Food-trippers take note: the south is rising with a food scene that’s starting to rival the rest of the metro. Offered in Alabang is a slew of eateries that are dedicated to their craft — from an exclusive caviar and champagne bar to ramen developed by one of Tokyo’s finest to the finest meats prepared by a chef trained in Europe’s Michelin-starred kitchens.
1. The Black Pig
Black Sheep, The Blind Pig, Tipsy Pig, Blackbird… it’s all getting a little confusing now. But either way, keep The Black Pig on your radar because the chef at the helm, Carlos Garcia, brings some serious credibility to the food scene in the south (if not Manila as a whole) after sharpening his knives at several Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe. His brand is about well-executed dishes that are artfully plated but still accessible and pair well with tipples. The charcuterie is not to miss; taste a few of the best cured meats on The Black Pig Charcuterie Board (PHP880) which includes Jamon Iberico and Chorizo Iberico. But also try the textural delight of the Tea-Poached Salmon (PHP650) which is served with soft shell crab, crispy seaweed, and a gel of calamansi and dashi. 2/F The Commercenter Alabang, Commerce Ave cor East Asia Dr, Filinvest, Muntinlupa City; +63 917 8450744, www.theblackpigbar.com. Mon 5pm-12am, Tue-Sun 8am-12am.
2. The Nest
Drink in a great view of the south, which includes Laguna de Bay, from Vivere Hotel Alabang’s rooftop restaurant and bar. This breezy open-air eatery offers a great variety of cuisines — from Spanish to Korean to Indian — as well as an impressive collection of local craft beers on tap. Bursting with robust flavors is the Gambas and Chorizo Pasta (PHP495) which includes chorizo spiced with paprika, plump prawns and stewed tomatoes with linguine. For something lighter, bite into the flaky and buttery Croissant Club Sandwich (PHP495), a sweet and savory combination of pastrami, grilled chicken, brie, apples, strawberry jam, and alfalfa. 5102 Bridgeway Ave, Filinvest City, Alabang, Muntinlupa City; +63 2 7717777, www.viverehotel.com.ph. Daily 5am-1am.
3. Caviar Restaurant and Champagne Bar
Probably the most legitimate fine-dining experience in the south, Caviar Restaurant and Champagne Bar offers the obvious, but also much more through both a la carte and multi-course set menus. Go in for the full experience and order the five course set dinner (PHP1,950) which includes a changing menu of dishes such as Pan-roasted Saddle of Lamb and Orange Glazed Braised Pork Belly with Bay Scallops. For vegetarians, the restaurant offers a terrific five course menu (PHP1,600) as well. Caviar lovers, however, can indulge in some of the world’s best, such as Sevruga (PHP16,000), Oscietra (PHP17,000), and Beluga (PHP28,000). Unit A-206 Westgate Centre, Alabang, Muntinlupa City; +63 2 5527930, www.cavairrestaurant.com. Mon-Sat 11:30am-2pm, 5:30pm-10pm, Sun 10am-2pm, 5:30pm-10pm.
4. Chairman Wang’s Prime Beef and Noodle House
For a fix of hand-pulled noodles, head to Chairman Wang’s at Molito Commercial Complex. The specialty here is springy, slightly doughy noodles which are served both with soup or dry. The Braised Beef and Tendon Noodle Soup (PHP250) is our pick. The beef in this dish is melt-in-your-mouth soft with its gelatinous cartilage. Taste your way around China here as the rest of the menu is dedicated to regional cuisines, such as Cantonese, Szechuan, and Shanghainese. Molito Lifestyle Complex, Madrigal Ave cor Alabang-Zapote Rd, Alabang, Muntinlupa City; +63 2 8288477, Facebook. Call for operating hours.
When going for authentic Japanese eats, those in the south make a beeline for Kessaku. This restaurant specializes in sushi, both traditional and not, such as Unagi Angus Beef Roll (PHP340) and Spider Roll (PHP285). The Chirashi Moriawase (PHP410) is also worth ordering, as this big bowl of sushi rice is topped with the day’s freshest sashimi such as salmon and tuna as well as cooked seafood like unagi, octopus, and shrimp. Make sure to visit for lunch on Tuesdays for the buy one take one sushi promotion or on Wednesdays for the buy one take one ramen promotion. 2/F The Commercenter Alabang, Commerce Ave cor East Asia Dr, Filinvest, Muntinlupa City; +63 2 4033445, Facebook. Call for operating hours.
6. Yushoken Ramen
Many consider this ramen shop the best in the country. No surprises here though, as it was set up through a partnership with Yamagashi Kazuo, the revered ramen guru and inventor of tsukemen (ramen noodles which are dipped in a concentrated sauce). There are four tonkotsu ramen dishes to be had here as well as four tsukemen and four other noodle dishes. Our hands-down favorite is the Shoyu Tonkotsu (PHP350) which is centered around a perfect pork bone broth which is creamy and thick. In the soup are noodles, chashu, bamboo shoots, black fungus, sesame seeds, spring onions, shoyu, and roasted garlic oil. Molito Lifestyle Complex, Madrigal Ave cor Alabang-Zapote Rd, Alabang, Muntinlupa City; +63 2 8087424, Facebook. Call for operating hours.