It’s a family affair

Published May 19, 2022, 7:00 PM

by Jules Vivas

The foodie clans De Leons and Mojicas launch a new dining concept in Marikina that marries heirloom and regional cuisines

THE TASTE OF MEMORIES Casa Mojica facade

The passion for food for both the De Leons and the Mojicas led the family to share with the public their heirloom recipes and culinary traditions through the opening of a new dining concept at the heart of Marikina.

Food is more than what is on our plate. It is an art form, a science, an instrument for storytelling, and for the De Leon-Mojica family, a language of love.

Their heritage home built by Architect Ramon Antonio in 1985 was given a facelift and transformed into a modern restaurant specializing in regional cuisines. In time for Filipino Food Month, Casa Mojica launched early April of 2022.

A brainchild of the second generation Mojicas, siblings Cholo, Joma, Angel, and Patricia, the restaurant gives honor to their mother Victoria Mojica and their grandmother Flordeliza de Leon, both of whom instilled in the household their love of food as well as the joy of eating. Those in the culinary scene know the Mojicas for their fast-food chain Angel’s Burger.

“The project has been ongoing since October 2021. Aside from Filipino food month, April is a perfect time [to open] being summertime. And with the decline in Covid-19 cases, the timing couldn’t have been better,” says Cheska Mojica, the branding manager of Casa Mojica and wife of the eldest son Cholo.

The passion for food for both the De Leons and the Mojicas led the family to share with the public their heirloom recipes and culinary traditions through the opening of a new dining concept at the heart of Marikina.

The initial offerings consist of dishes that the Mojicas would normally enjoy during intimate occasions and Sunday lunches. The menu also takes from the family’s travels.

EAT GOOD, FEEL GOOD Eggplant Tostada

“We’re bringing the best regional offerings from all over the country into a single location. With our food, we want to make each customers feel as though they are dining in a different region.” says the second son Joma, manager of Casa Mojica.

Among the noteworthy dishes is the Sisig ni Jose, named after Joma. The Pampanga-style sizzling sisig has a generous helping of grilled liver. Another memorable ulam (mains) is the Kare-kare ni Lola Flordeliza, a tribute to the grandmother. What makes the oxtail and tripe stew so good is the melt-in-your-mouth meat.

The Lechon Baka, flown in from Cebu, is a signature dish that is as flavorful as it is tender. The beef is marinated, slow-roasted for hours, then carved into bacon-style strips.

Lechon Baka

One must-try is Florencia’s Rice, elevated aligue rice with tinapa, salted egg, tomatoes, and chicharon flakes. The roasted beef paired with the Florencia’s Rice is a sinful, exquisite, and addicting meal.

Another item that goes well with rice is the menudong Marikeño or the Waknatoy, a sweet, savory, hearty meat dish.

Other dishes are the Kaldereta ni Manuel, Crispy Pata, Sinarabsab with K.B.L., Adobong Pusit sa Tinta, Escabecheng Pampano, Paco (fern) Salad, Crispy Tadyang, Ensaladang Talong, Poqui-Poqui, Inasal na Manok, Marikina Express, Kare-Kareng Gulay, Binagoongang Baboy, Maligayang Bam-I, Dinakdakan, Canton, Bagoong Rice, Chinese Chorizo Fried Rice, among others. For dessert, there’s Bibingka Cheesecake, Turon a La Mode, Keyk ni Kambal, Fresh Fruit Salad, and Guinumis.

Kare-kare ni Lola Flordeliza

Everything is locally sourced. The ingredients come directly from farms in Talisay, Bacolod, and Cebu, to name a few.

“We also have what we call the ‘One Town, One Product, (OTOP)’ showroom where we sell regional specialties. There’s Bacolod’s piaya, Ilocos bagnet, Vigan longanisa, Cebu’s otap, and other favorites from different parts of the Philippines,” explains Patricia. “With this, Casa Mojica is able to help small business owners.”

The main idea is to create a place where family and friends could gather. “Despite the pandemic, this is a safe environment, where the food is good. And we bring the regions into one hub,” says Isabel de Leon, aunt of the siblings.

THE MOJICAS From left: Angelica Mojica, Patricia Mojica, Victoria Mojica, Joseph Mojica, Marikina Mayor Marcelino Teodoro, Rep. Maan Teodoro, Francesca Mojica, Carlo Mojica, Redge Mojica, and Jose Manuel Mojica

The food establishment is currently in phase one and can accommodate up to 200 guests. Its upcoming third phase, an al fresco setup, would expand the seating capacity, making room for 100 more.

“Service-wise and in terms of ambiance, the luxurious feel is there. But the price is affordable. Everyone deserves to celebrate small wins and milestones through food,” says Cheska.

“The support of Marikina Mayor Marcy Teodoro is something else. He’s been helping us even before the pandemic,” says Cheska. The executive dining room is named after the mayor.

SALTY GALORE Florencia’s Rice

Other people involved in the development of the restaurant are its project manager, Dan Cyril Torres of Mojica Torres Creative Solutions, Dr. Karl Ablola, who makes sure that the place complies with health standards, the wife of Joma, Redge Mojica, as well as Victoria and Joseph Mojica, the parents of the siblings and the main financiers of Casa Mojica.

Casa Mojica is at 17 E. Gonzales Street, Concepcion Uno 1807 Marikina City. It is open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Call 0917 704 0664. Facebook and Instagram @casamojicaph