Indonesian cuisine at Sofitel’s Chef’s Table

Sofitel held a lovely dinner just this week featuring Indonesian food featuring Chef Pradipta Bayu Primaputra of Pullman, flown in all the way from Jakarta.

Here are his impressive credentials shared by Sofitel:

Our featured Chef, Pullman Jakarta’s Indonesian master Chef, Pradipta Bayu Primaputra.  He grew up in vibrant Jakarta where his interest, deep appreciation and passion for Indonesian cuisine were cultivated. He pursued his love for food with experience enriched by attachments with Ritz Carlton Doha and the capital’s most prestigious catering company and provider of choice for culinary requirements for dignitaries and state visitors, Culture Royale. For this week-long food festival featuring Indonesian dishes, he will introduce heritage recipes rooted from Javanese, Sumatra, Sulawesi and Balinese cuisine.

In person, Chef Bayu is a lovely fellow: soft-spoken, humble … But his cooking is the total opposite: dynamic, fiery, alive!

Dinner started with this earthy appetizer: Gado gado. It is really is just boiled vegetables … but that cracker! With the Indonesian peanuts and the kaffir … that is one beautiful cracker. Chef Bayu shared that this is a popular dish in Jakarta – you can find it on the street, you can find it in a five star hotel.

Next we had the Balinese version of satay: Sate Lilit. Sate is usually done with chicken but this one used prawns, as sate lilit is usually made with seafood. But what i loved on this one was the sambal paste that crowned it. It made those simple appetizer sticks come alive!

For the main course, we simply had chicken. But there is nothing simple about making this chicken. First of all, it is cooked like it was “inasal” but more complicated is the sauces that come with, using both a red chili paste and a white chili paste – both made by the chef from scratch!

Finally, dessert. This looks just like our minatamis na saging. And the chef did use just local bananas. But what made it Indonesian is the milk that was first simmered. Pour this on those bananas and you are immediately transported to Indonesia!

This series of dinners is for their campaign called Flavors of the World wherein they feature a foreign chef every number of months. But what is special is that the guest chefs do a “chef’s table” and you get to watch them while they cook. Or you can even book a cooking lesson, especially if you are a big group!

Insider tip- here’s the sked for the next “flavors of the world”:

  • Flavors of Thailand in time for the Songkran festival on 18th –20th April 2017 featuring Spiral’s own Chef Romeo Malate
  • Flavors of France in time for the (French Month featuring London-based Michelin-starred Chef Daniel Galmiche on 7th –17th July 2017
  • Flavors of India on 11th – 24th September

If you want your own private dinner or cooking lessons, just call Sofitel and they will arrange and customize it for you. Some requirements: minimum is for 10 people, 3 days notice, P4,200 nett per person including 5 courses, coffee or tea plus the bespoke welcome drink, and if you want wine-pairing, just add P1,500 more.

You have until Sunday to catch Chef Bayu at Sofitel’s Spiral. Head on over! It’s worth the traffic!

Asia’s Best Female Chef 2017: May Chow of Little Bao

May Chow, Asia’s 50 Best Female Chef. Photo from

Margarita Fores’ “reign” is over.

2017 ushers in the year of May Chow of Little Bao in Hong Kong and Bangkok, responsible for “bringing American-Chinese bao burgers to Hong Kong, Bangkok and beyond”.

Says the Asia’s 50 Best site:

“In a country where steamed bao buns are available in abundance, May Chow has created a simple recipe that has brought her extraordinary success. Inspired by Momofuku founder David Chang, she adapted the traditional Chinese bao into a burger shape – a bold move in Hong Kong, where messing with an original recipe could have garnered much criticism. Instead she was met with hundreds of people lining up to get their hands on her bao burgers, and so a local phenomenon was born.

“Toronto-born Chow grew up in the US and studied at Boston University, so American culture has had a big influence on her cooking, along with her Chinese heritage. She looks at everything from a double perspective, adding American twists to her menu such as the “Sweet Ending” ice cream bao and a cocktail list featuring various US classics.

