Sunday, December 6, 2015

Taza Fresh Table: Using Fresh, Organic Ingredients to Serve You the Most Amazing Food

Taza Fresh Table is a farm-to-table restaurant by Taal Vista Hotel located at The Ridge overlooking the Taal Lake and Volcano. The restaurant offers international dishes using only the best locally sourced ingredients: duck from Laguna, lobster from Batangas, mangoes from Cebu, coffee beans and black rice from Negros, and organic herbs and vegetables from Benguet, Cavite, Batangas, and the Taal Vista Hotel Garden.

With 95% of the ingredients sourced from different regions in the Philippines, you can expect organic, single-origin, and sustainable ingredients on every plate meticulously prepared by their world-class chefs. The chefs, led by Chef Jayme Natividad, take no shortcuts, serving slow-cooked smoked meats, handmade pasta, and made-from-scratch sauces to make sure you enjoy every dish.

We had the pleasure of trying out a number of Taza Fresh Table's delightful, organic creations and here are the dishes that you shouldn't miss.

At Taza Fresh Table, you can expect beautiful, homey interiors filled with cozy tables that offer a scenic view of Taal and its beautiful surroundings with tall glass walls It also has an open kitchen so that you can see the magic going on inside. The chairs are really comfortable and it's just a great place to just sit back, relax, and enjoy great food in Tagaytay.

We started off the evening enjoying 4 Mezzes - Hummus, Boquerones, Brandade, and Babaganoush - served with Flat Bread (Php 700). The flat bread was firm but soft enough to allow you to scoop up the mezze and savor rich flavors in every bite. The problem with flat bread is it can sometimes be a bit too tough - a product of overworking the dough. Taza's flat bread was perfectly done and the mild flavor of charred bread perfectly complements the burst of flavor from each mezze.

My favorite mezzes were the Boquerones and the Babaganoush. The galunggong Bouquerones was beautifully seasoned with the right balance of salty and sour. The olive oil also gave another dimension of flavor and richness to it. The Babaganoush, made from cooked eggplant, was fresh and really tasty. It's the first time I had babaganoush that has bits of mint in it giving it a great refreshing flavor that's perfect with the smoky and salty eggplant flavor. 

The Hummus (made from chickpeas) and the Brandade (mashed potatoes and sturgeon) were also quite delicious, but I just preferred the Boquerones and Babaganoush.

The House Blend Iced Tea that's infused with Pandan, Ginger, and Calamansi is quite refreshing. it's something I could drink all day! The iced tea offers a nice balance to the dishes that will come your way so make sure you get a glass of it. The ginger and pandan flavors are very pronounced so if you're not a fan of ginger then this might not be for you.

Of the two soups we had, I particularly loved the Mushroom Soup (Php 285), which features oyster, shiitake and button mushrooms. The creaminess of the soup paired with the delicate burst of mushroom flavor in each bite compelled me to keep on eating it. It was perfectly balanced and seasoned beautifully (not overly salty or creamy). The bread added some crunch to the splendid soup but I can do without it. 

The Cream of Kale and Spinach Soup (Php 250) was also quite tasty and had a milder flavor when compared to mushroom soup. If you're looking for a healthier option that's rich with the leafy flavors of spinach and kale, then this would be a better soup for you. 

The Taza Salad (Php 375) is, by far, one of the best salads that I've had in my life - beautifully crafted and refreshingly delicious. It's loaded with wild aragula, romaine, cherry tomatoes, quinoa, dried mangoes, radish, beets, microgreens drizzled with a tarragon-white wine vinaigrette. It was fresh, rich, and very vibrant with all the wonderful fresh flavors from all the fresh ingredients that's in the dish. 

The greens were crunchy and the dish as a whole had a nice balance from the sourness of the vinaigrette, the sweetness from the mangoes and beets, the bitterness from the flowers, and the wonderful juices from the cherry tomatoes. For some reason, it's so addicting and that's not a word you'd normally use for salad.

The Alugbati Salad (Php 290), on the other hand, is a notable dish that shows Chef Jayme's brilliance. The salad is packed with Alugbati, wild aragula, jicama, red onion, cherry tomatoes, pili nuts, and dressed with a salted egg-citrus vinaigrette. Alugbati is usually used for soups because of it's very slimy texture and this is the first time I've seen it made into a salad. There were doubts at first if this would be any good, but all those doubts were washed away.

Overall, the balance of flavors were there and it was surprisingly good! I liked the juiciness of the salad and the vinaigrette offers such a wonderful saltiness that balances the dish. The fired Alugbati pieces and the pili nuts offers a nice crunch for added texture. I would definitely order this salad again. 

