firsts

Russian pancakes

12:00:00 AM

There are a lot of restaurants serving all sorts of cuisine in Manila - the easiest to find are Filipino (well, duh!), Japanese (ramen, katsu, sushi), Chinese, and Middle Eastern (shawarma!). There are also some European places (Italian, French, and even Yugoslavian), but I have yet to find a place that serves Russian food in our capital city. So imagine my surprise when I learned about a newly-opened Russian restaurant in Dumaguete, of all places!
Count to 4Tea2!
The establishment is called 4Tea2 (forty-two), located along Hibbard Avenue. It’s actually just a house that they converted to a restaurant. It’s the closest food source to Flying Fish, the hostel where I stayed in my November and December 2016 trips to Dumaguete, so it became my go-to restaurant. The food is really good, the servings are huge, and the prices are definitely reasonable. So far, I’ve tried the cheesy mashed potato balls (yes, it is as sinfully delicious as it sounds), the dumplings (it’s perfect if you’re craving protein), and the “blinchiki,” which are Russian pancakes.
Cheesy mashed potato balls
These dumplings are NOT Chinese.
Russian pancakes are far from the fluffy sort I’m used to having for breakfast. It’s flat and thin - kinda like crepe, but slightly thicker. It’s used as a wrap for your filling of choice. My two favourite blinchikis are the Chicken Salad and the Beef & Onion, and they taste terrific! People who know me well will tell you that I eat A LOT, but I really struggle finishing the humongous blinchiki! 
Super stuffed Beef & Onion blinchiki! BEATS SHAWARMA ANY DAY
As for dessert, this place serves what I consider the best cheesecake in the Visayas. I have VERY HIGH standards for cheesecake because of my friend Bryan - the dude behind Blue Belt Bakes - but the one in 4Tea2 passed with flying colors! I’d still choose the Blue Belt Cheesecake in a heartbeat, but really, this is not bad at all. I love its thick Graham crust.
The other cheesecake
Another thing that makes 4Tea2 absolutely special for me is their selection of loose leaf teas. Natalie and I would frequent the place for our fix of Black Currant hot tea. It’s flavorful and fragrant, and a liter of it is cheaper than what you would normally pay in most coffee shops. They even let you refill your pot, so you get more of it. But here’s a tip if you’re going to ask for a refill: do it while the teapot is still half-full, so the taste doesn’t get watered down. Their brewed iced tea is just as amazing, and it’s wonderfully refreshing on hot days. That’s usually what I order when I’m there for lunch (the hot tea is better consumed in the evenings when it’s cooler). 
I could drink this every day.
By the way, if you like cute art, you’ll appreciate the murals on the walls. I got to talk to the owner (I forget his name, sorry!), and we had a good laugh when I told him that I totally got the teabag/tea Rex artwork! Haha! They have board games and art supplies that customers can have fun with, so it’s definitely nice to come here with friends.
Tea Bag, Tea Rex!
If you find yourself in Dumaguete and you’re looking for a place to eat, try 4Tea2! :)


isawisay

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