My cousins Kuya Jun-jun and Ate Lorna mentioned, before Christmas, that there's this new restaurant in Cuenca, Batangas that serves delicious food. In fact, the first event hosted by the restaurant was their son, Julo's, birthday party. Their story about big servings of burgers and pasta at reasonable prices kept the restaurant in my head as a place I should visit next time I'm in Batangas.
And so yesterday, after an errand in Lipa City, I called Kuya Jun-jun and he told me that we'd meet up at Florenel Cafe & Restaurant for lunch. Yes, I drove all the way from Lipa City to Cuenca, worked up my appetite, supposedly for lunch. Good thing it was easy enough to find. After a long stretch of houses along the national highway, an orange building with a parking lot pops up just before the boundary between Cuenca and Alitagtag. That's Florenel's.
When I got there, the parking lot out front was full so I had to park the car in the back. It looks like the restaurant is gaining ground in its customer base... always a good sign that the food's good. In fact, the biggest party during that lunch hour was of the congressman in this district. And so Kuya Jun-jun (who got there a few minutes after me) and I decided to return for afternoon snacks.
And return we did, this time with my nephew, Julo. Ate Lorna opted out this time.
The interiors had a happy and informal vibe and the staff were very friendly too. It's as if I were dropping by a cousin's house (and I do have a lot of cousins in the area) for snacks. Wait, maybe I am! I ought to brush up on my family's tree.
I got myself a serving of spaghetti bolognese. I'm happy to note that the pasta wasn't the usual "dessert" spaghetti I find in roadside restaurants; this popular spaghetti recipe is too sweet for my taste. Instead, Florenel's spaghetti tasted more like my Mom's version with the meaty taste and the thick tomato sauce, plus a hint of chili.
Kuya Jun-jun got the Florenel burger, which (I was promised) should've been bigger. It's about the same size as a regular fast food burger but the burger patty was flatter; not the plump and juicy type seen on images of those mouth-watering commercial burgers. People say don't judge a book by its cover; I guess the same goes with this burger: don't judge it until you've tasted it. This burger tasted more like Tagaytay City's mushroom burger than Jollibee's Regular Yum, in my opinion. And that, for me, is a good reason to come back for more. After all, I do drive all the way to Tagaytay City (from Laguna) when I crave for those mushroom burgers.
Then there were the desserts. Ate Lorna and I tried the chocolate decadent cake and the blueberry cheesecake (which Kuya Jun-jun took home). I found the cakes to be a tad too dry and crumbly than the cheesecakes and chocolates decadent that I'd eaten before. But if there's one good thing about them, it's this: both cakes were not too sweet.
Florenel Cafe and Restaurant is definitely a good place to stop for a meal along the road that takes travelers from Manila (or Laguna, like me) to the Batangas towns of Taal and Lemery... and Batangas City even, if one doesn't take one of the more direct routes.