The Best Degustation Tables in Manila
Those who aren't easily impressed with gastronomy know that there's only one way to get the full measure of a fancy restaurant: the degustation menu, attempted by many, offered by few, and excelled at by fewer.
Discerning local diners have set the bar high and the country's most talented chefs are eager to show their mettle. Nothing is more challenging to a chef—and more exciting to a gourmand—than a degustation menu. These formidable cooks are given
The more spectacular degustation or tasting menus are served at chef's tables. These are areas (literal tables) usually separated from the rest of the restaurant where VIPs are treated to an up-close-and-personal appreciation of this great culinary skill. With the extra, extra special care put in these degustation dinners, chef's tables are the bench seats in the culinary world and that's what makes them the most important (not to mention the most in-demand) tables in a restaurant.
If you want to be a VIP in the dining world, book any one of the tables below:
The Bistro Group’s bigwigs are convinced by their golden boy’s star power. Executive chef Josh Boutwood has finally been awarded a gastronomic temple, where he can fully unleash his talent via a sensational degustation menu. The 10-seater bar affords each guest front-row privileges to Boutwood’s kitchen theatrics, a must
- Boutwood offers an exciting degustation menu based on colors.
- The number of courses
rangefrom 12 to 15.
Arya Residences, McKinley Parkway, Bonifacio Global City; (63) 906-234-1900
2. Mecha Uma
Despite his lack of formal training and irreverence toward classical techniques, Bruce Ricketts has earned the industry’s respect. His obscure fine dining concept in BGC is where the food scene's bad boy plays around with a mostly modern Japanese-influenced tasting menu, offering the freshest of the season, interpreted in Rickett’s famed unconventional style.
- The 10-course degustation may seem heavy on the pocketbook, but it's worth its weight in food and creativity.
- The a la carte is also a good alternative if you want to dine at Mecha Uma more often. Get the
G/F RCBC Corporate Center, 25th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City; (63) 917-855-7230
3. Gallery by Chele
Spaniard Chele Gonzalez has probably seen more of the Philippines than the typical Filipino, a feat that makes him a formidable authority on local culture and flavors. He is one of the first chefs to source and
P1,500++ to P3,500++
- The degustation menu is offered with three or five courses.
- Its fresh bar cocktail concept makes Gallery by Chele a much warmer space. The a la carte options are just as value-for-money as the degustation.
Fifth floor Clipp Center, 11th Avenue corner 39th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig; (63) 917-546-1673
4. Stvdio Lab
Starts at P3,900
- Enjoy every course like it's your last. Everything is experimental, so you might not see that dish again. Ever.
StvdioLab is backed by ace sommelier Cyril Addison, every course is best highlighted with accompanying wine. Get the wine option as much as possible.
- There are no set dates for Stvdio Lab dinners, so keep your eyes peeled for updates.
Fifth floor Clipp Center, 11th Avenue corner 39th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig; www.stvdiolab.com
5. The Tasting Room
This fine-dining establishment at Nüwa Hotel has been refreshed with a clean, crisp design and a new chef. From his regular selection to his degustation menu, Chef Frederic Thevenet stays true to his modern French style, which he brings with him from his stint at Pierre Gagnaire’s La Maison 1888 in Da Nang, Vietnam. He observes that Filipinos are actually quite open to his style of cooking, providing high rollers and discerning locals a taste of haute cuisine.
P4,588++ to P5,588+
- Chef Frederic Thevenet begins each of course with quality ingredients, so you can be sure that you're getting your money's worth.
- The degustation comes in four- or six-course sets.
- The degustation can be paired with wine for an additional P2,000 to P2,800.
Nüwa, City of Dreams Manila, Parañaque.; (02) 800-8080
Since 2014, this Little Restaurant That Could
With a DIY tasting menu, courses range between P180 to P1,250.
- Bustos regularly updates his menu. 12/10's most recent update is more
streamlined,but still follows a raw-to-cooked progression.
- 12/10 takes inspiration mostly from Japanese cuisine, but it's also influenced by Filipino and Spanish styles.
7635 Guijo Street, San Antonio Village, Makati City; (63) 915-663-2823
7. Foo'd by David Oldani
David Oldani is known all over the world for his ability to create Michelin-starred concepts for very affordable prices, and when we say affordable, we mean it: some of his menus cost less than a thousand pesos. The secret is having a system: everything in his "
P1,500 to P2,700
- Most people opt for the set meals at P800, but if you really want a taste of the flavors that earned this franchise its Michelin star, try the three degustation menus, which feature three to five courses.
featuresa more comprehensive look at Italian cuisine well beyond pizza and pasta.
Ground floor Shangri-La at The Fort, Bonifacio Global City; (02) 950-8492
8. Pepita’s Kitchen
Dedet Dela Fuente demonstrates that her talents in the kitchen extend to the front of the house, beyond her delicious and creative stuffed
- De la Fuente often comes up with themes for her dinners. Apart from her famed Hayop
naDegustation, she's designed a Richman Degustation (in honor of food personality Adam Richman) as well as a Dinner at Tiffany's ( hertake on Audrey Hepburn's Breakfast at Tiffany's).
- A meal at the De la Fuentes feels like dining in the home of an overly indulgent aunt. Her daughters are also on hand to help out with service and in entertainment.
Makati City; (63) 917-866-0662
9. Toyo Eatery
The 2018 recipient of the Miele One to Watch Award takes its cue from the local
P1,000 to P2,900
bangsilogis a crowdpleaser. The charred chili-topped combination of grilled bangusbelly and loin, spinach, and super sticky garlic rice is perhaps the best explanation of what Navarra does. Its familiar flavor profiles are tweaked to create something new.
- Nearly everything on the degustation menu is available a la carte.
The Alley, Karrivin Plaza, Chino Roces Avenue Extension, Makati City; (63) 917-720-8630
The Test Kitchen
Before Helm, Boutwood was busy flexing his muscles for his earlier degustation venue. The Test Kitchen is a reservation-only space right below The Bistro Group's mad science lab. With the intense creativity in the atmosphere, it's no surprise that the menu changes every single day. It may be The Bistro Group's practice space, but we'll be the willing guinea pigs for the flavors that
French-trained Miko Calo’s take on modern French food will surely be exciting, as Manila is already aching to see what the former L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon junior sous chef can do. A local restaurant hasn’t generated this much buzz before opening in a long time. Metronome's Instagram account promises it will open soon.
Ground floor The Grand Midori Bolanos Street, Legazpi Village, Makati
Special Mention: North Stars
While chef Robby Goco is best known for making Greek food popular (Cyma, Souv) and healthy eating universally delicious (Green Pastures), he has also made it his mission to elevate Ilocano cuisine. Guests planning to visit the historic city of Vigan can call ahead and, for a group of eight or more, Goco’s team (headed by chef Chester Delos Velas) will prepare a modern and ingenious interpretations of pinakbet, empanada, and
11 Calle Encarnacion, Vigan, Ilocos Sur. Message (63) 917-713-1694
This story originally appeared on Esquiremag.ph.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.