Happy New Year!!!
This is going to be a wonderful year, I can feel it!
To start the year right, I compiled a list of restaurants that look promising enough to check out this year.
There are veteran chefs trying new things and new chefs making a name for themselves with their modern Filipino menus.Disclaimer: I have not visited all of these restaurants – some of them are on my “to try” list, too. If you eat there ahead of me, do drop me a note or tag me @margauxsalcedo on Facebook or Instagram and let me know what you think.
But this is my list and I’m sharing it with you as I’m ready to check these restos twice to find out which are naughty and which are nice!
201 Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City
+63 947 560 1853
I have been hearing a lot of good reviews about this 24-seater restaurant, praising the progressive Filipino creations of Chef Thirdy Dolatre who is joined by Kevin Villarica and Kevin Navoa. There is an 8-course tasting menu although there is also an a la carte option. Sounds like a definite must-try, even if it is all the way in the state of Quezon City.
Arya Residences, G/F McKinley Pkwy, Taguig
+63 906 234 1900
I have eaten at Helm three times and it was always a rich experience. Josh Boutwood is currently at the top of my list of Filipino chefs worth raving about and I strongly recommend him to anyone who would want to experience creative takes on Filipino ingredients. He changes the menu every few months. Sometimes a course or two will miss a note, but overall, Helm is not only delicious but also educational and even thrilling. It is worth the splurge, even just once.
5883 Enriquez Street, Makati City
+63 917 173 5883
Lampara is described as a “neo-Filipino bistro”, i.e., haute cuisine with a more modern and casual approach but capitalizing on fresh and natural flavors. The chefs – RJ Ramos, Alfonse Sotero and Prince Tan – are reportedly graduates of Enderun. I dined at Lampara once last year and was underwhelmed. However, I keep reading rave reviews about it so I would like to visit a few more times this year. Perhaps the menu has improved. It does have one good thing going for it though: in the middle of Poblacion where parking is almost impossible, there is a huge parking lot beside it. Big bonus for titas who drive their own cars.
31 Greenvale 2, Marcelo Green Village, Parañaque
+63 917 573 0246
This is quite literally a backyard restaurant as the setting is a nipa hut in the owner’s garden in Marcelo Green Village. But the menu by young Chef Don Baldosano looks inspired. He offers a 16-course tasting menu at more or less only P2,000/head.
44 Maginhawa St., UP Village, Quezon City
+632 8293-9077; +63 919 877 6321
Unlike the other restaurants, this one by Chef Tatung does not go the route of modern Filipino. Instead, he goes back to basics with lengua, paella and other Filipino favorites, but adds a regional perspective and a touch of Tatung magic. I featured Chef Tatung in one of my Mission: Manila events at Raffles Makati (a special dinner open to the public by a chef I choose with the objective of promoting the chef and Philippine recipes and ingredients) and to this day I get comments from guests that it was one of the best meals they had eaten in a while (he whipped up a Mindanao-themed menu). Tatung is incredible when he is inspired, so let’s hope that with this restaurant, he will be inspired every day.
THE TEST KITCHEN
One Rockwell G/F East Tower, Makati
+63 977 288 5751
The Test Kitchen, also by Josh Boutwood of Helm, was a much appreciated by-reservation-only dining space on Kamagong. It was magical inside but parking was a problem and when road construction took place, it was just a disaster. So it was wonderful to see that this restaurant has taken the place of what used to be Apartment 1B in Rockwell. Expecting to be wowed again by Boutwood’s incredible attention to detail as well as his impressive sourcing and research.
Karrivin Plaza, G/F Building A, 2316 Chino Roces Ave. Ext., Makati
+63 917 898 5751
Metiz is another modern Filipino restaurant. This one is by a French-Filipino chef Stephan Duhesme. It has an open kitchen and offers a 5-course experience using local ingredients.
P. Guanzon Street, Poblacion, Makati City
+63 917 174 5862
This is the comeback resto of Chef Rob Pengson, creator of one the first degustation restos in the metro, the dearly missed The Goose Station.This is now his signature restaurant, aiming to showcase his style of Filipino cuisine. He offers a foie gras “dirty ice cream” and a relleno of crab and crab fat.
So that is my list so far. If you have other suggestions, let me know.
I heard somewhere that when it’s a leap year, you can eat as much as you want and not gain weight … (shh.. I just made that up but you can try!).
Happy New Year! May it be a wonderful year of eating and eating well for all of us!
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