Rustic Chefs: Good Filipino Food at Affordable Price

arrival

And again #TeamKalaminions got invited to check out a new restaurant and this time, it’s Rustic Chef’s Favorites!

We went to venture around Lapu-lapu in search of this new restaurant. It highlights close to the heart filipino foods which you will definitely crave at just a glance. Ready to get hungry? You’ve been warned! This post is very suitable for very broke people. So let’s go! Hahaha!

Personal Impression

This restaurant, by far, have the most unique name of dishes that I have been to. Hahaha! Though they serve common filipino favorites, the dish names are presented creatively compared to its regular names. I cannot help but admire the witty people who came up with this ideas. So without further ado, let’s check out what’s cookin!

Interior

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Valentine-y and Heavenly.  That’s how I could describe the overall interior of the place. Though the place is a bit small considering that they are just starting, they did not sacrificed the design of the interior. They really invested on making the place look great despite all the simple decorations. What I love the most is the sky-like setup at the ceiling. I really love how they added cloud-like wallpapers on the ceiling. They also have plants inside which makes it very cool to the eyes.

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And how wouldn’t love all this valentine-y little shelves and all these flower decors? Ha! They really know how to make it look like a typical filipino home setup. It made me feel like my mom was the one who decorated the place. It just have that vibe. Hahaha!

1. Rustic Mermaid in Mango Nest

mango

Concept – 4/5

The dish is basically deep-fried fish fillets with sweet sticky cream and ripe mangoes dressed in thin carrot slices, thin scallion leaf slices and thin bell pepper slices accompanied with thick fries as sides. The idea of adding fruit specifically ripe mango is quite a new concept to me.

I have tried different fish fillets with different sauces before from sweet and sour to just either sweet or just sour. I have also tried raw fish meat through kinilaw and even fresh raw meat with just vinegar but I have never tried it with a complement of a fruit. Hence the reason why I gave it a 4 rating.

Presentation – 3.5/5

The plating has more room for improvement. I gave it a 3.5 because although it was not very fancy, it is however above average with a lot of possibility to be a new favorite. I recommend that they will use a smaller plate for this dish seeing that the current plate that they are using is too large for the serving. It makes their serving look small even if the serving is just ideal for an appetizer.

If ever they will decide to go for a smaller plate (regardless the shape), they just need a little space to separate the fries from the fish fillets. They can also choose to plate fries in a less crowded way if they ever choose to go for smaller plates.

Taste – 4/5

I will give it a 4. They did a pretty good job with the fish fillet. It was very tender and the sweetness of the cream complements well with the mild taste of the fish meat. But what amazed me the most is the contribution of the the mango to the whole dish. The acidity of the fruit balances out the sweetness of the cream and adds this tiny sour punches to the side of your tongue.

General Review – 4/5

This dish being an appetizer, it is best serve while waiting for the main dish. This is that kind of dish where it is not wise to eat in a hurry. For some, if you will eat this in one go, it might ruin your appetite. The sweet cream might make you cringe if you take too much of it in one swoop so I definitely suggest that you enjoy this dish while having some chitchat with your friends and while waiting for the other food.

2. Lauya

lauya

Concept – 4.5/5

Lauya, in general, is not a new concept for me. This is probably one of my most favorite dish that my mom cooks at home so you can definitely say that it is a dish that is close to the heart.

Presentation – 5/5

When I saw it coming, it definitely painted a smile on my face because it is not, and I repeat, it is not your typical lauya serving. This one is served in a freaking pot! A pot! How cool is that? Haha! It will make you feel like it was cooked just for you because that pot serving is, of course, just for you. It’s one pot per serving so the #kalaminions did received a pot each.

Now another very noticeable difference to the lauya that I got used to is the meat part that they choose. I don’t know about you guys but I am used to being served with a lauya that has bony parts. It doesn’t matter which part of the meat as long as there is a bone to hold it with when you take a bite. However, they choose the fatty belly part which actually a very interesting choice.

From a customer’s point of view, seeing all the meat are available in just a scoop is definitely a good plus. It is already a guarantee that I will get back my money’s worth through this dish since there are no bones that will go to waste.

For a vegetable lover like me, this dish is also a great choice knowing that the vegetable slices are big. It is also makes me look forward to my first scoop since there are more vegetables here than what I was used to back at home. It has green beans slices, huge scallion slices and cabbages.

Taste – 4.5/5

I have mentioned above that this dish will one that is close to the heart. Well, that’s what I thought cause this specific lauya definitely caught me off guard. It was sour, and by sour I mean almost sinigang sour (but not really sinigang sour, just almost).

I was used to this salty based taste of my mom’s and most of the lauyas that I have tried but this is so different. Curious by the new taste, I tried to guess what was used to achieved this sourness and I ended up with two guesses, it is either they Tamarind (Sampaloc) or Averrhoa Bilimbi (Eba). But after I checked the menu, I was smiling like crazy. It was not what I was expecting. They used green mangoes! Green mangoes! Again with these mangoes. I never knew mangoes could be used in such a creative way before but this dish really caught me off guard.

