Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Southeast Asian Flavors Shine at Pandan Asian Cafe by Chef Tatung

Take your palate on a culinary journey of Southeast Asian flavors all in one place...

Celebrated author, restaurateur and TV personality Chef Myke "Tatung" Sarthou weaves another tasty narrative with his latest culinary venture diving deep into Southeast Asian flavors at Pandan Asian Cafe. The region's rich flavors and heritage are celebrated with that Chef Tatung touch in Quezon City's newest dining destination...

Fresh from the successful opening of his Filipino-themed restaurant late last year in Maginhawa Street (for more on Talisay The Garden Cafe, see my previous post, Nostalgic Cuisine Recreated at Talisay The Garden Cafe by Chef Tatung in Maginhawa Street), Chef Tatung is back with his newest dining concept to start the year on a high note. This time, Chef Tatung draws inspiration from his various travels in Southeast Asia recreating the varied and diverse cuisine of the region at Pandan Asian Cafe. The name of Chef Tatung's newest restaurant highlights that one ingredient common in Southeast Asian cuisine giving it a distinct fragrance and flavor. The indigenous tropical plant with its narrow leaves brings together the rich culinary heritage of the region, taking you on a Southeast Asian journey with each dish. Think of it as Quezon City's own hub for dishes from the region's Pandan belt stretching from Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Hanoi and Bangkok to Manila.

Long known for his classic Filipino dishes, Chef Tatung flexes his culinary muscles showcasing the vibrant cuisines of Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam at Pandan Asian Cafe. It's something different for Chef Tatung, and the Quezon City neighborhood is all the better for it. None of the dishes have been adapted to the local palate, all are served the way it should be for authenticity. And that's how Chef Tatung does it. Period.

Inside Pandan Asian Cafe, the spacious interiors brings the outside in with pristine white walls splashed with vibrant greens and foliage designed by Ivy Almario. Located along Scout Limbaga in Quezon City, Pandan Asian Cafe is the latest addition to the bustling neighborhood, accommodating up to 200 diners in comfort.

Refresh your palate at Pandan Asian Cafe with the sweet and soothing Cucumber Lemonade (P 110)...

...or why not have some Milk Tea with Gulaman and Pearls (P 180)?  Add a splash of color with the Pink Milk Tea (P 150) if that tickles your fancy. Other options include the Classic Lemon Iced Tea (P 110), Iced Coffee (P 110) and Iced Latte (P 110).

The lively and animated Chef Tatung takes us through Pandan Asian Cafe's varied offerings emphasizing authentic flavors using the freshest ingredients. Like all his previous and current dining concepts, Chef Tatung emphasizes fresh, real and authentic flavors. And that's what diners can expect at Pandan Asian Cafe.

Start your flavorful Southeast Asian journey with Pandan Asian Cafe's Fresh Spring Rolls (P 240) with vegetables and succulent shrimps wrapped in fresh rice paper served with a sweet and nutty peanut dip.

The Char Kuey Teow (P 380) takes you to the busy hawker lined streets of Penang with soft flat rice noodles tossed in a fiery wok with savory strips of chicken, Chinese sausages and fish cakes topped with egg, bean sprouts and spring onions. The different ingredients add their own texture and distinct notes to the dish in a flavorful weave. Cooking with high temperatures characterize most of Southeast Asian cuisine and the intense heat clearly brings out the flavors of the char kuey teow.

You can have Pandan Rice (P 50) or Garlic Rice (P 60) with your meal, but you can make it a real meal and go for Pandan Asian Cafe's Nasi Goreng (P 285), a spiced fried rice with chicken, eggs and vegetables...

...or the inventive Inasal Fried Rice (P 285) with soft and fluffy rice drizzled with rich annatto and topped with lemongrass, chicken, scrambled eggs, kalkag and diced tomatoes. The rice dishes are a meal in itself. Other equally tempting options include the Bagoong Fried Rice (P 285) and Hainanese Chicken Rice (P 180).

