Taza joins list of top dining destinations in Tagaytay
How do you make a restaurant stand out when you are in a high density, much sought-after location like Tagaytay?
For Chef Jayme Natividad of Taza Fresh Table, it’s simple. You just have to keep improving the menu.
Natividad drew raves last year when Taza opened with his alugbati salad with the signature dalandan and lemon vinaigrette and salted egg dressing; a papardelle inspired by a 100-year-old recipe shared by one of his mentors; and his medley of sourdough pizzas.
For the longest time, though, Taza was open only for dinner, serving breakfast only on weekends.
Finally, Taza now serves breakfast starting at 7 a.m. every day.
I’m actually surprised they did not do this earlier, knowing the success of breakfast places in Tagaytay such as Antonio’s Breakfast and Bag of Beans. I surmise it is because the hotel has a breakfast buffet, making breakfast at Taza redundant.
But the standalone gourmet restaurant in the sprawling Taal Vista Hotel has its own charm. I’m just glad it now has its own breakfast menu, too.
Breakfast at Taza
Natividad, who lived in New York for 13 years, is serving his favorite New York brunch dishes: The usual suspects—eggs benedict and salmon —but with the rustic touch that New York brasseries offer.
He did work at Balthazar, after all.
Start your breakfast with four thick slices of French toast served with a pile of perfectly crisp bacon.
The kind of toast you need after a sleepless night due to partying or buddy bonding. Call it the Hangover Special.
Then have a piece of Southern fried chicken.
Just a piece because Taza literally just serves one piece per order, hehe! But it is quite a hefty chunk that is flavorful on the crisp outside and juicy on the inside.
They also have homemade corned beef—slices of lovingly cured Batangas beef. But the best item on the menu is the homemade smoked bacon.
A thick slab of probiotic pork belly marinated for at least 12 days before being smoked for 4 to 6 hours.
When I visited six months ago, this was already one of the best items on the menu. Today, it remains as delicious as I remember it to be.
Health-conscious eaters will be pleased to know that Taza is committed to sourcing locally-produced organic produce. The chicken, for instance, is organic chicken from a farm in Laguna. They also have sole from Quezon, beef from both Batangas and Bukidnon, prawns from Iloilo, and greens from their own garden.
“The biggest challenge is consistency,” Natividad admits, “Whether it be beef, tomatoes, or herbs, it is still difficult to find consistency from suppliers and farmers. That is why I’ve made it a point to develop relationships with our local farmers. With constant communication and feedback on the products we get, we are able to maintain our desired quality consistently.”
In fact, 95 percent of Taza’s menu is sourced from local farmers or suppliers and the vegetables are sourced from within a 15 to 20 kilometer radius.
Like Tagaytay institutions Antonio’s and Sonya’s Garden, Taza at Taal Vista Hotel also has its own garden for a steady supply of greens, herbs and organic vegetables.
This is in fact one of the reasons behind the success of restaurants in Tagaytay: Not only is the weather great, the salads are also superb because of the freshness of the greens on the menu and every dish is given an extra oomph with the fresh herbs from their gardens.
Of course, Taza has the advantage of the unbeatable view of the volcano that only Taal Vista can offer. So make sure to get a window seat facing the volcano when you visit.
Then take a stroll on the grand terrace of the hotel after your meal to get the obligatory “day off” shot, with or without the fog. It is, after all, Tagaytay.
Taza Fresh Table. Taal Vista Hotel, Kilometer 60, Aguinaldo Highway, Tagaytay City. Call +6329178225 for reservations. Wheelchair accessible. Now open daily for breakfast starting at 7 a.m. Major credit cards accepted. Visit taalvistahotel.com or Facebook.com/TaalVistaHotel.
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