I gave it a 4.5 not just because it a new taste of a somewhat familiar food. It makes you wonder how someone could achieve something new while still preserving its original form. This is the kind of twist in a dish that I would like to try in more places that I will be venturing soon.

General Review – 5/5

Overall, I gave this dish a 5 rating. It is the kind of dish that you will look forward to even upon just hearing the name. The presentation was also very neat and the taste is extraordinary. Il highly recommend that you should try this if ever you will visit Rustic Chef.

3. Muddy Earthlings

muddy

Concept – 4/5

First of all, I will lay this fact flatout that I like roasted foods. I don’t know where it started. I don’t know what roasted food made me like it, but I like roasted food. Especially if they were marinated prior to roasting. It is definitely the best way to do it.

This specific dish is roasted pork belly that was marinated in lemongrass, garlic, ginger and atsuete oil. This explains the name muddy earthlings, it is pork. Basically, it is an infused bomb in the making. Marinated food are actually like infused bombs just waiting to be triggered. That being said, my expectation in this dish is that it should atleast be juicy.

Presentation – 4.5/5

Presentation-wise it is very native and I like it. The banana leaf where the meat was laid reminds me of boodle days. Hahaha! I also like the dressing with that big scallion leaf slice at the center. It gives a great color balance of browns and greens.

As for the meat itself, I like how they did not cut it all the way to the other end. It gives it that television commercial effect that will make you drool. The skin from the outside looks like it was cooked to perfection. Those tiny bubble like spot confirms it. Although it looks crunchy from the outside, the meat inside looks so tender and juicy you can almost see the juices dripping from the fats.

With that, I guess I was right to expect it to be juicy so I will give it a 4.5 rating. It’s tasting time!

Taste – 4.5/5

I took two slices on my first try cause I’m greedy just like that. Haha! The skin was indeed crunchy but I was never a big fan of skins so I focused more on the meat. It was tender as I expect it to be but what I like about it is that I can taste and smell the lemongrass which was used to marinate it. I don’t know about most people but I like the smell of lemongrass on a dish.

This scent is a proof that it was marinated well. The juiciness of the meat is also an evidence that it was marinated properly. I will give this dish a 4.5 rating.

General Review – 4.5/5

As a main dish, I recommend you eat this while it is still hot. You can request the chef to cut it to bite-size slices so it will be easier to eat. The inner meat is the hottest so I advise not to put it instantly to your mouth. Overall, it is a good dish with a big serving so it is definitely an ideal dish for the whole family to enjoy. I will give this dish a 4.5 rating.

4. Dungeon Bamboo Spit Fowl

spitfowl

Concept – 4/5

By the name itself I bet you can already tell where this dish revolves to. Chicken! But it is not your typical fast food chicken, they are using native chicken. And we filipino knows how tasty native chickens are.

The team #kalaminions actually asked the owner about the secret of their native chicken. And we, being the good people we are, will share to you the hidden native chicken secret of Rustic Chef! Ha! How’s that for a treat?

Starving! That’s the secret.

They starve their chickens for days before they prepare it for the kitchen. They didn’t really disclose the reason as to why they do it that way but in my opinion, they probably do it to eliminate as much fats as possible.

Presentation – 4.5/5

Upon hearing their little secret, I was actually expecting a skinny chicken dish that will be served to us. But guess what? This huge and meaty chicken is what we got. It is almost as if this chicken was not actually starved before it was prepared in the kitchen.

However, I find the way it was presented a little weird. I do like that the container still have the native feel to it but I think they can still improve the plating. The dressing makes it a little too cluttered although I understand the reason why they placed it there. They were probably thinking it is the best way to even it out so that the dressing will be included if you ever pick out a piece of the chicken.

Taste – 4.5/5

The taste is luscious. Unlike most of the native chickens that I have tried, this one is tender. You can easily chew the meat which is quite unique actually cause I was used to having that chewy meat whenever I eat native chicken. I’m also so meticulous with it comes to chicken because I have been served with chicken meat that still have blood in it before. However, this one was cooked to perfection and I enjoyed it very much.

General Review – 4.5/5

I high recommend this to all native chicken lovers and even to those who haven’t tried native chicken yet. For native chicken lovers, you will instantly notice the difference in the meat, it is not fully on the taste but on the texture. For first timer, this might set a high standard for you and might end up thinking that all native chickens are like this so I must warned you. Hahaha! However, even though other native chickens are not like this, native chickens are very appetizing in general, if cooked right.

5. Rustic Grill Pork Ribs

porkribs

Concept – 4/5

It is actually just your typical grill pork ribs. Most of the time, when it comes to pork ribs, it is not just the tenderness of the ribs itself that make the plays but also the sauce.

Presentation – 5/5

By far this is the most proportional dish that was served to us except for the muddy earthlings and the spit fowl that was presented with a native feel. I like how dish was spread out making use of the space. The plate was also just perfect for the serving which makes it not too big but not too small either. I like how there is a wider space in the rice area because you will definitely spread out the rice later on especially if it is hot. The sauce bowl is also just perfect for the sauce and it complements the overall presentation of the dish. And for all of that, I will give this dish a 5 rating.

