For a long time The White House or The Mansion was only known to locals as this imposing structure on top of a hill that has been forgotten by time. It was said to have been built by Robert Ker as a vantage point to view his abaca plantation but left untouched it became dated more so when the first flyover in Mindanao was built right next to its vicinity.
These days the grandeur is back as it is now the best place for Dabawenyos to dine and unwind as well as to entertain guests from other places. Antonio “Tonyboy” Floirendo, Jr. decided to keep the name and not change anything to the existing structure when he transformed the place into becoming The White House Fusion Cuisine and Wine Lounge.
Being at the Camella Northpoint, the present name of the pedestal where the restaurant is located, on a breezy Sunday makes it easy to imagine how wonderful it is to have been Robert Ker. The restoration efforts certainly paid off once you closely examine the European-style house with green accents. The look is typically loyal to the historical heritage of the place but certainly it is not without a modern touch. “Our veranda and the private rooms are for small groups because we kept the original structure of the place (but we added some accents, mostly pieces picked up by the owners from their travels abroad). We do have the patio though which can accommodate bigger parties,”
shares Anna Mapili.
Moving to the province from Manila for work has many challenges, change of pace and slight nuances in work culture among others, but Mapili and everyone else who came with her including Sous Shef Justin Sison admitted to have fallen in love with the city. “We feel at home here,” says Sison. They are most excited about having been given the rare opportunity to introduce a new dining concept to the people of the city who are mostly satisfied with just eating at home or at tried and tested local brands. They see it as a challenge to change this notion and to offer something unique and so while the ambiance is certainly a crowd drawer, every item in the menu is also a reason to visit again and again until you’ve tried all of it.
The White House Fish and Chips (Php 600) or Nori crusted Lapu Lapu tempura served with assorted sweet potato chips and Ponzu sauce is a good place to begin a one of a kind gustatory experience.
Next came the Japanese Style Pizza (Php 370) comprising of garlic mayo, unagi sauce, jalapeno, cherry tomato and my favorites salmon and alfalfa greens on top is an upscale version of your typical pizza and definitely tastes way better.
The Jumbo Prawn Roll (Php 450) being wheeled out together with the Duck Breast Pastrami Salad Roll (Php 550) will make one clap in delight. The presentation makes you not want to touch either but after one roll you’ll find your self reaching out for more. As for the duck, we were told that even picky French people who know duck very well give it a two thumbs up every time.
The Smoked Tomato Soup (Php 190) with its basil shiso froth and a sprinkle of shiso or perilla herbs was a good break from all the seafood.
For mains, The White House Wagyu Burger (Php 600) and the Grilled US Topblade (Php 800) should certainly be on your list. The burger practically melts in your mouth while the Shitake Mushroom Risotto that went with the top blade was so addicting.
A favorite of celebrities who have partaken meals here is the Ebi Tempura Soba (Php 350). Pouring the soup and the quail egg on the Green Tea Soba is a fun way of eating delicious tempura.
As for the desserts, a specialty of Chef Justin, a long list of must eats await.
There’s the Bannoffee Tart (Php 350), a chocolate tart with caramelized bananas, Chantilly Cream and Dulce de Leche Sauce that is certainly something to rave about. It is also a perfect homage to the city’s being one of the top exporters of bananas in the country.
If you enjoy high tea then the Brioche French Toast (Php 280) is something you can reserve for afternoon coffee or tea in the patio. The homemade Pecan Praline ice cream makes it extra special.
For the chocolate aficionados, the Chocolate Capsule with Trio of Coffee (Php 260) is made for you. The Felchlin dark chocolate capsule filled with chocolate hazelnut mousse and the coffee flavor of the ice cream and jelly goes very well together.
And then of course there’s the Yamamomo Cheesecake (Php 320). This vanilla cheesecake topped with Yamamomo and mixed berries compote set on Green Tea Meringue crust is probably one of the best versions of cheesecake in the country and the best way to end a meal that will win over not just Dabawenyos but anyone who comes over to dine in style.
So this holiday season if you’re in Davao or visiting Davao, make sure to make The White House a part of your celebration.