di naman talaga ako mahilig kumain. mahilig lang dumikit ang pagkain saken kaya ako lumalaki ng ganito. (excuses, excuses…:P) ganun pa man, medyo practical pa din naman ako pagdating sa pagkain. lalo na ngayong gipit dahil wala pa din kaming raise for the 3rd straight year. (nagpaparinig na lang ako sa universe. baka sakaling nakikinig siya, di gaya ng mga boss namen.) but i couldn’t let this chance of eating at a private dining place pass.
ginawa na yata naming bonding sa office ang pagkain. pag may birthday, despedida, meeting, break, graduation, o kahit nawalan lang ng kabag kagabi, may pagkain. pero napag-isip-isip namin na we needed a change of environment. so kesa naman mag-resign kami ng sabay-sabay, we thought of joining Old Manila Walks’ Big Binondo Food Wok one Saturday. kapagod pero sobrang busog. we went around Chinatown with Ivan Man Dy guiding us throughout the streets. parang gusto ko nga magpa-autograph noon kasi nakita ko siya kasama si Anthony Bourdain sa isang episode ng “No Reservations” e! hehe…
and so, after that, my officemates and i hunted for the next foodtrip. we wanted to try what Anthony Bourdain had on his list next — Bale Dutung in my own home province! unfortunately, the schedule plus the price screamed at us… kailangan siyang paghandaan. hindi pwedeng “taralets!” lang sa pagpapa-reserve ng seats dito dahil medyo masakit sa preparation at sa bulsa. nevertheless, we’re still targeting this one.
and so, finally, Car found something near and not as expensive. it could be the start of a wonderful series of private dining experiences!
Chef Tatung’s is all over the internet with varying reviews from people who wished their soup was less watery, or their fish was this or that. my simple comment is that THIS was a great experience for me. the food, the place (though some said madaming lamok. fortunately for us, we stayed indoors. even if the doors were wide open, we had few problems with mosquitoes.), the ambiance — really nice. i could be picky and say what i didn’t like but i actually didn’t mind lalo na’t mas sanay ako sa mga karinderya na naka-sando lang si kuya nagse-serve ng ulam at yung kanin ay may buhok pa minsan! LOL but it’s a guy thing, i guess.
if it weren’t for the warm lighting you could see from the open gate and the quaint little sign that read “Chef Tatung’s” i wouldn’t have thought it was a special place. what greeted us inside were the dining tables all set and the altar. i would guess Chef was buddhist or was it just for effect — i don’t know. house music was perfectly relaxing, a mix of classical, bossa, and jazz. i’m quite particular with that a bit. 🙂 we came early, around 7:30 PM so we were first on the site. nahiya lang din kami mag-i-ikot to take pictures but it was really interesting to roam around the house. i regret that we didn’t go around kasi when the other guests arrived and we were done eating, di na kami makapag-ikot to take pictures of the really nice things in the house and perhaps even in the garden. sayang!
first came the zucchini soup. nice warm bowl and dahil doon, pinagpawisan ako lalo. it wasn’t the place’s bad ventilation… though in hindsight, i should’ve sat near the electric fan. pawisin lang talaga ako. aheh! it went well with the bread they served. and the bread was really really good. we were just too shy to ask for a second basket. promise, kung mag-bake ng ganoong bread si chef for take home, papatok yun!
next was the garden salad. i didn’t know exactly what was in it but the ‘star ingredient’ was the flower included, grown straight from chef’s garden. this was really refreshing, specially after the soup served earlier. biglang umaliwalas pakiramdam ko after having this. so that was a really good sign. 🙂
the main course was next. since we were 6 in the group and they had 6 entrees, we opted to have one of each! i know isusumpa kami ni chef for doing this but we shared the entrees. we divided everything into 6 so everyone could taste the whole menu. we had just created Chef Tatung’s first ‘sampler’ plate! haha! the one that really stood out was the Australian steak. the rest of the menu included Lengua, stuffed chicken with nasi goreng, pork chop, red snapper pasta, and snapper with coconut milk and ginger. or that’s what i can remember but i don’t exactly know the names of the entrees because i let my officemates see the menu.
last item was dessert of course. it was mango cake. i’m not really an icing fan and i really liked Red Ribbon’s version but this one was really nice. i wished it were less sweet… and i surprised myself when i said that! i’m typically one who wants to go overboard with flavor… kaya ko nga pinangsa-sabaw yung gravy ng KFC eh! but maybe my tastebuds adjusted after eating here. it learned to be more sensitive to the tastes and what i really want in my food.
i didn’t get to take pictures of the entrees and the dessert. i left it to the pros in the group. 😀 but this experience was really an eye-opener but a bit of a mistake — because i know i will want to go back to this place! and i know that this will be the start of an expensive ‘hobby’! naku, naku, naku! haha… but with a start that went so well, how could it be wrong to try and sample some of the finer foods around the metro? 🙂