“After several sell-out pop-ups at farmers’ markets in Hong Kong, Chow opened the first 20-seater Little Bao in SoHo in 2013, with a second branch launching in Bangkok in 2016 in the same month as her Second Draft gastropub in Tai Hang, Hong Kong. With both her Little Bao branches permanently full, Chow now has her sights set on more overseas restaurants, with potential options including Melbourne, London and Tokyo.

“Little Bao’s success might not have been possible without the likes of Chang and other Asian-American chefs, because 15 years ago the Chinese in Hong Kong were cooking Italian or French cuisine, according to Chow. “If it wasn’t caviar, it was looked down upon,”  she adds. Chow also cites “X-Treme” chef Alvin Leung for enabling local cooks to make Chinese food in a fine-dining environment and it was at his HK restaurant, Bo Innovation, that she cut her culinary teeth.

“Though she credits Leung, Chang and Yardbird’s Matt Abergel as her inspirations and mentors, Chow’s success is very much down to her own curiosity and rebellious spirit. The extent of her professional experience before Little Bao was just four years but she invested ample time in traveling and eating around the world in search of her own unique voice and style.

“Now recognised as one of Asia’s most dynamic chefs, Chow is using her newfound platform to campaign for LGBT issues and to help China catch up with the western world in providing opportunities for young female chefs. Her humility and approachability have made her the perfect icon for women across Asia and she will no doubt use her new position as Asia’s Best Female Chef to inspire and drive positive change.”

*Asia’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards will be in Bangkok on February 21, 2017.


End of an Era: Cafe Ysabel Closing Soon

My cousin held her wedding reception here. I had one of my first dinner dates in college here. It was the epitome of fine dining in the early ’90s.


A few years ago, owner Chef Gene Gonzalez hosted a chocolate dinner for international celebrity chef Bobby Chinn here. And let’s not forget the celebrities who learned to cook or honed their cooking skills here like Judy Ann Santos.

But like the Mandarin and the Intercon, like Fat Michael’s in Bangkal and L’Incontro and Cafe Maestro on Reposo, this culinary institution’s journey is about to come to an end.

Cafe Ysabel is saying goodbye.

The restaurant posted on its Facebook page —

Cafe Ysabel, Gene Gonzalez, Judy Ann Santos, San Juan restaurants, Margaux Salcedo blog, margauxliciousBut it closes in April yet so there’s still time for that one last hurrah, if only to relive beautiful memories you made there. Or to create a memory while you can.


Restaurant Alert: Chef Ariel Manuel Takes Over Poblacion with Bistro Manuel

Remember Lolo Dad’s? Once upon a time THE fine dining restaurant of Manila? 

Chef Ariel Manuel went MIA after Lolo Dad’s at 6750 and the original Lolo Dad’s on Quirino closed. He dabbled in an Asian resto on N Garcia/Reposo but that was short-lived. 

So it is great news for Ariel Manuel fans and fine dining lovers that – as Teddy Locsin Jr calls him – The Master is back. 

I had a Teddylicious dinner with my two favorite Teddys on Halloween: newly appointed Ambassador to the UN, His Excellency Teddy Locsin Jr and one of Manila’s most respected food writers Teddy Montelibano. I served as referee as the conversation ball swung from staunchly pro-Duterte to stubbornly anti between the two!

Like a beautiful symphony, Chef Ariel had us from the first note: a tray of his latest indulgent hors d’ouvres – oysters – each still lying in its shell but now on a cushion of angel hair pasta, baked in cheese and topped with pan seared foie gras. Manuel credits his son for this creation. 

Next, what the chef calls Elements of Duck: duck liver mousse, pan seared duck liver, poached duck egg, slices of duck breast … all on homemade waffles whose sweetness is just enough to balance the savoriness of the duck. 

All that was before the best bisque in town was served, which TBL noted is unlike other bisques that are bland or cloying. 

Then, in French fine dining fashion, after the soup came the fish course. But instead of fish, we indulged in crab cakes and soft shell crabs. 

But the lambs that followed really blew us away. 

