A piece of Chef Tatung’s home: Talisay the Garden Café

A piece of Chef Tatung’s home: Talisay the Garden Café

Chef Tatung brings his childhood, his travels, and his many other experiences to his home-away-from-home in Maginhawa.

Chef Myke “Tatung” Sarthou probably summed up Talisay the Garden Café best: it reflects “our family’s memories of growing up in Talisay, Cebu.” He spoke of Sunday feasts made from scratch, and is something different from what everyone else in Talisay was having when he lived there.

This is your welcome sign.

The cool thing about this Talisay is that it feels like home—or rather, a cross between a modern home with a garden and a fine dining restaurant in the city.

The main restaurant area with a view of…
… the garden.

Located in Diliman’s famous Maginhawa Street, Talisay the Garden Café was once a typical 60’s suburban Manila home: a simple one- or two-storey house with a garden that would be considered massive by today’s standards.

A more “private” area decorated with paintings

Taking this as their canvas, Chef Myke and his brother Jomi turned the rundown house into what I can only describe as a cross between a pseudo glasshouse with a garden and a modern fine-dining resto. Most of the restaurant has glass for walls, which lets you see their garden in its entirety.

White dominates the space, while paintings picked out by both Chef Tatung and Jomi accentuate the walls. The entrance is unassuming—like walking towards a friend’s house—though the cursive sign saying “Talisay” tells you you’ll be in for a treat.


Paella Mixta. A classic Filipino paella

Food at Talisay is Filipino regional cuisine made simple. No gimmicks like wildcard ingredients or elaborate presentations; just clean plating of classic Filipino fares like their paella mixta, a Filipino-style paella made with organic tinawon rice with sofrito and seafood stock topped with chicken, seafood, and chorizo.

Lumpia Fresca. Fresh lumpia with peanut sauce in a tri-color presentation. Those are crepes, by the way, and not lumpia wrappers.

They also serve a mean chicken pianggang, a dish made by the Tausugs for special occasions. It’s grilled chicken in a black curry sauce with a blend of spices and char-burned coconut meat that we suggest you call ahead of time to order if you want a taste.

A classic comfort food from the region: molo soup.

The best thing about their menu, apart from its simplicity, is that you’re not restricted to specific pairings. You can mix and match dishes from their menu without fear of flavors clashing with each other. You’ll also be glad to know everything is made in-house, including their popular sourdough bread (yes, they bake their own bread).


You have a selection of fresh fruit shakes (ripe mango, green mango, or watermelon), a traditional sago’t gulaman, or freshly-made four seasons juice made with seasonal fruits. For me, I’d like another glass of their refreshing Talisay Lemonada (citrus juice with lemon, lime, and calamansi infused with fresh mint and basil).

The basics
About Php1,200 (USD24) for two
44 Maginhawa Street, UP Village, Diliman, Quezon City
(02) 8293-9077, 0919 877 6321
@TalisayQC on Instagram

Get there. Ride a bus bound for Commonwealth and asked to be dropped off at the National Housing Authority or Maharlika Street. Alternatively, you can take the MRT to Quezon Avenue Station and ride a jeep headed for UP Diliman before getting off at Maharlika Street. Walk along Maharlika until you see a shed where tricycles are parked. Hop on one and tell them to drop you off at 44 Maginhawa Street.

Unearthing the restaurant that loves the planet

Unearthing the restaurant that loves the planet

Earth Kitchen is not the first to do all organic, all local, sustainable cooking, but it’s among the most successful ones, and we want to come back to for more.

Built on three words that define them more than their cuisine, Earth Kitchen makes sure that what they serve is healthy (100% organic produce), local (all of their produce are sourced from local indigenous farms under the Got Heart Foundation), and sustainable (seasonal menu to fully utilize the best ingredients).

It looks like a greenhouse, but it’s not as warm as one. Very earthy and welcoming, indeed.

Step through the revolving doors of Earth Kitchen and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a greenhouse in the middle of the city—sans the heat. Earth tones is the game, melding well with upcycled wooden tables made from palochina, wooden chairs made by local artisans from Rizal, in door plants, and yellow lighting.

