I went to Antipolo last weekend and it was very hot for a day in September. I suppose this year’s El Nino effect, which is the worst since the 1980’s, contributed to this terrible heat wave.  But I digress. The important thing is that we got to eat a lot, and one of the places we ate at is a place called the Crescent Moon Cafe.

 

Now, this place has become quite successful and is pretty well-known among foodies, and quite well-regarded.  It was hard getting Waze to get us to the right spot, but after much hassle driving around we finally found the place.

 

It's a hidden paradise, behind a black fence and gate surrounded with forest and puddles.
It’s a hidden paradise, behind a black fence and gate surrounded with forest and puddles.
Crescent2Park
My car, ZES, was neatly parked in the ample parking space on the grounds.
Quite a lot of effort was put into the landscaping of the grounds.
Quite a lot of effort was put into the landscaping of the grounds.

This place would be great as a function area for various activities, like wedding receptions. Seeing the place alone made it worth the visit.

 

The restaurant proper looks quite cozy. It’s pretty low-budget when you think about it: cheap metal yero sheets form the ceiling, padded with heat insulation pads to keep out the heat. Wooden interiors draped with plastic beads woven into a scintillating tapestry of color. The place is made of cheap materials, but it doesn’t feel cheap and is quite nice and cozy.

Crescent4
Materials are ech but the place looks pretty good all things considered. The signature crescent is in the corner.

There’s no air-conditioning, going with the cheap budget theme, but surprisingly the place is anything but cheap or budget. Meals here are 450 per head, so we were looking forward to that.

Unlike any other restaurant I have ever been to, the Crescent Moon Cafe has a “Pottery” theme to it. I don’t know what that means, but apparently it means you can buy pottery from here. There’s a stack of it one corner than you can look at, and apparently you can pay and take some of them home.

Here's some of the fine pottery you can find in this restaurant.
Here’s some of the fine pottery you can find in this restaurant.
You can even see the pricing there. 320 for this set of.... mud? I'll pass.
You can even see the pricing there. 320 for this set of…. hardened mud? I’ll pass.

 

However, all is not good. Being the dumb, uninformed diners that we were, we neglected to do our proper research and so we did not realize that we actually had to make reservations in order to, you know, actually dine here.

I understand that there is no set menu, and you eat whatever was available at hand to be prepared, so eating here is like a Russian Roulette. If they only have lobster or prawns, and you’re allergic, well you’re SOL. But a lot of restaurants do that, (Ka Louie’s in Palawan comes to mind) but to be honest I have never had a good experience with these kinds of restaurants.

Same thing here, but considering we didn’t make reservations ahead of time, I suppose the fault is entirely on us. I can’t really dock the place if we don’t follow its protocols.

However, although we could not have our full course meals (which are 450 per head for whatever catch they brought in) we did get to have some merienda — and the only thing they have for that is their “famous” suman and mangos.

And here it is!

Crescent Moon Cafe's famous suman and mango!
Crescent Moon Cafe’s famous suman and mango!

 

And… color me unimpressed. This is an 80-peso merienda. It consists of two tubes of glutinous rice and 1/4th of a mango. The suman is mixed up with a little muscovado, so those without a sweet tooth can eat it as is, but you can request for some additional muscovado if so desired.

Unfortunately, the muscovado packets we were given were moist, obviously they were stored where they were exposed to moisture and wetness, so the sugar inside packed and caked together, make it all but unusable.  Such a big, blatant disregard for proper storage of cooking materials.

The mangoes were unripe, and very sour. It’s a good kind of mango, not the kalburo-grown kind, but it was not ripe and was not a pleasant dining experience.

The suman itself not all that good. It had a hint of sweetness, but the regular suman you can buy elsewhere around Antipolo was comparably the same, and significantly cheaper — you can buy a whole bundle of 10 sticks for 70 pesos, as opposed to this overpriced 2-piece dish here for 80 bucks.

The muscovado-infused suman
The muscovado-infused suman, naked and ready to be eaten!

All-in-all, I left this cafe with a heavy heart. We did not get to try their main dishes, whatever they were supposed to be, but at least we got to eat their suman. However, the suman was pretty expensive and not really any good. We also got a glimpse of their poor storage practices with their muscovado sugar.

All I can say is, if you intend to dine here, be smarter than we were and call ahead and make your reservations! That was entirely our fault, so I don’t want to dock the restaurant for what is basically my own stupidity, but I wasn’t at all impressed by what I did get to eat. I am not looking forward to trying it out for the full-course meal.

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Posted by Erwin Anciano

Erwin has been eating food for the past 30 or so years. Yes, he actually thinks that makes him an expert on all things food-related.

Website: http://emuncher.com