Lime and Basil

Hello readers! We can’t be talking about burgers all the time, can we? This review requires a bit of a time-hop, seeing that our actual visit was June of last year. I apologize for only writing about this now, but I assure you the time you spend reading this will be very well worth it.

Thai food has always been a favorite of mine. The balance of sweet, sour, and spicy (I know, you are drooling already) is what makes it so special; even a bit similar to our classic lutong bahay. Tamarind juice, Kaffir lime leaves, Thai basil, brown sugar, and Thai chilies are ingredients commonly found, oftentimes in combination, in Thai cuisine.

Delving into possible options for Thai cuisine, we chanced upon Lime and Basil when they did a promotion on one of the more famous deal sites on the internet. Who was I to say no to a good deal involving one of my favorite cuisines, right? Working on the assumption that it was located in the heart of Tagaytay City (my fault, I should have probably read the exact address or checked the map), we were surprised when Google Maps instructed us to keep going, past the usual Tagaytay dining places such as Dencio’s, Yellow Cab, etc.

Right after the arch welcoming us to Alfonso, we turned right into a small, dimly-lit road. For those familiar with Marsha Adams, Lime and Basil is located along the same road but about 200 meters further down. Traveling at night, I have to admit that I was a tad concerned for our safety. It didn’t help that when we were told that we had reached our destination, a big wooden gate was what faced us. Thankfully, after blowing our horn (and texting our friends of our whereabouts), someone opened the gate and the beautiful Lime and Basil made its introduction.

“To the food, Jason! To the food!” – All readers everywhere

Fine. This IS a food blog, after all. πŸ™‚

Fresh Spring Rolls (Php 240)
For starters, we ordered the Fresh Springs Rolls and the Lime and Basil Salad. The Fresh Spring Rolls (rolled herbs, carrots, cabbage, tofu, noodles, peanuts, sweet chili relish) was an excellent start. In place of the usual rice wrapper, the cabbage made the dish a lot lighter without sacrificing any texture. The combination of the sweetness in the peanuts and carrots, complimented by the freshness of the herbs and tofu, tied together by the sweet chili relish was absolutely superb. Three pieces each for Micah and I was the perfect way to kick off the meal.

The Lime and Basil Salad (fried organic egg, basil, lettuce, peanuts, fried shallots, tamarind dressing), one of their trademark dishes, was slightly underwhelming. It didn’t make its mark in our mouths nor our memories. To be fair, after starting with excellent spring rolls, I find it hard to think of something off the top of my head that would be remotely as satisfying.

For our main, we ordered the Moo Grob (good for 2-3) and the Bagoong Rice (good for 2-3). The Moo Grob (crispy pork, chicharon, cucumber relish) was as tasty as it was sinful. Crispy pork mixed with chicharon laying on a bed of cucumber relish with fresh tomatoes and vinegar might seem excessive in its porkiness, but hey, you only live once. The acidity of the vinegar cuts through the fat very nicely, with the cucumber combining to add the requisite freshness.

The Bagoong Rice (egg, shallots, green mango, shrimp paste). Man, was this good! Listed as good for 2-3, we liked it so much that 2 people was enough to nearly devour the whole dish. To be honest, if this was the only thing we ordered, a little dessert to top it off and we could call it a night. Toeing the line between quantity and quality, we were left wanting for neither. Lime and Basil’s version of this Thai staple did the traditional Khao Kluk Kapi justice.

We couldn’t leave this place without at least trying their Pad Thai (good for 3). Now that I think of it, any person who goes to eat Thai food should probably include Pad Thai in their order. Symbolic in Thai Cuisine, it perfectly accentuates the marriage between the tart tamarind juice, salty fish sauce, sweet brown sugar, crunchy peanuts, chewy noodles, and fragrant herbs. A dish designed to appeal to all of your senses (appearance, smell, texture, taste = check), their Pad Thai was, without doubt, a hit. Not pictured above was their lemongrass mint iced tea, which really was refreshing and allowed us to reset our palates between dishes.

It is not an exaggeration when I say that our Lime and Basil experience was one of the best dining escapades we have ever had. Considering the distance (past Tagaytay), the time of day (evening), and the journey (slightly scary), it is a testament to how utterly glorious the experience was that we enjoyed eating at Lime and Basil immensely. The service was great (it might be because we were the only people there), the restroom clean, the decor authentic. Our time at Lime and Basil was not only a meal; it was a gastronomic epiphany.

We highly recommend lovers of Thai food, beautiful scenery, or adventure and travel to give this place a try. We give this recommendation with full confidence, and we ourselves are planning to re-visit Lime and Basil sooner rather than later. Let this serve as proof that hidden gems still do exist; we sometimes just have to be willing to take the (dimly-lit) road less traveled.

Are you a fan of Thai Cuisine? Have you eaten at Lime and Basil? Did this entry make you depressed about what you had for lunch? Please feel free to leave any (positive, hopefully) of your comments or suggestions! πŸ™‚


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