F BuDa Eats: Pilgrim Cafe & Restaurant - jeepneyjinggoy

BuDa Eats: Pilgrim Cafe & Restaurant

It's a short road trip, about two hours, from Davao City to enjoy the cool breeze of the highlands. The go-to spot to escape the city heat. BuDa is short for Bukidnon-Davao, the boundary of Bukidnon Province and Davao City.

In the past year, it has gotten more popular, thanks to the pandemic. Its proximity to the city made a safe and easy escape from the lengthy home confinement, a place to reconnect with nature and recharge. Plus, it's a quick cure to the travel fever.

Famous landmark in BuDa

Roadside seasonal offerings

BuDa is the Baguio in Davao

However, BuDa is also fast turning into a food destination, a haven for cuisine chasers. It's no longer just a food stop for Southbound commuters. "Food trip" takes a double meaning with the numerous offerings of the district and you'd literally have to travel the distance to sate your craving. 

I am not one to jump on the must-eat-at-this-new-resto bandwagon, more so, if it's an effort to go to. But when I saw a post of a Grilled Octopus Salad, I had to find a way to try it. It's a dish that landed on my list of favorites after Julius Alegre of Discovery Shores Boracay served it on a seaside dinner. If this dish hits the spot, BuDa is a closer place to sate a craving.

Pilgrim Cafe & Restaurant is nestled in a small valley

Pilgrim Cafe & Restaurant serves Canadian comfort food (the chef moved back to Davao from Canada).  For a month-old business, which opened in December 2021, the resto created a buzz among the food lovers of Davao--and with good reason. 

The restaurant is nestled in a small valley, and one end of the room gets to enjoy a view of the green landscape. Indoors, the open kitchen occupies a one-third of the area, a coffee station in a separate nook in a corner and the dining area. One side opens up to the terrace, which serves as the outdoor dining area. 

Reservation required

The resto's open kitchen...

Pilgrim chef in action

Breakfast pastries: Squash Muffins, Cranberry Scones & Squash Loaf

Coffee station

Kitchen view-dining

Indoor dining

View of the valley from the outdoor dining area

Marking this as my favorite spot in the outdoor dining area

From the menu, here's what I've tasted so far: Orange & Beet Salad, Grilled Octopus, Pilgrim's Breakfast, Polenta & Chorizo, Truffled Mushroom Gnocchi, Cranberry Scones, Squash Muffins, Apple Crumble & Warm Cheesecake.

First bout: (clockwise from top) Polenta & Chorizo, Pilgrim's Breakfast, Truffled Mushroom Gnocchi & Grilled Octopus.

My personal favorites.

This dish deserves a crown- Orange & Beet Salad with greens, feta cheese, Maple vinaigrette, Kalamata & pistachios. The dish reminds of everything fun about summer -- light, sweet, tangy, dash of saltiness and crunch. It's a playful combination of ingredients that dances to a single beat on the palate. This dish will change how you perceive beet to be, if not fall in love it.

Deee-licious! Orange & Beet Salad. Crown this dish!

I'm biased towrds mushrooms and truffles. Combine it in a dish like Truffled Mushroom Gnocchi, then it's  double the love. On this dish: Bukidnon potatoes, Ricotta, farmer's mushroom, truffle cream sauce & Reggiano Parmigiano. 

It's a deceiving dish. The first look shows it's not going to be enough especially for a pasta lover. Not until you take a couple of bites. It's when the potato + rich creamy sauce will tell you otherwise. That said, the dish is good to share. Try to balance the rich, creamy flavor by pairing it with another dish. The sweetness of the bacon on Pilgrim's Breakfast works or a citrusy dish that can cut through the fat.

Truffled Mushroom Gnocchi

For dessert, I'm leaning to the Warm Cheesecake, with brown butter and berry compote. Personally, I like my cheesecakes naked in all its cream cheesy glory. But berry topping is welcome especially when it's not too sweet for my liking. The filo wrap embracing the cheesecake is a win. The buttery, chewy sheets add a nice texture to the dessert. Crust elevated!

Warm Cheesecake

The dishes above ended up on the Crave Dish List and Must Try Dishes. 
Part of the menu are the dishes below. These might end up on your favorites list.

Pilgrim's Breakfast. Hearty breakfast and the beef bacon is a standout on this dish. 

Polenta & Chorizo. Healthy ingredients with a bonus of protein in the chorizo. 

Apple Crumble. Interesting take on the dessert, which you might like. I love how the hint of salt cuts the sweetness of the dessert, but the whole rolled oats was a bit of a challenge for me & I'd like to catch a bite of crispiness on the Granny Smith apples. 

Now let's go back to why I rushed to this distant restaurant to get a bite of this - Grilled Octopus. Honest review: it's okay, the thicker meat parts can get a bit chewy though. To enjoy the smoky flavored tentacles at its best, take it together with the other components of the dish.

Grilled Octopus

Here are important things you need to know:

1. Reservation is a must. Book via the resto's FB Messenger account.
2. The restaurant operates from Thursday to Sunday, 7AM to 3PM.
3. The offering on the menu changes. 
4. It's best to visit with family (or people in your bubble, practice COVID safety) to be able to sample different dishes on the menu. 
5. Love for food is subjective & we have personal preferences. Discover your own favorites.

Pilgrim Cafe & Restaurant menu

It may be long drive but it certainly is worth the trip.