Update, 31st May, 2012.
I am a little unsure as to whether to keep updating these tips or just delete the whole thing and start from scratch. I think, on reflection, I'll go with updates as it will a) provide me with a nice reminder of a nice place and b) stand as a record of how a place came from not even wanting to serve food to being the eating place of choice for many Dumaguete expats, even though it is a little out of the way.
Two further additions to the ever-burgeoning menu here. The first is a rather delicious selection of pizzas which I again had the pleasure of "test-driving" You have a choice of Vesuvio, Tropicana, Margherita, Hawaiian, Bolognese and pepperoni as well as the house special the La Fiesta which features a delicious German smoked sausage. All are priced at 250 pesos.
The second new addition is the abolutely gorgeous goulash soup, possibly a misnomer as it is more like a full-on goulsah than a soup. The staff were taught to cook it by an expat Swiss friend of mine who used to run a 5* hotel in his home country and it is sublime. They ahve even managed to source proper smoked paprika for it and I haven't tasted better outside Hungary. Again 250 pesos will buy you this treat.
Further update 28th March 2012.
Well, I said I'd let you know, so I will. The menu is expanding at a rate of knots and nearly everything I have said in my original tip will be out of date soon. New additions to the menu include firecrackers, a delighful bar snack which is a deseeded chilli encased in a few secret things then pastry and deep fried. Served with a warmish sauce homemade locally by a delightful lady I know, these are not for the fainthearted. I have seen large men screaming for beer after just one. Persoanlly, I love them. another addition is the noodle soup (you can have dry noodles if you prefer) and again the girls will make it as lively as you like on the chilli front. An insider tip here, Lisa normally makes hotter food than Hazel but don't tell them I told you.
Nachos with chilli and simply delightful individual apple pies make up the rest of the new menu items. I am very fortunate in that, being a long-term resident here, I get to "test drive" all the new dishes. Ah, it's a hard life. It seems likely I am going to be here for a while so I shall keep you abreast of what is, as journalists put it, a very fluid situation!
Update March 2012.
Regular readers will know that I like to keep my tips up to date when I can and this one really is hot off the press. All the above is still current re: breakfasts, staff meals etc., however Mac the owner has finally bowed to customer pressure and started to offer a limited burger menu as of 5th March 2012. I am writing this in the 8th having sampled both the prototype and had the first one sold commercially and I have to say it was delicious. There are three versions priced between 180 and 200 pesos, all offered with hand cut French fries and I have to say they are delicious. I know the patties are home made as I have watched the girls making them. There is also talk of an extended menu if the burgers are popular, I'll let you know.
Although La Fiesta is styled as a restobar (a common term in the Philippines for a restaurant and bar combined) it does not offer full restaurant facilities but specialises in breakfasts which are excellent. My particular favourite is the pancakes and bacon option at 150 pesos which is lovely and includes coffee or a soft drink. I know several expats in the area who come here specifically for breakfast every day.
The main photo here I could not resist, it is Lisa the housekeeper who does the cooking and is an absolute delight. At any time of the day she will rustle you up a toasted sandwich but it is the evening meal option that I really like. Basically the staff eat about 1800 or 1900 and if you have asked they will put your name in the pot. Whilst there is no choice I love it as I get to eat real Philippino food. Lisa normally cooks and her chicken curry (pictured) is outstanding and pretty spicy as I like it. Sometimes the meal is Lechon Manok (barbecued chicken), a Philippino favourite bought from the local market. Naturally, rice will always feature. Dependant on what is actually bought it usually works out at about 100 pesos per meal.
Obviously, this style of eating is not to everyone's taste but there are limited restaurant options in Bacong and as I was staying here I availed of it a few times if I had not gone into Dumaguete to eat.
Favorite Dish: The pancake breakfast - excellent although the newly offered burgers are very tasty.
I have written another tip about staying at the Dumaguete Springs Beach resort, which I did not like at all and I only ate in the restaurant once but, in fairness to them, that was probably the best part of the whole episode.
The restaurant area is semi outdoors beside the pool and the gardens which afford a pleasant place to eat anyway. The images should give you some idea. There is a fairly extensive menu featuring local and European dishes. As the establishment is Austrian owned there is understandably an emphasis on German / Austrian dishes. I, however, opted for a local favourite, pork adobo with rice.
If you do not know, adobo is more or less the national dish of the Philippines and there are probably as many recipes for it as there are cooks in the country. It is a type of stew with the meat (pork, chicken, beef, even squid) usually marinaded in a soy / vinegar mixture. After that it is all up to the cook's imagination, as far as I can tell. The meal took a while to arrive, which indicates it was made freshly. Actually I know it was because I was watching the cook through the door. It was extremely tasty and with an emphasis on whole black peppercorns which I had not seen before in adobo.
As the tip title suggests, it was a bit overpriced for what it was. I can get similar quality adobo in a simlar standard setting locally for about 20 - 30% less. I know this seems to be nit-picking when food is so cheap compared to my home country but I think Dumaguete Springs really does work on the "captive audience" principle.
Favorite Dish: I only ate the pork adobo and rice as described there and it was very good.