Alab by Chef Tatung: Blazing Up Filipino Cuisine to Its Well-Deserved Glory

When it comes to food and cooking, one of the quotes I truly believe in is by Yuan Mei: "Do not fuss with the natural state of the food just to show that you are a clever cook." Simple. Concise. True. 

Those words ring true in the way Chef Myke "Tatung" Sarthou executes his dishes in his latest venture along Scout Rallos called Alab. His aim is summed up well in this statement that can be found on Alab's website: "...dishing out food that is honest, unpretentious and heart-warming, but more importantly, unapologetically Filipino." Once again, it's simple, concise, and true. I like it.

Alab Filipino Restaurant by Chef Tatung

Chef Tatung's culinary view extends to Alab's interior. The two-story building's interior is simple with murals that emphasize the very definition of the restaurant's name. Alab has a few definitions, actually. It could mean blaze {hence the fiery wall art} or intense passion. 

Alab Filipino Restaurant by Chef Tatung

Our visit to Alab was a couple of days after CNN released the result of the World's Best Destination for Food poll. The Philippines placed second. If those who joined the poll have tried Chef Tatung's creations, we would have ranked no. 1. 

No cuisine will ever make me happy or give me comfort than my very own. None. From time to time, I go for Japanese, Italian, American, and French just to have a variety, but I always revert back to what I grew up with. That's just the way it is for me.

Alab Filipino Restaurant by Chef Tatung

Alab by Chef Tatung Guinataang Monggo
Guinataang Monggo  PhP 80

Monggo beans in a light coconut broth tinted with a smoky flavor courtesy of the smoked fish flakes. Chef Tatung's version is so damn delicious in all its simplicity. This can very well be my slurp of choice during rainy days or any day when I want to sooth my belly.

Alab by Chef Tatung Tinumok and Tatung's Fried Rice
Tinumok  PhP 150  /  Tatung's Fried Rice  PhP 180

Tinumok is a Bicolano dish composed of coconut noodles and shrimps wrapped in taro leaves then stewed in coconut cream, and smattered with bagoong. It's amazing!! It's so perfect with steamed white rice, and even better with Tatung's Fried Rice! Shrimps, veggies, peanuts, scrambled eggs, yellow ginger, and lemongrass all collide harmoniously in that wonderful bowl!

Alab by Chef Tatung adobong pula
Adobong Pula  PhP 280

According to Chef Tatung, this is one of the oldest documented renditions of adobo. In lieu of the usual soy sauce, annatto is used to give it color. I love it! I love that it has liver, too. It's so good any way you choose to have it. It's great with rice, on its own, or even with bread. I can joyfully sop up the sauce with a piece pan de sal. Speaking of adobo, I like the other color it comes in as well - Adobong Puti.

Alab by Chef Tatung Kare-Kare
Kare-Kare  PhP 450

This is my kind of Kare-Kare! I missed my mom terribly when I had this. This was how she used to do it. The sauce is made with ground toasted rice and peanuts. It's is thick enough without hedging into the area of being clumpy. Fantastic! Scoop a good amount on your rice along with a tender piece of beef then flavor it with the house-made sweet and salty bagoong.  

Alab by Chef Tatung Ensaladang Filipino
Ensaladang Filipino  PhP 120

If there's grilled or deep-fried fish on the table, this I can't do without. It's the perfect complement. Ensalada is a salad-cum-accoutrement; blanched local vegetables with guinamos {fish bagoong}.  

Alab by Chef Tatung Sugpo sa Palapa
Sugpo sa Palapa  PhP 560

Another thing I like about Alab is that you get to enjoy the best dishes from the different areas of the Philippines such as this one! The fresh prawns are spiced with a Maranao sauce called palapa. It's composed of crab fat with lots of sakurab {shallots found in Mindanao}. It's so damn delicious! I ate more rice than I should because of the sauce alone. 

crispy pata
Boneless Lechon na Crispy Pata  PhP 580

It was my first time to try this hybrid of a Filipino creation, and it definitely won't be the last! The Cebu lechon's flavors are juxtaposed with that of the crispy pata's. It's stuffed with lemon grass and leeks, and then seasoned to perfection. 

When I eat crispy pata, I would usually forgo the meat, and do a damning stare down with the rest of my family for the crispy skin because that's where all the good stuff is. The meat is usually touched by some flavor, but not enough for me to go crazy over it. This is not one of those crispy patas. So, so good!

No to be missed is Alab's array of desserts! Above is the Bibingka Cheesecake {PhP 140}, Tsoknut Cake {PhP 110}, Suman sa Lihiya {PhP 80}, and Pichi-Pichi with Queso de Bola {PhP 90}. I prefer the last two mentioned, especially the Pichi-Pichi!

I forgot to take a photo of the frozen treats. Those are amazing, especially the Laing Ice Cream!!! I'd prefer it to be spicier, though.

I take for granted my own cuisine because I have it four times a week, at the very least. Chef Tatung has sparked my respect for the Filipino cuisine anew. We really do have great food! I do hope that they keep the food consistently delicious.

Alab by Chef Tatung
67 Scout Rallos, Tomas Morato, Quezon City
Contact No. (+632) 962.11.76 /  (+63915) 290.10.01
Operating Hours: 11 am - 11 pm daily
Facebook: Alab Chef Tatung

Onward and Upward!


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