You can relax here before you have your meal. No food allowed in this area, though. 😉

There’s a conference room across the hall and an art gallery up on the second floor you can access through a glass door in the far left, but by far the best feature of Earth Kitchen is its garden, which you can see glimpses of from the dining hall.

A mini kubo that’s about a storey above the street is a pleasurable place to hang out before of after a meal. No food is allowed in it.


The menu is a combination of Asian fare with inspiration from Chef JR Tani’s travels. It’s all organic yet still full of flavor, which means everything you’ll have here is guilt-free. Almost every dietary restriction may be accommodated so long as you give a heads-up.

Succulent, savory – bursting with flavor. All without any additives or preservatives.

A favorite for us is the beef kebab. It’s a juicy skewer of bite-size chunks of beef ribs that have been marinated in a secret sauce for at least 24 hours. Accompanying this savory skewer is a refreshing saucer of tzatziki and grilled veggies on a stick. You can have it served with a tortilla wrap, but this date night meal is best enjoyed on a bed of Ifugao rice pilaf.

We’ll gladly have this for lunch any day of the week, whether at Earth Kitchen or in our office. Yes, they deliver.

Another hard-to-resist item is the watermelon & rocket salad. Yes, watermelon in a salad and not in your dessert. The pop you get from biting into the sweet watermelon refreshes the arugula and lettuce with homemade kesong puti, pili nuts, and a homemade balsamic vinaigrette. It’s great for lunch, whether for here or to go.


A good way of getting kids into veggies: their fresh shrimp spring rolls with hoisin sauce.

No sodas here because why would you drink sodas with healthy cooking? What you do get are fresh juice mixes, freshly-squeezed ripe mango, dalandan, or calamansi juice, shakes, or locally-made, ready-to-drink Lick Iced Tea.

The basics
Php1,220 (USD23) for two persons
Lot 10 B-10 Katipunan Ave. Ext., White Plains, Quezon City
11 am to 2 pm, 5 pm to 8 pm daily
@EarthKitchenPH on Facebook and Instagram

Photos and words by Andrew Del Rosario

The revelation of coco brewed coffee

The revelation of coco brewed coffee

Yes, Latitude Bean+Bar in Malate, Manila cold brews coffee with coconut water… and then some.

The brew in question.

As weird as it sounds, yes, the idea does work. Let coarse-ground coffee brew in coconut water at least overnight and you’ll get a naturally sweet, little-to-no-acid coffee that even someone who isn’t a fan of coffee will like.

And it’s something you can enjoy in the middle of Malate at Latitude Bean+Bar. Why Latitude? “It’s a term used in navigation, and can mean to be in the middle of something,” says Natalie Ong, one of the owners of the specialty coffee shop.

Sit here with a glass of coco brew and a grilled cheese sandwich and you’re good.

The quaint coffee shop is located one lot away from the corner of Remedios and Pilar Hidalgo Lim in the City of Manila, and is oddly (yet satisfyingly) quiet despite being a city block away from Taft Avenue, one of the busiest streets in the metro.

You’ll find it hard to miss this blue wall… or that shelf.

It’s not one of those hidden coffee shops where it’s a “blink and you’ll miss it” sort of situation since it pops out from the greys of the city: the blue walls and the kaleidoscope logo are hard to miss. Even the simple, octagonal shelf stands out as you drive by, calling on to you for a stare or order a cup of coffee.


A “simple” grilled cheese sandwich, with fries and a tomato sauce dip on the side.

They’re not big on food like most cafes, but their mushroom grilled cheese sandwich is quite a treat. The toasted slices of sourdough bread hold itself together as you bite into the savory mix of melted cheese (mozzarella and cheddar) and dried shiitake mushrooms. Take the flavors to the next level by dipping it in the complimentary tomato sauce (Natalie’s recipe) and you get a zing that cuts some of the savoriness, balancing out the flavors.

Munch on these as much as you like.

If you’re there for a quick pitstop, study session, or to simply relax for the afternoon, a bowl of their crispy nori chips will hit the spot. It’s a bowl of crispy potato chips generously dusted with their in-house nori powder blend that has just the right amount of umami to keep you digging for more.


Yes, that’s Natalie enjoying Latitude’s coco brew.

