The dream media noche

A fantasy yearend degustation menu from some of the foremost chefs of Manila

The New Year promises to be unique with the growing hope that the pandemic is close to its end. It’s hard to think of the proper way to usher in what is potentially the post-Covid era. And if there would be an exceptional dinner based on dishes that the most prominent chefs and restaurants of 2022 could offer, here are the plates of which we imagine the feast would be composed.

Lumpiang Talong

Toyo Eatery

Photo by Magic Liwanag for Netflix

A Filipino party without lumpia is no party at all. Toyo Eatery’s Lumpiang Talong, from its special menu three years ago inspired by the four Cebuano masters featured in Netflix’s original series Street Food, is among the best spring rolls I have ever tasted. Straightforward yet so lip-smacking good, it is one of the dishes that opened my heart and palate to the pleasures of fine dining and tasting menus. While it’s been off the menu for a long time now, it will never be forgotten. Any dish from the multi-awarded restaurant, consistently included in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list, is worth the try.

Alley at Karrivin, 2316 Pasong Tamo Extension, Makati City

Toyo chef Jordy Navarra


The Snackbox


The idea, as Hapag head chefs Thirdy Dolatre and Kevin Navoa explain it, is “to get the feeling of eating a box of chocolates.” The Snackbox artfully presents Filipino fare in bite sizes. There’s Chicken Inasal Crackers inspired by their travels around the Negros region. The Champorado at Tuyo is made with black rice from Benguet, Auro dark chocolate, drizzled with dulce de leche, topped with a piece of palad dried fish. Ilocos Empanada, meanwhile, is composed of atsuete, topped with pork longganisa, pickled papaya, housemade banana ketchup, sukang Iloko aioli, and cured egg yolk. A year-old kadyos shoyu is highlighted in Kadyos Caramel Kutsinta. The bean native is mixed with koji and toasted adlai for the shoyu base, then sprinkled with coconut shavings.

Last is the Keso at Kabute Tartlet, a single bite mixed with the flavors of kesong puti mousse, smoked spring onion, oyster mushroom confit from Mouldy Blooms, sukang Iloko jelly, garnished with fresh local herbs from Kai Farms.

Katipunan Ext, 201 Katipunan Ave, Project 4, Quezon City, 1800 Metro Manila


Tindahan ni Maria

Bamba Bistro

Meatheads and those who generally aren’t big on greens, get ready to be converted! Another best on the list, chef Tina Legarda’s salad incorporates everyday home ingredients like pechay, chorizo, corn cooked in longanisa oil, salted eggs, tomatoes, kesong puti, pili nuts, chicharon, and guava vinaigrette. Colorful, full of the right textures and flavors, not to mention healthy, this magical dish is a stunner.

57 Aguirre Ave, Parañaque, 1720 Metro Manila

Bamba Bistro chef Tina Legarda




From Chef Josh Boutwood’s second Monochromatic menu, giving exciting new meaning and flavors to colors, is a dish called Red, a tartare of yearling lamb, garlic, and beetroot. Josh flaunts his culinary genius, bringing the best out of the ingredients to form a delectable dish and making sure each element plays an important role. Unbelievably good is what it is.

G/F Arya Residences Tower, 2 McKinley Pkwy, Taguig, Metro Manila

Helm chef Josh Boutwood




As a fruit of chef Jorge Mendez’s unyielding labors to perfect his craft, what once was a failed dish has become a masterpiece. An izakaya staple, the Juicy Japanese chicken wings are hung dry like Shanghai roasted duck, then stuffed with lumpish caviar and rice. On the side is a dipping sauce of rich shoyu-cured egg yolk. Biting into the wing unleashes full-bodied and refined savory and sweet flavors that land on the tongue with a thump clashing and conflagrating in the mouth. Simply oishi!

Unit 3 Level 1 Escalades East Tower, 20th Ave Cubao, Quezon City

Modān chef Jorge Mendez


Minatamis na Saging


The ice creams of Linamnam have always been a personal favorite, so much so that I keep telling its owner and head chef Don Baldosano to make his line of frozen treats. Don’s pride and joy from his current menu is the Minatamis na Saging, made with only natural sugar.

Slices of saba, aged for 45 days, are layered with ice cream of banana peel and milk, all under a thin layer of coconut ice.

The nostalgic dessert, reminiscent of saging con yelo, has an initial blandness that masks the natural sweetness of the banana, which kicks in after a second bite, finished by the light and floral flavors of the banana peel ice cream.

31 Greenvale 2, Parañaque

Linamnam chef Don Baldosano