MANILA, Philippines – Christmas is in the air and in just a matter of hours, the holiday spirit will also be laid out on the noche buena table.
A newly-opened 2-in-1 restaurant in Ortigas Avenue, Pasig City offers balikbayans and locals festive options for the holidays and beyond, whether they may be familiar cravings from home, or home away from home.
It is the latest food business venture of celebrity chef Bruce Lim of the Asian Food Channel's "Tablescapes" fame, after Chef's Table which he opened in September 2010.
The twin restaurant offers: Hyphy's, Chef Bruce's salute to the flavors of San Francisco, from Marina to Fisherman's Wharf, Hunter's Point, Richmond District on one hand, Filipino regional flavors played up on the other.
Hyphy's Flavors of San Francisco offers visitors familiar cravings from the West coast.
"Hyphy's (hai-fee) is a word or term that originated from a rapper from the US--hyperactive, crazy. That's pretty much what I am, a happy-go-lucky kind of a guy," said Chef Bruce, who was born and raised in San Francisco.
Calling Hyphy's amusingly eccentric without inhibition, it reflects touches of family, childhood and nostalgia.
Items include the classic clam chowder, pastas, and sandwiches like the San Francisco steak sandwich with in-house baked Ciabatta bread.
It also features the calamansi tuyo pasta, an interesting dish inspired by the “tuyo” he used to sneak in to America to satisfy a nephew's food craving.
Chef Bruce admitted that it allows him to tap his playful side, not far from his TV persona.
The other half is Lutong Hinirang, Chef Bruce's playful way of paying homage to the Philippines and Filipino cuisine.
Its menu is hand-picked from his favorite dishes and recreated to suit the modern Filipino palate.
Items include baked rellenong manok, seafood cooked adobo-style and topped with garlic flakes and the binalot na laing, his own version of the Pinangat.
The binalot na laing is slow cooked in a taro leaf wrap, boiled in coconut mild and chicken stock flavored with aromatics. There's no bite at all if it’s cooked with water-grown taro leaves.
"It's pride for the Philippines which is Lutong Hinirang, no pun intended on the national anthem. It's almost kind of the best of Filipino dishes, things picked up from traveling and doing the show," the chef said. "I'm a San Francisco-born and bred kind of a guy but my heritage in Filipino food is something my grandmother instilled in me. So I wanted to have a place where people can eat San Francisco cuisine and enjoy Filipino food. They can order across a shared kitchen so its fun and a playful for people to taste two menus."
"Lutong Hinirang is classically Filipino. It's almost like a melting pot of different regions of the Philippines. I want to bring something they would want to try and enjoy,” he added.
For the holiday season, Lutong Hinirang offers a noche buena package consisting of rellenong manok, chicken malunggay pasta, dulong balls, and the chocolate torte.
Either side of this twin concept restaurant serves up the goods if you're pining for a taste of home.
Hyphy’s/Lutong Hinirang is located at the 2nd Level Robinson's Galleria Veranda (facing Ortigas Ave.). For inquiries, contact 477-7611.
LUTONG HINIRANG'S BINALOT NA LAING
salt and pepper to taste
gabi leaves (water grown)
1) Saute garlic, onions, ginger in a pan with butter oil
2) Add coconut milk. Dilute with chicken stock.
4) Transfer coconut mixture in a deeper pan.
3) Place spoonfuls of pre-cooked laing in dried gabi leaves. Fold to form parcels.
5) Cook the laing parcels in the coconut mixture. Serve.
HYPHY’S CALAMANSI TUYO PASTA
chili flakes (optional)
cheese (quezo de bola)
chili bread sticks
1) Saute onions and garlic in butter and oil.
2) Add the tuyo flakes.
3) Add calamansi juice, reduce to a syrup
4) Add in the pasta. Add coconut sugar.
5) Add calamansi zest. Add chili flakes.
6) Plate. Top with tuyo flakes and cheese.
7) Serve with chili bread sticks.