Once again, I'm writing up this blog post right after a heavy meal, but doing it is making me hungry again. Or should I say, I'm still full but having to look at my pics and recalling the taste of the food at Tavern Asia is tickling my appetite again.
Tavern Asia is a restaurant/bar along Aguirre, a bit after De La Rama if you're coming from Phase III, that's staked its territory with Asian fusion food and a cozy, chic Asian-modern ambiance. Converted two years ago from an original BHomes showcase house, Tavern Asia features three al fresco dining areas -- front, side, and back -- and an interior dining area with classy Chinese-crimson walls, tables of fine old hardwood and tastefully chosen decor. I usually don't think of red as a relaxing color, but the combination here worked very well for me. This is a place I'd consider taking Cat for our anniversary dinner or something similar. In fact, says co-owner Jules Bonifacio, Tavern Asia makes quite a bit of its business in events, its ambiance being very conducive for private parties.
Cream dory w/ Mango salsa
Cat and I got to try the Crispy Cream Dory with Mango Salsa and the Pad Thai, two of Tavern Asia's bestsellers, as well as two of their signature flavored beers, the Caramel and the Strawberry. We were debating whether to get the Thai-inspired Bagoong Rice, but as I'd had asthma just a few days before I was wary of triggering my allergies again. Having tasted the food though, I think we missed something not getting the Bagoong Rice. The Cream Dory with Mango Salsa was perfectly cooked, crisp outside with a very light batter coating, very tender inside. Yep, they know how to cook seafood with respect -- I hate it when a restaurant overcooks my seafood or my steak. The fish went very well with its refreshing mango salsa, which came in a pretty generous portion.
The Pad Thai too came in a surprisingly hefty serving, easily good for three or maybe four if you're ordering it with one or two other dishes. But Pad Thai being what it is, ordering this dish of fried rice noodles topped with tofu, baby shrimps, bean sprouts, crushed peanuts, shallots and onion rings would've been enough on its own for me and Cat. And this Pad Thai is the real thing, as Jules told us: his partner is half-Thai, and this is his own mom's recipe. Only the chili has been toned down for the Pinoy taste, but that was easy to fix: there's a caddy on every table that includes, among other things, a bottle of dried chili flakes.
Strawberry and Caramel flavored beers
The flavored beers went surprisingly well with our food. I've never tried flavored beer before, so I had no idea what to expect. Would it sweeten the beer too much? It didn't. The Caramel, Jules' own favorite and their current best-selling flavor, made my beer (the flavored beer has a San Mig Lite base) taste and smell like one of those Belgian brown beers. I also liked the taste of the strawberry, but it was a bit understated for us. Perhaps it was because I had a little more beer poured into the glass to give it a foamy head for my shot, but the main difference between the caramel and the strawberry was that the strawberry didn't have as much of a scent.
Platter 1 - Grilled squid, Grilled liempo, Chicken inasal
Tavern Asia also serves platters of grilled pulutan, again something for future reference -- maybe for a barkada get-together or a family dinner. Platter 1 contains portions of grilled squid, grilled liempo, and chicken inasal, while Platter 2 has spring rolls, crispy shrimp and chicken teriyaki. Definitely beer food. Definitely a beer place. We're definitely coming back.
Platter 2 - Crispy hipon, Spring roll, Chicken teriyaki