25 January 2014
I had arrived in Manila a few days ago, and I will chronicle my Manila eating in the next posting. But I had been struck down with a nasty bug in middle of my time here, which was extremely unfortunate and made my plans go awry…
I had made contact with the owners of Tiago restaurant before my trip, as I noticed it was one of the few stand-alone restaurants featuring haute Filipino cuisine. This is a concept I love to support, and I had planned to go in yesterday. But I would have had to crawl in my condition yesterday… So I decided to go in on my last night in Manila.
After a lengthy cab ride on the EDSA (those of you been to Manila will understand this craziness), I got to Tiago and relaxed with a glass of wine as I poured through the menu. Wow, this was gonna be a feast in any which way. I had not eaten much for the past 1.5 days, so I was game for a huge meal. When I did place my order, my server gave me a smile of “you asked for it!” Bring it on!!
The cool thing about Tiago is that just from appearance, it can be anywhere in the world from California to Catalunya. And unlike other places I have been in Manila, the service tonight was just wonderful. I’m glad they put enough focus on the front of the house, something sorely lacking in many other places in Manila.
I ordered 2 main dishes and they were voluminous… The first was the lechon, or roasted pig…
This version was roasted stuffed with garlic, onions, leeks and chillies. To be honest it was seasoned a little too lightly, especially considering my other dish, the inocuous-sounding Pinausukang chicken and pork.
Oh yeah, this was the biggie… The trotter, in its full glory, was braised in a delicious sauce. But the real star was the smoked chicken. This was uncompromisingly good chicken, full-flavoured and serious. It’s one of those chicken dishes that makes you like chicken again. Plus delicious quail eggs! I nearly killed myself finishing this dish, but it was fantastic!
Of course all of this was buffered by a service of delicious tinapa rice…
A nice rice with a hint of smoked fish to give just enough exotic flavour. This was an excellent combination. Perhaps I ordered too much for one person, but it was good eating to say the least. Solo diners are still rare in these venues it seems…and culturally, people in the Philippines (and most of Asia) dine in larger parties. But I was happy to crash the stereotype but eat like a party!
After a coffee I headed out rather happy, just as the place was filled up with happy diners. I really am heartened to see haute Filipino cuisine thrive, especially in an environment that is comfortable and with excellent service. Again, Tiago would not look out of place at all in California or Catalunya, not at all. In fact it would thrive in both of those places too.
85 Scout Fuentebella Street
Sacred Heart, Quezon City
Metro Manila, Philippines