Thursday, August 12, 2010


My voluble friend Xtn was in town, and we had decided to venture forth into the far, far away neck of the woods in Antipolo, and eat at this fairly new house-resto named LAYA, which billed itself as a "Personal Dining Experience."

It was actually Xtn's 3rd or 4th time to dine at LAYA, but i guess some things never change. We still had difficulty deciphering the directions and got lost a couple of times! It didn't help that there was some roadwork going in, which made streets one-way, etc. LAYA is just past the Pinto Art Gallery, and is located at a charming house at the very end of the road.

We were famished when we got there, but nevertheless we took some time to pose for pics beside the LAYA sign, and other vantage points!

This one is of the lovely pathway leading to the house:

We were greeted warmly by charming and lovely lady of the house, Irene. She is one-half of the couple running LAYA, the other half being her husband and chef, Ricci (who was Xtn's cousin). Interestingly, Ricci used to be chief songwriter-bassist of the local indie band Mojofly, and sessions once in a while for pop star Rico Blanco; while Irene continues to gig with her band Chubibo.

Once seated, and sipping our cold, refreshing glasses of the pandan iced tea, it was impossible not to notice the stylish interiors of LAYA's dining area.

On to the food! There was a choice between the LAYA Signature Menu and the special Fathers' Day Menu. Xtn and i both chose the former, with different choice of main course (i was having the steak, while she was getting the Norwegian salmon).

First up was a little something to tickle our tastebuds (i totally forgot what it was called, unfortunately! :d)

Then the trio of appetizers came, namely: (R-L) Crabstick & Cream Cheese Dumpling with Spicy Mango Sauce, Shrimp & Chicken Wanton Bag with Thai Sweet Chili, and Stirfried Kaffir Lime Port in Lettuce Wrap.

Yes, in case you're wondering, the food tasted as good as it looked! I especially liked the wanton bag, it literally explodes with flavor. I think i could eat a dozen of these things, haha!

The grandiosely-named Thai-Spiced Pumpkin & Cashew Nut Soup with Coconut Cream Froth came next. Quite good, too, with that slightly spicy-sour kick at the end which made it taste differently from the typical pumpkin soup.

Up next was the Grilled Chicken with Mixed Greens in Oriental Soy Dressing. I'm normally not a fan of salads, but ate this one with relish. Didn't finish it though, as i was dangerously getting full, with the main course still not being served yet!

By this point, Xtn and i were deeply engrossed in our conversation, such that we forgot to take pics of the main courses, as well as the dessert (Cashew Mango Kesong Puti & Banana Chocnut Spring Rolls)! Ack!

The banana spring rolls (essentially glammed-up turon) was particularly tasty, and i wouldn't have minded taking some home :D

LAYA allows the use of its swimming pool for private parties (see below):

We got to talk with Chef Ricci and Irene. He recounted that they have been doing very brisk business lately, especially with the Fathers' Day weekend. Originally open for Saturday and Sunday lunch, and Friday and Saturday dinner only, LAYA has had to extend its hours for Sunday dinner.

Check out also some interesting display pieces:

This pic below is located (of all places) inside the restroom. I had the urge to pocket the wooden figurine on the right, but thought better of it. Haha :D

All in all, it was a very good meal in a lovely setting, with fun companions and engrossing conversation. For the price of PHP750.00 (around US$18.00) per person, this is a definite steal. (We totally forgot to leave a tip, though)

Time just seemed to roll by, and by the time Xtn and i took our leave, it was nearly 4 pm.

Here's a snapshot of the lovely couple, Irene and Ricci:

(You can book your personal dining experience at LAYA, by calling (0917) 8464322 or emailing Please check out LAYA's website for directions on getting there)