Friday, November 7, 2014

Welcome to Tiago!

Tiago
Being foodies, Mike and I are always on the quest for the best restaurants in the metro. Eating has proven to be a great way to bond - whether it be with your significant other, family members, or friends. Sure, there had been times when we'd leave a restaurant unsatisfied, but more than anything, it's been real fun discovering new places and trying out new dishes with this one.

Last week was no exception. From our visit to this cool Persian restaurant in Maginhawa, our next stop was Tiago in Tomas Morato.


Tiago
Tiago opened about a year ago offering progressive Filipino cuisine, which the owners define as traditional Filipino dishes with an upgrade. I know traditional dishes are called "traditional" for a reason - because these dishes have been cooked in a certain way for a very long time now, passed on from generation to generation. But I happen to believe that everything evolves, even those "traditional dishes." We may not notice it immediately, or it may not be as evident as atoms in constant motion or people growing old, but if there's anything I've learned in philo, it's this: "the only thing that is constant is change." And that this change should be celebrated. I mean, we can't expect different results if we keep doing the same things over and over, right? So yeah, as people's tastes evolve, food should evolve, too.

Which is why I admire people who are not afraid to cross the line and really do things differently, like Tiago's Chef Kenneth Villaluz. Even though his travels helped him learn (and maybe even perfect) the signature dishes/specialties of the different regions in the Philippines, he didn't stop at that. Instead, he developed these recipes to create his own versions, and even won awards for some of them.
Tiago
More people that should be recognized for the success of Tiago would be David and Sigrid, who named the restaurant after their first-born, Santiago. David studied at PSID and is the man behind the design of the restaurant, while Sigrid handles more of the marketing and creative aspect of it.
Tiago
As you may notice, the look and feel of Tiago is different from other establishments. Sigrid called it "organized clutter" and I completely agree with that definition. It's like there's no theme, but there is a theme. Get it? The shelf contains random vintage items - books, an old radio, a sketch, empty photo frames, a carabao figurine, and a globe - all of which belongs to David's lolo.
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The lighting fixtures hang down from pipes; the seats are a mix of leather and plastic; the walls are made of bricks on one side, with an unfinished cement look on the other; but for some strange reason, it all works together.
Tiago
"People who love to eat are always the best people." Here's Sigrid's personal contribution to the overall look of the place - chalk lettering. She actually offers design and layout services of sorts, so if you're looking for someone to do your invites, visit her page Booked Prints! ;)
Tiago
She's also the one who designed the menus! The people behind this restaurant are definitely a talented bunch. What's even more amazing is that the idea for Tiago actually started from a random drinking session. See, drinking's not such a bad thing after all. ;)
Tiago
Speaking of drinking (see what I did there?), their food is not the only progressive thing on the menu, but their drinks are upgraded, as well. For instance, they added some cinnamon to the usual mango banana shake to make it more flavorful and sweet; for the green mango shake, they simply rim the glass with salt and hola! You have a mangorita! Haha!

Mango Banana with Cinnamon Shake (P95) | Salted Green Mango Shake (P85)
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If you want to try something more different, Sigrid recommends the Melon and Cheese Shake, too.

The Stuffed Pechay (P279) was a great way to start the meal. It's a delicious mix of pork, shrimps, tinapa, & peanuts wrapped in pechay, cooked in coconut cream.
Tiago
Next, we have Tiago's Nachos (P225). When the menu said nachos, I immediately thought of corn/tortilla chips that is usually dipped in cheese and tomato salsa. Well - surprise, surprise - they changed it up, too! They instead make use of flour tortillas, which they top with adobo bits, mango salsa, and sour cream. The combination of flavors and the different textures in this dish makes it a winner in my book! This is something I'm certain kids will love!
Tiago
But if you're looking for something more sinful, go for their version of gambas, the Shrimps in Taba ng Talangka (P365). Just a little tip though, eat this in moderation. I would suggest sharing it with a friend or two, or three, as crab fat is known to cause high-blood pressure. It will be hard (believe me, I know) but please, do try to control yourself with this one. ;)
Tiago
Another Filipino favorite that they made their own is the Bicol Express (P480). They deconstructed it by combining slow roasted pork shoulder with coconut cream, chili, and Vigan longganisa. Imagine - lechon kawali in gata - I don't know about you, but for me, that's hitting two birds with one stone!
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Also, who would've thought Vigan longganisa would taste so good mixed with gata? I definitely didn't!
Tiago
And finally, one of their most popular offerings - the Pinausukang Chicken and Pork Adobo (P480). Here, the meat is smoked for 3 to 4 hours to make it as tender and as flavorful as possible. The sweet Mindanao adobo sauce reminds me so much of home (my mom cooks a similar dish often) and the quail eggs are a great bonus.
Tiago
I can already see my dad falling for this dish. And it's so affordable, too, considering how long it takes to prepare.
Tiago
All their dishes are meant for sharing, but single orders are available for lunch on weekdays. So if you're planning to go solo, this is something you should check out.

And to end the night on a sweet note, Mike and I shared a plate of their award-winning Leche Flan (P78).  It's coconut cream leche flan with tablea chocolate sauce and sweetened saba. It kind of reminds me of creme brulee, with its creamy, melts-in-your-mouth goodness, less the caramelized sugar on top. A small, yet heavy treat meant to satisfy your sweet tooth. Yum!
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Here we are with Sigrid and David, the owners of Tiago. See you guys again soon! ;)
Tiago
Tiago is located at #85 Scout Fuentabella Street, Tomas Morato, Quezon City.
For reservations, contact them at (02) 668-4240 / 998-7482 or (0999) 429-6747.
They're open for lunch from 11am to 2pm daily.
Dinner is from 6pm to 11pm but extends until 2am on Fridays and Saturdays.
For more info and updates, like their Facebook page!
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Happy eating! :)

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