Archive for the ‘Food’ Category
Posted on May 6, 2012 - by Vic
“A part of dining out is having a fresh experience and seeing things in new and different ways,” this is the impression chef and Tatung’s Garden Café owner Myke Sarthou wants’ to implore when dining at his newly expanded restaurant along 17 Matipid Street in Sikatuna Village, Quezon City.
It is no secret that Filipinos love their food and like many successful restaurants, Tatung’s Garden Café started out small, serving only to friends and family members until word of mouth spread reflecting the restaurant’s unexpected success. Tatung’s (as friends fondly call him) delight found a niche were customers longing for familiar taste with a twist was largely underserved market in metro manila’s dining scene and Tatung’s Garden Café seems to have given them reason to go out and eat.
“For years I’ve spent hours on our kitchen preparing sumptuous meals for my family and friends to savor and enjoy. And as I continue to pursue this passion, I have been introduced to a deeper meaning of nourishment and the pleasure of sharing food at the table,” according to Chef Tatung.
Like many successful restaurants, Chef Tatung started out small , serving only to friends, friends of friends, leading him to open his residence to diners “and serving them in ways that would nourish the body and enlighten the senses” added Chef Tatung. The façade of Tatung’s Garden Café can be quite deceptive as it jutes to be part of the residential landscape of Sikatuna Village in Quezon City. But once inside, it splits into the main dining area with a mini bar that has a separate section with red interiors accessorized with modern art works ideal for small meetings that can fit up to 12 guests comfortably. There is also the new Tatung’s Patio which covers the growing number of dining guests .
The façade of Tatung’s Garden Café can be quite deceptive as it jutes to be part of the residential landscape of Sikatuna Village in Quezon City. But once inside, it splits into the main dining area with a mini bar that has a separate section with red interiors accessorized with some modern art works ideal for small meetings that can fit up to 12 guests comfortably. There is also the new patio area to cover the growing dining guests to the restaurant.
It is surprises many of Tatung’s patron to know that the chef has never undergone formal culinary training. What experience he has learned from his foray in the family kitchen, and constant exposure to different cooking techniques from their own household chefs. However he has also made his own interpretation of different cooking techniques and the adherence to the best way to cook these dishes.
“The Filipino palate deserves to be treated once in a while to new and exciting fare,” quips Chef Tatung and that is what Tatung Garden Cafe would like to accomplish with its one-of-a-kind menu spread of otherwise typical regular Filipino dishes but with a unique twist! It also has a host of other familiar heritage dishes that he grew up with and will surely satisfy one’s Pinoy cravings, whether these are local residents, balikbayans or even expatriates and business travelers visiting the country.
Good thing that Tatung’s Garden Café only uses only the freshest ingredients available daily in the local market with their dishes, allowing fresh and natural ingredients to enhance the flavor of each serving. The result has been rewarding with a consistently growing number of clientele who keeps coming back for more of the various choices on the menu spread. Drive troughs are a common sight in the restaurant coming from nearby Quezon City offices as well as residential villages and celebrities.
High on the list of must-try starts from the menu’s appetizers including a good start of Chicken Sisig Lettuce Wraps, minced grilled chicken fillet with chopped onions, green chilies, taro chips with mango sauce, There is also Balut ala Pobre, duck egg embryos sautéed in butter and garlic, there is also the café’s own version of the popular shrimp okoy, an intriguing mix of small shrimps, dipped with farm egg batter and vegetable fritters fried to a crisp and served with vinegar.
For health buffs and diet conscious diners one can try their salads including Seafood gising-gising ,spiced fresh local vegetables with seafood in Tatung’s special coconut sauce dressing or the Shrimp and Mango Salad, served over mixed greens with cucumber, tomatoes, onions topped with peanuts and taro chips drizzled with a sweet tangy citrus dressing These salad selections are highly recommended for diet and health conscious individuals considered a filling meals by themselves.
