Monday, June 10, 2024

A Feast for the Eyes and Palate at TAG 4120 Art Gallery, Café and Restaurant in Tagaytay...

Vibrant colors and comforting flavors combine for a unique sensory experience down south in Tagaytay. An art gallery, café and restaurant, welcome to TAG 4120...

Former PR practitioner and passionate art collector Philip Abadicio leaves the hustle and bustle of Manila for the tranquil and serene sanctuary of Tagaytay. But he brings with him his love for art, opening an art gallery in a hidden spot surrounded by a former pineapple plantation. It wasn't long before Philip and his partners decided to open a café and restaurant to complete their "art nook and nibbles" concept. Art and comforting cuisine in a secluded tree-lined road leading to a cozy spot off the beaten path, that's one sensory experience that's just too good to pass up. Step inside for a feast for the eyes and palate at TAG 4201

The circular signage with the pineapple logo points you to the art gallery, café and restaurant down Lagusan Drive just a few minutes off the main Tagaytay Road. Officially open since May 19, TAG 4120 serves what Philip nostalgically described as "country club" cuisine with dishes like Chicken a la Kiev, sandwiches, Spanish and Japanese dishes reminiscent of Manila's popular country and sports clubs back in the day. Nothing too fancy or complicated, just comforting flavors that warms the palate complementing the featured art pieces on the walls and shelves of TAG 4120

Philip doesn't have a noted chef helming the kitchen, but an experienced cook assisted by an eager staff. But the output from the kitchen perfectly recreates the simple, no-frills style of Manila's "country club" cuisine at its heyday. And sometimes, this is just exactly what you need for a refreshing change of pace. 

The name is an acronym for Tagaytay art gallery or Tagaytay for short, with the numbers reflecting the locale's ZIP code. The pineapple logo takes inspiration from the surrounding plantation. Inside TAG 4120, the white walls are matched by the white table linens reflecting the art gallery concept. Surrounded by art, guests and diners are immersed in a visual feast before the first dish or beverage is even served. The art pieces definitely sets TAG 4120 apart from the usual dining destinations, and each piece is also for sale. 

That day, the works of David Kaufman were featured inside the main dining area...

...along with the paintings of Larry Leviste in another corner. The splashes of color from the works of David Kaufman and Larry Leviste immediately brightened up a grey and cloudy day and already TAG 4120 spins its charms teasing first your eyes. Sit back and take a longer look, and be drawn in by the colorful burst of rich hues. 

Philip's curated selections at TAG 4120 feature different artists, so each visit becomes a new visual experience. The art works along with other pieces are also on sale and if you're thinking of starting your own collection, TAG 4120 is a good place to start. But first, some libations...

Quench your thirst with the Blue Lemonade (P 80) or Peach Iced Tea (P 80), the perfect libation after a long yet leisurely drive. Other options include their Homemade Lite Iced Tea Blends like Mango Passionfruit (P 90) and Peach Lemon Mango (P 90). Alcoholic beverages are unfortunately not served at TAG 4120 due to its proximity to a school. 

A plate of complimentary fresh-baked wheat bread starts your feast at TAG 4120... the herbed butter catches your eye. Shaped like a pineapple, the logo of the art gallery, café and restaurant draws inspiration from the former pineapple farms surrounding TAG 4120

Staying true to the concept of comforting "country club" cuisine, TAG 4120 starts your feast with a refreshing Kani Salad (P 200) with succulent crab sticks and vegetables in a creamy dressing. The freshness of the salad is the perfect starter in the lingering summer heat, cooling you down with its flavorful richness. 

Using only the freshest harvest Tagaytay is known for, TAG 4120 opens up the palate with a dish from their Nihon selection of Japanese staples reminiscent of the country club scene from Manila back in the day. The flavors are fresh and clean followed by a vibrant briny sweetness from the crab sticks for the perfect start at TAG 4120

The Cream of Mushroom (P 130) is a hearty dish with its deep, earthy and nutty notes draping the palate with rich flavors like a comforting hug. Nostalgic and comforting, each sip brings a delectable play on textures topped with crunchy croutons elegantly smoothened by the grainy and velvety texture of the thick soup. TAG 4120 also offers the Cream of Summer Squash as an option. 

TAG 4120 also offers a selection of rustic pasta dishes like the Mushroom Cream Pasta (P 250), Bolognese Pasta (P 250) and Spaghetti with Pasta (P 240/P 290 with scallops by Gourmet Delicieux). But it's the Beef Stroganoff (P 280) with its bold beefy notes and earthy hints from the mushrooms on fettucine coated with a rich and mildly tart sauce with that cheesy punch that just pulls all the stops on nostalgic flavors. Served with a fresh baked slice of baguette, the pasta selections at TAG 4120 presents tasty options to fit your mood or craving. 

