I wonder how, I wonder why
Yesterday you told me ’bout the blue, blue sky
And all that I can see is just another lemon tree
I’m turning my head up and down
I’m turning, turning, turning, turning, turning around
And all that I can see is just a yellow lemon tree
Missed the PussyKat. Terribly. Missing makes me hungry. Not one to stuff myself randomly for the sake of satiety and taking forever to decide on where to have brunch pushed the meal to past three in the afternoon. Between a Twitter and Instagram-trending pizza place and a quiet Korean café, I decided to avoid crowds. I like wallowing in misery.
Lemon Tree Fusion Café is located where the old La Tegola restaurant was in Salinas Drive, Lahug. Instagrammers’ heaven. The rustic Italian styling was modernized by whitewash on the red brick. Simplistic décor and bric-a-brac with a lot of character. Plain white tabletops on repurposed manual sewing-machine legs. Everything else looked like it came from a more artsy, hipster Ikea. I loved it.
An inner, open courtyard deck space with pink, light-up trees – like those at the already commonplace La Vie Parisienne — offered more seating with an elevated platform squat/reclining lounge at the far end.
I was gushing over the place in a phone call to the PussyKat and she told me Fools Garden’s hit single Lemon Tree is the other national anthem of Korean ESL students. As if on cue, an all too familiar instrumental intro of honky-bouncy synth wafted from the piped-in and blew full into that very song.
Cream Beers were advertised as the house specialty drink on the chalkboard at the entrance. I didn’t mind a cold one on an especially sticky day. It came in a tall glass bubbling over from carbonation and sporting a high crown of frosty head. I’m no beer expert so I’ll say it’s like the local favorite San Mig Light in comparison. I can’t put a finger on where the cream is if it isn’t what they’re suggesting by the head. Still, a good buy.
On the house, were some flour chips with an olive oil, herb and chopped tomato topping for an appetizer in portions that are just enough to make you want some more.
On top of the Hamburgero’s list would always be a burger when available. Their scrapbook-style menu boasted of a Cowboy Burger with the only description being: “Crazy burger with fries.” Just last week, some Korean ran amuck at his family’s restaurant on The Other Island, Mactan, and killed his family before slashing his own wrists. That got me excited enough to order it. It was larger than your average and packed with tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, cheese and strips of bacon. The patty didn’t offer the pretense of the Angus or Wagyu labels and was a straight-up, juicy one with a slight char. Seasoned just right, too. A full slice of grilled white onion sealed the deal for me. Like the indiscernible cream in the beer I couldn’t make out the crazy but this one has the Hamburgero Seal of Approval. The accompanying medium-cut fries rounded it out to a full meal. I didn’t stop at just a burger, of course.
The two-page spread of pizza variants didn’t have to beg me try at least one. Already huge fan of Cambozola cheese, the Gorgonzola Pizza with a side of Honey was an easy choice. Gorgonzola has a notably more intense, penetrating flavor (than the triple-cream mixed Cambozola) which went very well with the honey. The crisp, biscuit-thin crust kept the entire dish light.
Labeled as “the perfect match for Cream Beer”, I also had the CFS Combo. C, Crispy nuggets of Breaded Chicken in a basket with a hefty serving of F, Flavored Fries not distinctly different from the side that came with the Cowboy Burger, bisected rather offensively by S, an overcooked Hungarian Sausage. I let the latter slide. The chicken was its saving grace. I’d agree with the assumption of the perfect matching if not for my severe Asian Flush which required my limitation to just a glass. I didn’t have antihistamines on hand.
The entire experience had me humming the song Lemon Tree’s interlude. “Sing, dah. Da-da-dah, da-dum, dee-da-dah. Da-da-dah, da-dum, di, da-daaah. Da, da-da-di-dah.” Definitely not just a yellow lemon tree.
Lemon Tree Fusion Café is located at the “Tree Complex (Tree Shade Spa, Lemon Tree Fusion Restaurant, Mango Tree Café, etc.) aka “Litterl Kherrea” along Salinas Drive, Lahug, Cebu City.