People want something different once in a while. It’s inevitable. We crave for what is new because we get bored of doing or having the same, old things. This also applies to food. Chefs are constantly coming up of innovative dishes to cater to their loyal customers looking for a different tingle in their taste buds, and to differentiate themselves from other competitors as well.
A restaurant in Bonifacio Global City (BGC), Kartilya, definitely achieved that and took Filipino cuisine to the next level.
I’m sure we’ve all heard of the word “Kartilya” somewhere in our Philippine history class. The restaurant’s concept is actually inspired from the same “Kartilya ng Katipunan” or the Primer of the Katipunan that was known as the revolutionary guide of the KKK. The idea is that the store owners have their own Kartilya, which is the chef’s menu composed of heirloom recipes, that she have inherited from her mother, aunts and especially from her grandmother. Ergo, their tagline #DiningRevolution came to be.
One of the owners and the mastermind behind Kartilya’s menu is Chef Lica Ibarra. She is a successful finance sales officer and a chef. Aside from the recipes she has learned from her family, she also shared that traveling around Asia and tasting different kinds of food has given her a lot of inspiration for her cooking. She tried doing her own recipes and eventually developed an expertise in the Filipino-Asian fusion cuisine. This led her to a major opportunity—the road to MasterChef Asia.
Chef Lica was chosen to be one of the contestants of the first season of MasterChef Asia among the thousands hopeful cooks who auditioned. She ranked 9th place and was the last one to represent our country (there were three representatives who got in from the Philippines). The MasterChef journey was definitely a learning experience for Chef Lica and this equipped her to become more ready to put up a restaurant along with her partners. They finally opened Kartilya for business just this August 2016.
We were fortunate enough to have Chef Lica prepare some of Kartilya’s best-sellers for us. Here are some dishes you might want to order when you eat at the restaurant:
For starters, we have the Tostadas. It is similar to a taco, but the fillings are 100% Filipino.
The crunchy base complements the Sisig, Caldereta, and Pulled-Pork Adobo Tostodas really well.
For the main course, Kartilya Dirty Rice, Liempo Queso Fundido, Corned Beed Kansi, Nipa Hut Medley, and the Rib Eye Bistek Rice Bowl were served to us.
Kartilya Dirty Rice: Delicious enough to be eaten as it is (MUST-TRY)
Liempo Queso Fundido: well-grilled liempo served with decadent and creamy cheese (MUST TRY)
We strongly recommend that you order the Kartilya Dirty Rice and Liempo Queso Fundido. First of all, the flavor of the rice is just incredible. Its size is also really big (good for three people!) despite the cheap price. For the liempo, who knew it could be a match made in heaven with cheese? The smooth, creamy, and delicious cheese is to die for with each bite of the liempo. You might want to order two of this. Trust us.
Corned Beef Kansi: A Bacolod version of Bulalo
Nipa Hut Medley: A fiesta of vegetables as most (if not all) of the vegetables in Bahay Kubo are present
Rib Eye Bistek Ricebowl: Perfect for people on-the-go and on-a-budget without compromising contentment
And lastly, a good meal is incomplete without a scrumptious dessert!
Queso de Bola Bibingka Soufflé: The ultimate dessert Chef Lica concocted that won her a ticket to MasterChef (MUST TRY)
To cap off the meal, don’t forget to order the Soufflé. The taste is one-of-a-kind and you will surely get why this winning-entry of Chef Lica earned her a spot in MasterChef Asia.
Carioca: These warm rice flour balls with gooey filling just melts. It is nothing but perfect, along with its coconut milk dipping sauce. Available filling: White Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, and ChocNut (MUST TRY)
It was definitely a meal to remember. It became even more when we learned that everything—from taco shell, to sauces, to the dishes—are made from scratch. So even if you are not a fan of Filipino food, we bet Kartilya will change your mind.
Signature cocktail of Kartilya
Drinks are also available if you’re in need of a stress relief after a long day or you just want to catch up with your friends. They have a good selection of local wine and cocktails that are also made from scratch.
The Bugnay Fuit Wine made from incredible wild berries found only in Ilocos
Everything about Kartilya was wonderful—from the ambience, to the staff, and to the food. If you’re around the area and you want to eat something unique or you want to have a drink while enjoying good food with good company, head on to Kartilya and experience the #DiningRevolution.
(Credits to Aira Dizon for the photos. Check her out in IG: @airapatricia)