The Pizza Sampler is a great dish to order because you can sample 4 different varieties of piza - Margherita, Salsa Verde with Pancetta, Grilled Vegetable, and Four Cheese. I loved the pizza because the crust was thin and had a nice crunch to it. The pizza was smiple but seasoned beautifully. I particularly loved the Four Cheese and Salsa Verde with Pancetta because they had a nice punch of flavor despite the simplicity. It's cheese and pancetta!

I didn't like the Grilled Vegetable salad as much as the others because I thought the flavor of the truffle oil and balsamic glace was a bit overpowering but that may be just from the slice of pizza I had. 

The Tomahawk Pork Chop (Php 790) that's served with caramelized onions, bananas, and a cauliflower mash is the dish of the night! It's the first pork dish I've tasted that has a melt-in-your-mouth tenderness. The pork was juicy, succulent, and very flavorful - just perfection in each bite. It had a nice balance of saltiness and the creaminess of the cauliflower mash balances out the fat from the pork beautifully.

This dish is the crowd favorite and you should definitely try it when you visit Taza. It's so good that you would even want to make sure the bone is wiped clean from any meat. You won't regret it! 

The Seafood Stew was another crowd favorite as it was packed with shrimp, clams, squid, and mussels served with a basket of bread. The stew itself was very delicious and packed with loads of rich flavors from the seafood that's in it. No doubt this is definitely my second favorite dish of the evening and I'm admittedly very difficult to please when it comes to seafood. 

I can find myself scooping out that stew with the bread and wiping the plate clean!

The Olive Oil Ice Cream (Php 215) is a unique savory-sweet dessert that's served with glazed Tagaytay pineapples. I have to say that the flavor of the ice cream very interesting. The ice cream itself was rich and creamy with no ice crystals (a sign of perfectly churned ice cream). When sprinkled with a bit of salt, you are able to bring out a whole new complex wave of delicious flavor from the ice cream. The pineapples add a touch more complexity to the flavors of the dish. 

It's not one of my favorite ice cream flavors, but I would say it's definitely a must-try! 

The Cannoli with Ube Ricotta and Langka Cream (Php 275) is my favorite dessert. The cylindrical crispy puff pastry was filled with rich and creamy purple yam and jackfruit pastry cream that's absolutely delicious! Each bite was met with a nice crunch from the perfectly cooked pastry and the smoothness of the cream that followed was just sublime. 

It's not overly sweet but it's definitely addicting. I would highly recommend this! 

The Peanut Butter and Jelly Tart was another crowd favorite! It was beautifully presented and very enticing. The tart itself was perfectly cooked and the chocolate, peanut butter, and watermelon jam blended beautifully in every bite. It was crunchy and it reminds you of reese peanut butter cups. As with the other dishes, it wasn't too sweet but it was exceptionally good. 

If you're looking for a dish that will bring back some amazing childhood memories, I'm sure you'll love this Peanut Butter and Jelly Tart! 

We tried a number of other dishes that night but I only featured the dishes that were either unique or that I would definitely come back for. Almost everything served to us was top-notch, but personal preferences definitely plays a part. 

If you find yourself in Taza Fresh Table, don't hesitate to try the other notable dishes such as the Mushroom and Spinach Matagliata (Php 390) or Moroccan Chicken Cous-cous (Php 525). The other foodies I was with loved these, but they just didn't stand out as much as the other dishes in my opinion. 

Food Quality: 5.0
Service Quality: -
Ambiance: 5.0

Overall Quality: 5.0

Taza Fresh Table is a restaurant that you definitely shouldn't miss when you find yourself in the mountains of Tagaytay. It's very difficult to find an organic restaurant that offers both healthy and amazingly delicious food. Taza Fresh Table does both brilliantly. For the quality of the food served, the dishes are actually quite affordable. 

With Chef Jayme Natividad at the helm, you can expect world-class dishes cooked using the best ingredients sourced from all over the Philippines. Taza Fresh Table is definitely one of the best restaurants in Tagaytay! You won't be disappointed!  

Taza Fresh Table
Kilometer 60, Aguinaldo Highway, Taal Vista Hotel, Tagaytay City
Tel: +63 (46) 413-100 or CP: 0917-809-1254

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Taza Fresh Table - Taal Vista Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored review. The author did not pay for any of the dishes mentioned in this article. This, however, does not impair the unbiased opinion of the reviewer. 

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