Monday, August 29, 2011

Chef's Table: Fifth and Sixth Courses, Main Course and Dessert

Chinese style steamed lapu-lapu on a bed of filipino ube mash topped with pechay

 The main course is a delectable array of traditional Filipino Favorites. One after the other, Binagoongang Baboy, Corned Pork, Kare-Kare, Prawn Aligue My Way, Chill-A-Fino, and Tortang Talong, were dispatched from the chefs' kitchen in a steady stream after the last empty pasta plate was taken from the table.

Binagoongang Baboy
Soft and crispy pork belly sauteed in shrimp paste sauce served with grilled egplant

Corned Pork
It surprised me how despite the fact that I thought I 've already had my fill of food after the pasta dishes, I still managed to eat sizeable servings of the main dishes. Among the pork dishes that I was most interested in was the Corned Pork, which is "creamy laing topped with soft pork strips served with tinapa rice," its impressive plating only heightening my interest. My favorite among the main courses though is the Chill-A-Fino, a steamed fillet of the eponymous Lapu-lapu (a beautiful fish named after one of our earliest heroes) is steamed and enthroned on mashed ube. I have always loved ube halaya as a sweet and creamy dessert. I have however, never had ube made savory like mashed potatoes, which the mashed ube tasted a lot like. Come to think of it, why not? Ube (purple yam), being a tuber like the potato.

(Every Filipino family has a relative who makes the best version of this favorite Filipino dessert, in mine, it's my Tita Luz, my mother's eldest sibling.) 

Kare Kare
Soft ox tail  chunks drenched with creamy peanut sauce served with eggplant caviar
Prawn Aligue My Way
Prawns on a bed of sotanghon flavored with aligue sauce
 wrapped in banana leaf, 
oven baked to perfection

Tortang Talong
Chef's Table's version of the classic tortang talong 
enhanced with salted eggs
Topping off this generous generous meal are desserts made with native Filipino fruits, jackfruit, banana, mango, and coconut. Mirroring the "Filipino cuisine with a soul" theme that runs through the courses before them, the desserts offer a refreshingly new yet comfortingly familiar flavor to them.

Mango Cheese Cake
A rich and creamy cheesecake topped with fresh mangoes in butterscotch sauce
Biko with Calamansi Cream Sauce
Filipino rice and coconut cream pudding paired with a sweet and tangy calamansi cream sauce
Langka Creme Brulee
A classic custard dessert with an all Filipino candied jackfruit
If instead of or on top of dessert, you are in the mood for some alcohol, Chef's Table also offers cocktails that are designed to complement your meal. They too, have surprising combinations and equally quirky names, like, quite notably, the NCR (stands for "No one Can Run" and not National Capital Region as you might expect) which is described as "(a) drink for the brave to try; fusion of brandy, tequila, gin, lambanog and chili extract balanced with orange and mango juice."

Buko Pie Martini
Our take on a classic buko pie twisted in Chef's Table style

The choices in the menu at the Chef's Table may seem overwhelming and choosing can get a bit tricky. But the great thing about this place is that the diner is welcome if not encouraged to talk to the staff and even the chefs on duty to help decide on a meal that will satisfy a craving or two. This openness reflects even on the interior of the entire restaurant, most especially the kitchen which exudes an easy-going, what you see is what you get kind of vibe that contributes to a deeper appreciation of the food created in it.

Chef's Table is located at Infinity Tower, 10th Avenue corner 25th Street, The Fort. Visit its website at

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