Myke Tatung Sarthou is known to the general public as the no-nonsense chef who has a knack for keeping things ‘simpol’ in the kitchen. Through videos of him on YouTube, Facebook, and TikTok, the cookbook author empowered homemakers and novice cooks around the world.
But those familiar with the Cebuano chef’s lifelong affinity for food, the restaurants he has opened and the awards his cookbook has garnered know that he also has extensive knowledge of food history and complex cooking techniques. .
It is this side that he shows in his excellent tasting at Tatung’s private dinners at his Spanish-inspired home in Antipolo. Eating there is discovering little-known Filipino ingredients and dishes, finding new flavors, and at the same time enjoying truly delicious, sophisticated and satisfying food.
Wanting to cater to more diners, especially the younger crowd, expats and families, Chef Tatung recently opened another tasting restaurant, but this time at the more accessible One Bonifacio High Street Mall in Taguig. He calls it Lore, which means knowledge gained through study or experience. The restaurant is an embodiment of the chef’s years of research and practice. It’s also his first collaboration with serial restaurateur George Pua (Rico’s Lechon, Ogawa Traditional Japanese Restaurant, Thai BBQ, Modern China and more) and Vikings managing director Jackson Go.
Lore is a celebration of how much Philippine culinary history has evolved over the centuries, says the affable Mr. Sarthou. It’s also a statement, one that says Filipino cuisine is not just about pre-colonial or indigenous cuisine, but also a celebration of influences: from the West, China, Japan, Latin America to the nation’s collective palate.
“We cannot rule out all those influences. you can not say ito lang ang Philippine cuisine—sing,” he says. The chef is often invited to showcase Filipino cuisine in different parts of the world, and when abroad, he often doesn’t have access to many Filipino ingredients. “So how do you tell the story of the cuisine? Filipino without relying on our local ingredients? That’s what Lore is all about.”
While his two private dinners at Antipolo and Lore have the same goal: to shed light on Filipino cuisine, the dishes he serves at Antipolo are more homey. In Lore, it is allowed to be more playful and creative. And since you have access to premium ingredients and your partners allow you to buy in larger quantities, you can raise the quality of the dishes and offer them at a good price.
The dishes are nostalgic – the flavors are so familiar but presented in very innovative ways. For example, the homemade breads are served with a delicate line of spreads: a chicken galantine and raisin jam, a chicken liver pâté, calamansi mostarda and tinapa butter.
the kinilaosays the chef, it goes back to his memories of when his family bought all kinds of kinilao of vendors in his hometown, Cebu. Lore’s version of this appetizer is layered with raw tuna, sea urchin, and pickled pineapple. To balance the acidity of the kinilaw, crispy sweet potato strips are served as a side dish.
An appetizer that will remind diners of Chinatown trips of yesteryear is the Camaron Relyeno, a shrimp-stuffed pork sausage, served with a sauce made from haw flakes, a childhood favorite sweet.
You won’t guess the work of art before you is a Fresh Lumpia until you finally take a bite of the prawns, crabmeat and turnip layer on a soft blanket of squid ink crepe. Drizzle it with the sweet garlic sauce and it’s sure to revive your favorite lumpiang sariwa regards.
Chef Tatung also has a version of an old recipe from Sulipan, Pampanga. He calls it Mariscos con Sarsa Verde: smoked hamachi and grilled scallops served with a “pipián sauce” made of spinach, green tomatoes and almonds. We guarantee that you will want to savor every bite.
Duck with Tsokolate Sauce is a dish inspired by a recipe by Philippine beauty queen, feminist and journalist Purificación “Pura” Villanueva Kalaw. It’s duck done two ways, slow-roasted and shredded, and served with a plank-infused sauce and a side of grilled corn salsa. Apparently, chocolate had already been used as a savory ingredient in the Philippines since the 18th century.
We were served palate-cleansing strawberry sorbets before delving into what Chef Tatung calls “Christmas on a Plate”: coconut-infused adlai berries topped with house-made Bulacan ham and seared foie gras. Breaking up the rich and delicate flavors is the clam foam garnish that adds a hint of savory flavor to the dish. Did it feel like Christmas? You’d have to be a Scrooge not to.
A finale worth tasting is the Moros y Kristianos, slow-braised beef short ribs with two types of coconut sauces, one with burnt coconut and the other with white coconut sauce, followed by the familiar flavors and textures of a classic mango jubilee dessert, a cloud-shaped cake bathed in tres leches and served with flambéed mango, lemon zabayon and vanilla ice cream.
Lore offers his tasting in sets of five, seven and ten times. For parties you can also serve suckling pig for those who come in a group. The feeling of contentment is a big part of the Filipino dining experience, and Chef Tatung guarantees diners that both their stomachs and hearts will feel full when they come to Lore.
Lore is located at 3rd Level One Bonifacio High Street Mall 5th Avenue corner 28th Street Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City. It is open Monday through Sunday for lunch (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) and dinner (6 p.m. to 11 p.m.). For reservations and inquiries please text or call 09778049888, email [email protected] Follow @Lore.Manila on Instagram.