The only reason we discovered Café Marivent was we were touring inside Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar and we had to take lunch half for nourishment and the other, for bliss. Café Marivent takes a traditional approach to Filipino and Spanish cuisines, offering popular items such as Gambas Rebosadas, Salpicao con Setas, Paella Valenciana, Paella Negra, Puchero, Crispy Pata, Kalderetang Baka, Pork Binagoongan, and so much more.
Café Marivent in Casa Unisan is one of the two main restaurants in the heritage resort, so how could we resist? How could anyone? You’ll know the answer when you get there yourself. 😉 This is a review of food we ordered for lunch on Day 1 and breakfast (complimentary) on Day 2.
Review of Café Marivent in Las Casas (Bagac, Bataan)
Café Marivent is a good-looking place whose walls and ceilings are entirely carved stones. I liked the first-rate pieces of wooden furniture and quaint decorations. The restaurant was not air-conditioned but natural air from open doors and windows and the ceiling fan sufficed.
Food was served about 10 minutes late. An additional 10 minutes after the half-hour waiting time can be acceptable during peak overload hours and when customers waiting for food are not as hungry as us. But that was not the case. There were only a few active tables so staff members were not at all outnumbered, and we were extremely hungry for lunch. Another devastation point was that waiters were not attentive to our calls. The water pitcher cannot be placed on our table so we had to request them to refill our glasses with water every time.
We were particularly smitten by Paella Valenciana (PHp 990) on the menu. One of my friends’ friend had already eaten this specialty at this restaurant and recommended us to try the same dish big time. With a strong recommendation like that, we knew we just have to follow. Café Marivent’s Paella Valenciana is cooked with sauteed rice in Spanish Concasse and tomato puree mixed with assorted seafood and meat for 3-4 people. The description is totally a good selling point. The bad news? The staff said that cooking time is about an hour and we should have called ahead for them to prepare the paella. 🙁
Anyway, many other exciting dishes on the menu await behind their fanciful names. Let’s take Pollo San Bernardino (PHp 440) as example. It consisted of grilled chicken breast fillet with mango sauce and demi-glazed mango slices. The chicken with sauce was sweet and savory, best accompanied with plain white rice, as it was imbued and bursting with so much flavor.
Another one that’s hard to eat without rice was the Kare-kareng Lamang Dagat (PHp 550), a seafood version of “the epitome of Philippine comfort food.” The stew was not as thick as I expected, and the usual nuttiness of the so-called “Philippine Peanut Stew” was not found here. It came with almost no taste; without stirring bagoong (fermented shrimp paste) in, this kare-kare won’t be considered as a satisfactory dish.
Off the vegetable section of the menu, the Pinakbet with Bagnet (PHp 530) looked promising. It was bright, colorful and made with ingredients that remind us all about home. This pinakbet was extraordinarily simple but the bagnet (chicharrón made of fried pork rinds) made it taste unique in a positive way. My friends loved it so much and I bet all you bagnet-lovers would like this as well.
For breakfast, Louie had Longganisa with rice, scrambled egg, watermelon and orange juice.
I, on the other end of the table, had Daing na Bangus with rice, scrambled egg, watermelon and coffee. The texture of the egg was perfect! It was fluffy like a custard all the way through. The fish dipped in vinegar with onions was predictably great, too. 🙂
Price for Value: ★★★☆☆
Our meals at Café Marivent may be closely described as like eating at a home of a well-intentioned Filipino-Spanish family. Perhaps this is not the greatest café in the world or in Bataan, and perhaps the tastes of their food run simple, but the dishes were warm, fresh and friendly stuff. If you’ve got room in the stomach and some extra cash in hand, Café Marivent’s selection of Filipino and Spanish food can be worth the splurge.