For the adventurous noodle lovers, one should not miss their Indonesian inspired interpretation of Bami or Palabok Negra, rice noodles with squid ink, On the main course, there are a number of suggested dishes worth trying including Chicken in Roasted Coconut and Yellow Ginger Sauce, tasty pan sired chicken in a smokey coconut cream with fresh yellow ginger and okra or the Tamrind glazed butter flied Tilapia served with home made atchara. One should also try the Grilled Gindara in Mama’s Coconut cream sauce or the rich tasting prawns in aligue sauce sautéed in Chef Tatung’s spicy crab fat based sauce. One of the Chef’s best seller too is the Honey Glazed Slow roasted Pork Belly in a brick oven or the Slow roasted Pork Sinigaang cooked with tamarind – tomato broth served with kangkong leaves and bagoong. The Kalderetang Kambing with Quezo de Bola served with button mushrooms, potatoes, carrots with grated Edam cheese is a great dish worth the taste for mutton lovers. Other dishes worth trying on the menu is their Callos Con Garbanzos, Beef Tenderloin Salpicao or Lengua Adobo.
To match these rich courses are complimentary rice selections including the chef’s own take on fried rice which he named Tatung’s Fried rice cooked with shrimp, carrots, peanuts, scrambled egg, turmeric with Baguio beans and Paella sa Palayok served on a clay pot.
The restaurant’s dessert selection is the final offer that can go well with their own specially brewed coffee or tea selection. Or cool summer offers including the house favorites of warm Tsoknut chocolate cake, caramel sweet leche flan, Banana – Buko sundae or their specially prepared Fresh fruit Halo-halo with gata in ice cream.
With what little is left of one’s regular monthly salary in these hard times, Tatung Garden Cafe is one of the few places where you can put your hard earned money to its best use – recharging your batteries over the restaurant’s sumptuous menu spread in the restaurant’s comfy and new functional cozy surroundings.
Thankfully, word-of-mouth and blogs in the internet has continuously drawn more people by the day attracted by the great eats and the reasonable price (expect to spend around pesos one thousand one hundred pesos(for a satisfying dining experience for two persons) Nothing is as it seems at this restaurant where Filipino cuisine is taken to new heights, and where customers can expect a different dining experience with each visit – the essence of dining at Chef Tatung’s Garden Cafe.
For further details: Chef Tatung’s Garden Café is along 17 Matipid Street, Sikatuna Village, Quezon City. Operating hours are from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. For reservations, call 352-6121 or 0915-846-3234.Check out their website at www.cheftatung.com.
Posted on October 7, 2011 - by Vic
The variety of elements in contrasting eras, cuisine and looks makes these new combined establishment inviting and unpredictable. Indeed Malate continues to be the hub of night life these days. In the late 60’s, film director Ishmael Bernal opened “Gray November in my Soul” along A. Mabini street the corner of T. Alonso Street. Artists talk about life. Down the street near the corner of Remedios Street came along “Indios Bravos”(the brave natives) – a cafe owned and run by the couple Betsy Romualdez Francia, a poetess, and her husband, Henry Francia, the film maker. Flower power bloomed, the anti- Vietnam War rallies crowded America’s streets and the young strummed their guitars and sang in folk
Then came the disco houses in the late 70s. And in the 80s, Ernest Santiago opened Coco banana along Remedios Circle with Subway disco along M. Adriatico Street catching up to accommodate the late crowd. Twenty years later, businessman Joseph “Jong” Garcia revives a retro disco bar which he aptly calls “Shut up & Dance” retro disco bar along M. Orosa St. corner J. Nakpil St., in Malate. One can enjoy listening to original popular tunes of The Boss by Diana Ross, Kool and the Gang, YMCA by the Village People. Any visitor stepping in to this place will eventually notice that they
will spend more time enjoying their meals here as well. “I want to revive the good old days of the Malate area”, emphasizes Jong. “The dishes we serve at Shut up & Dance are familiar classical dishes.” We have lined up these dishes which our excellent chefs cooks to please, but not to impress, “ notes Jong Garcia over lunch. Three seasoned cooks manages the kitchen of Shut Up and Dance including Chef Alejandro Ricalde, Chef Angel Padon and Chef Louie Batalla. They have earned a sizable number of years of culinary experience working with other well known restaurants in Metro Manila as well as stints with reputable dining establishments abroad.
