Hey, did you get your Maria Clara outfit ready? Word on the street is there's a grand ancestral house hidden at the very heart of Cebu City to cater to all your turn-of-the-century cravings. Welcome to Circa 1900. :)

Take a hint from the name: Circa 1900 is a centuries old ancestral house now converted into a restaurant. Just the sight of the sprawling white house takes you back in the time of colonial Philippines. You can just imagine Jose Rizal to come out the door and greet you with a "What's up home dawg". Or something along that line. The place is a testament to the country's rich culture and heritage.

Also if the place looks familiar, this is where we shot my friend Magi's postnup session. Their servers are friendly and would gladly give you a tour of the place whilst waiting for the food. 

The place is plenty spacious and piques the imagination. The hardwood floors, high ceilings and wooden fixtures take you back to a grandmother's home long forgotten. Or to a period drama starring Cesar Montano. Haha, either way it is a treat for one who loves ambiance. 

There are private rooms that you can book for functions, a bar by the porch and lounge settings on the yard. One can even book the entire place for corporate events. Didn't notice WiFi, but that really won't be necessary when you're so immersed with the place. They accept most credit cards as well.


As for the food, you are in for an adventure. While the place speaks of deeply rooted Filipino tradition, we found the food anything but. We found out that the culinary geniuses from Canvass in Ayala are the same team who runs Circa 1900's kitchen. We opted for their special business set 3-course lunch.

They started with a complementary appetizer whose name escapes me. Something with pomelo and sesame seeds. Again, I'm sorry for my terrible knowledge of food. The same thing went down with our 10 Dove Street adventure. I was made for Happy Meals and mama's good old home cooking so I couldn't give you Gordon Ramsey-like critiques about the texture, the taste, the components of the food. At least that's what I see the judges do in MasterChef. Albeit my simple homecooking preferences, I'm glad I get to try new things, tastes and influences. :)

The friends and I got one of the appetizers each.

Aged Proscuito with Zucchini Herb Fritters and Curry Banana Chutney

First off the chef's kitchen was Aged Proscuito with Zucchini Herb Fritters and Curry Banana Chutney. Whoa. The names of the food will get fancier as we move on, trust me. And knowing my relatively new taste buds, I didn't know what to expect. What is this sorcery? Sour, sweet, tangy, cheesy. That is all I can say, because I couldn't seem to dissect the elements of the food. What is this called in real life? I started to wonder. The olives and (what I think are) cherry tomatoes were fresh and lovely. Definitely something new. If you love a gastronomic adventure, Circa 1900 is the place to go.

Honey Pear Green Salad with Candied Lemon,Walnuts and Sherry Shallot Dressing 

Fay's Honey Pear Green Salad with Candied Lemon,Walnuts and Sherry Shallot Dressing (whew, isn't that a mouthful) is my favorite of all three. Candied lemon and walnuts on a bed of fresh greens and thin apple slices. My kind of vegetarian mom will love this. Sweet and fresh.

Soup of the day

Magi's Soup of the Day was just okay for me. I mean, not really one to complain but after tasting the salad and the proscuito this one was just...well, okay. 

Chicken Breast filled with Organic Black Wild Rice Mousse, served with Cocodobo Sauce and Garlic Mash

Magi and me got Chicken Breast filled with Organic Black Wild Rice Mousse, served with Cocodobo Sauce and Garlic Mash for our main. Again, if you're not as adventurous with food like me, the taste will work strange things in your head. I tried to place a familiar name to the taste. Comparing it to a stuffed chicken embutido with a tangy, herby sauce just won't give the dish justice so I won't even try to compare them. It tasted different from all the chicken dishes I've ever had. 

Slow Roast Pork Belly with Apple Compote and Mashed Potatoes

Fay had Slow Roast Pork Belly with Apple Compote and Mashed Potatoes. This one was closer to home. The sweet sauce is a shout out to Filipino cuisine.

Pumpkin Pie with Caramet Poached Saba Banana

For dessert we all had Pumpkin pie with Caramel Poached Saba Banana. Being dorks we had to ask, where is the banana? Where is the pumpkin? Weird thing was you can actually taste the banana without ever seeing it. I don't know how it was done. All I know was that it was yummy, albeit being so simple.

Circa 1900 is one of a kind, and a perfect place to spend with family, friends or a significant other. It is both elegant and homey at the same time...a beautiful experience all in all. It is quite pricier than most places in the city and is quite hard to get to if you don't have your own ride, but the food, ambiance and service make up for an unforgettable time.

If you don't have your own ride (like us, ha!), you can always ask one of their staff to take you to the main road with their cute tricycle:

Til next time, Circa! :)

Circa 1900 is located at Sanjercasvil Road, Gorordo Avenue, Lahug Cebu City aka the eskina after JY Square. There's a sign outside, you can't miss it.

Contact: (032) 239 6265 or 0923 279 5616

Tell me what you think! Be my friend and leave a comment! :)

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