Tagaytay nowadays doesn’t look or feel like the Tagaytay of old. Although, Tagaytay is still a very popular destination for anyone looking for good cool weather and an incredible food trip. Never mind the gas and toll fees, we all know that quick visit to Tagaytay and what awaits there is always worth it.
Just last January 30, TAZA Fresh Table at Taal Vista Hotel opened its doors to the public. It is a welcome addition to the diversity of restaurants in the country’s 2nd summer capital.
The name Tāza is derived from the Arabic word Taaza which means “fresh”. This new establishment offers international cuisine using fresh and local produce from different regions in the country.
TAZA Fresh Table used to be the main dining hall of Taal Vista Hotel located at The Ridge with glass walls overlooking the scenic Taal Lake and Volcano giving you that distinct one-with-nature feel.
The setting of TAZA Fresh Table tries to invoke a cozy and welcoming country garden vibe in clean white walls adorned with attractive and colorful plants.
There’s an open kitchen where guests can see how the food is being handled. See how Chef Jamie and the other chefs work hand in hand in preparing no-shortcut meals.
Now that you have an idea of how beautiful TAZA Fresh Table is, you’re already probably curious to know how good their dishes are. After all, as we all say, “The proof of the pudding is in the tasting” (pun intended!)
One of a kind dishes at TAZA Fresh Table
You can expect a variety of dishes with incredible fare such as duck from Laguna, lobster from Batangas, mangoes from Cebu, coffee beans and black rice from Negros Island and organic herbs and vegetables from Benguet, Cavite, Batangas and from their very own garden in Taal Vista Hotel.
Starting with this pretty fermented Bignay Fizz to pair with an assortment of mezze.
These small dishes served with a flat bread are perfect to munch on while waiting for the main course.
Starter set choice of 4 items at Php700.00.
Boquerones, Tabbouleh, Grilled Corn with Mint and Cheese, Babaganoush, Olive Tapenade, Spinach with Bacon Jam, Brandade and Sauteed Chicken Liver and Garlic Confit.
My 3 favorites: Tabbouleh, Sauteed Chicken Liver and Garlic Confit and Spinach with Bacon Jam.
Kale Salad (Php325.00)
I love Kale especially when it is made into chips. So seeing this on TAZA Fresh Table’s menu, made me excited. Using organic Kale with red onions, sliced cherry tomatoes and beets sprinkled with roasted cashew nuts and Pato queso de bola in Tagaytay pineapple-dalandan dressing was a hit – even for those not fond of veggies. The kale was delightfully fresh and crisp, the beets had a clean taste and the dressing had the right acidity and sweetness. Perfect for health conscious individuals.
Cream of Kale and Spinach Soup (Php250.00)
Another healthy option from TAZA Fresh Table. This soup warmed our tummies, perfectly complimenting the contrasting cool weather that Tagaytay is known for. See that bread stick? It’s flaky and crispy almost like a freshly baked croissant. Dip it into the bowl of soup, bite and repeat until you’ve consumed everything. It’s addicting!
Pappardelle Cacio e Pepe (Php380.00)
This was also a crowd favorite. The simplicity of the ingredients used and its wonderful taste won everyone’s hearts (and tummies). Seasoned with just thyme, 3 kinds of peppercorns and parmesan cheese, this is guaranteed to satisfy one’s palate.
Duck and Mushroom Lasagna (Php450.00)
Wow! Pulled duck from Laguna with 3 kinds of mushroom: oyster, shiitake and button in bechamel sauce has a nice and solid flavor. Duck usually overpowers a dish’s accompanying ingredients but mixing it with mushrooms and bechamel sauce evens out the general taste of this TAZA Fresh Table specialty. Tasty and well thought out. Amazing!
Tomahawk Pork Chop (Php650.00)
One huge slab of beautifully cooked pork chop with caramelized onions and plantains giving this TAZA Fresh Table dish that special Jamaican vibe. The pork chop sits on a bed of cauliflower mash in pork jus that made it unbelievably flavorful. The meat was juicy and tender and the fat was rendered oh so beautifully. Smother your meat with sauce together with the cauli mash, onions and a slice of the plantain to enjoy all the wonderful elements – salty, sweet and creamy – in one bite! Chef Jamie nailed the doneness of this creation, too! The steak looked way too big but I was surprised when one order of this dish was almost finished by just 1 person. This was the star of the day!
Iloilo Prawns (Php1,100.00)
Not your average grilled prawn dish. Yes, it was also grilled but apart from that, the prawns were popped in the oven, too, for an even finish. Smothered with Romesco sauce for that garlicky flavor and topped with bread crumbs for a pleasant crunch. Pair it with their really soft and fluffy black rice which are grown on the rich fertile soil of Mount Kanlaon, Negros Occidental. The black rice is cooked in chicken broth and fluffed-up with olive oil. Another must try!
Our TAZA Fresh Table feast had delicious extras as well! Chef Jamie was generous and gracious enough to bring out a brick oven Pizza sampler for everybody to try: Margherita w/ Laguna mozzarella, Salsa Verde with homemade Pancetta that was cut up, Seafood with squid, shrimps, anchovies and local mozzarella and Grilled Vegetable with eggplant, zucchini, truffle oil balsamic glace.
I couldn’t decide which to pick so I tried a little bit of everything. I loved all the flavors but I was more partial to the Salsa Verde with Pancetta and Grilled Vegetable. Chalk it up to my love for greens, I guess.
A great meal should always be capped off with an equally great dessert. In this case, we were presented with 2 incredible TAZA Fresh Table desserts which Chef Jamie proudly prepared:
Molten Chocolate Cake (Php225.00)
Using Alfonso tablea chocolate, the Molten Chocolate Cake tasted more like heavenly Champorado with Pato queso de bola ice cream on top… Rich, decadent and sinful.
Cannoli with Ube Ricotta and Langka Cream (Php275.00)
Between the 2 desserts, I preferred this more because I’m not too much of a chocolate lover. The Ube Ricotta and Langka Cream were individually piped-in inside the crispy cannolis. The fillings had the right amount of sweetness. Perfect for those who are not much into sweets like me but still looking to end a meal in a delightful note.
TAZA Fresh Table is committed to source local and cook global showcasing single-origin and sustainable ingredients on every plate.
TAZA Fresh Table… Redefining comfort food.
Kilometer 60, Aguinaldo Highway,
Tagaytay City 4120 Philippines
Inquiries and reservations: +63 (2) 917-8225 / +63 (46) 413-100 / +63 0917
Twitter and Instagram: @TaalVistaHotel