, then, that his new venture Cocina de la Casa was met with much excitement, and some great expectations.

With the number of establishments that have brought different cuisines to the city, Cocina de la Casa aims to bring forth sumptuous local dishes and reimagined international favorites.

The special roasted turkey is the highlight of holiday dinners at Cocina de la Casa

Although the restaurant is decidedly more modern than its predecessor, the interiors still hark back to a certain heritage—the location is an old house, with the walls torn down to create a large flowing dining space and the rest of the space painted in white. Minimalist but cozy furnishings, and pops of color in the form of potted plants and simple pieces of artwork complete the look.

With the holidays approaching, families are coming together over food, and Stephen is offering a special roast turkey especially for the season. Taking hours to cook until it’s a beautiful golden brown, the turkey is available throughout Christmas for pre-order.

The regular menu, though, offers a variety of dishes. We recommend the Pork Belly Chicharon with Asian Dip, and the Oriental Spring Rolls with Sweet and Spicy Sauce to start the meal. The crispy deep-fried pork is hard to resist, an elevated version of the famous Cebuano delicacy, while the latter features ground pork with noodles, peanuts and shitake mushrooms in a crisp-crackly wrap. Stephen shows us how to best enjoy the rolls—tucked into a piece of lettuce with parsley, mint and a good serving of the sauce, for an interesting mix of flavors in one bite.

Tropical Salad

Soups and salads are a must-try as well. We enjoyed the flavors of the sea with the New England Seafood Chowder, which featured large chunks of fish, squid and shrimp, and the Tropical Salad—which featured pomelo alongside the vegetables, topped with tiger prawns, and drizzled with the in-house original Asian dressing. Continue on the seafood trail with the Tomato, Basil and Anchovy Pasta, which gives the traditional tomato pasta pops of saltiness in the form of anchovies.

Moroccan Braised Lamb Shank

Meatiness is next to goodness at Cocina de la Casa—from chicken to lamb, there’s so much flavors to choose from. We recommend the Moroccan Braised Lamb Shank, which has the meat served in a mix of spices, and over a generous serving of couscous. What really raised excitement, though, is the return of Café Elysa’s Lomo de Bacalo, which is made of imported Bacalao loin doused in potatoes and tomato sauce. 

With the Christmas season soon to be in full swing, make sure you book a few get-togethers at Cocina de la Casa. Perhaps Stephen Aznar bringing his culinary creations back to the city is the best gift the season has to offer.

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