June 24, 2024

I have long been fascinated and curious about how a restaurant operates. The bustling kitchen and dynamic environment feature a diverse team of workers, each with their own backgrounds and dreams, alongside owners driven by their unique vision and passions. Throughout my time at Lime and Basil, I have come to understand that the food at this restaurant, along with everything they do, is done with love.
I had never been here before, and yet the people here extended their warmth, making me feel at home.
I initially felt alienated because the place was located in a posh-feeling area with many high-end hotels and condominiums. However, upon entering the restaurant, its sleek, modern interior with a sprinkling of vintage accents immediately gave me a sense of homey comfort. After all that, I finally ended up doing the restaurant routine: searching the menu, ordering food, and munching on the food.
The food served in the restaurant is best described as Thai-inspired as opposed to authentic. These are not my words alone, but the owners’ too. I find this to be a strength as opposed to a turn-off, as a key part of the place’s charm is how they integrate local ingredients to adapt Thai dishes for a Filipino palate, which is decidedly less tolerant of spiciness. There’s something beautiful about how these Thai-inspired dishes use Cordilleran ingredients prepared by a Cordilleran, and served with the Cordilleran warmth and smile.
I have honestly become accustomed to seeing food as a commodity. Usually, I just look at the menu, place my order, and then the food is served to me. It became a routine, devoid of food’s essence and enjoyment. However, at Lime and Basil, eating food was not just about sustenance – it was a complete experience.
While the term “experience” seems overused, it really did make me feel like I was partaking in something deeper than just eating. I had multiple dishes, trying out beef curry dishes like Paneng Nua, paired with a side of Tom Yum soup, and of course having the ubiquitous Pad Thai. I felt full, but the great food alone was not what made all this special to me. That did not come until I entered the kitchen.
The kitchen is where the magic happens, as they say. While I used to only see kitchen scenes in movies and pictures, being in this restaurant allowed me to witness firsthand how everyone works together to become a coherent kitchen unit. The kitchen area is bustling, filled with the sound of busy employees relaying orders and requests, and permeated with a distinct warmth from the heat of the stove fires. But at the end of the day, they all told me the same thing, “Masaya ako sa ginagawa ko.”
When I stepped out of the kitchen, I became certain that love and cooking are two inseparable things. It is easy to find a place with delicious food, but it is uncommon to find one that genuinely values the people behind it. From the workers to the owners, I felt everyone at Lime and Basil shared the same sentiment: everything comes from love, whether it is for their craft, for their family, for their friends, or something a little closer to home – for their guests.
It is incredibly transformative when dining goes deeper than just the mechanical process of ordering, eating, paying, and leaving the table. Everyone is drawn to food, courtesy of our basic instincts. Hunger is not the only basic instinct we should give in to, though, but love too.
To cook for oneself is to love oneself, and to cook for others is an expression of love for others. Lime and Basil is living proof of that – from the kind waiting staff who indulged my whims, to the kitchen staff who graciously answered my questions and made my dishes, and to the management whose support made this experience possible – love was there every step of the way.