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Lifestyle

Chef Tatung cooks up a 10-course feast at Lore

SLICE OF LIFE - Ching M. Alano - The Philippine Star
Chef Tatung cooks up a 10-course feast at Lore
Three foodie friends and a Filipino fine-dining restaurant: Chef Tatung Sarthou is flanked by partners, restaurateur George Pua and Jackson Go of the Vikings Group, shown here with Lore’s 10-course tasting menu at its opening recently.
WALTER BOLLOZOS

YouTube celebrity chef, award-winning author, and passionate heritage food advocate Tatung Sarthou never fails to amuse and amaze us with his wide variety of simple, go-to recipes that come straight from his heart to the platter, spiced up with heartwarming stories of food and his childhood.

And now, he invites us yet again to his table — and into his life — as he cooks up a storm at Lore, the newest kid on the restaurant block of Bonifacio High Street, Bonifacio Global City.

Proudly filipino fine dining

“This is not my first restaurant venture, but it’s my first with George Pua, award-winning entrepreneur with a string of ventures and restaurants in his name, and Jackson Go of the Vikings Group,” relates chef Tatung as we settle into a cozy corner of the exquisite, native-inspired fine-dining restaurant where a wall on the story of fire greets guests at the entrance. “It’s simply a three-way partnership of friends who accidentally came together, bonded by a common passion for good food.”

He declares, “We hope that Lore, which comes from the word ‘folklore,’ can be a platform wherein we’re able to tell the story of Filipino cuisine to a larger audience from an anthropological and historical perspective. We want to use Lore to create a deeper narrative of Filipino food that not just talks about recipes but also about the entire community that produces it.”

Lore’s native-inspired interiors are a visual delight.

Food with a history

Chef Tatung gives us a sneak peek at Lore’s kitchen: “We’re doing very traditional Filipino dishes, some of which are lesser known or were popular in the 1930s-1940s, but have gone out of style. We’re trying to update or replicate them for the modern diner, like our Mariscos con Salsa Verde (seafood stew in green sauce), which was popular at the turn of the century in Pampanga, as well as dishes from other regions. We have dishes that use chocolate as part of the sauce, a recipe from Pura Kalaw’s cookbook published in Spanish in 1918. Some dishes are from Binondo, so it’s really an interesting interplay of different dishes from different generations and localities.”

So, sit tight and enjoy this rare culinary journey as chef Tatung transports us back to the past elegantly told through his 10-course degustation menu that’s bound to lure food lovers to Lore.

We start off with Sari-saring Palaman at Tinapay  (assorted spreads and breads), dipping our freshly baked pandesal in four different spreads: chicken galantine topped with raisin jam, chicken liver pate, calamansi mostarda (candied fruit in mustard syrup), and tinapa butter.

We catch an invigorating whiff of briny seawater as we bite into the Kinilaw made of raw tuna and sea urchin with pickled pineapple and sweet potato strings. “I remember as a boy, we would go to the beach with our baon of boiled kamote and banana, and buy kinilaw from the vendors who would sell it in old Nescafé bottles,” chef Tatung fondly recalls.

Then we take a trip to Chinatown with Camaron Relyeno, fried prawn stuffed with sausage wrapped in caul fat infused with 5-spice powder and sitting on a sauce made of haw flakes, the favorite childhood Chinese red candy shaped like a host.

Now comes a fresh take on an old favorite. Lumpia Fresca is made of shrimp, crabmeat, and turnip peeking through a tender blanket of squid ink crepe served with white garlic sauce and dots of cilantro gel.

The next dish leaps straight out of the old Pampanga kitchen brimming with cherished memories. Mariscos con Salsa Verde is a stunning duet of smoked hamachi and seared scallops served with green purée made of spinach, green tomatoes, and almonds.

Then comes another double treat: Pato con Salsa Tsokolate, a duck duo served with tablea-infused sauce, just the way chocolate was used in the 18th century, with a side of grilled corn salsa.

Now it’s time to cleanse our palate from all that indulgence with Sorbetes, a refreshing sorbet made of fruits of the season.

Having rested our palate for a while, we then get a glorious taste of Christmas on a plate. Bringhe is made of coconut-infused adlai grains topped with homemade jamon de Bulacan and seared foie gras, and garnished with clam foam.

For the penultimate dish, we have Moros y Kristiano, slow-braised short ribs in black and white coconut sauces served with pickled eggplants. The Tausog-style black sauce is made by burning the coconut into charcoal and lending flavor with aromatic spices.

Happy tummy, full heart

With a happy tummy and a full heart, we cap our little night of degustation on a sweet note: Mango Jubilee, a cloud-like sponge cake drenched in Tres Leches and served with flambéed mango, cooked before our eyes, lemon sabayon, and vanilla ice cream.

Of course, this is just a sampling; the menu will change every now and then to constantly surprise and delight guests.

As we wash it all down with a refreshing strawberry concoction, we ask George Pua, the heart and soul behind such successful restaurants as Rico’s Lechon, Ogawa Traditional Japanese Restaurant, Thai BBQ, and KPub: Why a Filipino fine-dining restaurant?

“Because there was none in the country and we wanted to create our own niche market,” George replies. “Every time we had VIP/foreign guests and they wanted fine Filipino food, we couldn’t think of a place to bring them to. Now there’s such a place.”

And there’s no better place to be than at chef Tatung’s table because he feeds not only your stomach but your soul as well!

* * *

Lore Chef Tatung, a contemporary Filipino fine-dining restaurant, is located on the 3rd level of One Bonifacio High Street Mall, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. A five-course meal is at P2,600+, a seven-course meal at P4,000+ for pescatarian and P3,600+ for Surf & Turf while a 10-course costs P4,800+. Call 0977-8049888 or 88044739 for reservations. Visit loremanila.com, Instagram @lore.manila.

TATUNG SARTHOU

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