by Dinah S. Ventura
Tagaytay, with its fresh breezes, cool air and invigorating natural beauty, is a haven of life-enhancing destinations. Country homes, boutique hotels and spas abound in this city, home of the famed Taal Volcano.
Dining destinations also enjoy brisk business in Tagaytay, which has gotten easier and quicker to get to with the ongoing southbound road developments. If you leave Quezon City at 7 a.m., for instance, and even make a pit stop along the way, you will get to the newest place to visit in Tagaytay, Tanglad Bistro, by around 9 a.m.
You may then order their bestseller, Suman Fritters with Hot Tsokolate, a sublime welcome made of the Pinoy rice-based sweet delicacy served with a hot native chocolate sauce. This one, however, is fried and served with fresh mango slices, drizzled with mango syrup and chocolate sauce. It is accompanied by native hot chocolate cooked with cashew nuts, giving it a unique nutty flavor and texture. Crispy outside and soft inside, this hearty suman dish gives you a boost of energy to conquer the rest of the day, although if you are staying at the spa village in which the restaurant stands, you do not need too much convincing to enjoy the prospect of having foot spas and facials, hilot (native) massages or wellness therapies!
Located within the Nurture Spa Village in Tagaytay, Tanglad Bistro is fast gaining a name for itself as the place to go for generous servings of healthy and hearty dishes at friendly prices. Some places offering similar cuisine are often too prohibitive to be enjoyed too often. A place like Tanglad Bistro, however, gives everyone the chance to relax and enjoy good, healthy food without breaking the budget.
Tanglad’s Grilled Burger, for example, is a filling meal in itself. This tempting creation is made with ground Angus beef and vegetable patty, flame grilled with kesong puti (cottage cheese) blended in rich tanglad (lemongrass) and served in sesame seed buns with healthy layers of assorted lettuce, tomatoes and fries. You can enjoy it without the guilt because, after all, food enjoyed without stress can only be good for both body and soul.
One may wonder if all of the dishes at the Bistro are cooked with lemongrass in one form or another. While most items indeed carry an infusion of this healthy Asian herb, Tanglad Bistro acquired its name because of its reference to a healthy lifestyle.
The menu was developed with a mind for culinary quality and taste. Chef Jasper Versoza is the brains behind Tanglad Bistro. He created the menu together with other members of the Versoza family of the renowned Josiah Catering. Chef Jasper’s experience in catering for all kinds of occasions helped him design the menu for his Tagaytay venture.
At the opening of Tanglad Bistro last Oct. 15, 2009, Chef Jasper said, “We wanted to come up with something not merely new, but fresh, light and, at the same time, something that makes a lasting impression to the palate.”
What could leave a better impression than the great quality one gets from having the freshest ingredients, fruit of his garden of fresh herbs and greens! At Tanglad, Chef Jasper, through Chef Gino and Chef Vincent, who are in-house chefs of Josiah’s, serves up a variety of freshly cooked healthy and hearty vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals for lunch and dinner.
He chose the tanglad as the focal point of the bistro’s array of mouth-watering dishes because it is as “healthy as it is heartwarming.” According to him, this humble stalk inspires a diverse menu and also provides livelihood to the grassroots in western Visayas where the tanglad is widely cultivated.
Tanglad Bistro’s supervisor Abby Alcantara also explains that the simple lemongrass is said to have cancer-fighting and cleansing properties, which help to detoxify the body that and promote better blood circulation and digestion.
Food for the soul
One could spend the entire weekend at Tanglad Bistro and still not be able to try all the items in its menu. Abby reveals that the restaurant will be introducing an updated Hearty and Healthy menu by the end of this month, but we hope they retain some of the dishes that left a lasting impression on our palate.
One of these is the Tanglad Bistro Seafood Pasta, which is made with whole wheat al dente pasta tossed in sautéed fresh crabs, scallops and shrimps and tanglad pesto, paired with French baguette. The dish is light yet satisfying, with the tanglad in the sauce giving the sauce a citrusy kick. A single plate is priced at P170; for sharing at P300. Enjoy it with either a vegetable juice (cucumber, carrot, lemongrass and ginger and tomato), or a fruit smoothie made with yoghurt to complete your healthy meal.
Other healthy dishes are the Herbed Chicken (grilled with basil and rosemary), Pan-Seared Salmon Fillet (pan-seared fresh salmon fillet) and St. Peter’s Fish Fillet with Pickled Vegetables (steamed tilapia).
If hearty is your preference, Tanglad Bistro offers a delicious Braised Lamb Shank (US lamb shank braised in red wine and herbs), Grilled Pepper Crusted US Ribeye (350-g of aged Angus ribeye served with au jus) and Spiced Pork Chop (with lemongrass honey glaze). These hearty mains may be paired with either a fresh fruit shake or Tanglad’s Three-Layered Shake, which has three fruit and veggie flavors of your choice, blended and layered. This is also refreshing in itself during these hot summer months.
For those craving for a taste of home, there is the Grandma’s Chicken Pork Adobo, as well as the stripped-to-the-bone Special Baby Back Ribs oozing with the rich flavors of the bone-in meat and the savory sauce.
The restaurant menu offers a fusion of European and Asian flavors. What makes the dishes unique is the infusion of the tanglad, “given a twist and taken as a prime ingredient to a wealth of healthy gustatory concoctions.” Tanglad’s guilt-free yet yummy desserts like the creamy Lemongrass Panna Cotta with Berries Confetti, the Lemngrass Crème Brulee and the Mango Flambé are sweets that one can indulge in.
Dining at Tanglad Bistro is indeed “soul satisfying,” as its owners proclaim, because not only do you get to savor delicious food and creative drinks, you are able to do this at leisure within an enclave of serenity. A green and blooming garden, fresh air and the sounds of nature serve as fitting accompaniments to a memorable meal.
Tanglad Bistro is located at Nurture Spa Village, Pulong Sagingan, Barangay Maitim II West, Tagaytay City. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, it opens at 7 a.m. and closes at 9 p.m.
About Nurture Spa Village
One of the pioneers in the Philippine spa industry, Nurture Spa (now renamed Nurture Spa Village) Tagaytay was established in 2002 and is an award-winning Department of Tourism-accredited spa chain. Proudly Filipino, Nurture Spa Village offers its guests exquisite spa and wellness experiences in natural tropical settings in Tagaytay and Pampanga. Each wellness destination boasts of a unique Nurture Spa treatment reflecting the indigenous customs and healing traditions of the region, in addition to the tried and tested Nurture Spa favorites.
Nurture Spa therapists, hired from the local communities and selected on the basis of their healing attitude, are trained for a minimum of two months to the highest standards by internationally licensed trainers. Nurture spa signature therapeutic oils are of the finest quality, created from age-old healing recipes that have been further perfected to achieve the desired therapeutic effect.
Nurture Spa Village Tagaytay, in cooperation with Dr. Sam Dizon, MD, Medical Director of the Institute of Natural Healing, offers its guests Joyful Health Programs: a full range of wellness programs, designed for health enhancement, disease prevention and sickness eradication, Dr. Sam Dizon has over 19 years of experience in Alternative and Complimentary Medicine and studied and trained in the United States.