1/12/12 UPDATE: This restaurant is now closed. 

Laya is the latest private dining place serving Southeast Asian cuisine in an intimate Antipolo setting. Laya means “freedom” in Tagalog and it was coincidental that we checked it out on the 4th of July.

A young rock band couple turned restaurateur and chef decided to convert their family’s Antipolo resthouse into a dining destination every weekend for foodies. The couple reminds me of a young version of Claude and Maryann Tayag, and the resthouse reminds me of a modern Bale Dutung.

Currently, they serve a set 4-course meal, with the food choices changing every weekend at a special introductory price of P500. (Eventually it will be P650, but it’s still cheap, considering the overall experience you get.)

(I forgot to bring my Canon DSLR, so all photos taken in this blog post were taken using an ordinary Canon point and shoot camera. I had to be creative to get usable photos from that camera, especially at night. 🙂 )

Laya is about an hour away from Makati (after enduring the traffic along Ortigas Ave Extension in Pasig). It is perfect for a family gathering or a barkada reunion.

If you can invite at least 15 people, you can have the entire place all to yourselves at P650/head for the 4-course set meal. They are still waiting for their first marriage proposal in Laya, so you can book the entire place for a romantic dinner for two for P3,500 (not bad).

The dress code is casual chic. You need to wear something comfortable because of the outdoor fresh air dining setting. The set menu changes every week, but if you book the place privately for your group, you can try the Laya Signature dishes.


Shrimp Bisque with Coriander  – Cumin Foam

The soup got mixed reactions from our group, but at least Aidan loved it. It was too shrimpy in taste — it was like sucking the juices out of the head of a shrimp.

The Laya Signature iced tea is pandan-based and the taste was a bit diluted when served. I think they can be more creative with their drinks. They should join our Pampanga tour with Claude to get ideas on how to spice up the drink a bit, like serving it with muscovado ice.

A Benjie chair!  

One of these days, I’ll own one of the coveted Benjie Reyes chairs, which you can have custom-made for your butt. Benjie is one of the most popular furniture artists in the Philippines and he lives in Antipolo. He has a cult following around the world for his custom-built wooden chairs.

The swimming pool is one of the unique features of the place, which you can use if you exclusively book the place. We will probably do that for a Saturday lunch get-together with the kids and their cousins.

 

Beside the swimming pool, Aidan and syoti Joshua pose on a massage bed. I can just imagine booking the place for a romantic dinner for two, and then having a massage after a dip in the pool.

 

Grilled Chicken Salad with Oriental Soy Dressing

The salad got a unanimous thumbs-up from the group because of the magical effect of the oriental soy dressing.

 

 

The entire place could probably accommodate about 25 people comfortably. They are usually fully booked on weekends. The tables in the photos above have a pretty nice view of Manila City lights. These tables are located on the second floor of the house, overlooking the swimming pool.

There is a small room beside the dining area where the kids can play or they can set this up as a massage room instead for a couple. They are planning to convert it to a bed and breakfast setup soon.

One good thing about the owner-couple is that they are cool with kids in Laya since they have one of their own.

Irene Tan Gurango is happy to personally serve you during your weekend dining in Laya. She is currently the lead singer and songwriter of the indie band, Chubibo. Now, she is a young restaurateur, together with her husband, Ricky.

Prawn and Mango Curry – With Saffron Cashew Rice Pilaf

The set 4-course meal usually has 2 options for the main course. This was the best dish for the night, especially when you eat the prawn and mango while the sauce is still hot. The fragrant smell of saffron rice reminded me of our Ivatan food trip in Batanes. The curry rocks! (Note: You can request it to be hot or mild.)

Seafood Basil Ravioli – Sweet Tomato Cream Sauce And Crumbled Feta Cheese

The other option for the main course was the ravioli, which turned out to be a complete disaster. The fresh ravioli was thick and hard to the point that it was inedible. The cream sauce and feta cheese made it bearable. They should make the ravioli thinner or probably cook it longer and serve it right away without letting it cool down.

