Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside. — Mark Twain
I wasn’t a fan of Greek cuisine. But it all changed when my palate realized it loves olives, pita, and lamb. Greek food is almost always associated with these. Here in the Philippines, there are only a few restaurants that offer such cookery. In Baguio alone, it would be a rarity to find such food house. So when I have learned that a Greek “Taverna” opened its door for some Greek gastronomy, I went to try it out immediately.
This new food house in Baguio is called Lemon and Olives. It is yet another “old-house-converted-into-a-food-nook” kind of restaurant in the City of Pines. Located along Outlook Drive, it would not pose a challenge in locating it as it has an imposing look with its white-painted exterior and large glass walls. I found myself all smiles while I walk into their blue-hued door. I like everything I saw upon entering – artsy stuff, books on shelves, wooden interior, a terrace with a refreshing view, and other interesting pieces.
I would’ve wanted to have a seat at the veranda but it was full the time I was there. So I opted to stay at a table for 4 people with pillows on the chair. It felt homey and happy. The view of pine trees outside completed that Baguio atmosphere.
Now on to their menu. What I love about Greek food besides olives and lamb is that they generally have this satiating full flavor in every dish. Whenever I get to taste one, it’s as if all the spices and herbs I have learned in Pharmacognosy start to catapult my taste buds into 7th heaven. (Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t an exaggeration. It is true). I love how basil, parsley, onion, oregano, garlic, thyme and dill give these Greek nutriment such amazing taste (and smell).
There is so much to choose from the food offering at Lemon and Olives. From appetizers to the main course to desserts and beverages. Since I was alone, I had to painstakingly choose which ones I would really like to try. Believe me, it was a challenge since I would have wanted to taste a bit of all the stuff they offer. I ended up trying the following:
Saganaki – a pan-fried, Greek cheese with fresh lemon. According to their menu, it is their signature appetizer. I never though cheese and lemon would taste good. For the main course, I ordered their mixed Souvlaki Plate – a food consisting of small pieces of meat (beef, lamb and chicken), sometimes vegetables that are grilled on a skewer. (No, this isn’t kebab). It is served in a pita wrap with garnishes and sauces, often with fried potatoes. Lemon and Olives’ version is drizzled with Chef Takis’ secret Greek sauce (which I love). Moreover, I like the tzatziki dip that goes with this meal. (FYI: Tzatziki is made of strained yogurt mixed with cucumbers, garlic, salt, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and sometimes dill).
For dessert, I was torn between having a baklava and loukoumades. Since I have already tried baklava before, I opted to see and taste a Greek doughnut. Loukoumades is an airy, deep-fried puff with honey, cinnamon and some nuts. It actually tasted like some Filipino rice cake. It was okay, not outstanding but my delight for their souvlaki plate was more than enough to be generally satisfied with my food.
All in all, I had a great time dining at Lemon and Olives. Definitely not the last visit… I am more than excited to bring my equally food-loving friends here sometime soon. More so, I certainly would want to try their other offerings especially the Greek salad, Gyros and Stuffed Tomatoes. (Just the thought of it makes me want to dash my way back to Baguio).
Lemon and Olives Greek Taverna
#26 Outlook Drive
Baguio City, Philippines
(074) 423 2278
Don’t be a wasted soul, be “juan”derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan”…