Then, there's the Beef Lengua (P 475) served with mashed potatoes. The timeless dish just takes you back to simpler times with its traditional and familiar flavors. Each bite brings multiple layers of flavors from the tender beef tongue to the mushrooms and the rich sauce. The buttery and silky smooth mashed potatoes is the perfect side. Each order from their La Comida menu also includes steamed rice making it a real and hearty meal. Other options include the Spanish Style Mechado (P 450) and Callos (P 450) for more of that nostalgic throwback. 

One of the many staples of Manila's country and sports clubs to this day is the ubiquitous tempura and TAG 4120's homage to the timeless classic hits all the right notes. The Shrimp Tempura (P 275 with Plain Rice/P 375 with Japanese Fried Rice) is delicately crisp, with each bite draping the palate with a briny and succulent richness. 

Make it a real meal with the Japanese Fried Rice option at TAG 4120. Other Japanese dishes served at TAG 4120 include the Chicken Teriyaki (P 275 with Plain Rice/P 375 with Japanese Fried Rice). 

The one dish that probably defines "country club" cuisine best is Chicken A La Kiev (P 320) paired with mashed potatoes and vegetables. And they do a classic rendition at TAG 4120. Crisp on the outside with its layer of crunchy breading and juicy inside with tender chicken and butter, the Chicken A La Kiev brings both textural contrasts and indulgent richness to the table for a sumptuous meal.

Remember the first time you sliced through your Chicken A La Kiev? And your amazement as the plate slowly fills up with golden yellow butter adding an indulgent savory richness to everything and anything it touched? You can relive the moment at TAG 4120. Inspired by classic French cuisine and served in the royal Russian courts, Chicken A La Kiev is similar to the traditional Cordon Bleu with a stick of butter instead of ham and cheese. The supporting cast of vegetables and mashed potatoes complete the dish. The mashed potatoes at TAG 4120 deserve a special mention. Silky smooth and buttery, the mashed potatoes pair well with many of the dishes served at TAG 4120 like the Beef Lengua

Finding Chicken A La Kiev in any menu today may be quite a challenge. But you'll find it TAG 4120, recreated exceptionally well. And your usual country or sports club. And it's good to see this dish again. 

TAG 4120 then impresses with another signature main course, the TAG 4120 Steak (P 950/800g). Using Batangas Beef Prime Rib, the TAG 4120 Steak brings a festive vibe to the table a beautifully grilled slab of beef paired with roasted mushrooms, garlic and mashed potatoes and garnished with parsley for both color and flavor. 

Known for their beef, TAG 4120 showcases one of the province's pride masterfully executed and served on a warm plate. The local Batangas beef brings rich and deep flavors enhanced by the special seasonings of TAG 4120. The layers of fat add even more intense savory notes for that buttery finish. It's easy to overcook resulting in a tougher bite but TAG 4120 manages to finish it well for flavorful bites. It may not be as buttery or fork-tender with a melt in your mouth texture but it delivers solid flavors. The roasted mushrooms, vegetables and mashed potatoes completes the medley of flavorful notes in a grand rendition of "country club" cuisine. 

Like the splash of colors from the different artworks of featured artists on its walls, TAG 4120 brings its own decadent palette of indulgent hues to the table for dessert. The tri-colored Purple, White and Gold (P 250) is a sinful layered dessert in a glass with leche flan topped with macapuno and ube ice cream for a colorful trifecta of comforting local flavors. As you dig deeper into the glass, the varying levels of sweetness teases the palate with its play on comfortingly familiar flavors. That's how you end a sumptuous feast at TAG 4120. You can also opt for the classic all-time fave Banana Split (P 240) reminiscent of the country club vibe. 

And what better way to end a meal down south in Tagaytay than with a cup of freshly brewed coffee. The French Press Coffee (P 120) soothes the palate while preparing your mind and body for the drive back home. It also provides some much needed clarity as you view the different artworks at TAG 4120 one last time. 

From classic Japanese food staples to pasta, Beef Lengua, Chicken A La Kiev and the impressive TAG 4120 Steak, the newest dining destination down south takes you back in time with its lavish recreation of country club fare simply executed without the fancy frills. And sometimes it's comforting cuisine like this that we all need for a refreshing change. 

Before heading home, make a quick pass on the various art-related items for sale...

...or some local products for a taste of Tagaytay at home. 

An art gallery, café and restaurant all in one place makes this spot a special find in Tagaytay. Feeding the eyes and the palate becomes a memorable sensory experience after a long drive. For Philip and his partners, this is home. Make this your own personal sanctuary and space on your next drive down Tagaytay, and enjoy classic "country club" cuisine for a culinary journey back in time. See you at TAG 4120...

Tag 4120 is located at Lagusan Drive, Tolentino West, Tagaytay City 4120. You can also visit their FB Page and IG Feed at and for more information and updates or call 0920 926 4120 for inquiries. 

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