Sunday, April 17, 2011

CHEF'S TABLE

4.25 out of 5

Chef's Table Restaurant feels like his show ---- modern, but traditional; cozy but cutting-edge; Filipino, but world-class. Let me be say that I never discounted other establishments from being world-class. But Philippine cuisine has been so hard to to push as a legitimate form of world cuisine because of its closely-guarded (or closed-off) recipes and food presentation that leaves it unexplained to foreigners. This is why I'm so happy to see the sprouting of restaurants like "Abe," "Lorenzo's Way," "Fely J," "C2," "Mesa" and this one to show that Philippine cooking is a technical art and is comparable with the other leading cuisines.


The place is spacious, sleek and geometric. Yet, there are Philippine touches interwoven within its architecture, such as having native fiber walls. It is best described by the his architect firm, Buensalido Architects:

"The core idea is that of weaving. This act of intertwining was chosen because of its ubiquity in the Filipino culture as can be seen in different aspects of life – banigs, salakot, salakab, barong tagalog, vintas, and even the native bahag, just to name a few. This idea manifested in different levels of the design – in space, in views, in form, and in materials."

The kitchen is not just an open kitchen usually separated by glass. It is completely open with no dividers or walls, with the countertop dividing the cooking area and dining area. It is actually an ideal type of kitchen to showcase the cooking prowess of Chef Lim, who is used to cooking for the public and the media.


Before we ate, we started off with cocktails. Just like the food, these alcoholic mixes also have touches of Philippine inspiration in it. For instance, my drink, Ellen's Kiss (130 PhP) has the typical pineapple, gin and pomegranate juice found in tropical mixed drinks. However, it's laced with lambanog and lemongrass, adding that native twist. Unfortunately, I wasn't too fond of spicy hot and sweet taste simultaneously, and was a tad disappointed when they added chili to the already complicated concoction.

Ellen's Kiss (130 PhP)


Our appetizers followed: Crab Cakes (370 PhP) and Hot Rock Pusit (250 PhP). These dishes were winners and loved by all. An additional pusit was even ordered before continuing with our entrees. Interestingly enough, the crab cakes was served with sampaloc aioli. However, the sauce didn’t taste tart, and felt more like a creamy Japanese sesame dressing. Nevertheless, we sopped up all the bits and crumbs of the crab and cream. It was the perfect crabcake, bursting with juicy crab meat yet crunchy on the outside, the flavor enhanced by what tasted like panko breadcrumbs.

Crab Cakes (370 PhP)


The Hot Rock Pusit (250 PhP) was cooked between hot rocks, really! This beer-battered concoction bore the checkered rock marks that made the texture interesting and, thankfully, cooked to perfection! It was tender, tasty and the least bit gummy.

Hot Rock Pusit (250 PhP)


We might as well bring out all the bad news before raving about the rest of the entrees. The Pinaputok na Isda (460 PhP), Lato (150 PhP) and Banana Heart Carbonara (280 PhP) were the most boring of the lot. The Lapu-lapu still remained unseasoned even if steamed with lemongrass and topped with tomato concasse. The seaweed or “sea grapes” as the menu so loftily put, looked dramatic with colorful hues from the ripe red tomatoes and tiny pink shallots on top. The seaweed itself looked like tiny green gems, and were not ordinarily that small. However, the taste was unlike how it looked --- ordinary. Finally, the Banana Heart pasta was ho-hum. The banana heart was overwhelmed in the creamy pasta.

Pinaputok na Isda (460 PhP)


Lato (150 PhP)


Banana Heart Carbonara (280 PhP)


The dinner was more than redeemed with the rest of the dishes. The Corned Pork (300++ PhP) was a cup-shaped serving of the most tender pork strips on a bed of laing garnished with lechong kawali bits. I loved how spicy, creamy and intensely flavorful the laing was. And pork skin? Who wouldn’t eat that?! It was paired perfectly with tinapa rice.

