Written by Mikaela Zulueta (@kelazulueta)
Photos by Elaine Quion (@elainequion)
There’s a perverse sense of contentment in looking down on a winding road filled with red taillights stalled in traffic as you watch from your seat in TAS Roofdeck, sipping a peach sangria with a kick strong enough to surprise — though not in a bad way.
Part of it is the smug satisfaction that accompanies the comfort of waiting rush hour out. But truth be told, most of it comes from the gratification of spending the night in a place like TAS: quintessential-y “South” with a menu to match the reputation.
And really, I cannot downplay my appreciation for the crafting of their menu. From using meats that veer away from the typical in their own renditions of tapsilog (TASilog) and shawarma, to pushing dishes that take a step back from the usual Pinoy fare in general (read: no rice), TAS offers us a different, and sometimes daring take on the comfort food we’ve all become accustomed to.
From top left to right: TASilog, Adobo Nachos, Side of Fries and Mac n Cheese, Bacon Liempo skewer on Margherita Pizza, Shawarma wrap
The Jaranilla siblings describe their food as unique, but not too wild. They serve us things we’re all familiar with: a bowl of nachos, a board of skewers, but not exactly in the way that we know it. Their nachos make use of a homemade tortilla chip that comes out bread-ier and better, with an unconventional topping of adobo flakes that will change your life. And while skewers might seem right up your alley, this isn’t your typical barbecue stick.
Up until the point that I laid eyes on TAS’ sampler plate of skewers, I had successfully gone meatless for a month. All that progress flew out the window as Karina Jaranilla walked us through the variety of skewers. With two different kinds of liempo and vigan longganisa being offered, my resolve was weak. But when she got to their specialty skewers of steak salpicao and bistek tagalog, I knew I had no chance of keeping my streak. Ironically enough, while everyone on the team had different favorites, mine ended up being the chicken options, anyway.
From left to right: Pork BBQ, Bistek Tagalog, Liempo Bacon, Smoked Liempo, Chicken Teriyaki, Chicken Inasal, Beef Salpicao, Vigan Longganisa, Falafel, Calamare
But that’s not where the twists end when it comes to TAS’ skewers. While the sticks are delicious on their own, the best way to enjoy them is through the invention that jumpstarted the whole concept: TAS signature wraps. Kind of similar to a pita wrap, but also reminiscent of a calzone or maybe a hot pocket, the team behind TAS don’t worry themselves too much over defining what it is, exactly. They’d just like to see the diner feel a little playful, be a bit more adventurous with food they’ve maybe never considered together, like beef salpicao sandwiched in-between a pesto pizza.
Hearing them tell the story of how their signature dish came about in an utterly random, completely serendipitous sequence of events gives the impression that these guys don’t take themselves too seriously. Their food could be a fusion of every little culture, it could be an amalgamation of inspirations, but as long as the food is good and the customers are happy, that’s what’s important.
Third Floor, 31 Aguirre Street, BF Homes, Parañaque City