Besides Shut up & Dance retro disco bar, Jong has also opened Dematisse Cafe Bar & Diner and also Socialista Bar & Restaurant near each other along Remedios Street also in Malate, Manila. Socialista was the first of these three outlets to open with close proximity of each other and is now perhaps Jong’s most wide-reach-dining cum fun bar venture, praises for its food and service by everybody who had ever eaten there: the locals of Malate, Makati, traditionalist and international food and travel guides. Shut up & Dance Retro Disco bar is slowly garnering enough clients to sustain its status as a “destination,” or as described by Jong,” a dining jaunt, ” where people can have good food, excellent drink mixes and a home grown feel. “We are happy where Shut up & Dance is even just opened a few weeks ago where the feel of the good old 70’s and 80’s is with its music provided by Sonny Tugade who was a famous
retro DJ in the 80’s at Cocobanana and Subway Disco who is back manning the controls that would surely attract office workers and yuppies who will make it their watering hole, according to Jong.
During the luncheon preview, we were given a taste of Jong’s favourite dishes including Paella in various delectable variations of the valencia tinta(squid) and marinara(seafood). One should also try the tasty lengua, or the very oriental steamed fish with crab meat sauce, beef tenderloin with mushroom sauce plus other meat items like steak selections of porterhouse, sirloin and T-bone of imported angus beef. Jong thinks that these familiar dishes go extremely well with one’s palate and the attention to the dish’s consistency will always be there, added Jong. “We hope to maintain the consistency of the quality of our food in the menu. Diners can sense the effort put on the preparation of these dishes not only in the taste but in the presentation as well. Nearby Shut Up & Dance is Socialista Bar & Restaurant with Jong’s idea of recapturing the mid 80’s era. Like Marcel Proust’s own endeavour, the final product may be more romantic and lasting than the lost moment owner Jong sought to recapture. A melange of objects and music contrasting with things old and new, valuable or simply charming and a fondness for juxtaposing man-made objects with Jong’s personal touch is very much evident in Socialista. The food fare here is very much the same as Shut Up and Dance. No fancy reception procedure here, just genuine warmth; and simple attire for the staff, to make everyone blend in. All that was missing were the staple hugs and we’d be one big happy family. At night you can enjoy
some wine or coffee with close friends to catch up or bond with the rest of your family and remember an era gone by. Socialist can accommodate small groups of fifty to seventy and is ideal for reunions and intimate gatherings among close friends. One can enjoy their delicious meals where visits can remind us that the simple things oftentimes give us the greatest pleasure. It was not surprising that a lot of unforgettable parties were done here as the place can be closed just among friends. Last stop in the evening is at Demitasse Cafe Bar & Diner. A late entry into Malate’s night life scene, Demitasse is becoming synonymous as a place to chill out in the area and party till your dancing legs have no strength left. But if you can’t go all around Malate to party, here at Demitasse, one can spend just a few hours hanging out, worship or let loose of one’s self and party the night away with the latest techno music till the wee hours of daybreak.
Despite the dizzying rush of everyday life, some pockets of our metro Manila seem to be untouched by the net citizen’s mad dash for the future. For those better, simpler days, Jong Garcia’s three complementing fun establishments – Shut Up and Dance, Dematisse and Socialista are new places worth the visit as one feel time stood still for those better and simpler days. The city’s social and nightlife circuit will again be busy to check out these newest places in Malate. Lifestyle of Manila foodies and night owls will never be the same again.
Posted on April 13, 2011 - by Vic
At the Oakroom restaurant of the Oakwood Premier Joy – Nostalg Center across the Asian Development Bank in ADB Avenue, Pasig City, a seafood festival is their ongoing food promotions up to Easter Sunday, at Ortigas’s most luxurious serviced apartments.
