Archive for August, 2012|Monthly archive page

chef’s home – a new favorite in baguio

In places on August 27, 2012 at 3:27 pm



for those who love to order crispy catfish salad in thai restaurants (as we do), feast your eyes on this! one whole catfish, fried crisp and topped with fresh mango, tomato, cilantro, basil, and mint. perfectly dressed and seasoned. this dish has forever been reinvented in our eyes.

finally we can add another restaurant to our regular baguio portfolio. we first heard about chef’s home from our friend ginny mata who was telling us about a hole-in-the-wall thai place that was terrific. when we were up last weekend, we decided to look for it. the first thing we learned was that it’s no longer a hole in the wall. chef’s home is a nice cozy space almost right across the street from the mansion house. the small scale operations though are still apparent when you see their menu which is still just a white board on one wall.



be prepared to wait a while for your order – something like 30-40 minutes might be typical. the orders are processed per table so remember, if you can, who arrived right ahead of you. when you see them getting their food, you’re not far behind.

so we had the catfish (P580. a little pricey, but hey it was a whole fish. when you order this item you pay by fish weight), and we wanted to try one of their bestsellers so we went with the squid curry egg sauce (P250)


this dish didn’t slap me in the face as i somewhat expected it to, and i have mixed feelings about that. one the one hand the flavors were mild and subtle enough that i could taste every one. and it was very good. but on the other hand, i kinda was hoping for a curry that would fight through the cold and rain. maybe we should try this again when it’s a little moderate out and judge again.

we also tried their stir fried okra (P80)


enjoyed this one very much as well. a simple dish. sesame oil, soy sauce. crisp pork fat, garlic, onion. at this price it’s totally unskippable. we had the thai fried rice as well (P80 for a single serving)


mild enough to serve as an accompaniment to food (as opposed to being a dish unto itself) but flavorful enough to enhance.

our main unhappiness came from the restaurant’s beverage selection which was composed of softdrinks and bottled iced tea or juice. bordering on unacceptable. we think the proprietor doesn’t allow alcohol (although we were all set to bring in a bottle of riesling) on religious grounds. that’s fair enough. but a freshly brewed iced tea or fresh fruit juice would be much better with the food.

and this is what we hope we’ll find the next time we go there. and we will definitely be going back. see that menu? we intend to try every dish.

draft gastropub – love at first sight

In eating in manila on August 18, 2012 at 8:19 pm

we scored a meal at draft gastropub at the fort strip via deal grocer and as soon as the storms cleared, we were on our way. as soon as we spotted it, we knew it would be a place we would come back to again and again. it was warm and cozy, casual and open. and the breathtaking selection of beer sure didn’t hurt.

the deal fixed the dishes we could order, but we took a good hard look at the menu just the same

the first thing served was the fried camembert with pear chutney and mustard

look at that dish, what’s not to love? fried cheese. crisp on the outside, gooey on the inside. once we saw this we asked for our beers

pilsner urquell is, they say, the first pilsner in the world. from the global beer capital, the czech republic. it was fantastic. crisp with a great balance of bitter. not thin as some lesser pilsens tend to be, but with nice full flavor. easy to gulp down this one. but we were good and sipped it slowly so it made it to the next two dishes starting with chicken schnitzel and french fries.

yes, something else battered and deep fried. it’s a pub after all. we were discussing that when a dish is something this simple (or like the fried camembert), a lot of the dish’s success comes down to technique and execution. in which case, this chicken was a winner. the batter was light and perfectly crisp – not a bit of toughness or sogginess.

the other dish was fettuccine with porcini mushrooms and bacon in a carbonara sauce

also very nice. one main thing going for it was perhaps the texture of the noodles. that and the balance of flavors which, given the heaviness of the individual components, was a good thing. very toothsome. called for another beer. this time we chose murphy’s stout (P190 for a 500 ml can)

very mild in flavor, almost zero bitter. the chocolate came through quite clearly. easily a dessert beer, and rightfully enough it went well with the dessert we ordered, sticky date and toffee pudding with homemade vanilla ice cream (P220)

easily one of the best restaurant desserts we’ve had. it was not too dense and therefore not cloying. some might find it too sweet but i have a major sweet tooth so it was just fine. and together with the beer (although a good cup of coffee would also be great), it was a perfect ending to the meal.

for the deal (which included the first 3 dishes and 2 bottles of beer) we paid P795. a steal actually. a regular meal, with a couple of beers, would probably go for P700/head. not the cheapest thing, but a treat to be had now and then. just the chance to experience all those beers in an honest to goodness pub setting is worth it.