Corned Pork (300++ PhP)


The Calamansi Tuyo Spaghetti (210 PhP) was bright and light, with citrus notes from the calamansi juice and tangy from the queso de bola. Tuyo oil and flakes were predictably mixed in. Though often tried and tested in modern Filipino restaurants, it was still well executed and delicious.

Calamansi Tuyo Spaghetti (210 PhP)


The Adobong Pusit Pasta (210 PhP) was a work of genius, and was even better than the tuyo pasta! The adobong pusit had a robust and meaty flavor. The pusit was perfectly stewed in squid ink and spices. I only wish it was paired with a sturdier pasta than angel hair.

Adobong Pusit Pasta (210 PhP)


Indeed, the piece de resistance was the Braised Liempo (350 ++ PhP). It was slowly braised in humba sauce. And was it ever so good! I have never seen liempo that juicy and tender in my life. I didn’t even need to use a knife, it would give with a slight shove of a fork. And the flavor was earthy and concentrated. I would come back just to eat this liempo again!

Braised Liempo (350 ++ PhP)


However, I wouldn’t have that opportunity to do so. Fortunately for the customers, Chef Lim is innovative enough to update and change his menus with seasonal ingredients. As of the moment, it has been replaced with equally tasty-sounding dishes like Chicken Jamon or Sirloin of Beef with sigarilyas.


After dining at Chef’s Table, I have very high hopes for the globalization of Filipino cuisine. It’s a breath of fresh air to have chefs who use our native ingredients proudly with such skill and technique. Restaurants like these help enlighten diners that our own dishes are comparable to those with fancy, difficult to pronounce names. Happy eating!


Menu. Click below to magnify.















Unit 106, The Inifinity Tower, 26th St.,

The Fort Global City Taguig City,

Metro Manila Philippines

(02) 399-1888

Su, M, T, W, Th, F, Sa: 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Su, M, T, W, Th, F, Sa: 11:00 am - 2:00 pm


13 comments:

LiveToEat! said...

Hey, this spot looks good, adding it to my list of must-go's from your blog. I recently opened a restaurant and I'd love to have you come in and check it out, i'm curious to know how you'd rate it. You are one of the few non-bias bloggers out there so i'd very much look forward to hearing what you have to say. The restaurant is called Toro - Restaurant & Bar, it's located at One McKinley Building right behind the Mini Cooper showroom in the Fort. If you wish to make a reservation please call 09175558676. For any questions or anything, feel free to contact me: Vin at vgenomal@gmail.com Hope to see you soon.

graey eats said...

will surely visit soon, Vin! :) thank you

Keisie Marfil said...

hey grace! After the last few months of eating out so much, I've finally decided to start a food blog. Acccck give me tips! I feel so ill-equipped to start this but I thought I might as well since sayang ang kain sa labas. Anyway, hope to see you soon, dear! :D

graey eats said...

keisiekins: surely! just call me when you have any questions! :) I assume you're going to use blogspot, too?

keisie said...

Hey grace! Nope, I'm using wordpress because I like their photo uploading process and comment section better. The blog is already up and I have a preliminary entry in it. Planning to post my first official entry tonight. Please critique it if you have enough time. Like if it it's too long or has too many pictures. it's at Good, Eats, Pilipinas!

We should eat out some time! Let me know if there's a restaurant you want to try out.

personal cook said...

The price hurts a little but I guess you gotta pay a lot for good food, especially good Filipino food!

graey eats said...

personal cook: Gotta pay for that extra effort! :)

nurulakhyar said...

wow. delicious!!

Sugar Babies Kitchen said...

The food looks so delicious! I would like to eat there.

kay said...

I'll give this a shot next time I eat out at The Fort. Heard so much about it e.

jdlonas said...

this place looks great and the food too!

graey eats said...

nurulakhyar, Sugar Babies Kitchen, kay and jdlonas: It is good! Go try it when you have the chance to swing by Fort :)

vuhelp.net said...

So nice blogger

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