Old house charm

Alexis YapAlexis Yap
Lex in the city

OLD houses have a certain charm and I think it’s what draws people to Circa 1900, I mean besides the food that is not only delicious but beautiful on the plate. Just a few weeks back, the same group of people in partnership with the University of Southern Philippines foundation have opened up the old house next door, restoring the entire home of the Jereza family, one of Cebu’s oldest families residing in Lahug, leaving some original flooring and some bullet “wounds” on the main staircase reminiscent of World War two. Yes, I have touched them with my very own hands.

As if its WWII charm wasn’t enough to tickle my fancy, our hospitable host Drei Sollano, introduced us to some non-alcoholic beverages that we were more than happy to try at Cicada Tapas and Bar. I picked drink they call Rejuvinate, a concoction of pear, calamansi juice, and ginger. My date and good friend, Jewel Jalandoni, picked Awakening, a combination of carrots, green apple, and basil. They were very refreshing.

Taking pictures of the tapas: (from foreground to me) 1. Spiced Squid and Spanish Chorizo with Chilli and Pepper 2. Caramelized Onion, Water Buffalo Cheese, Ham and Dates on Ciabatta with Moscato Glaze, 3. Chicken Sisig Cigars - Chicken Mushroom, and Beansprouts.
Taking pictures of the tapas: (from foreground to me) 1. Spiced Squid and Spanish Chorizo with Chilli and Pepper 2. Caramelized Onion, Water Buffalo Cheese, Ham and Dates on Ciabatta with Moscato Glaze, 3. Chicken Sisig Cigars – Chicken Mushroom, and Beansprouts.
Circa Dos, the location of Cicada Tapas and Bar and the Noshery Bakery + Sweets, is located within the Circa 1900 complex.
Circa Dos, the location of Cicada Tapas and Bar and the Noshery Bakery + Sweets, is located within the Circa 1900 complex.

We sat in a small, charming room on a couch for two, in front of two small round tables. Drei and his friend Roger Ramos sat across us. There were about four other tables in that quaint room and a well-equipped bar where they make their coffees, juices, and cocktails. The walls were filled with interesting photos of the family and the people who actually hung out or stayed with them to visit back in the day. These included General Douglas Mac Arthur and Sergio Osmeña, Manuel L. Quezon, and the country’s first ever beauty queen Gemma Cruz. Quite the line-up, I know.

Our meal started with some delicious tapas: Chicken Sisig Cigars, Spiced Squid and Spanish Chorizo with Chili and Pepper, and Ciabatta topped with Caramelized Onions, Water Buffalo Cheese, Ham and Dates with Moscato Glaze. So mouth-watering!

Crunchy Mol Mol Fillet with Redstone Potato Wedges
Crunchy Mol Mol Fillet with Redstone Potato Wedges
General Douglas Mc Arthur and Sergio Osmeña Sr. photographed talking in this very house.
General Douglas Mc Arthur and Sergio Osmeña Sr. photographed talking in this very house.

Cicada was originally designed for pre and post-dinner drinks but as us Pinoys love food so much, they know they had to put some delicious plates on the menu. We got to try almost everything. I especially liked the Grilled Spicy Sumatran Beef Fillet Rendang Style with Garlic Rice. The grilled Lemon Pepper Snapper and the Spice Rubbed Baby Back Pork Ribs with Roast Corn and Rice are two of their best sellers. I want to try the Southern Fried Chicken and the Pork Tenderloin when I come back.

Grilled Lemon Pepper Snapper with Caesar Salad
Grilled Lemon Pepper Snapper with Caesar Salad

Did I mention they have their own bakery that makes all sorts of delicious breads, cakes, and pastries? I would love to come back in the afternoon for some coffee and sweets.

Grilled Spicy Sumatran Beef Rendang Style with Garlic Rice
Grilled Spicy Sumatran Beef Rendang Style with Garlic Rice
Spice Rubbed Baby Back Pork Ribs (that fall off the bone) with Roast Corn and Rice
Spice Rubbed Baby Back Pork Ribs (that fall off the bone) with Roast Corn and Rice

The second floor has two rooms for special functions that can accommodate 20 to 30 people and 60-70 people. With set menus as low as 550 per head with a 30 pax minimum, the place would be perfect for smaller, intimate gatherings for special occasions. The second floor has a grand balcony the overlooks the pool surrounded by some tables from Cicada.

Our visit was short and sweet and the place leaves us with the feeling of wanting to come back. This has always been how old houses speak to me. They whisper an open invitation to come back and visit.

(All photos taken by Jewel Jalandoni. Thanks, Jewel!)

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