Taking advantage of the holidays, we took a short out of town trip to Antipolo to try a new restaurant I had heard about from a friend of mine. The place is called Tahanan Bistro and is part of the home of furniture maker and sculptor Benji Reyes. It took us about 45 minutes to get there on a Sunday evening from Kapitolyo, Pasig. It’s fairly easy to get to, just use Waze and you should be fine.
There is no sign outside the restaurant but it’s fairly obvious that you’ve reached your destination. Here’s what the entrance looks like:
Upon entering, you are requested to remove your shoes. The whole place is floored in polished and warm old wood so walking around barefoot is comfortable. The restaurant seats up to 32 and you need to have a reservation to dine there. No walk in. Also, they don’t have credit card facilities at the moment so be sure to bring cash.
The restaurant is is open on all sides, although it is roofed, with a very high ceiling. The great ventilation and the elevation of Antipolo makes for a cool dining experience without the need for air conditioning although there are some electric fans to reinforce the breeze. All the tables and chairs are made by the owner using wood salvaged from old houses. Lighting is subdued and the tastefully chosen music when we were there consisted of early to mid 20th Century American standards. Although high up in the hills, the view of the city is mostly obscured although you can get a glimpse of it through the surrounding trees.
The menu consists of 3 choices of set meals of 5 dishes. The cost is P 1200.00 inclusive of VAT and service charge. The only additional costs you need to pay for are the drinks. For wine lovers, corkage is waived for the time being as they do not yet serve alcohol. They do have stemware although if you are drinking something serious, you might want to bring your own.
The menu I chose was called Balayong. The first course was a pumpkin soup served in a tiny cup. This soup was common to all the menus and you could have as much of it as you want. All menus also come with a refreshing drink of lemongrass, pandan and muscovado.
The second course was a Caesar salad but with baboy damo tapa flakes and tuyo.
The main course was agnolotti stuffed with chicken adobo.
This was followed by a pre-dessert of Fuji apple spheres with ricotta.
And finally, for dessert, cassava cake.
Aside from a slightly too salty main course, I found the food to be quite good. The chef, Kevin Tuason, takes local ingredients and introduces them in measured portions to western dishes. It’s not a particularly ambitious menu but it is well-executed and the marriage of ingredients to technique makes sense. The plan is for the menu to change every 3 months or so and for the Christmas holidays, they plan to introduce a family-style menu. The service was also very good, quick and pleasant, and the servers know the dishes and can explain them to you.
After dinner, we were offered a tour of the house which we eagerly accepted. We were brought to the showroom where all the models of the chairs as well as other furniture were on display. We were encouraged to try them out.
We were then shown another room where antique radios, electric fans, and other items were on display for sale.
Finally, we went out into the garden to check out the Koi pond which had some enormous fish in it. There is also a smaller fishpond at the entrance.
The whole tour took about 30 minutes so if you take 2 hours for the meal, plan to spend about 2.5 to 3 hours.
I highly recommend a visit to Tahanan Bistro. It’s not too far from the city, the ambience is outstanding and the food is good. Plus you get to see (and maybe purchase) some lovely sculptural furniture.
Tahanan Bistro is located at 22 Loresville Drv., Lores Farm Subdv., Brgy. San Roque, Antipolo City. Tel 0925 880 1487