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March 29, 2023

Restaurant offerings recognizing Filipino heritage through its cuisine


There is much yet to explore in Filipino cuisine and the easing of restrictions from the pandemic allows restaurants to bloom with local dishes that deserve a second look.

As June is Independence month, coming at the heels of the month of May’s Filipino food month, it is just as well that Philippine cuisine gets featured in the travelupdateph blog, my first in the post-pandemic.

In no order of excellence but in the order of where Divine and I ate first, we put our recommendations for you to try the Filipino culinary treats of these establishments. Kain Na! 

Belmont Cafe, Belmont Hotel is a place for salubrious food offerings what with Executive Chef Francis Tugnao at the helm of its kitchen. Chef Tugnao was formerly with The Farm at San Benito, a health and wellness retreat. Spending many years there, he opened its three restaurants featuring exclusive vegetarian, vegan, and pescetarian cuisine. Now at Belmont, Chef Tugnao brings his healthy food expertise as well as traditional Filipino favorites with a twist like Goto Batangas using U.S. graded beef, his award-winning Laing (taro leaves cooked in coconut cream with spices), and Paksiw na Pata (pork knuckles). Health buffs may want to try the nothing-added-nothing-taken-away Ampalaya (bitter gourd) juice. Belmont Cafe has weekend buffets well worth your time and money.

Tatatito , the newest addition to the F&B ventures of Mc Wilson Corporation of the famous Gringo restaurants. It is doing brisk business after a recent opening to cater to the more discerning Pinoy with its creative Filipino cuisine. It banners its Crispy Sisig (fried and chopped pork belly, cheeks and jowl in spices), Crispy Shanghai Hipon, and Pata Tim Bamboo Rice (steamed rice with that classic pork knuckles served in a bamboo tube), our favorite.

Tatatito is at 100 Don Carlos Palanca, Legazpi village, Makati

Kingsford Café, Kingsford Hotel –  this time its the creative fusion done by Executive Chef Angelo Timban taking center stage at its lobby restaurant, Kingsford Café The outlet offers international and regional dishes like scallops from Bantayan island, chicharon from Carcar Cebu, Sisig Itum (Maranao inspired pork belly, jowl, and coconut), and Emperador Ox Tail Kape de Mutit (U.S. grade ox tail in a surprising blend of tablea local chocolate, Civet coffee, Seresa sauce, and flambéed with Emperador Gold)

Celebrity Chef Mike “Simpol” Tatung Sarthou showcases his culinary skills the second time around at Corniche Café, Diamond Hotel Manila. Coming off his arsenal of traditional Filipino dishes with a twist and a slew of recipes that merit a tag ‘heirloom’. He wows Corniche guests again, this time with Adobong Pula (pork stew in red sauce), Pansit Pusit (stir-fry noodles in squid ink), Bringhe Kyuning (aka arroz Valenciana with turmeric), Pianggang, Sinuglaw and other mouth-watering dishes.

Brasserie on  3, Conrad Manila. Ongoing at the Brasserie on 3 is the Flavors of the Philippines, a celebration of the diverse gourmet tradition and heritage of the Philippines taking patrons on a journey of flavors with signature dishes from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Dishes curated by Executive Chef Warren Brown and Executive Sous Chef Patricia Mesina from some of the regional favorites are Balbakua (a flavorful beef stew made from collagen-rich oxtail), Kinilaw (seafood ceviche), Seafood Kare-Kare (seafood with rich and flavorful sauce made from roasted peanuts and manually ground to a paste to flavor the stew), Cochnillo con Paella, Piyanggang Manok (chicken stew cooked in flavorful sauce from combined flavors of charred coconut meat), Tuna Inasal (charcoal grilled marinated tuna), among others.

Flavors of the Philippines is available for lunch and dinner until June 30, 2022.

Over at Dusit Thani Manila in Makati, The Pantry  held the first of a series of Wine Pairing Dinners after a colorful opening of the Lasa Regional Food Festival recently The Pantry brought in three guest chefs from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao to showcase their culinary expertise in their own regions. The dinner course started with Fern Salad followed by Sinuglaw (Swordfish spiced with Tuba vinegar, ginger, kaffir lime and coriander and chili oil), then PInais na Isda (Spanish mackerel and oyster cooked in Ilocos vinegar served with fish paste foam and trimming of shimeji mushooms), a surprised entree Dessert Malagos Cacao Lava that goes well with perfumed hints and spiced Niepoort White Port wine. The Festival weekend buffet ends on July 19. For the Wine Series, connect with Dusit Thani’s Facebook page.

Drinks have not passed under the radar in the development of cocktails and juices infused with local ingredients. At The Long Bar in Raffles Makati, a continuing promotion that will culminate in a grand launch in September features 16 cocktails featuring a Philippine ingredient each. Regions represented are Ilocos with the sampaguita, Davao with its chocolate, Cagayan de Oro’s honey,Bohol with its rare coconut salt, Laguna’s coco pandan, the watermelons of Zambales, Baguio with a Masaflore puree, and Cagayan Valley’s ginger. The Long Bar presently has a promo wherein a guest will be given a “passport” to be stamped with each regional cocktail. All eight cocktails will complete the passport and will entitle the guest to attend the launching of the next eight cocktails in September. 

So there, our suggestions for you out there who miss Filipino cuisine at its best, I will be reporting on some more in the coming blogs, enjoy!


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