Taste – 4.5/5

The taste never failed me. The sauce has a bit stronger taste than I expected but it was not a bad taste. Actually, I think it is making its presence more bold because it looks like it is basically shouting to its taster that I exist. Hahaha! The meat was also tender. It is not the tenderest pork rib I have tried but it is more than average. I also like how they added atsara to the whole dish because as we all know, atsara has a strong taste as well. Combine that the sauce and it feels like there are two heavyweight boxers fighting for the title inside your mouth. Hahaha!

General Review – 4.5/5

If you are craving for some ribs and you on a budget or on a diet, I highly recommend this one. Unlike most ribs that are either expensive or comes with super big servings, this one is perfect for a budget and the serving is just fair for its price. There two different ways to actually enjoy this dish and it is either you dip small strips of meat to your sauce or pour out all your sauce to the rib. Either way, we have preferences and I’ll leave the choice to you. Haha!

6. Atay Diablo

atay

Concept – 4/5

Atay is a visayan term for liver. And this dish highlights spicy (hence the diablo) pork liver in a special rustic sauce.  Personally, I think the sauce and the spiciness plays a huge role in this dish. Considering that it is just pork liver, it is readily available in every carinderia in every places so I guess their effort focuses more on the sauce and the spicy impact of the whole dish.

Presentation – 3.5/5

The plating on this one, on my opinion, was also a bit off. I think the plate is just a bit bigger for the serving which might turn off customers and make it look like the serving is small when in fact I couldn’t even finish it all off. Ha! Good luck to me! Hahaha!

Basically, I think it is just a sauteed pork liver though I’m quite curious with its darken color. A chili was also added at the top of the dish like a cherry on an ice cream. Haha! I’m actually quite puzzled because I don’t know how or in what way should I eat it. Should I eat a liver then bite at the chili or should I cut them all and mix them? I went for the former. Cheers! Haha!

Taste – 4/5

Many people loves livers and I don’t understand why. This specific review might be a little bias because of my personal preference but I will try to be as objective as possible. First of all, I will just clear this out. I don’t like livers because I have a very sensitive palette. I don’t like the grainy effect of the liver even though I don’t have problems eating sugar or salt which actually have the same effect.

That aside, I was right. The sauce and the spiciness did the job. You must be wondering why there is no sauce in the photo. Yes, there is no sauce. I think when they mentioned sauce, they already mixed it while cooking it thus giving it the darker color of the liver. I was able to nibble a few spoonful but I was not able to finish it all. Nonetheless, it was a great dish. If it was not, I wouldn’t even be able to eat at least a spoonful of it. It is tasty but it is just not the right dish for me.

General Review – 4/5

Overall, I recommend this all liver lover out there. Hahaha! It may seem that I’m having a hard time on this dish but some of the kalaminions really enjoyed this dish. I just couldn’t neglect the fact that it is indeed a good dish just because I’m not a liver lover in general. Also, don’t be deceived by the looks, it is actually a big serving compared to what you are thinking. It is just that the plate is a little bit bigger, making the serving look small.

7. Pajo nga Linulon sa Tsokolate

pajo

Concept – 4.5/5

This is mango crepes with ube ice cream and finally, a real cherry on top. Hahaha! We had this awesome dessert for our final tasting. I have nothing else to describe it except that it looks like paradise in a plate. Hahaha! I like how to accompanied the crepe with ice creams knowing the crepes usually have a bit of a tasteless flavor. The rest of the sides will complement that and will hopefully make this dessert a bomb. We will see how this turns out.

Presentation – 5/5

Ha! I don’t even have to spell it. I will give this a 5 rating. The presentation is just perfect. I like how to place the ice cream on the mango peel. It is just so creative. The overall dessert is so colorful, you will have to argue with yourself if you want to eat it or just watch it melt like that. Haha! The syrup is also a tease. I love the overall look and feel.

Taste – 4.5/5

The crepe has this mild salty and sour-y taste and if you add ice cream to that, all the flavors just explodes in your mouth. I tried eating it with just the crepe and it doesn’t really have that much impact unlike when you combine it with the ice cream. So I recommend that you eat it in proportion with the ice cream because the ice cream was there for a reason. Haha! Don’t ask what happen to the cherry. It basically just went down my throat the moment we finish taking photos. Hahaha!

General Review – 4.5/5

The dessert was actually a fresh taste after all the dish that we have tried. I suggest that you eat this after the main dish to set your tongue to have a good aftertaste when the tummy was already full. Hehe! Ohh! And yeah, don’t miss the cherry. Please give it more love that it deserve. Hahaha!

Menu and Prices

Here are the menu and corresponding prices of the dish. Enjoy!

menu

The Crew

I would like to thank all these awesome people for having us and taking good care of us during our stay. They are very kind and jolly people. The smiles are infectious. Hahaha!

thecrew

Location and Contacts

Name of Restaurant: Rustic Chef’s Favorite
Contact Number: +63 32 4935139
Website: www.rustic-chefs.com
Instagram: @rusticchefs
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/rusticchefsfavorites
Let me know what is your favorite dish when you visit this restaurant by placing a comment below.

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