Jericho and I found ourselves back in Tagaytay, spending most of our afternoon at a client shoot. Tuckered out from working for most of the day, I suggested we look for a place off the beaten Aguinaldo Highway road in search of a filling meal. Our searching led us to Lime & Basil, a beautiful Thai restaurant hidden away in one of the inroads of Alfonso, Cavite. It looked like a private sanctuary, we almost drove past it.
We parked outside the large wooden gates with its verdant walls, and I stopped to take a quick picture of the grumpy looking wooden statue guarding the villa. To the right of the entrance looks to be the owner’s actual home, and on the left is the restaurant, surrounded by giant tropical plants. It felt like I was transported to a private villa in Ko Samui. The simple dining setting is accented with colorful fresh flowers, and towards the back is a store that sells Thai treats, pottery, and marble serving boards. I wanted to make the most of the fresh air and green view so we took a table outside, taking notes of what giant plants I’d want to have surround my dream home once day, wishing I had brought my dogs with me so they could enjoy the place, too. Alas, I only had Jericho. Lol.
The waitstaff are polite and accommodating, and after recommending a few items to try and getting our orders, they came back with a bowl of kropek with fish sauce, lemon, and salt while to while we explored the rest of the grounds. I love their Songkran Edible Garden – all restaurants worth their salt in this tropical country should have edible gardens or work with local, sustainable farms that do.
Our appetizer arrived shortly after we sat back down. Maeng Khum (Php 265) is an assortment of chilies, shallots, lime, peanuts, ginger, coconut, dried shrimp, and Thai shrimp paste. You take a wild betel leaf (also called chaphlu) and kind of pinch add your ingredients in the middle before adding the paste and folding the leaves to make a little pouch that would fit into your mouth.
I got really excited seeing Yam Pla Duk Foo (Php 320) on the menu, my go to salad at any Thai restaurant when it’s available, and it didn’t disappoint! A lot of airy pieces of crispy fried catfish take over the shallow plate atop shredded green pickled mango, chilies, and peanuts, and edible flowers, with a Thai dressing of fish sauce, sugar, and lime juice underneath. After tossing everything together and taking a bite, I savored the magical combination of savory, sweet, spicy, and nutty, the light crisp texture of the fried catfish slowly melting in my mouth while I let out a satisfied groan of delight.
One of the most popular dishes on the menu according to the server is the Pad Thai (Php Php 350), and although I loved how it looked, with the rice noodles seeping up all the saucy flavor, the seasoned egg net on top ready to be mixed in with the crushed peanuts, chillies, and bean sprouts – there was something lacking in flavor, and an added flavor which I didn’t like – it might have been the egg, but it did taste a bit off. Not wanting to risk it (it was a bit of a drive back down form Tagaytay after all, not withstanding the traffic), I let the server know and he graciously offered to replace it or take it off the bill.
The Paneng Nua (Php 375) or Thai beef curry was a winner imho – tender beef chinks that fell apart with a touch of a fork, savory red curry sauce which was just spicy enough for my companion to handle without his face going red, and crushed peanuts for added texture and nutty flavor. Extra rice, please.
Overall, I loved getting away from the city for a couple of hours, and with the intermittent wifi signal, you also get a tech detox in the process and just be in the moment. I’d definitely come back another time, with my dogs since the place is also pet-friendly.
Lime and Basil Thai Restaurant is located at 9014 J. Rizal Street, Baranggay Sicat, Alfonso, Tagaytay City, Tagaytay and is open from Wednesday to Monday, 11am to 9pm.