Monday, January 14, 2013

Chef Tatung Restaurant in Taguig - A Filipino Cuisine Experience

Reinventing the Filipino Palate With Chef Tatung

by Cityzen | M.C. Jose
 For the longest time, I’ve always approached Filipino cuisine with caution. It was never really in my family’s culture to dine at restaurants that specialize in Filipino food because we already had it so good at home thanks to our home cook’s excellent skills. However, I felt a little more excited about this little adventure upon seeing some photos of Chef Tatung’s work because everything looked so delicious and different from what I was used to at home.


Getting to the restaurant is already an adventure in itself. I went further South than I usually do and even made a few wrong turns along the way. As soon as you see Acacia Estates, count six humps and turn right on the last one—that’s where Chef Tatung is.
Save this: driving directions and location map
Though he has always been interested in the culinary arts, Myke “Tatung” Sarthou did not really foresee becoming a chef by occupation. However, family members and close friends who enjoyed the delicious meals he would prepare for them urged him to hold private dinners in his home. Eventually, he accepted an invitation to put up a larger-scale restaurant in the heart of Taguig City.
“It was never purely Filipino cuisine before,”  Sarthou shares. “I only used to have it as a set menu during Fridays, but people kept asking for it on other days, so I ended up going in that direction.”
Inside Chef Tatung
There’s never a dull moment in Chef Tatung’s life. There are times when he handles a full house because people do come by the hundreds. “I used to run out of space in my old place,” he laughs. “I’d have to set up tables in the parking areas, which meant that the customers would end up parking their vehicles in my neighbors’ spaces. I’m glad that I had the opportunity to relocate here. It’s a similar set-up, so the story isn’t lost. Plus, there’s a wow factor!”
Interior details
Like with most restaurants, we started with an appetizer. Chef Tatung’s Chicken Sisig Wraps (P330) is the best-selling dish in this category. It’s a healthier alternative to your typical sisig dish as it consists of minced grilled chicken, onions and chili served wrapped in lettuce leaves to be topped with a special mango sauce. Despite its simplistic appearance, Sarthou told us that quite a bit of preparation goes into making this dish. It is well worth the money and the labor, though; the chicken is absolutely divine and grilled to perfection—the mango sauce just adds to the magic.
Chicken Sisig Wraps
 
Our vegetable dish was the delicious Pokipoki Gratin (P340). This dish is a more city-savvy version of the local Ilocos dish—eggplant mixed with Vigan longganisa, egg, tomatoes and slathered with carabao mozzarella. It’s very friendly for diners who aren’t really into vegetables because you’ll feel like you’re eating a longganisa torte more than an eggplant one. I love how the various ingredients blended so well together to create a flavor that would remind some people of home.
Pokipoki Gratin
 
We were then served the Palabok Negra (P330), a modern take on the traditional palabok dish. Rice noodles are tossed in squid ink sauce and topped with fish flakes, tofu, squid rings and shrimp and garnished with spring onions and quail eggs. I’ve never been a big fan of palabok (it has always tasted rather odd to me), but I thought this one alright—probably because it is seafood-based and quite the conversation piece. Chef Tatung referred to this as the “date dish”; I call it “the test of true friendship”. If you order this dish, be careful when you decide to smile!
Palabok Negra
We had the Honey Glazed Slow-Roasted Lechon (P520), a lechon dish that consists of tender pork belly slices that are slow-roasted for six hours before being served with garlic and lemongrass. I was relieved by this dish because I finally discovered a form of lechon that I could actually picture myself eating—depressing videos from grade school have dissuaded me from eating lechon in its typical whole pig appearance. Also, honey goes really well with pork dishes, so this is something that I can see many people enjoying.
Honey Glazed Slow-Roasted Lechon
 
In my opinion, however, nothing was more mouth-watering than the spectacular Lengua Adobo (P410). It is ox tongue cooked in the Filipino way with vinegar, soy sauce and roasted garlic. I cannot get over how perfect this dish is—the beef is perfectly soft and flavourful without being too overwhelming. Chef Tatung offers three other adobo dishes, which can be enjoyed platter-style alongside the delicious lengua for P1,200.
Lengua Adobo
 
What makes Chef Tatung stand out from other Filipino restaurants is that they are also pushing their desserts as part of their must-eat food items. As soon as you taste their Pichi-Pichi with Quezo de Bola (P100), you’ll want to kiss other variants goodbye because this pichi-pichi has a unique texture that is just so appealing to one’s sense of taste. You’ll really have to drop by to try it because I cannot even begin to explain why I find it so fantastic. Their Warm Tsoknut Chocolate Cake (P100) is equally delightful. Fans of chocolate cake will easily fall in love with this dish because it is soft, moist and not that sweet. Finally, we had the Banana-Buko Sundae, Chef Tatung’s legitimate Filipino sundae served with coconut milk ice cream, bananas, leche flan and otap flakes.
Pichi-Pichi with Quezo de Bola
 
 
Warm Tsoknut Chocolate Cake
 
Banana-Buko Sundae
Chef Tatung has opened so many doors for Filipino cuisine—just because these are flavors that we are used to doesn’t mean we should not experiment with different ingredients and textures. Let Chef Tatung take your tastebuds on a little adventure. You’ll find that his restaurant is a great place to be.
Establishment Info
Chef Tatung
Cuisine
Filipino
Budget
P500 - P999

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