Ricky Gurango used to be with the Hungry Young Poets, together with Barbie Almalbis. He founded Mojo Fly after HYP disbanded and he currently plays for the Dawn as bassist occasionally. Together with his Global Academy batchmates, he runs the kitchen of Laya (with Ricky as the head chef).

I saw him working before in Ninyo (formerly In Yo) when it first opened along Esteban Abad.

Milk Chocolate Panna cotta – With Dark Chocolate Sauce and Caramelized Cashew Nuts

This dessert was made interesting by the caramelized cashew nuts.

Cream Cheese and Chocnut Turon

The cream cheese chocnut turon dip is now a favorite, so you should request this when you dine in. This was an extra dessert surprise not included in the menu.

How to drive all the way to Laya in Antipolo?

VIA ORTIGAS EXTENSION

From EDSA, take ORTIGAS heading towards Cainta. Along the way, you’ll pass Ever Gotesco and Robinson’s Cainta (both on your right). At the very end of ORTIGAS, take the road that veers to the right, heading towardsTaytay. Then take the first immediate U-turn slot in front of Chow King. Drive past Chow King then take the 2nd right. This winding and ascending road will take you up to Antipolo.

 

When you reach a rotonda, stay on the right fork then you’ll pass The Capitolyo, a white building, and Ynares Center (both on your left). Shortly after The Capitolyo and Ynares Center, turn right on Grand Heights Road and/or when you see a sign for Grand Homes and/or LAYA. (The signs are hard to find at night and the Grand Homes signs are more visible.)

 

Follow the LAYA signs (yellow background with purple letters) all the way to the guard house. (When you see the large Grand Homes sign, don’t turn there but go straight to the small guard house.) Drive past the guard house then turn right on Sierra Madre. (At night, there are no lights in this area.) Pinto Art Gallery will be on your right. Go straight until you see the last house on your left before the dead end. 

 

WELCOME TO LAYA! (You’ll see the entrance photo above.)

 

VIA MARCOS HIGHWAY 
Take Marcos Highway and pass Robinson’s Metro East and Sta. Lucia  Mall (both on your right). When you reach the first major intersection, you’ll see a McDonald’s on the left corner. Turn right on that intersection to SUMULONG  HIGHWAY.

 

Along Sumulong, you’ll pass Padi’s Pointe on your right and Assumption on your left. About 5 minutes after passing Assumption, turn right on the only major intersection. Then take the first left (heading straight will take you to Hinulugang Taktak). Go straight and turn right when you reach a rotonda (a USA88 Gas station will be on your left). Turn left when you see another rotonda. Then, you’ll see The Capitolyo and Ynares Center (both on your left).

 

Shortly after The Capitolyo and Ynares Center, turn right on Grand Heights Road and/or when you see a sign for Grand Homes and/or LAYA. (The signs are hard to find at night and the Grand Homes signs are more visible.)

Follow the LAYA signs (yellow background with purple letters) all the way to the guard house. (When you see the large Grand Homes sign, don’t turn there but go straight to the small guard house.) Drive past the guard house then turn right on Sierra Madre. (At night, there are no lights in this area.) Pinto Art Gallery will be on your right. Go straight until you see the last house on your left before the dead end. 

WELCOME TO LAYA! (You’ll see the entrance photo above.)

 

Overall, I recommend Laya, especially for those people looking for a food adventure just outside of Manila. Ricky is an expert on the sauces while Irene is a great hostess. I’m sure you’ll fall in love with the place. We need to help them improve their menu while they are starting up.

One last thing, airplanes pass by every so often because Laya is in the direct path of the planes landing in the Manila International Airport. It actually added an interesting attraction to the place.

Laya
… Your Personal Dining Experience
Sierra Madre, Grand Heights Subdivision, Antipolo City
Telephone: +632 994-7978, +63917 846 4322
 


Live an Awesome Life,  

Anton 
Text and Photos by Anton Diaz. Copyright 2009. 

blog: www.OurAwesomePlanet.com
prof. blog: AntonDiaz.com
mobile: +63917-LOVEOAP (5683627) 

 

 

P.S. Watch out for the upcoming Ultimate Culinary Tour of Antipolo!