Located in Baranggay Sta. Cruz, Putol in San Pablo, Laguna, Kusina Salud is a long two-hour drive from Manila. That long ride, however, is definitely worth it once you get your feet step on the unperturbed ground of Kusina Salud.
The two-storey wooden house turned into a fine-dining restaurant is owned and managed by husband and wife team of Chef Paul Poblador and Nina Tesoro-Poblador. The ambience is so warm and homey that any visitor or diner for that matter, will never fail to have that nostalgic feel of their good old childhood days, spending summertime in the province with their grandparents. The walls of Kusina Salud are made of old callado beams and dividers salvaged from capiz windows. Several changes have also been made to accommodate its newfound function, which include the renovation of the silong, the extension of the receiving area to serve as a waiting lounge for guests, and the expansion of a hot kitchen just beyond the open kitchen adjoining the ground floor dining area. Add that up with the breezy interiors which are laden with wooden tables and chairs, purposely mismatched, and antique décor. Plus, the sound of rolling brooks, chirping of birds, and the swaying of bamboos put off that relaxing feeling even more.
The foods being served at Kusina Salud are just your typical Filipino breakfast goodies you used to eat at home, only that, Chef Paul made them a lot better and tastier. Their best sellers include Adobo flakes, bangus belly with salted egg, longganisang Laguna with achara, which were all served with garlic rice, and with Laguna cheese omelet with bread. Their Pandan coffee is a sure favorite especially for coffee-lovers. Chef Paul adds that their dishes may not be unique in the sense that they’re actually staple dishes in a common Filipino household, however, he prepares Kusina Salud’s dishes in a contemporary way. He hopes to instill appreciation for the local cuisine to the young and coming generation whose palates are being increasingly shaped by fast foods and foreign dishes.
Other signature dishes also include Tinola sa Tanglad which is a native chicken in a lemongrass broth infused with baby papaya and young sili leaves, the Sinuglaw which is a salad of tossed fire-grilled pork belly and fish ceviche topped with fresh fettlehead fern and pickled radish, the Kalderetang Kalabaw–a traditional carabao-meat stew with organic tomatoes and bell peppers infused with spicy hot chilis, and the Sinugno which are farmed tilapia fillets wrapped in mustard leaves, stewed in rich coconut cream with fragrant local-ginger and green chilis. For the dessert, the Halo-halo ng Laguna is really a must-try with its tasty ingredients such as the kaong, nata de coco, sago, ube, langka, macapuno, and saba, pinipig, red mungo beans, topped with several scoops of mango ice cream and served creamy leche flan.
Indeed, Kusina Salud is really a silent haven for those who would want to leave the hustles and bustles of the busy world in the metropolis for a while. It is a sanctuary for people who yearn so much for the past that can never be brought back to the present. It is a home for anyone who loves everything about the Philippines and the people living there.