Bistek bulalo and other Filipino food with a twist at Dekada (GMA News Online)

Tinapang Tahong Rebusado

(This feature was published in GMA News Online last March 23, 2016)

“What’s a good place to eat?”

I’m getting used to being asked that question by my acquaintances, friends, and even visiting relatives from abroad. I have suggested date places, hole-in-the-wall establishments, and everything in between. But when asked about good Filipino restaurants, my answers would be the usual popular bets. Now, I have something new to say.

Discovering historic Filipino food

I’m pretty impressed with Dekada’s twist on Filipino cuisine. The establishment has been around for a few years now, serving historic Filipino food, which was made true to its name ever since Chef Niño Laus revamped the heritage restaurant’s menu in 2015.

According to the chef consultant, “Sinubukan namin gawin yung authentic dishes ng mga favorite heroes natin, which are based on facts and research from different food historians.”

What’s interesting about Dekada is that you’ll find traditional Filipino food components with the chef’s unique spin applied to the recipes. Months of research and development went into the well-curated menu that features significant dishes based on Philippine history and some of its noteworthy figures. There are dishes inspired by the palates of Jose Rizal and Marcelo H. Del Pilar, among others. “You get a brief history of the Philippines through the visuals [in the menu] and through your food,” said the chef, who is famous for his style of fusion cuisine.

Read the rest of the article HERE.

Pastry + Cocktail = The Perfect Paire (

(This feature was published in last December 28, 2011)

It’s the season to go out and celebrate, and there is no better time to indulge to your heart’s content than this holiday season. I am so pleased to share my most recent discovery, which is the only restaurant in the metro that highlights pastry and cocktail pairings. Yes, there is such a thing. Just head toPaire and see for yourself.

I found out that young entrepreneurs—and sisters—Kat and Abby Nantes, who are both twentysomething, were the ones who established and opened Paire just last November. Kat has a mobile bar business so she takes care of the drinks, while Abby manages the kitchen as she took up culinary arts and learned more about making pastries through self-study.

As I stepped inside the restaurant, my eyes immediately went to the colorful chairs that especially stood out amidst the white walls and tables. “We would like to emphasize the colors of the food and the cocktails,” Kat explains why they chose plain white as the dominant color. The orders of the diners would easily stand out from the white tables that serve as blank canvases for the pastry and cocktail masterpieces.

I thought that the place was very simple and elegant, yet there was some sort of playful vibe to it because of the mismatched and multi-colored chairs. The bar and kitchen areas were open, and I was able to see the chef prepare our lunch feast.

Pairings for every palate

Paire is the ideal spot for those who crave for pastries, cocktails, or even both. Their menu is a no-brainer as it features different kinds of pairings that range from sweet to savory, although I spied more sweet treats there. One of the bestsellers is called Class A (P300), which includes an almond slice with whipped cream and topped with a piece of peanut brittle, and then complemented with an amaretto sour cocktail. The dessert was delicious enough on its own, but the cocktail counteracted its sweetness and I thought that the flavors were such a good contrast. It made me more excited to taste the other pairings.

<Read the rest of the article HERE>

Let’s Eat at Makan Makan (

(This piece was featured in the Metro section of last September 26, 2011)

People usually go to the Manila Ocean Park complex to get a glimpse of the Oceanarium and not necessarily do a food trip. Although there are a number of restaurants inside the area, there is one place that stood out for me—Makan Makan Asian Food Village.

The unique thing about this place is its hawker-style set-up, which is just like the ones found in other Asian countries. There’s a section for eggs, for roast meat, and many more. But instead of guests going from stall to stall, waiters usher them to a table and give them a menu to order from. It took me a while to choose from the wide selection of dishes, as the restaurant offers specialties from the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, China, and Western cuisine as well.

I found out that “makan makan” is a Malaysian term that translates to “kain” or “to eat,” and that’s what I did—I ate like there’s no tomorrow. I was tempted to do an Asian feast, but I decided to try a couple of starters first to sample the restaurant’s flavors.

The Roti Prata (P120) was a no-brainer for me. It is said to be one of Singapore’s favorite appetizers, and actually, mine as well. The Indian flat bread was warm and soft, and its accompanying curry dip was so tasty that I asked for another serving of it.

My dinner companion decided to order another appetizer—the Oyster Omelet (P160). This egg dish was topped with fresh oysters and stir-fried spring onions, and I thought it had an unusual gummy texture that took some getting used to. The omelet came with some chili dip, which gave it more zing.

I started to feel full already but I made room for the main course since I wanted to taste the restaurant’s bestsellers, one of which is the Char Kway Teow (P160), which is a stir-fried rice noodle dish in sweet soya sauce…

<Read the rest of the article HERE.>