In the past few years, Tagaytay has been gaining a reputation as the go to place, outside of the city, for excellent fine dining and the best place to eat while enjoying its natural beauty. Tagaytay has changed a lot over the years. I noticed that some tall constructions were being built, big houses sprouted around the lake area, and best new restaurants are on the rise in this scenic place. As I enjoyed the Nissan Ride and Drive on our way to Pico de Loro, we had a pit stop at the famed Chef Antonio's. If you’re searching for eponymous fine dining restaurant like us, look no further than Chef Antonio's.
Owned by the country’s most renowned Chef, Antonio Escalante or better yet, Chef Tony Boy has made it into the Top 50 of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurant. It’s the first time that a Filipino restaurant made it into that list since the awards was launched 3 years ago.
Chef Antonio's used to be a farm. Then, Chef Tony Boy and his wife were engaged in supplying high quality produce for restaurants and hotel in the Metro. And along the way, he realized that they could also open a restaurant near the farm, hence Chef Antonio is born. We ooh’d and aah’d when we saw the place. The outside is beautiful and restaurant is built like a big ancestral house. Situated in a lush place, it also has a Lanai Lounge for garden cocktails. The interior will remind you of a rich haciendero’s house. The décor is full of old cabinets and tables, a wonderful blue chandelier and lots of old photos hanging on the walls.
Before our lunch was served, Chef Tony Boy showed up and approached some members of the media but it was real quick as he dashed back to the kitchen to prepare our meal. He looks like a rock star!
And then lunch is served.
We started with Black Prawn Nori Arugula Salad with Calamansi Mirin Dressing. Black Prawn? I was thinking and when it was served the prawn was indeed black. It was wrapped in Nori which at first i thought was charcoal. Silly me. I started to eat the arugula first because it was my favorite and it was delicious, there's only a hint of the dressing but it was quite tasty. When I cut the prawns and tasted it, it was perfectly cooked and I was amazed that it was quite hot. The nori wrapped around it may have maintained the perfectly hot temperature. You can taste how succulent the prawns is and the nori made it more delicious. Remarkable.
Then we were served this lovely pink sorbet to cleanse our palate as we wait for the main course.Yay, steak.
For the main course, we were served with a Roast Certified Prime Rib Eye Steak with Herbed Roasted Tomato, Cognac Goose Liver Cream, Pink Pepper Sauce. It was served with Mashed Potatoes. As i cut the steak, I realized that it's a medium rare one. I have never in my life try a medium rare or rare steak because I hate seeing the blood. But i was thinking that it might be insulting to Chef Tony to return it and make it well done. I decided to try it, after all there's always a first time for everything. And the aroma of the steak makes me more hungry. The pool of Cognac Goose Liver Cream, Pink Pepper Sauce helped in my first bite of the steak. I found it to be a little firmer but soft or tender inside as well as juicy. I managed to finish the steak, it was really delicious. Those pink peppers is kind of sweet and hot. The best part is when the only steak left are the browned sides. It melts in the mouth as i chewed on it. Perfect. Overall, let's just say that I'm still not a fan of medium rare steak.
There's only one dessert but looking at it the Cerveza Negra with Salted Caramel Ice Cream on Flourless Chocolate Cake served with Cardamon Cream promises to be superb. And I was right. It taste simply divine. I was salivating as the staff poured over the Cardamon Cream on the ice cream. The cake is hot and the coldness of the ice cream and the milky creaminess of the cardamon is such a perfect combination. I even got a fantastic idea as i was eating this. I was telling my friend Mars that i will buy a San Mig Cerveza Negra and pour it over the salted caramel ice cream and then it's a Beer Float.
Thank you Nissan PH and Chef Antonio for the privilege of eating at this amazing restaurant. And the two boxes of cookies and Banana Almonds Jam is such a sweet gift from you. Now it can be said, Chef Antonio is really the best in the country. I will be back.
Note: Interior photos are not mine, its by Chelle Campos. The rest are mine.