Eating out almost every weekend has opened our eyes and taste buds to different kinds of cuisines and techniques. It has been great so far but every once in a while we look for something familiar, an EATSperience that’s closer to home, Filipino food. We, Filipinos, love to eat and we love to eat with family. Are we right? We are so used to having the whole family around during different gatherings and reunions. Catching up while enjoying recipes that are passed from one generation to another. In this edition of EATSplorations, we will be sharing with you our EATSperience at a special themed buffet called “Cusina ni Lola” by Chef Tatung at Pan Pacific Manila. Cusina ni Lola or grandmother’s kitchen in English features culinary masterpieces by Chef Myke Tatung Sarthou himself. From April 17 to 21, 2017 and for only Php 1,000 nett per person, EATSperience Filipino cuisine like how grandmas used to make it. From the recipes and ingredients, down to the technique, taste the flavors of the Philippines through Cusina ni Lola. Tara, kain na tayo (let’s eat)!
Chef Michael Giovan Sarthou III or popularly known as “Chef Tatung” is both a celebrity chef, author, and culinary heritage advocate. Chef Tatung developed his love for cooking in Cebu where his grandmothers would let him help cooking in the family kitchen and the rest was history.
As an expression of his love for Filipino cuisine, Chef Tatung has written “Philippine Cookery: From Heart to Platter” and “Rice to the Occasion.” Since we, Filipinos, love and can’t live without rice, Chef Tatung wrote this recipe book that’s all about, of course, rice! Which features different recipes from plain white rice to the more complicated and flavorful rice cakes. The book is more of an experience as it aims to teach kids valuable lessons of empowerment, humility, determination, and many more while cooking rice and various dishes that feature it.
Located at the 21st floor, our dining EATSperience was complemented with a beautiful view of Roxas Boulevard, and of course, of the Manila Bay. In line with the awesome view, the staff were great too. We were greeted courteously upon arriving and they were accommodating as well. The ambiance that was set was for diners to just simply relax and enjoy good food with a great view.
Mga Pampagana (appetizers)
Our Top Pampagana Picks: Kinilaw na Tanigue (super fresh fish that’s seasoned perfectly), Lumpiang Sariwa (great balance of flavors from the veggies to the sweet sauce), Chicharon Bulaklak (light, crispy, and really sinful but amazing, even the GM of Pan Pacific Manila was crazy over it).
Aside from this crunchy, tangy, and sweet Ensaladang Lato at Kamatis, other Filipino-style salads in the buffet were Ensaladang Ampalaya at Labanos (bitter gourd and radish salad), Steamed Sweet Potato Tops with Eggplant and Okra, Salted Egg Salad, Atsarang Papaya (papaya relish), and Atsarang Sibuyas (onion relish).
A Filipino feast won’t be complete without these two superb soups! We felt like kids in a candy store with this one because we can actually choose which veggies to match with our Sinigang and Bulalo. We can’t really choose a favorite in this part of the Cusina ni Lola buffet because these two Filipino soups are just too good. What we can say is that both dishes were made from scratch, no shortcuts, that’s why both tasted extremely good! It really felt like home. Awesome stuff!
Mga Ulam (mains)
Favorites: Oxtail Kare Kare (great cook on the oxtail and the “made from scratch” peanut sauce got us eating more rice than usual), Tinuktok (creamy and super tasty because of the coconut milk and a touch of heat from the chili), Chicken Adobong Ilonggo (super fragrant, mildly salty and rich sauce), Bringhe Rice (HANDS DOWN FAVORITE! Up until now, we couldn’t count the number of times we returned to the buffet table just to get more of this. Super creamy, filling, and just oh so savory. If you love Bringhe or haven’t tried one, visit Chef Tatung’s Cusina ni Lola at Pan Pacific Manila and try this!).
Just like the soup station, we are not going to play any favorites on this one. A Filipino buffet EATSperience won’t be complete without these two. Both the Lechon Belly (super aromatic because of the lemongrass) and the Crispy Pata (fried perfectly and not greasy at all) were oozing with flavor, crispiness and tenderness.
Mga Inihaw (grilled station)
Sadly, because of the super tasty and filling mains, we weren’t able to try the freshly-grilled seafood. Maybe we need to return on any day between April 17-21 to try, agree? However, good thing that we were able to sample the Pork and Chicken BBQ, the way both were marinated reminded us of how bbq was done in our respective houses growing up. It was really nostalgic. There’s really a distinct difference between Filipino-style and American-style bbq. Ours is just sweeter and lighter because of the ketchup or tomato sauce maybe.
Pang himagas (Desserts)
To cap our Cusina ni Lola EATSperience off, we just had to visit the dessert spread. Go for the Biko Tablea to cleanse your palate. For some sweetness, never fail to get some leche flan. A Filipino feast won’t be complete without the Halo Halo. The ever famous Filipino refreshment/dessert is a staple in celebrations, buffets, and feasts because of its sweetness, color, and festive feel. The Halo Halo just brings more joy to any occasion and it’s just not complete without it.
We had a great time at the Cusina ni Lola by Chef Tatung. It really felt like we were having a feast with our relatives while enjoying our grandmothers’ specialties. From the ingredients, to the technique, and of course, the product, Chef Tatung’s interpretations of the select Filipino dishes are just perfect in celebrating the Flavors of the Philippines in no other way than paying homage to the Filipino grandmothers. Because of this EATSperience, we have had new found respect and love for how truly amazing Filipino cuisine is. If you love Filipino food or if you want to reacquaint yourself with how great it is, make sure to visit Cusina ni Lola by Chef Tatung at Pan Pacific Manila from April 17-21, 2017. That’s it for this edition of EATSplorations! We hope you enjoyed our one of a kind Filipino cuisine EATSperience. Big thanks to Chef Tatung and Pan Pacific Manila for having this special Filipino lunch buffet! ‘Till next time!
Cusina ni Lola by Chef Tatung
Pacific Lounge, 21st Floor, Pan Pacific Manila, M. Adriatico corner Gen. Malvar Streets, Malate, Manila City, Metro Manila
*For inquiries and reservations, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call +632 318 0788
*Only from April 17-21, 2017
*Only available during lunch time: 12:00nn to 1:30pm
*Php 1,000 nett per person