When in Batangas: Terrazas de Barako at Hacienda San Benito


I'm always fascinated by farm lands, organic crops and fruit bearing trees... Blooming colourful flowers in the garden gives me immeasurable happiness. Those are just few of the things that I wanted to achieve before my golden years- to spend my aging days gracefully. Days where fresh and organic fruits and vegetables that are usually hand-picked from the backyards maybe gone and obsolete for some, but for me, it should never go out of style. I, for one, is an advocate of wellness and I am more than willing to pursue this in the next few years of my life.

Just recently, I was blessed to have a fine-dining experience where all the ingredients for the 4-course meal I had, with my sister and a friend, were all organic and freshly picked from the gardens of Hacienda San Benito. Nothing beats the experience of having a healthy meal specially prepared by British Chef Teresa Lobb. 

Terrazas de Barako” is the fine-dining arm of Hacienda San Benito in Lipa City. The restaurant takes pride in its ever-changing menu which is always inspired by San Benito’s own fresh produce.

Hacienda San Benito is just a short drive from Lipa City, which is the 3rd coolest city in the Philippines (Wow! I didn't know that) next to Baguio and Tagaytay. It is seated at the foothills of Mt. Malarayat. We got a little problem finding the place but with the aid of some people along the way we managed to get there just in time for our reserved lunch. As we entered the high gates of Hacienda San Benito we were greeted with an expansive area of greenery.

The restaurant is charmed by a magnificent view of Mt. Malarayat from behind and overlooking a coffee plantation which is the famous "Kapeng Barako" in the province. It is graced with a cool breeze and surrounded by serene and rich milieu of organic crops and trees surrounding the farm estate. Dining-in at Terrazas is strictly by reservation. We arrived lunch time but then it was not yet prepared so while Chef Teresa is crafting our meals we made ourselves busy by uncovering other areas of the place and taking some pictures. 

The restaurant

Down beside the restaurant was a cascading pool. It's not an ordinary pool because it is organic, which means that the water they used is free of chlorine or any other chemicals, it was plain running water, i love that!

The organic cascading pool was surrounded by Ifugao-inspired Nipa Huts. Perfect for outdoor dining or just a place to stay while enjoying a dip into their pool.

I also find their restrooms stylish and very feminine with its hand-painted walls and the little trinkets that compliments with the color and the whole appearance of the set.

Seated at the forefront of the restaurant was a Koi Pond with fresh water lilies that adds freshness to the backdrop.

There are other areas inside Hacienda San Benito, some of which are restricted to the public but not limited to farm lot owners. We didn't explored much of the place because we were so engrossed with the meal that is being prepared.

Not so far from the restaurant itself is the Capilla del Sagrado Corazon, a circular and open-air chapel.

The Eco-Tram (which was blocked by my car) will take you around the place if you want to visit their farm lots and animals around.

Wine and Coffee Plantation
Would you believe that strawberries are now thriving here in Lipa City? Yes, it is! I was surprised too! This one is a strawberry plantation, all organic!

After the tour around the hacienda we then kept ourselves poised for the most awaited meal of the day! 

Chef Teresa uses only the freshest ingredients grown at the organic farms of Hacienda San Benito. She always brings something new and unusual dishes every month with her own brand of healthy fusion cuisine.

To begin with, we had the Appetizer - Basket of breads especially baked by Chef Teresa Lobb. My choice was Mini Pandesal topped with Ginger.

In addition to our bread basket, we also had Garlic Sake Prawns. It is tender and cooked just right. It has the taste of liquor in it but it was good. I've never tried anything like this before.

Next is the salad, Warm Whole Wheat Pasta & Salad Leaves mixed with broccoli, parmesan and bacon bites, drizzled with Chef's Green Hacienda Dressing. I totally love this one! The pasta is roughly textured and has the nice blending of all the spices plus the dressing is so delectable. 

Now the Main Course. We had three choices for the main course and we decided to order the three, each of us having a different meal from the other so that we will be able to try all of it. My sister had the Pan Grilled Maliputo Fish Fillet served with Asian Mango Salad and Mashed Potato. (I'm sorry for the poor picture quality). The taste was awesome, the fish has the smooth texture, succulent and the mashed potato is so flavorful.

Then I had my Seared Tenderloin with Green Peppercorn Sauce served with Sweet Potato and White Radish Cakes and Fresh Green Compote. It was perfect, the sauce gives out an empowering taste of the spices. The Sweet Potato and White Radish Cakes blends perfectly and the crunchiness is quite impressive, not too hard not too soft, just right! The meat is tasty and tender, I got here three portions of tenderloin and I can't finish it, I tried to finish the first two, but I really felt sorry for the third portion, I'm so full! And the green beans had this smooth taste of butter and salt, oh how i love thee!

For our friend Asa, she had Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb served with Baked Eggplant Parmigano and Black Rice. I tasted the black rice, it has a nice butter taste, smooth but so heavy on the tummy, the baked eggplant has a playful taste of sweet, salty and sour. The lamb according to her is good too!

To complete our meal we then had our desserts. I so love their Mini Hot Chocolate Fudge served with Barako Coffee Liquor. It was a rich hot fudge, creamy, chocolatey, so sweet and really delicious! The Barako Coffee Liquor has an average taste of alcohol that blends perfectly with the coffee and the Hot Chocolate Fudge that we're having.

For the beverage they offered us Freshly Brewed Barako Coffee produced from their plantation and Assorted Green Teas. Of course who could ever resist the smell of freshly brewed coffee especially Kapeng Barako? I would love to have it anytime of the day!

The next is not actually included in our meal and orders, but since Chef Teresa was just so kind and generous she wanted us to taste her yummy chocolates, best for our coffee, she said, so we did! We were lucky because we're the only guests that day.

This fine-dining experience inside the flourishing farm estate is such a perfect spot to take in the cool and clean breeze of Lipa City with a complete view of nature plus a healthy meal.

After the scrumptious healthy plates, it's time to compliment Chef Teresa for the wonderful lunch she personally prepared for us. She warmly entertained us, as we enjoyed the cool breeze at the Terraza's veranda overlooking the coffee plantation. And it was really nice talking to her, she's funny and got lots of stories to tell about the Filipino people, her passion in cooking and all the dreams and plans she has for the Filipinos and the Hacienda.
British Chef Teresa Lobb is the resident executive chef at Terrazas de Barako. She has served as the personal chef of different personalities and royalty from the United Kingdom and has worked with notable princes all over the world. She is recognized by the world-renowned food society called Confrerie de la Chaine des Rotisseurs.
As we were about to go, Chef Teresa followed me outside and handed me a bunch of freshly baked breads, and another two packs of chocolate pepper cookies. I was really surprised for her kind gestures.

The experience was more than just good, it's great! It was indeed a wonderful lunch. Thanks so much to Chef Teresa! Her generosity and kindness is one of a kind! Hope to be back again and experience another healthy and delectable meal at Terrazas de Barako.

“The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.”

Terrazas de Barako
Hacienda San Benito
4217 Lipa, Batangas
806.2580 / 0927.909.1867

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