Friday, December 21, 2012

Chef Tatung at Acacia Estate

Two years ago, I met Chef Myke Tatung. He’s a happy and friendly man who, in my books, bakes the yummiest breads in town. He used to hold private dinners in his home, first doing this every Friday nights only and later extending to the weekends. His menu changes every week and every time I look forward to his announcement over Facebook. What began as a hush hush secret among food lovers the news about Chef Myke’s place spread like wildfire. People were talking about it. Couples would have their romantic dates there. Families would enjoy a delicious evening at Chef Myke’s place as well.

Fast forward to a few months ago, Chef Myke opened his new restaurant at Acacia Estate. Given that Taguig is quickly turning into a highly commercialized area with a number of good restaurants here and there, it was just perfect timing and it indeed made perfect sense that Chef Tatung’s Restaurant was born.

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Chef Tatung has been serving a wide-range of cuisines however for his restaurant he focused on our local Filipino dishes. One evening, Paul and I had dinner at Chef Tatung’s Restaurant together with a couple of fellow food bloggers. Our meal began with Chef Tatung’s Chicken Sisig Lettuce Wrap (Php. 330). This is a perfect play of good vs. evil. Killer chicken sisig wrapped with crisp lettuce. I love the smoky flavor of the chicken sisig topped with crunchy taro chips. It’s served with Chef’s very own Mango Sauce and I urge you to drizzle this on top before taking a bite.

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We moved on to another crowd favorite – the Shrimp and Vegetable Okoy (Php. 160). I love Okoy and this one was made extra special with a generous amount of shrimp and strips of vegetables added into it. Unlike the regular okoy wherein the shells of the tiny shrimps could hurt your gums, Chef Tatung ensured that his version of the Okoy was deep-fried to perfection giving you a crispy piece that goes perfectly well with some native vinegar.

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Here’s an example of the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover or a dish by its name.” When we were served the Pokipoki Gratin (Php. 340) we all had blank looks as to what this dish consists of. Well it does look really good with the golden yellow cheese covering the ramekin. According to Chef Tatung, Pokipoki is an Ilocano classic dish and he modernized it by turning it into a very addicting gratin.

Imagine layers of grilled eggplant mixed with egg, tomatoes and the yummiest Vigan longganisa. Each bite will entice your taste buds to something smokey and truly yummy. I loved this one so much that I always end up finishing off this dish on two dining occasions already.

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We also had the Honey Glazed Slow-Roasted Lechon (Php. 450). With the name alone, you’re given an idea that it’s a very good dish. Who can ever say no to lechon? Most especially when the pork was roasted for 6 hours and drizzled with sweet honey-soy sauce. I had this twice and on both occasions, all my dining companions gave this their two thumbs up!

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It’s no secret that I’m such a fan of fried rice and Chef Tatung has one of the best in town! Must try Tatung’s Fried Rice (Php. 210) which is pretty much similar to the famous Yang Chow Fried Rice only its cooked with shrimps, veggies, peanuts (!), egg and spring onions. The flavor was quite mild which perfectly goes well with all the tasty dishes on the menu.

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Trust me when I tell you to please leave room for dessert. I love how Chef Myke made sure that every guest will have a great dining experience from start to end. While some restaurants may have fantastic entrees, their dessert normally end up being a major disappointment. At Chef Tatung’s, you have to try their Pichi Pichi with Queso de Bola (Php. 100). Paul and I used to sell pichi pichi and having had tasted a lot of pichi pichis in the market, this is definitely the king of all pichi pichis. Pandan-flavored casavva dumplings covered with creamy custard sauce and covered with queso de bola brulee. The winner are those slightly toasted parts caused by, what I’m guessing, the torching that took place before the dish was served to us.

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I also love the Warm Tsoknut Chocolate Cake (Php. 100) is your localized lava cake made with everyone’s favorite tsoknut and dark chocolate sauce. A visit to Chef Tatung’s Restaurant will surely delight your taste buds to something so familiar yet something new too. It’s a good way of giving a modern take to the dishes that has been passed on for generations.

If you want to be able to try a number of Chef Tatung’s specialties, do take part of their Sunday Lunch Buffet where Chef Myke even roasts a whole Cebu lechon right outside the restaurant. Buffet rate is only Php. 650 per head for adults and Php. 350 for kids. This is also inclusive of unlimited iced tea or sago’t gulaman drink.

photo credit: Paul Ang

Chef Tatung is located at Molave Lane, Acacia Estates, Brgy. Ususan, Taguig City. For reservations, call 661-7703.

Directions on how to get there: Driving along C-5 (southbound) go to the service road at the right as you pass McKinley Hills. There’s a tunnel where you have to make a left and then turn right. Follow the sign that says “Acacia Estate”. As you enter the village, go straight and turn right at Molave Lane (you’ll see a wooden signage and the name of Chef Tatung’s restaurant telling you to turn right).

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