Dubbed “11 Oceans” Seafood festival, executive chef Jerome Cartailller presented a mouthwatering menu of seafood dishes cooked in a variety of ways to represent the unique flavors of different countries in the property’s only fine dining outlet. One discovers a unique dining experience this side of the Ortigas business district, where indulgence in a premium address was presented to the food media to sample and enjoy the freshest catch of the sea. General Manager Brian Connelly says, “Summer is the best season for seafood. It’s a healthy, delicious indulgence and we use the freshest catch and cooking methods to preserve their natural taste and essence. Chef Cartailler seamlessly merged the bountiful catch of the sea, freshest harvest of organic vegetables from the land with the alluring chef masterfully blending and giving the dishes a new twist with the Oakwood restaurant and its classy and stunning surroundings as its backdrop venue.
The “11 Oceans” menu included Sea scallops in puff pastry (French), Risotto with herbed Scampi (Italian) Grilled Swordfish Souvlakis (Greek) and California Ciopppino (USA) with crab, clams, shrimp, scallops, squid, mussels and grouper in Tomato and while wine. We were given an extra treat with a sampler plate of other items including Gindara Terriyaki(Japanese), Baccalao fritters (Spanish) and Lobster chili (Mexican).Chef Cartailler’s mouth watering menu that day was a welcome treat to those who would like to further discover the many interesting offer of seafood cuisine. Complementing the seafood fare were Mappu wines from the Central Valley, south of Santiago Chile, know as a vast winegrowing area for its ideal climate and well suited to white wine varieties. Our hearty meal was complemented by white Mapu Chiliean wines by Baron Philippe de Rothschild including Sauvignon Blanc/Chardonnay and Saavignon Blanc vintage 2010.
Imbibed with good choices of fine Chilean wines and complemented with well prepared seafood dishes, other guests that day couldn’t be glossed over just to have another typical press lunch gathering. Oakwood and Chef Cartailler must be given kudos for their attention to details in preparing the dishes for their 11 Oceans Seafood festival. One should not miss this food festival available ala carte, from 11am to 11pm up to April 24. Oakwood‘s seafood festival is on the 6th level of Oakwood Premier Joy-Nostalg Center, and beautifully blends the culinary with the aural experience that any serious foodie should not miss.
Posted on February 24, 2011 - by Vic
With what little is left of your monthly salary in these hard times this new year, KUSINA Cagayana Restaurant along Pengue Highway in Tugegarao, Cagayan is one of the few places where you can put your hard earned money to its best use – recharging your batteries over the restaurant’s sumptuous daily buffet menu and its ongoing Asian buffet special offering this part of northern Philippines in Tuguegarao City Cagayan. Kusina Cagayana’s dishes are basically modern Cagayan and unique twists to old time Filipino favorites, in comfy and functional surroundings.
“The Filipino palate deserves to be treated once in a while to new and exciting fare,” quips Tess De Leon Valiente, manager of the restaurant, and that is what KUSINA Cagayana would like to accomplish with its one-of-a-kind buffet menu spread of otherwise regular provincial dishes but with a unique twist! It also has a host of other familiar Filipino dishes that will surely satisfy one’s Pinoy cravings, whether these are local residents, balikbayans or even expatriates visiting the country.
Good thing though, I found out that KUSINA Cagayana uses only the freshest ingredients available daily in the local market with their dishes, allowing fresh and natural ingredients to enhance the flavor of each serving. The result has been rewarding with a consistently growing number of clientele who keeps coming back for more of the various choices on the buffet menu spread. Drive throughs are a common sight in the restaurant coming from nearby Isabela as well as Ilocos Norte, La Union and Isabela.
High on the list of must-tries is the mixed Filipino Salad delicacy and freshly grilled eggplants with bagoong, boiled okra, camote, or sweet mangoes on a bed of green lettuce dressed in sweet vinaigrette sauce. I found this dish, highly recommended for diet and health conscious individuals as I found it a filling meal by itself. There’s the Shrimp ukoy, an intriguing mix of small shrimp, dipped with farm egg batter, Tkwa’t Baboy, Garlic Longganisa or thinly sliced marinated Beef Tapa served with their own special vinegar with fresh garlic and sprinkling of pepper.
There is also the familiar Inabraw and Molo soup, this dish gives the all-time pedestrian Ilongo favorite a makeover. Cooked in a mild spicy sauce and served in a celadon soup bowl, as its name says, this dish is a welcome familiar surprise to the Pinoy taste buds.
