“I don’t like it, ALAB it!” (singing to the tune of Flo Rida’s song, my jogging music)
Filipino restaurants equate to family restaurants to me. Both our families, O and I, are in a continuous search for Filipino restaurants in town. We have our own favorites yet we still welcome newbies that are worth our money. On our search, it took a while before unearthing another Filipino restaurant we are confident both our families will love. Our gastronomic experience at Alab by Chef Tatung knocked us off our feet. The day after our flaming Alab lunch, both of us raved this new restaurant by Chef Tatung to our families.
In the same way as what I did to my family, give me a chance to rave about Alab and the dishes I give my two thumbs up.
Alab or blaze in english, fiercely reintroduces classic Filipino dishes by accentuating its original flavors. Chef Myke ‘Tatung’ Sarthou divided his menu into two parts. One section is called “Hinahanap-hanap Kita,” 12 classic Filipino dishes every Filipino family would surely look out for each time they dine in a Filipino restaurant. Second section is called “O, Lumapit Ka,” new and re-imagined dishes from different regions.

The Food:

Iced Tea (Php 70) and Lemonada (Php 110)
To accompany us while waiting for our food, Iced Tea and Lemonada – dalandan, calamansi, dayap and fresh mint – served as refreshments during the summer weather lunch hour.

Hinahanap-Hanap Kita

Adobong Pula (Php 280)
Rate: 4/5

Alab makes a statement that not all adobo recipes are made with soy sauce. Adobong Pula used vinegar to stew chicken and pork meat. According to Chef Tatung, this is one of the oldest documented versions of the classic adobo. Instead of soy sauce, annatto replaces its use for color.

Lechon na Crispy Pata (Php 580)
Rate: 5/5

The crowd went wild when Lechon na Crispy Pata made a swift entrance. I guess I’m not surprised people are attracted to deadly food. Haha! Lechon na Crispy Pata wipes off your tears from a stressful week for its roasted crispy pork leg stuffed with lemongrass and leeks. Perfectly executed brittle skin covering its tender juicy meat.

Kare-Kare (Php 450)
Rate: 5/5

Kare-Kare in the house shined bright like a diamond that made everyone’s face glittered. Alab retained the classic flavors of Kare-Kare – beef trotters, tail, and tripe thickened with ground toasted rice and peanuts. What added flair is the semi-sweet bagoong served with the Kare-Kare.

O, Lumapit Ka

Tinumok (Php 150)
Rate: 5/5
First plate of Tinumok struck a 5 out of 5 rating from me in an instant. Tinumok is a composition of coconut noodles and chopped shrimp wrapped in taro leaves stewed in rich coconut cream and flavored with bagoong alamang. I sprang to big scoops of rice on my plate, fascinated with this creation of Chef Tatung.
Guinataang Monggo (Php 80)
Rate: 4/5
Whenever our helper cooks monggo at home, there is an automatic ignore button in me. I never imagined I’d be engaged to liking this Guinataang Monggo recipe. Monggo beans in a light coconut milk broth with smoked fish flakes and ampalaya leaves changed my idea of monggo. The touch of coconut milk uplifted the boring monggo I used to know.
Kalderetang Kambing (Php 445)
Rate: 4/5
Ibang iba ang dating kambing ng Alab! 
Spanish-inspired stew of goat and vegetables in rich tomato sauce thickened with liver puree. On top, Kalderetang Kambing is finished with shreds of quezo de bola.
Pianggang (Php 270)
Rate: 5/5
Pianggang nailed it! Grilled chicken in coconut milk flavored with a special Tausug spice paste made from ground fresh aromatics and burnt coconut. Tausug tribe is an ethnic group in the (Sulu) Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia. This explains the closeness of Pianggang to famous Malaysian rice dishes. I had enough, just right amount of portion, but seeing Pianggang beside me whistles back at me to spoon more.
Sugpo sa Palapa (Php 560)
Rate: 4/5
I thought my seat-mates were exaggerating as each of them passionately describe their feelings for Sugpo sa Palapa until there came my turn. Prawns in spicy palapa, a Maranao spice mix made with sakurub – a kind of shallot from Mindanao. It doesn’t end there as crab fat elevates the totality of the exquisite experience. Rice on our side of the table magically disappears after a few minutes and I blame this dish as one of the prime culprits.
Honey Lechon (Php 390)
Rate: 4/5
The party at Chef Tatung’s new baby is not yet over until you give Honey Lechon a chance to embrace your palate. Believe it or not, this comeback dish of Chef Tatung melts in your mouth because of its delicate tender pork belly slices. Roasted for 6 hours on a bed of garlic and lemongrass yet gone in 60 seconds on our side of the table.

Mga Panghimagas at Kakanin

Suman sa Lihiya (Php 130)
Rate: 4/5
I thought I couldn’t handle desserts after a long queue of dishes that filled up my tummy. It is a mistake to skip desserts at Alab, take note of that.
For traditionalists, Suman sa Lihiya is recommended. A block of heavy sticky rice on a floor of sweet coconut latik and a slice of ripe mango to wash off too much sweetness going on.
Pichi-Pichi with Quezo de Bola (Php 130)
Rate: 5/5
You’ll learn to love pichi-pichi (even more) with Chef Tatung’s Pichi-Pichi with Quezo de Bola. I didn’t feel ashamed attacking my plate of Pichi-Pichi all by myself. Soft pandan-flavored sticky cassava rice slimed with leche flan sauce and grated cheese on top. As the plate faded to emptiness rapidly, getting one more plate entered into my mind. But, but, naaahhh, stop this gluttony! Hahaha!
Tsoknut Cake (Php 110)
Rate: 4/5
Sweet and nutty sensation brought by Tsoknut Cake. Warm and moist chocolate cake covered with silky chocolate sauce and chocnut grains.
Bibingka Cheesecake (Php 150)
Rate: 5/5
Simply genius! Discovering Bibingka Cheesecake is a tour in New York and Manila in one cake. Merging the texture of NY cheesecake and holiday flavors of bibingka infused with salted egg slices explains my fancy over this dessert.
Pinoy Ice Cream (Php 210)
Rate: 5/5
On the colder side, there are three homemade ice cream flavors in Alab you wouldn’t find anywhere else. Quezo de Bola, Laing and Kamote Q are local delicacies converted in a cold tub of ice cream. Entertain your curiosity and promise me you’ll give Laing flavor a shot. Weird as it sounds, this creation lies close to matcha flavored ice cream.

The Ambiance:

A mix of industrial and Filipino interiors modernize the 2-storey restaurant. The fragrant smell from the entrance enticed me easily to look forward to lunch.
Alab houses events in their private dining and function rooms on the second floor of the establishment.
What do you think of Alab by Chef Tatung?
Share with me your thoughts! 🙂
Stay updated and Subscribe to The Food Scout for Free!
Pray, Eat and Love.
The Food Scout
Location: 67 Sct. Rallos (near Tomas Morato), Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
Operating Hours: 11:00AM-11:00PM
Contact: (+632) 364-9631
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AlabChefTatung
Budget: PHP400++

Food 9/10
Ambiance 9/10
Service 9/10
Cost 9/10
Overall 9/10