Old World Charm, New World Experience

 A kitchen serves up Negrense heritage

The new normal has started. It is a world where people step out with caution and awareness and responsibility. A world quite unlike our get-up-and-go carefree ways just lived months ago. Come to think of it, the wisdom to embrace challenges and innovate has been a hallmark of Negrense resilience through crises over centuries. And while this pandemic might be a heavier burden to pull, trust Negrenses to find their emotional tug, inhale, and heave-ho.

In Negros, a house teeming with heritage, from the front door to the kitchen, is making a unique mark in this countryside restaurant landscape. The historic Casa A. Gamboa in Silay City, Negros Occidental, has opened its doors to intimate group dining reservations for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and all meals in-between. Its veteran kitchen, repository of cooking secrets admired through the years, is again abuzz.



Once visited by Gen. Douglas MacArthur, the house and its sprawling garden, Jardin de Alicia, were built in 1939 by Aguinaldo Severino Gamboa and his wife, Dr. Alicia Lucero Gamboa. Its Old World charm lends to soulful, hearty, even nostalgic dishes, many coming out of heritage recipes. For years too, Jardin de Alicia has played host to the annual Adobo Festival. While the event has been temporarily put on hold due to the pandemic, a menu of delectable, insightful adobo dishes is to be expected in the offering.




The food experience begins with a painstakingly designed table setting that, by itself, is a feast for the eyes. Reservations are requested three days in advance so guests can plan their meals using farm-fresh, market-fresh ingredients in season. The menu is specially put together by the family matriarch who holds nothing but the highest standards in quality and taste. It is then meticulously executed by a seasoned kitchen staff.

For everyone’s health and peace of mind, Casa A. Gamboa accepts reservations from four to 15 guests only. Masks and shields are required, and guests may choose to dine at the open balcony, the airy dining room, or al fresco out in the garden, should the weather permit. Those who wish to experience dining on heritage cuisine straight out of a heritage home may visit its Facebook Page, Casa A. Gamboa.

Text by Alan S. Gensoli. Photos courtesy Reena Gamboa.

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