First, lamb on lamb on lamb: lamb rump accompanied by lamb breast and sweetbread. In TBL’s words: Mama Mia!! This was accompanied by truffled mashed potatoes, daintily curved on the side. The lamb breast (it is hidden in this pic) was so soft and succulent it was almost like eating pork belly!

But the piece de resistance was the rack of lamb. Two huge cuts cooked perfectly – not gamey at all – with a side of blue cheese risotto. 

This really brings you back to Lolo Dad’s days. 

Nowadays, chefs are inclined to go by way of what the World’s 50 Best trends dictate: lots of drama, lots of talk of going local or going back to nature, yada yada yada. That some chefs forget what cuisine is about – food! 

Chef Ariel Manuel reminds us of the days when dining was more about eating than just appreciating art. Sooo happy he is back!

Desserts have been inspired by wife Mia: 

A tiramisu souffle with a side of chocolate mousse. Like I said over dessert – I would be happy even with just the chocolate mousse! 

And the Mango and Mascarpone Cheese Declension, a vertical mille feuille – TBL observed, “stacked like dominos” – accompanied by dulce de leche and topped with caramelized sugar that may inspire another Tessa Prieto Valdes hat. 

On the way out we checked out The Sippery, just below the restaurant. Here’s a Halloween toast to my dad Ephraim Salcedo – missing him dearly this All Souls Day and as the Christmas holidays approach. 

After that A-game dinner, we were so devilishly happy on the way home 😈

Duterte, Marcos, Cory? Sex, Peace and Love? Happy Halloween!

Bistro Manuel is on Valdez St in Poblacion. From Makati Ave approaching JP Rizal, turn right on Valdez which is street of BPI across A Venue. Suuuper limited parking for now – but two cars can fit right in front of their building. And a couple more slots are available on the street. 

Note that Valdez is one way so you need to come in via Makati Ave. 

For now, cash basis only. But they are working on the credit card machine and an additional 10 slots for basement parking. 

Bistro Manuel. Six Axis Center, Valdez St, Poblacion, Makati. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Reservations recommended +632 871 8566, +63 926 734 1067.

Authentic Pakistani Food in Makati 

There IS an authentic Pakitani restaurant in Makati!

Found out about it through Kitchen Bookstore owners Rajiv Daswani and Miguel Angeles and Power of Pen founder Tetta Tirona. 

I’m not supposed to tell 🙊 So I’m keeping the info here instead of sharing it in Inquirer. 

Rajiv, who is of Indian descent, did the ordering. To keep it simple but allow us to try everything, he ordered the Barbeque Platter which has 

Chicken Namkeen Boti, Chicken Reshmi Kebab, Chicken Green Tikka, Afghani Beef Kebab, and Beef Seekh Kebab. EVERYTHING was good. 

Also excellent was the Mutton Biryani. 

I always just passed this place thinking it was some Pinoy-trying-to-be-Indian kind of restaurant. Wrong! It is super authentic! 

Will be back for sure to try the rest of the menu. 

PS The place is prohibits alchohol inside the estabishment due to religious restrictions but there is space outside to drink. 

PPS The restaurant is KABAB & CURRY on Jupiter (Edsa side). It is super casual, almost cafeteria-like. But air conditioned. And thankfully so because you may sweat with the spice levels of the food! 

World’s 50 Best Heads to Oz

From New York to Australia.

The World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards in April 2017 will be in Oz, following a very successful awards reception for 2016 in New York.

The World’s 50 Best (@theworlds50best) is a list produced by British magazine Restaurant based on a poll of international  chefs, restaurateurs, and media. There are also side awards such as the Best Female Chef Award, Chef’s Choice Award and Lifetime Achievement Award.

This year’s Top 8 are:

  • No.1. Osteria Francescana. Modena, Italy.
  • No.2. El Celler de Can Roca. Girona, Spain.
  • No.3. Eleven Madison Park. New York, USA.
  • No.4. Central. Lima, Peru.
  • No.5. Noma. Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • No.6. Mirazur. Menton, France.
  • No.7. Mugaritz. San Sebastian, Spain.
  • No.8. Narisawa. Tokyo, Japan.

