Perched on the ridge of Tagaytay overlooking Taal lake, a mere 60 kilometer drive south of Metro Manila, lies Qiwellness Living. Inspired by centuries-old architecture, cuisine, and healing practices of China, combined with modern design, culinary techniques, and advances in wellness, Qiwellness Living reflects the sublime synergy of the old and the new, and presents a distinctive ambient, dining, and spa experience.
The place is easy enough to find, situated along Aguinaldo Highway right after Domicillo Design Hotel. A receptionist peeks out from the big, bright red door, ushering Jericho and I in, out arrival announced with a clash of a gong. What looks like a simple bungalow on the outside, is actually three levels to the place – the dining floor, the teahouse, and the spa floor. I spent most of my time at the teahouse, looking out at the gorgeous view of Taal Lake while sipping on a sweet tea and reading a book, before heading back upstairs to the dining room for a late lunch.
I love how the decoration has an East meets West vibe, traditional Chinese elements of design set against a cool, minimalist industrial background. Qiwellness comes out with a new degustation menu every quarter or so, and their Yin Yang Spring Degustation is inspired by the traditional Chinese medicine’s principle of ‘yin and yang’ and, utilizing classical and modern culinary techniques with western and eastern ingredients, creating a balance and harmony of colors, aromas, textures, and flavors in their dishes. Their multi-course Spring Yin Yang Degustation menu is a delight, set in a sensorial and ambient dining experience.
To start the tasting, the kitchen brought a very fresh Tuna Tartare seasoned with seven spices of shichimi (also known as togarashi) served atop a shiso leaf and 63-degree quail egg. The flavors together make for an umami taste, the shiso lending an interesting flavor to the fresh, creamy raw fish.
Next up is their Tea-Smoked Duck cooked sous vide in with grated orange zest lending a sour and tart component, with fresh arugula and mesclun salad tossed in a sweet and tangy plum vinaigrette underneath. Served under a glass dome with smoked wood chips, this gives an heady smell to the dish, bringing your imagination to scenes of hunting fowl in a forest before slowly roasting your prize over a fire.
Chicken Money Bag Dumpling is the best of both Shanghai and Paris, with fatty Chinese chorizo and chicken cooked in chorizo oil before being wrapped in beancurd skin and fried. Underneath it is perfect risotto that’s been cooked in chicken stock with a green pea paste, haricots verts. and cherry tomatoes. This is definitely a bit more than a tasting portion, but hey, I’m not complaining!
Next on the tasting menu is Qiwellness’ Grilled Octopus on Soba Negra made with buckwheat noodles in a creamy squid ink and topped with sage green tobiko. You get the classic Italian elements from the tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, and chiffonade basil that is strategically placed on top of the fish roe, the juxtaposition of the Japanese and Italian flavors weirdly enough, complimenting each other – the creaminess of the squid ink with little briny pops from the tobiko, and the parmesan and fresh basil tying it all together nicely. My compliments to the chef!
Medallion de Porc ‘A La Cantonaise’ with Sichuan pepper is both both sweet and savory, with the sous vide pork being basted in flour and quickly finished on the stove to give that delightful crunchy exterior while still keeping the inside pink and moist, served with crisp and mushy lentils, and haricots verts.
Dessert is always my favorite part of any meal, and these Matcha Petit Fours don’t disappoint! The matcha cheesecake base is good on its own, but when had with the caramelized pear and ginger tuile on a bed of hawthorne berries and light cream cheese with a touch of lemon zest, is on a different level altogether.
After a stunning 6-course tasting menu, it back back out to the teahouse for a pot of oolong tea and burying my nose in my book until the sun starts to set, enjoying the nice breeze as well as the view.
A place for quietness, privacy, and meditation, they truly are an environment that is conducive to wellness. On my next trip back I’d like to pay The Bathhouse a visit, located on the lower floors, which offers guests a sanctuary of relaxation, rejuvenation, and renewal.
#DesignYourSummer and make the most of this Splendid 6-Course Yin Yang Spring Degustation at The Teahouse at Qiwellness Living at Deal Grocer for Php 1,490 instead of Php 2,068.
Qiwellness Living is located along Aguinaldo Highway, Brgy. Maharlika East, Tagaytay City. The Teahouse is open from Wednesdays to Sundays between 11:30AM – 2PM and 6:30PM – 9:30PM. For inquiries and reservations for both The Teahouse and The Bathhouse, please contact +63 917 522 6969.