The Ayam Goreng (P 460) is an Indonesian fried chicken dish richly seasoned with herbs and spices served with a rich and fiery sambal sauce. The dish brings textural contrast with each bite from the juicy chicken to the crisp flour granules followed by a burst of flavor from the sambal. The sambal just ties everything together.

No Southeast Asian trip is complete without Seafood Laksa (P 440) loaded with the day's freshest catch of seafood, noodles and vegetables in a rich and creamy spiced coconut broth. Filled to the brim with seafood, fish balls and vegetables, Pandan Asian Cafe's Laksa warms both the palate and body with its deep and flavorful notes. The creamy and indulgent richness of the broth is tempered by the spices and fresh chili for just the right level of soothing heat.

Other tasty options at Pandan Asian Cafe include the Prawn Tom Yum (P 410), Seafood Mee Goreng (P 360) and the classic local noodle dish, Bam-i (P 380).

A duo of comforting local flavors were then served with the Chicken Binakol (P 380), a regional dish with tender strips of chicken simmered in coconut water infused with ginger and lemongrass for light mildly sweet delicate notes... 

...and the Kare-Kare (P 650), the traditional ox-tail and tripe stew with vegetables draped in a thick and savory sauce made from ground peanuts and thickened with toasted rice. From the homemade sambal to the kare-kare, Chef Tatung insists on doing it the right way with absolutely no short cuts.

Chef Tatung then served his Singaporean Platter with the sweet, salty and smoky Chinese style barbecued Charsiu Pork (P 490), the five-spice deep fried Lechon Macao (P 490) with ginger scallion oil and the Hainanese Chicken (P 420), a delicately poached chicken with a trio of sauces...

...followed by a sumptuous assortment of tasty bites with Fried Shrimp Rolls (P 280), Fresh Spring Rolls (P 240) and Chicken Pork Satay (P 290) with peanut sauce for a taste of Southeast Asia on a platter.

Each dish is masterfully executed and elegantly plated. And that's really no surprise, Chef Tatung is in his element right here at Pandan Asian Cafe. 

The Fried Eggplant with Minced Meat (P 340) is a savory dish with eggplant covered in a sweet and spicy chunky meat sauce with rich flavors that just pops with every bite. This dish just begs for rice, so have another bowl of Pandan Rice. Other vegetable dishes include the Braised Stuffed Tofu with Mushrooms (P 280), Kangkong Belachan (P 160) and Kailan with Oyster Sauce (P 210). 

One of the must-try dishes at Pandan Asian Cafe is the Beef Rendang (P 580), savory fork-tender beef stewed with a rich blend of spices and creamy coconut milk finished with a subtle heat for balanced notes. The richness of the dish just lingers with its unctuous mouthfeel. The use of premium beef really makes the difference in this dish, delivering bold beefy notes with that melt-in-your-mouth finish. This one's high on my list of favorites at Pandan Asian Cafe.

If you can't get enough of Pandan Asian Cafe's sambal, the Sambal Ikan (P 650) with grilled whole pomfret marinated and slathered in sambal will have you going for another bowl of Pandan Rice.

The dishes faithfully recreates the rich and diverse flavors of Southeast Asia's Pandan belt, and dining at Pandan Asian Cafe takes you there with each plate. 

For dessert, Chef Tatung lays out a tempting selection for that perfect sweet ending like the Buco Crumble (P 260), his own indulgent take on the local delicacy...

...the Sticky Rice (P 210) with sweet mango...

...and the Sizzling Bibingka (P 240) with an inventive sizzling spin.

Just pour the thick and sweet latik syrup and let it sizzle before going for a bite.

Pair your dessert with, what else, Vietnamese Style Coffee with Condensed Milk (P 160) to cap your culinary tour around Southeast Asia. Chef Tatung clearly is starting the year right, adding yet another story to his own culinary journey with Pandan Asian Cafe.

Pandan Asian Cafe is located at 76 Scout Limbaga, Tomas Morato Avenue, Quezon City or call 0917-774-8999 for inquiries.

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