Oysters, wine and intimate chats at Green Daisy

Posted at 02/10/11 5:32 PM

MANILA, Philippines - I received a call from my Uncle Jerry a Friday before the Valentine weekend. If I am still interested in those fresh oysters he told me and my cousins about, that evening might be a good time to come visit the garden restaurant, he said. 

I looked at the time on my computer screen: 5 p.m. I hesitated. My friends from Makati might not have the patience to brave the Friday traffic all the way to the University of the Philippines-Diliman area. I'll try, I told uncle. 

And try I did. But even after everyone I texted said, "Let's do it next Friday," I realized I might as well make the short trip late Friday. 

After all, Green Daisy is not the usual (read: commercial) dining place. For one, it's only open for dinner on Friday evenings. For another, oysters, paella and wine in a garden setting sounds like a great way to cap the week. 

The oysters and other seafoods are flown fresh from the family farm of Tita Tits, Uncle Jerry's wife, in Roxas City every Friday morning. 

Uncle Jerry supplies the wine from the wine retailer he manages.

Fresh oysters and seafoods from the family farm in Roxas City

 Baguio-based Uncle Rey, on the other hand, supplies the veggies, or those not available in the organic farm of Daisy Langenegger, the "Daisy" in the name. It's pretty much a family affair. 

The ambience is homey. Well, it's Tita Daisy's home. Tables and soft lights dot her lush garden tucked at 20 Maginhawa Street in the outskirts of UP Diliman campus. The whole idea is to eat organic and fresh food in an intimate and comfy place that feels like a friend's home. 

My full course started with Green Squash Soup (P90). Its ingredients were grown at the farm of Tita Daisy in Isabela, unblemished by chemical fertilizers and pesticides. 

My stomach now lined with the home-style cooked soup, I was ready for the 3-way oysters (P375). My favorite were the oysters peppered with herbs. But the Swiss cheese-decked ones swirled well in my mouth as well. 

I thought I hardly have space for the paella by the time it was served. But the sight of a brown-black rice mix -- instead of the usually orange-dyed rice-- was intriguing. So dig I did. 

Sparkling conversations go well with the paella (P200), which used only organic premium valley rice from the Isabela farm. It was decked with mussels and clams from Roxas. No red tide there, of course.  

The greens of Green Daisy. Organic salad with vegetables from Daisy's farm.

The Mapu red wine was really helpful in making sure the oysters, cheese, and black rice settle well in my stomach. Eating slow as we traded stories and insights on current events and the many benefits of eating and living healthy helped as well. 

There are still a few slots for February 11, the Friday before Valentine's, they told me. Better book early. They don't entertain walk-ins. And they ask what healthy food you fancy in their menu, which sometimes changes if the farms in Isabela, Roxas, and Baguio have yet to produce them. Nothing like natural, they said. Nothing mass-produced. 

Aside from the "Green Daisy" page on Facebook, they don't advertise.

Word-of-mouth, however, has been slowly making this green oasis a Friday hangout for those tired of the usual mall or fine dining crowd.  

And, yes, I already reserved a table for 4 next Friday. I'll try their mixed organic salad and the steak. 

Photos from Green Daisy's Facebook account