February has once again rolled around, and love, flowers and pheromones are once again permeating the air. Couples put in the extra effort to sweep each other off their feet with little surprises like flowers, chocolate, and a romantic dinner for two at a quiet restaurant, a piano player tickling the ivory to their favorite romantic tunes, as they clink their glasses together to celebrate a day of true love.
Those best known for being in love with love are the Italians, with Rome being the place where Valentine’s Day actually originated from – a celebration of the goddess Juno. True to their Italian roots, Lucia Ristorante – one of Makati’s top destinations for authentic Italian cuisine – gets the recipe right for passionate romance from February 12 to 15, 2015, with its Sparkling Valentine’s Day Special (Php 1,800 for two) featuring a romantic four-course degustation menu, sparkling Prosecco, and live piano entertainment on Valentines Day.
I know I was pleasantly surprised when I had a taste of the toothsome Valentine offerings, prepared exclusively for the occasion by Executive Chef Davide Lombardi. Each set meal is composed of simple, rustic Italian dishes, elegantly served and paired with a complimentary glass of sparkling Italian wine.
The romantic dinner starts with your choice antipasto plates. The Mozzarella Di Bufala “Bellavista” is very fresh – slices of Buffalo Mozzarella and tomatoes marinated in salt, pepper and olive oil before being served with basil arugula and finished in a capers and olive vinaigrette. This is such a classic starter, and a personal favorite, with the taste of the fresh, soft cheese shining through.
Another option is the Crema Di Funghi Alla “Valdostana”, a Forest mushroom soup made with three different kinds of mushrooms, with a drizzle of olive oil, cream, and chicken stock to thicken the base, and served with cheese croutons in the shape of a heart.
The first course is a Paglia E Fieno Al “Brucio Piemontese” – homemade, chewy taglierini with chopped spinach kneaded into the pasta, cooked al dente and served with with meat ragon and herb garlic butter, finished with a sprig of rosemary and Parmesan. Don’t let the size of the dish fool you as the fresh pasta really fills you up.
On top of its Valentine dinner special, Lucia Ristorante also serves an extensive selection of authentic Italian specialties and premium Italian wines, which may be a good option to consider, as Prosecco can only get you so far during dinner.
For the second course, couples can choose between a light yet satisfying fish dish or a gamey lamb option.
The Dentice Arrosio Ai Due Sapori is pan-seared lapu-lapu served with with roasted potato wedges, asparagus, and a bell pepper with saffron sauce. The local grouper’s flaky white meat and crispy skin marries so well with the saffron sauce, I kept trying to sop it up with the asparagus spears and marbled potatoes.
I love game, and preferred the Costollette D’Agnello Alle Mandorle Con Risotto Alle Erbe more. The long title basically translates to almond crusted lamb chop with assorted herb risotto and lamb sauce. What most guests don’t know is that risotto is a specialty of Chef Davide, and the creamy north Italian rice dish almost steals the show from the saucy lamb chops, taking in all the juices and flavor of the gamey meat, adding even more flavor to the risotto.
For a sweet ending to a romantic night, couples can indulge in Lucia Ristorante’s Spuma Al Cioccolato All’Arancio, an orange and dark chocolate flavored mousse served with a delicate crisp and segments of Mandarin oranges. This was probably the best part of dinner, but then again, I do love anything covered in chocolate! Orange-flavored chocolate is such an Italian combination and makes for a lovely way to end one’s Valentine’s Day dinner.
“Words of love are always the same, they take on the flavor of the lips that utter them.” – Guy de Maupassant
Taking a page from the renowned Italian chocolate maker, Perugina, who make special edition Baci chocolate candies with “love notes”, usually a romantic phrase, written inside the foil wrapper, the romantic folks behind Lucia Ristorante make your date night even more memorable, with the restaurant’s “sweet spot” – a Fortune Chocolate Giveaway Station where lovebirds can indulge some more on assorted dipping fruits, pretzels, and aphrodisiacs like fondue-covered strawberries, marshmallows, and petite biscuits. Create a personalized Fortune Chocolate token for your date to take home with them in a complimentary container with a love note you can choose from a bowl by the giveaway station.
This Valentine’s Day, treat your loved one to a romantic Italian inner for the books with a Sparkling Valentine’s Day Special for two at Lucia Ristorante. Get away from the crowded malls and slip away to Hotel Celeste right across from Greenbelt to enjoy a quiet night with good food, sparkling wine, and lots of chocolate.
Lucia Ristorante is located at the ground floor of Hotel Celeste, 2 San Lorenzo Drive Corner A. Arnaiz Avenue, San Lorenzo Village, Makati and is open daily between 11am to 11pm. For inquiries or to reserve a table, please call +63 2 887 8080 or +63 2 836 0023.