CIRCA 1900 at the end of Sanjercasvil Road in the heart of Lahug is a turn-of-the-century American colonial mansion that is fast becoming a lifestyle destination for dining and leisure. Once the ancestral homes of the Jerezas, founders of the University of Southern Philippines (USP), the houses, Casa Uno and the newly opened Casa Dos have been beautifully restored into one of Cebu’s splendid restaurants. Amazingly, Circa 1900 remains
unspoiled with a lush green, serene, unhurried setting, amidst Cebu City’s urban growth.
Circa 1900 Casa Dos recently opened its door with more leisurely choices. Just like Casa Uno, the imposing pre-war mansion has been renovated leaving the remnants of the period’s art deco vibe. The magnificent staircase with its bullet-bent railings at the center of the mansion leads to rooms that have been converted to accommodate private parties and gatherings. Old photos on the walls reveal the story of its past. Prominent men in Philippine history have visited the house.
Australian Executive Chef Steve Shrimski and his Cebuana wife Eya have expanded their culinary offerings and services at Casa Dos. To the left of the staircase is Cicada Tapas & Bar, so named since the place was then filled with music of the cicadas (“kuliglig” in Tagalog and “gangis” in Bisaya), a shrill buzzing noise in the evening. Cicada also serves casual comfort food for lunch and in-between meals. Across this is the Noshery, a pastry and bakery shop with an adjoining pastry workshop. An inviting swimming pool with an open covered courtyard ideal for parties, completes the leisurely setting.
Our New York rascals and Makati nerd grandkids’ Cebu vacation is always filled with discoveries so I did not hesitate to accept Eya’s invitation for Silvian, Sophie and Sabrina to enjoy Casa Dos offering of “Dine and Dip.”
Late lunch at 1 p.m. was perfect since that gives them the whole afternoon to enjoy the swimming pool. Young as they are, our grandkids are growing up with discriminating taste for food. Even seven-year-old Sabrina knows what she likes–BBQ Chicken with caramelized bean sprouts and onions on whole-wheat bun.
Sophie had Beef Burger with grilled onion and Gruyere Cheese on Turkish bread with arugula salad while Silvian who has a big appetite enjoyed Spaghetti Bolognese with garlic herb bread and a Beef Burger.
I leisurely browsed through the eclectic menu with a healthy Recharge drink of Spinach, Pineapple and Banana and started with a refreshing Salad of Coconut Chicken with wonton wrappers, quail eggs and Asian dressing. Eya served a choice from the Tapas menu—Chicken Sisig Cigars, deep-fried roll filled with chicken, mushroom and bean sprouts. Chef Steve can really play around beautifully with Asian flavors and create appetizing dishes. I enjoyed the Open Sour Dough Bun with Thai Fish Cake served with Asian Slaw.
For dessert, we crossed over to the Noshery and picked our choices: rich and moist Chocolate Revel Cake Bar and scrumptious New York Cheesecake made with ricotta and cream cheese with just the right amount of sweetness. And before I could even finish enjoying my huge cup of freshly brewed coffee, the grandkids were splashing and having fun at the swimming pool.