“Are you from New York? Or are you from Cubao?”

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Alab interior [Photo: Anton Del Castillo]
Alab interior [Photo: Anton Del Castillo]
by Ana Marie “Alu” Aran, FoodFindsAsia.com |

For Quezon City natives, this question is always met with a jovial smile or a quick grin. This is because somewhere in the Cubao area, the streets took on US state names such as New York, Boston, Oxford, Yale, even Cambridge. It was therefore, a pleasant surprise when Alab by Chef Tatung, the newest Filipino restaurant to open this month, named their signature dessert as New York Cubao Bibingka Cheesecake.  Intriguing is just the right word.

Alab by Chef Tatung, the brainchild of Chef Tatung and his partners from Modern Group of Restos, is set to be the standard bearer of what is new, current and relevant to the Filipino diners. Chef Tatung said “We hope to offer a Filipino dining experience that is more current and will identify who we are now, as a people” And the food, as well as the restaurant interiors do reflect the modern take on our local cuisine.

Ambiance & Décor

The two-level restaurant is spacious, well-lit and with ample spaces for groups to eat without feeling cramped. The first floor has dining spaces as well as the bar and a take-out counter. Local pasalubong items such as Biscocho, Uraro, Honey Glazed Pili nuts, Pili Tarts, among others are available for sale. The 2nd floor can accommodate 75 pax with adjustable sliding doors for privacy during a big function. There is also a more exclusive function room that can seat 12 people comfortably as an al fresco area good for 16 people.

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Exterior, Photo: Anton Del Castillo

True to its love of modern Filipino, the restaurant features young artists Alvin Yapan, with his giant spoon and fork installation and Anton del Castillo, with his jackstone installation.

Food

Proudly, Chef Tatung said his offering is based on the Dose-Dose (12-12) concept.  Alab offers 12 classic dishes including Crispy Pata, Kare-Kare, Morcon, and Kinilaw as well as 12 select regional dishes – reimagined and are set to become the new favorites. He asks the diners to taste his version of Pianggang, Palapa, Tinumokm Bringhe and Honey Lechon.

TINUMOK: Coconut noodles and chopped shrimp wrapped in taro leaves stewed in rich coconut cream and flavored with bagoong alamang.
TINUMOK: Coconut noodles and chopped shrimp wrapped in taro leaves stewed in rich coconut cream and flavored with bagoong alamang.
PIANGGANG: Grilled chicken cooked in coconut milk flavored with a special Tausug spice paste made from ground fresh aromatics and burnt coconut. A Tausug classic!
PIANGGANG: Grilled chicken cooked in coconut milk flavored with a special Tausug spice paste made from ground fresh aromatics and burnt coconut. A Tausug classic!
HONEY LECHON: Delicate slices of tender pork belly, roasted for 6 hours on a bed of garlic and lemongrass
HONEY LECHON: Delicate slices of tender pork belly, roasted for 6 hours on a bed of garlic and lemongrass
PALAPA : Prawns in spicy palapa, a Maranao spice mix made with sakurab-- a kind of shallot from Mindanao--and enriched with crab fat.
PALAPA : Prawns in spicy palapa, a Maranao spice mix made with sakurab– a kind of shallot from Mindanao–and enriched with crab fat.

For dessert, do try the New York Cubao Bibingka Cheesecake, Chocnut Chocolate cake and their Laing ice cream. Alab is also the only restaurant that serves fresh Tuba juice (it is non alcoholic as it is gathered before fermentation).

Alab by Chef Tatung
#67 Scout Rallos st. T. Morato, Quezon City
0915 290 1001

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Ana Marie “Alu” Aran

Alu is a partner at Courage Asia (business consultancy firm & foodservice event organizers), an adjunct faculty at Enderun Colleges and a food and lifestyle writer. She also a Contributing Editor for www.foodfindsasia.com, Managing Editor for www.dineph.com and a resource person & speaker on marketing, event management and parenting.

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