The World’s 50 Best will be held in Melbourne at the Royal Exhibition Building on Wednesday April 5. The awards will be streamed live from

Massimo Bottura, currently the world's No. 1. I took this photo at the World's 50 Best Awards in London in 2012.
Massimo Bottura, currently the world’s No. 1. I took this photo at the World’s 50 Best Awards in London in 2012. As you can see by Massimo’s weight haha 🙂

Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants Full List

Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants
World's 50 Best Latin America's 50 Best

Full list of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants for 2016:

1 – Central, Peru

2 – Maido, Peru

3 – D.O.M., Brazil

4 – Boragó, Chile

5 – Pujol, Mexico

6 – Quintonil, Mexico

7 – Astrid Y Gastón, Peru

8 – Mani, Brazil

9 – Tegui, Argentina

10 – Biko, Mexico

11 – Sud777, Mexico

12 – La Mar, Peru

13 – El Baqueano, Argentina

14 – Gustu, Bolivia

15 – Amaranta, Mexico

16 – LEO, Colombia

17 – Olympe, Brazil

18 – Lasai, Brazil

19 – Pangea, Mexico

20 – Ambrosia, Chile

21 – Don Julio, Argentina

22 – 99, Chile

23 – Parador La Huella

24 – A Casa do Porco, Brazil

25 – Roberta Sudbrack, Brazil

26 – Aramburu, Argentina

27 – Osso Carnicerìa y Salumeria, Peru

28 – Mocoto, Brazil

29 – Criterion, Colombia

30 – Rafael, Peru

31 – Elena, Argentina

32 – Alto, Venezuela

33 – La Cabrera, Argentina

34 – Fiesta, Peru

35 – Chila, Argentina

36 – Maito, Panama

37 – Nicos, Mexico

38 – Malabar, Peru

39 – Corazòn de Tierra, Mexico

40 – Harry Sasson, Colombia

41 – Isolina, Peru

42 – 1884, Argentina

43 – Osaka, Chile

44 – Remanso Do Bosque, Brazil

45 – Tuju, Brazil

46 – La Bourgogne, Argentina

47 – Tierra Colorada Gastro, Paraguay

48 – Dulce Patria, Mexico

49 – Andrés Carne De Res, Colombia

50 – Pura Tierra, Argentina

Do you agree?

Everybody’s Cafe & Susie’s in Angeles, Pampanga

Everybody's Cafe, Angeles, Pampanga. Photo by Margaux Salcedo

Here’s Part 3 of my column First Class published 21 August 2016, Sunday, in the Philippine Daily Inquirer + more pics🙂 I wrote about a recent day trip to Pampanga. Went with a few doctors of my dad, whom we met when they were just residents and now they have finished their fellowships!

Part 1: Cafe Fleur
Part 2: Downtown Cafe

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Everybody’s Cafe

Everybody’s Cafe Angeles is the little sister of Everybody’s Cafe San Fernando. But for those who want a taste of classic Capampangan cuisine, this is THE restaurant.

Food is served cafeteria or “turo-turo” (turo means ‘point’) style but the menu is exactly what would likely be served in a true Capampangan home.

Be brave and try the Betute—stuffed frogs legs. So beautifully savory you will forget you are eating frog. The morcon is another must-try, another fine example of how Capampangans are masters in the umami of the ulam.


Before heading home, make a pit stop at Susie’s. This is another cafeteria-like place perfect for merienda. If you have time, sit down and have the pancit. Otherwise, take home a bottle of Susie’s Taba ng Talangka (ask for the female crab fat) but make sure to eat in moderation.

Also try or take home their mochi-mochi and sapin-sapin.

The following day I wanted to eat healthy so instead of cooking the female crab fat with rice I cooked New Zealand Akaroa salmon in it. Good – but still better with rice! hah!

Holy Rosary

In between restaurants, say a quick prayer at the Holy Rosary Parish Church. Thank the Lord for the blessings of such delicious food just 2½ hours away from Manila and pray that you don’t gain too much weight after all that bingeing!

