Tiago Restaurant: The Sleek New Resto in the Metro Offering Traditional Filipino Food Fares with Highly Original and Daring Twists

When in Manila, you’ll find an assortment of restaurants and quaint cafés that offer specialty Filipino cuisine. Ours is a melting pot of cultural gastronomy with influences ranging from Spanish, Chinese, Indian and Malay-Indonesian flavors.

Located at the heart of one of the busiest and liveliest foodie hubs in the Metro is one restaurant fast proving itself to be a cut above other Filipino-centered eateries: Tiago, Progressive Filipino Cuisine.

Tiago is owned by David John Buendia, Sigrid Aragona-Buendia and multi-awarded chef, Kenneth Villaluz. The restaurant was named after the Buendias’ firstborn son, Santiago.

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Though this restaurant offers traditional Filipino dishes from different regions of the country, their offerings are far from ordinary. “Progressive” could not even begin to describe their versions of the typical Filipino dishes we love.

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Bringing with me two of my favorite people, Argel and Francis who, by the way, live and love to eat, we were curious about their menu and the many odd and unique dishes they serve. We were given a very generous sampling of Tiago’s best.

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Stuffed Pechay, Php 220

This appetizer of pork and shrimps wrapped in pechay leaves and cooked in coconut cream was certainly a party in my mouth. The different flavors didn’t overpower each other and was balanced out by the richness of the coconut cream.

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Adobo Rice, Php 178

Who doesn’t love Adobo flakes?! Tiago’s flakes were quite crunchy and downright juicy. Complemented by the chewy rice, bits of green mango were a tangy surprise to the usually sweet Pinoy Adobo. Oh, and getting way more adobo flakes for me than I should have? Guilty!

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Tinapa Rice, Php 145

This rice dish mixed with bits of tinapa and vegetables was so good, you could eat it alone. It can fill you up like you had two or three viands to eat with your rice. This dish shows us how we like to mix and mash different ingredients together. Proudly Pinoy!

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Pinausukang Chicken and Pork, Php 450

Chicken breast chops and pork soaked in juicy Mindanao Adobo sauce. Saying it again just made my mouth water. Not everything that glitters is gold and this main course surely does exemplify that fact. It stands in the middle of the table commanding your attention for you to get a bite. A few lightning-fast forkfuls later, all that was left were the pork bones.

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Sisig, Php 220

Trying out Tiago’s sisig was the first time I’ve EVER eaten sisig. Please don’t kill me. All jokes aside, their sisig was without a doubt, really good. I see this Filipino staple usually topped with raw egg and served on a sizzling plate. Tiago’s version had neither present but I don’t think I would have missed out on anything, sisig-wise. The right crunch, right tang, right taste, this first time of mine was certainly a charm. Then everyone at the table told me sisig is made up of the pig’s cheeks and ears. Huh. Doesn’t matter, it was good.

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Suman, Php 220

I absolutely loved the suman! Crunchy on the outside but soft and gooey on the inside? WINNER. This breakfast meal takes it up a notch with tablea chocolate sauce, mango slices dusted with, can you believe it, salt and pepper. I’m no chef and I’m more of a glutton than a foodie but I’ve never actually heard of and tried salt-and-pepper-mango until now. With those kinds of add-ons, you needn’t reach for the sugar bowl.

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Leche Flan, Php 78

Ah, the leche flan. Always present at every Filipino feast. And with the banquet we were having, this famous Pinoy dessert surely shouldn’t be left out. Instead of the customary saccharine custard we’re used to, we had a more rich, filling and awe-inspiring delicious treat drizzled with tablea chocolate sauce.

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One of my favorite things about Tiago’s offerings, aside of course from the taste, is that it not only gives us the best of Filipino food fare, but it also showcases our cultural traditions when it comes to eating.

1.     Their selections are meant for sharing with 2 or more people. That either means that the average Filipino heartily eats twice as much, or that we always like to eat with friends or with family.

2.     Filipinos like combining different elements to dishes, as shown by the many surprise “twists” and the manner in which the food is prepared.

3.     Filipinos are always open to new and thrilling gustatory experiences. Check out their menu and you’ll see what I mean.

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Our whole dining experience at Tiago resonates their simple idea: to give diners the total Filipino food experience. If some of the selections seem avante-garde or unknown to you, their menu supplies a brief description on the ingredients of the dishes.

At the end of our meal, Sigrid suggested we try other dishes we’re curious about. Sure, our curiosity may be boundless but our stomachs are not. The banquet we had could feed a group of ten!

The interiors of the restaurant seem suggestive that it belongs to a hip young professional, like a cool mid-twenties interior designer. The sleek black tones with wooden elements and a somewhat industrial motif make for a very chillaxed vibe. A seemingly warm glow is brought about by the lamps around and the bar’s back light.

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Some decorations on the shelf are nostalgic and merge well with the cool, nonchalant attitude that is embodied by the restaurant. Hot dishes of our Filipino favorites meant for sharing with family and friends, and an inviting ambiance about the place are warm reminders that you are home.

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Tiago puts their classic and original spin on run-of-the-mill dishes and traditional Filipino favorites which Pinoys and brothers-from-another-country alike will love. Get more than your peso’s worth with their myriad of flavorful offerings, enjoyed within a rustic, cozy environment.

Tiago has proven that the “total Filipino food experience” is more than just about the food. It’s a cultural gustatory adventure.

 

All photos taken by Francis Tawagon.

 

TIAGO, Progressive Filipino Cuisine

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Cellphone No.: +632 939 925 8015

Address: 85 Scout Fuentebella St., Sacred Heart, Quezon City

Email: tiago.cuisine@gmail.com

 

Tiago Restaurant: The Sleek New Resto in the Metro Offering Traditional Filipino Food Fares with Highly Original and Daring Twists

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