This is where Latitude shines. A sip of their coco brew is a welcome departure for people who have trouble finding that right balance between the bitterness of coffee and turning the drink into blackened sugar water. Cold brew coffee is already sweeter than black, but the coconut water adds a level of sweetness and you will never get that familiar finish with any sugar substitute.

Dusk at the top, dawn at the bottom; hence the name.

If you’re not feeling up for a cup/glass of coffee, their Dusk Till Dawn will surely perk you up. It’s a mix of strawberry lemonade (with the syrup done in-house) and blue tea (tea made with blue butterfly pea) that’s sweet, sour, and refreshing in all the right ways. Give it a stir and it changes color, or let it sit as it is and get a different flavor as you go deeper into the glass with your reusable straw.

The basics
Php350 (about USD7) per person for one drink and a snack
1851 Pilar Hidalgo Lim cor. Remedios Sts., Malate, Manila
11am to 8pm daily
@latitudebeanbar on Facebook and Instagram

Fishpen to table: J&A Fishpen Resort and Restaurant

Fishpen to table: J&A Fishpen Resort and Restaurant

It’s the seafood place in Camiguin, an institution that should be in your Camiguin itinerary.

As an island province, Camiguin will always bring in the freshest of catches from the sea. While most restaurants can serve you good seafood, there is a place in Camiguin that even locals from the other side of the island would flock to: J&A Fishpen Resort and Restaurant.

There’s the “traditional” seafood resto look.

It’s one of those places we like to call an institution, i.e. something that’s consistently been there since time immemorial. In the case of J&A, they’ve always been the go-to for the best-cooked seafood on the island. Of course, it helps that they’re sitting on the surface of the Taguines lagoon, with some of the island’s best clams ready for the taking.

And then, there’s this: a couple of over-water “cottages” with panoramic views of Taguines Lagoon.

The views you’ll get while you eat are both relaxing and amazing. You’ll feel like you’re on a big boat out in the middle of the sea. It also doesn’t feel bad to have access to the island’s first zip line to date.


Their signature catch: fresh lapis or shellfish, cultured right in the lagoon. This one is adobo, but it can go in a sinigang or tinola.
It’s simple, yes, but fried malasugue (a local fish) tastes better because of how fresh it is.
Also, nothing says fresh quite like fresh kinilaw made with malasugue.

This is clearly where J&A Fishpen shines. Sitting on a lagoon that’s full of lapis (a clam cultured right in the lagoon) and being able to get the freshest catch from the sea, their seafood is on a different level. They’ve got live fish pens to get their fish as fresh as possible. Make sure you try out their “Catch a Fish, Will Cook It Free” promo.


If simple drinks don’t soothe your thirst, there’s always this: a palayok full of sinigang na malasugue.
They also make a mean sisig, which surprisingly goes well with fresh coconut juice or coconut shake.

Drinks at J&A are quite simple. They have a selection of fruit juices that are either fresh or those in cans, shakes, and beer. Fresh coconuts are the way to go, though, since it adds to the whole fresh-from-the-sea vibe.

The basics
Php800 (USD16) for two people
Taguines Lagoon, Benoni, Mahinog, Camiguin

SkyJet Airlines has direct flights from Manila to Camiguin 5 times weekly.

Recipe alert! Anting-anting ni Malvar by Kalel Demetrio

Recipe alert! Anting-anting ni Malvar by Kalel Demetrio

Celebrated liquid chef (mixologist) Kalel Demetrio teaches us how to make one of his Batangas-themed concoctions. Read and learn it too.

Dry ice optional. Photo by Daniel Soriano

Anting-anting ni Malvar (Malvar’s amulet) is a drink that represents Batangas with ingredients coming from all over the province. It’s an easy citrusy drink with a tinge of spiciness in it, and we love it.

The ingredients

  • 60 ml dalandan (sour orange) juice
  • 15ml Sampinit lambanog liqueur
  • 45ml Sirena dry gin
  • 5g fresh turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon of Agimat ng badboy (jigsaw pepper honey)
  • A sprig of burnt rosemary
  • 1 drop of herbed saline
  • 20ml rosemary syrup

The procedure

  1. Muddle the fresh turmeric in a tin shaker until the juices are released.
  2. Put in the rest of the ingredients in the shaker and stir.
  3. Add ice, shake, and strain into a glass.


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