Fish enthusiasts will love to munch on Tilapia Strips, crispy fried on the outside and light and tasty on the inside, it can be eaten on its own or dipped in its accompanying mustard sauce, or the crispy fried Hito, a common fresh water fish caught daily, for a completely different gastronomic experience. The restaurant has also cooked it with gata or coconut milk popular with the Bicolanos. Either way, these two dishes gives the effect of pallet addiction: as fans of these dishes know, one serving is never enough. Along these lines, try their newest Vegetable Laing or Bicol Express, a take off from the famous fiery specialty of southern Bicolandia
Folks who want a taste of the traditional will not go wrong with their Boneless Crispy Pata, served already sliced into roulades. According to Tess, this is one of the specialties of the restaurant and is never missing on all the tables of diners, especially during lunchtime celebrations and those other memorable occasions. There is also the beef shanks cooked ala Kare-kare with garnishing of leafy pechay, string beans, banana sprouts and other vegetables.
For those diners craving to eat something in between meals, one must try their Pancit Cagayana, a noodle delight which uses a combination of canton and sotanghon, mixed with a special, sweetish sauce and topped with bits of chopped lechon kawali. A rich meal unto itself!
KUSINA Cagayana’s other dessert or merienda menu is equally adventurous. It takes inspiration from our Japanese and Chinese influences and combines it with Filipino staples, resulting in a merienda to remember from the visually colorful Halo-halo, chilled gulaman, sticky suman rice, or their own version of puto and sapin-sapin, served with freshly grated coconut . Or fried native Saba with Muscovado(brown sugar) . Customers with a sweet tooth will be delighted with the restaurant’s in Banana Langka a sweet Float, or mouth watering sticks of mini turons served in a martini glass tucked with a generous scoop of lychee gelatin – a true celebration of texture and warmth or their own version of buko lychee pandan.
Thankfully, word-of-mouth has continuously drawn more people by the day attracted by the great eats and the reasonable price (expect to spend around pesos one hundred seventy eight pesos(for a satisfying KUSINA Cagayana dining experience per person Nothing is as it seems at this restaurant where Filipino cuisine is taken to new heights, and where customers can expect a different dining experience with each visit – the essence of KUSINA Cagayana.
For further details: Kusina Cagayana Restaurant is at JC Bldg. Cayosa Homes Pengue Highway, Tugegarao City, Cagayan Vallley. Operating hours are from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. For reservations, call (076)844-2880 or 844-9324.
Posted on February 20, 2011 - by Vic
A stone’s throw from the Asian Development Bank Building in Ortigas, Pasig City is the new, Oakwood Premier Joy-Nostalg Center Manila which has made a comeback with new and improved facilities including their prime dining outlet, the Oakroom
Restaurant and bar which is open daily catering mostly to the business traveler. This chic new restaurant is the latest addition to Manila’s dining scene, with its clean and modern interiors that’s a visual feast of earth colors and themed furnishings of contemporary artworks. The restaurant serves standout menus including everything that runs from familiar favorites like New Zealand steamed mussels and Caesar salad for appetizers to soups, sandwiches, pizza and pastas to entrées like Chilean sea bass, Blue marlin, meat selections like grilled Berkshire pork chop to healthy choices of Layered lasagna and Veggie Burger. It also has comfort food dishes from Asian selection to familiar Filipino favorites like Kare-Kare to Halo-halo. All these menu offering is also available on their room service according to the amiable Executive Assistant Manager Rayner Simon. One shouldn’t miss out on their daily selection of executive lunch menu highlighted with an
interesting dessert compliments.
To chill out, the Oakroom Bar next to the dining area with its dark brown wood interiors and touches of fine silk and leather furniture, boasts of a fine selection of drinks and spirits including tempting martinis, vodkas and imported wines where patrons and dining guests can socialize in a relax setting while enjoying light jazz music and popular tunes. Local professionals and expatriates here have discovered this new place and love to hang out here for both before and after dinner drinks. The Oakwood Joy Nostalg Center Manila houses what is fast becoming one of the city’s best dining rooms. 17 ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center, Pasig City tel. nos(+632)637-7888 or 910-888 www.oakwoodasia.com