Foie gras deviled eggs, ‘secreto iberico’—restos from Makati to QC revamp their menus | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Pandan Asian Café’s Laksa
Pandan Asian Café’s Laksa
Pandan Asian Café’s Laksa
Pandan Asian Café’s Laksa


The restaurant scene in Quezon City’s Tomas Morato area remains bustling. One of the most recent to join the action is Tatung Sarthou who opened Pandan Asian Café last January.

He deviates from what he has been known for, which is Filipino cuisine, and extends his range by offering Southeast Asian favorites in this two-story dining place.

“It’s not a fusion restaurant,” he says. “Our menu lists down dishes that stand out in our neighboring countries, as well as those that bring back memories of travels abroad. They are an attempt at an honest representation of their original counterparts.”

His food includes Indonesian-style ayam goreng, lechon Macau, Hainanese chicken, salted-egg prawns with curry leaves, laksa made with homemade sambal, and char kway teow which has easily become a crowd favorite.

Ivy Almario designed the casual, elegant space, which is decked out in foliage, from the wall painting to the small plants hanging from the ceiling.

Pandan Asian Café, 76 Scout Limbaga St., Quezon City

‘Asador’ food

“The idea came to us two years ago when we dined in a restaurant in San Sebastian, Spain, called Etxebarri,” says Martin “Tinchu” Gonzalez, one of the guys behind Bar Pintxos. “We loved how the food was presented, the taste and aroma. But on top of that, we wanted to build a restaurant with an ambiance that’s not so intimidating.”

The result is Txoco, which opened in Legazpi Village, Makati, early this week. It offers a good mix of asador or grilled food and traditional dishes with a twist, born out of the creative collaboration between coowner Miguel Vecin and chef Alex del Hoyo who hails from Burgos, Spain. The big kitchen, which used to house a convenience store and barber shop, allows the team to serve a wide variety of items: cold starters like beef tartare with yolk sauce and charcoal oil, an arugula-gulas-pancetta salad drenched in a garlic dressing, grilled chicken croquettes with mojo rojo, and a bevy of paellas including a black one with cuttlefish and seared scallops. Highlights are the grilled dishes like octopus with black mashed potato, secreto iberico with pineapple panadera, and suckling lamb with roasted potatoes.

Txoco, 1229 Esteban St. Legazpi Village, Makati City


Ovo’s Milkfish Caesar
Ovo’s Milkfish Caesar

Brunch fare

Chef Mikel Zaguirre gives you multiple reasons to wake up early in the morning and eat out for breakfast. His latest restaurant, Ovo, has sourdough topped with prosciutto, mango and goat cheese; chicken à la Kiev with ensaymada sourdough waffle; and foie gras deviled eggs with cranberry.

What’s great is that Ovo is open from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m., allowing night owls to partake of the fare. Located inside Y2 Residence Hotel, Ovo offers breakfast buffet from 6 to 11 a.m., with over 30 different dishes to choose from. It caters to both hotel guests and walk-ins. The à la carte menu is available from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Ovo, G/F, Y2 residence hotel, B. Valdez St. corner Santiago, Poblacion, Makati City


Tipple Café’s Peri-peri Chicken
Tipple Café’s Peri-peri Chicken

Elevated café food

Last month, Tipple & Slaw introduced its brother brand Tipple Café, which is more casual and creative in nature. This is apparent in its menu, which is in contrast to the straightforward gourmet food in the bar. “We’re trying to innovate and elevate cafe food especially around the Katipunan, Quezon City, area,” says chef Francis Lim.

The dishes may not conform to tradition in terms of presentation, but the flavors are familiar and definitely deliver. There’s garlic baby squid that’s been cooked in seaweed butter, and fresh spring rolls stuffed with mixed grains, marinated fish, fresh herbs and furikake aioli.

The steak rice comes as tender slices of hanging tender and torched egg yolk sitting in a bowl of umami rice, while the boneless peri-peri chicken is crowned with golden crispy chicken skin. For those who want to eat light and healthy, Lim has roasted eggplant salad and poke bowls, which vary weekly depending on the fresh fish brought in straight to the restaurant from the port.

Not to be missed is the shawarma rice, which many happy customers have posted and raved about on social media.

Tipple Café The Pop Up Katipunan, 273 Katipunan corner Xavierville Avenues, Quezon City

Japanese tea party

Afternoon tea—or any hotel merienda, for that matter—has never been the same ever since Raffles Makati launched its theme afternoon series. It has previously served Veuve Clicquot champagne with salmon-dill tartlet and Victoria cake before, as well as a Russian Imperial version with chocolate Korolevsky cake.

From March to May, Writer’s Bar at Raffles has partnered with Swissôtel Nankai Osaka to host a cherry blossom-inspired tea party. Designed by pastry sous chef Yuki Nakamura, the menu celebrates Japanese springtime and tradition featuring savory delights such as sakura-smoked salmon with daikon pickles, negi miso chicken burger, and cold soba noodles.

The sweet set is composed of sakura-flavored pastries including a coconut rocher, cream cheese mousse, tea pound cake, panna cotta, and the freshly baked scones accompanied by clotted cream, strawberry preserves, and lemon curd.

Writer’s Bar, Raffles Makati, 1 Raffles Drive, Makati City

Western and Chinese cuisines

Gloria Maris has new management and one of the first changes is the menu. Many of the dishes will be improved. The spinach bean curd, for example, will now be served in a pool of abalone sauce.

The restaurant will also roll out items that marry Western and Chinese cuisines. “A lot of our guests keep on asking for new versions of our dishes, apart from the traditional ones,” says Evangeline “Angie” Tan, Gloria Maris assistant manager. The restaurant has started offering pan-fried lamb chops with mint jelly, black pepper wagyu, and apahap with ton tsai. Also new on the menu are imported oysters and Alaskan crab that can be cooked multiple ways. The oysters can be steamed, baked with butter and cheese, or served with barbecue sauce. To go with your mains, order Boss Frank’s fried rice, named after new owner Frank Lao. It’s fried rice topped with saucy minced meat and eggs.

Gloria Maris, Missouri Street, Greenhills, San Juan City

13-course ‘degustacion’

Helm, Josh Boutwood’s 10-seat private dining restaurant, changes menu thrice a year. To start 2020, the chef decided to look back and seek inspiration from the past.

“It’s a chronological timeline of cultural influences in Philippine cuisine. It’s definitely not a history lesson,” he says. He was initially gunning for a space and galactic story but ended up revisiting the country’s bygone times. He researched online and listened to podcasts.

From there, he was able to produce a 13-course degustacion. There’s a sea cucumber dish with XO sauce and master stock, beef rendang with tapioca, pork belly with adlai and a range of condiments including a Spam spread, brioche with molasses that has been brushed with bone marrow, and wagyu with wasabi and shiitake mushrooms.

Helm, G/F, Arya Residences, McKinley Parkway, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City