Everyone loves a good restaurant that serves “home-cooked” food. It reminds us of Sunday family reunions, our mother’s kitchen specialties, or simply the comfort of something we often eat at home. Not only does Cul de Sac exemplify these in their dishes, they literally cook the specialties in their own home! Located in a cul de sac (French term for ‘bottom of the sack’ but also means a dead end street) in Sto. Nino village, their guest-room-turned-restaurant is vintage-designed with rose and floral decor, giving it the feel of a rustic old house.
But if there’s one thing that makes Cul de Sac especially unique, unlike most “home-cooked” restaurants, they serve dishes that are often found on the menus of fine dining restaurants. In fact, their best sellers include Osso Bucco, Lengua and Fish with Spinach, to name a few. I had a chat with the restaurant’s owner and chef, Helen Uytengsu, she recounted how the birth of Cul de Sac came to be. Starting out as a group of neighbours and friends in Sto. Nino Village, they loved going to fancy restaurants to relax from work and simply have a good time. Being a chef herself, she always noted how overpriced the food was, as she knew the ingredients used and how to cook them. As most fine dining restaurants go, you usually pay for the location, the ambience, and the expensive linens and cutlery anyway. And so the idea of Cul de Sac came to be. Why not open a restaurant that has all these attributes but well within the budget and reach for those living with a middle-segment income or those junior executives? And Helen did just that.
One of the most attractive qualities about Cul de Sac is their well affordable prices vis-a-vis the quality of their food. You can already get a full and appetizing meal for just 200 pesos, as most of their meals come with free soup (except for pasta and other short orders), free rice and free dessert (ice cream)! Although their dishes are mostly Mediterranean and Italian, Helen says that because they cook from home, whatever the customer wants that’s not on the menu (like let’s say Pinakbet or Paksiw), they are always willing to cook it.
Doesn’t that make you love this home away from home restaurant? Figuratively and literally!