IT’S a small restaurant on the side of the road I pass so often but never got the chance to stop and try the offerings that’s has been receiving good reviews. When this joint went on a trial run, it was only open at suppertime and I dared not enter knowing that I would be in for a very hefty meal. And then it opened for lunch….
I met Camille Porras in Boracay but didn’t know she had ties in this city until she set foot in Davao. I didn’t know she was into cooking either, and that came as a wonderful surprise most especially when she, along with two other partners- Carlos Veloso and Bob Lacaya, opened Sea Green, a cafe and lifestyle shop.
“I really wanted the color theme to be sea green, and a sea green wooden door. Since we serve seafood and vegetables only, SEA GREEN became appropriate,” shared Camille.
Camille may have failed to mention her love for the ocean and island life but that part is quite evident in the “Boracay vibe” of Sea Green—white-colored interior and appointments, walls of picture windows inviting the sunlight and cool greenery in, and photographs of the sea and the food the place offers.
On Sea Green’s menu, chicken, pork or beef is absent. The listing veers towards the healthier choices, so to speak. Why healthy? “My family and I started eating healthy when my dad was diagnosed with cancer two years ago. We switched to healthier alternatives – white rice to brown, white sugar to coco/brown sugar and juicing. When my dad had difficulty taking solid food, we started juicing vegetables and fruits. Unfortunately, he passed away after 2 years of battling cancer. That was when I started my juice business in Manila called Liquid Sunshine, which will be served at the café very soon,” confessed Camille.
This lifestyle change was extended to Sea Green. Of the menu, Camille expressed, “We chose healthy food because we wanted to make fresh/healthy food easily available to everyone. I usually don’t use the word “healthy” to describe our menu because it scares some guests. They think healthy isn’t good and has no taste. But when I say healthy, it’s all fresh ingredients—fresh stocks and sauces, organic/local greens, no preservatives.”
The listing was conceptualized with the help of Camille’s family and partners. It took a lot of food tasting and since she comes from a family who loves to eat, their comments and suggestions was a big factor in finalizing the menu.
The foods that made it to the final cut have a story to tell. The item that made it to the appetizer list, Camille is in love with—the Okra, and said, “We included the Grilled Okra with Red Curry Paste and Lime Dressing because it is very unique. With this dish, I hope the guests would learn to appreciate okra more because it is packed with nutrients.”
Gaining a following is the Greek Rocket Salad (Romaine lettuce, arugula, cherry tomatoes, grapes, candied walnuts, parmesan cheese shavings, Greek vinaigrette), a recipe Camille used to make a lot of at home for her family. It is inspired by the Rokka Solata of Cyma which she fell in love with and concocted her own version at home.
For the main course, Camille suggests the Dad’s Favorite Asian Style Steamed Fish (fresh Lapu-lapu with mushrooms, ginger and Asian style sauce). “This is my mom’s recipe and it was really my dad’s favorite,” she confessed, “And now, a Sea Green best-seller!”
“Among the pasta dishes, my personal favorite is the Shrimp and Lime Spaghettini. Sea Green has lists a few shrimp dishes (like the must-try Shrimp Burger-JIS) but this one I personally love!” Camille declared, and added, “It’s a bit spicy with the Indian chili flakes but guests can opt for mildly spiced or no spice preparation.”
The desserts at Sea Green is to die for, and that’s me talking—the dessert expert! Three of the best cheesecakes MUST be tried—the Lemon Cheesecake (the recipe shared by a very good friend and fellow beach lover), the lightly sweetened Tofu Cheesecake, and the best-selling dessert — Tablea Cheesecake, its rich bittersweet flavor will play in your mouth. “I’ve been wanting a dessert with tablea and when I experimented on it with cheesecake, we all loved it!” shared Camille.
If you ask me, all the selections of Sea Green’s “healthy home cooking” on the menu must be tried. Surely, a few will end up as the dish you can’t have enough of. On a couple of visits, I have identified my favorites and marked the restaurant as my favorite haunt. Not only do I get my fill of “guilt-free” good food, but I also get to load on tons of good vibes— and that, my dear, is calorie-free.
Sea Green Café & Lifestyle shop is along Circumferential Road, Doña Vicenta Subdivision. Telephone numbers (082) 305-4765. Open Mondays thru Saturdays from 11:30am-2:00pm and 5:30pm-10:00pm.
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