Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Philippines, Manila: Chef's Table

Chef Bruce Lim, a Le Cordon Bleu graduate might be familiar to Asians who watches AFC (too bad it's not available in Europe).  He's a Filipino by blood but grew up in the US.  He was more exposed to western cuisine growing up but he never forgot to trace down his roots.

I remembered that he had a private dining which you have to be in a group of 10 or more and reservations only.  3 years ago, the concept of having his own restaurant pushed through, showcasing the best of Filipino cuisine giving it a fine twist which appeals to the palate of everyone.  HT wife have been wanting to try it out and finally, she got the chance...

love this concept of open kitchen that gave the diners the dining experience from the moment they enter the place.  We were at the 2nd floor and they still made sure that everyone can see what's going on in the kitchen with their full glass panel wall overlooking the clean busy area.  Check out the bald chefs...hygienic, isn't it? :)

Aside from food, they made sure you can get their house cocktails with something Filipino in it...

Grape Gaudinez - made of grapes, cranberry, spring onions and lambanog (alcohol made from coconut - local wine).  The drink was very refreshing and light.  The spring onions were not overpowering and complemented the lambanog.  My best friend's choice.

NCR (No one Can Run) -  NCR stands for the national capital region in our country and they used the acronym for this special drink.  From the name itself, I made this as my choice for the night even if I haven't read what was in it as the name made me curious.  It was a mixture of everything, gin, brandy, lambanog, orange and mango juice.  What made it unique was the chili extract which gave the drink an after-sip bite.  Don't worry about the chili decorated on top, the drink was pleasant and it wouldn't burn your tongue.  It was a strong cocktail but delightful to drink for a long evening chatting with your friends.  No worries, I was still able to run after a glass :).  And this goes to the top of my favorite cocktails list.

Now, it's time for food!!!
For appetizer, we decided to get Hot Rock Pusit (squid) - beer-marinated squid grilled between hot rocks.  It was very tasty and the squid was cooked to its perfection as it was very tender and juicy.  It can go well with rice too.  I think a fancier presentation as per the description would make it more enticing.

Calamansi Tuyo Spaghetti - Tuyo, salted dried fish, a favorite of most Filipinos that goes well with rice and can be eaten at any time of the day.  Usually eaten with a vinegar dip, to smoothen out the saltiness.  This version was served with spaghetti and calamansi.  I love this idea as it makes the dish less boring.  It's easy to make this at home as you don't need much ingredients as the tuyo is flavorful itself.  If you're a pasta lover like HT wife, you're gonna love this dish.

Kare Kare - a very Filipino dish, ox tail in peanut sauce.  This version is drier than the normal but the richness of the peanut sauce remains.  The ox tail were soft and delicious.  What made this dish different is the eggplant caviar on the side.  Kare Kare is always eaten with fish paste (bagoong) for salty kick.  I love chef's table's bagoong twist i.e. the eggplant caviar as it's sweet salty taste is not too fishy but still giving the its Filipino authenticity taste.

Chicken Sat on Salt - their version of slow-roasted chicken served with atchara, pickled unripe papaya and a spiced-oil dip.  The chicken was placed on top of a bed of salt when cooked letting the salt absorbed into the chicken meat.  I'm not very fond of this dish as i prefer my white meat very salty just like most Filipinos :D.  I used the eggplant caviar to give my chicken more taste.

Overall, it was a great dining experience.  The waiters were very knowledgeable of what the restaurant offers and were very helpful. Before we left the place, we made sure that we end our dining experience the best way...

a remembrance with the chefs at their table. :) 

Cocktails cost 150-180 pesos~6 SGD~4 euro
Dishes cost 200-600 pesos~20 SGD~12 euro

Chef's Table
The Infinity Tower
26th street
The Fort Global City
Taguig Philippines


  1. @bessy - my foodie partner that night! It's really yum! But I don't think Noel agrees :D