Cafe Fleur. L-463B Miranda St. Brgy Sto. Rosario, Angeles City. Open Tuesday to Sunday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Reservations recommended especially for lunch, call 045-3041301 or 0935-7616550. Visit

1956 Downtown Cafe by Bale Dutung. 1 Plaridel St., Nepo Quad, Angeles City. 0917-5359198. More info at

Everybody’s Cafe. Nepo Mart, Angeles City. Everybody’s has a stall at the Salcedo Market in Salcedo Village every Saturday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Susie’s. Hilda St. Nepo Mart Commercial Complex, 2009 Angeles City, Philippines

More from the author at Follow @margauxsalcedo on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook. Email

Downtown Cafe: Pinoy ’50s Diner in Pampanga

Downtown Cafe, Angeles, Pampanga

Here’s Part 2 of my column First Class published 21 August 2016, Sunday, in the Philippine Daily Inquirer + more pics🙂 I wrote about a recent day trip to Pampanga. Went with a few doctors of my dad, whom we met when they were just residents and now they have finished their fellowships!

Part 1 here: Sau del Rosario’s Cafe Fleur

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 1.55.48 AM

Downtown Cafe


Claude Tayag is another famous Capampangan celebrity chef, or as he was called at the Mission Manila dinner during Madrid Fusion, El Kusinero.

He is better known for Bale Dutung, his home, showroom and private dining space with his lovely Capampangan wife Mary Ann Quioc. This is the place No Reservations host Anthony Bourdain visited and loved—a place that is ironically by reservation only and for a minimum guest list of around 12.

Thankfully, the Tayags have opened Downtown Cafe. While it is by no means Bale Dutung, which is an incomparable experience, Downtown has a charm of its own, with its diner vibe complete with jukebox and a Coke ad with the stunning Gloria Romero. The big bonus, of course, is that we can now get a taste of Claude Tayag’s cooking every day.


Best on the menu is the duck. In classic Claude Tayag humor, the menu reads “What’s Up, Duck?” The duck leg confit is salted and slow-cooked for two hours; you eat it Peking Duck-style, with wrappers.

The star of the menu of late, though, is the bringhe, which won the the People’s Choice Award at the 8th Annual Embassy Chef Challenge in Washington D.C. last May.


The waiters call it bringhe pizza; it felt like a morphing of bibingka galapong and paella. It’s a fun, unique snack.

On a rainy day, have a cup of their barako. Really Filipino and really good coffee. I bet coffee guru Chit Juan would approve.

PS Really loved the interiors. Look – Royal Tru Orange before “Joey”/RJ Ledesma …
Our friend Dr Jill Tabora also had this super refreshing dessert:
I was too stuffed from eating so much at Cafe Fleur, Everybody’s Cafe and Susie’s that I could really only eat this:
But we were excited to dance to the music from the jukebox … or maybe from our minds – naloka na sa busog haha. (The jukebox doesn’t really work.)

Thanks so much to our #LafangMD friends for a great time!!! Isser and Pau, thanks for being such wonderful tour guides! Mabuhay ang Angeles!!1956 Downtown Cafe by Bale Dutung. 1 Plaridel St., Nepo Quad, Angeles City. 0917-5359198. More info at

Part 1: Cafe Fleur
Part 2 of 3

Cafe Fleur with #LafangMD

Cafe Fleur by Sau del Rosario, Angeles, Pampanga

Here’s a copy of my column First Class published 21 August 2016, Sunday, in the Philippine Daily Inquirer + more pics 🙂 I wrote about a recent day trip to Pampanga. Went with a few doctors of my dad, whom we met when they were just residents and now they have finished their fellowships!

Margaux Salcedo column, First Class, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Sunday Biz
First Class, Philippine Daily Inquirer. Sundays in Inquirer Business

Angeles has changed since the last time I visited.

Pampanga has always been a thriving food hub but next generation Capampangan celebrity chefs have given the Angeles food scene extra flair.

Cafe Fleur

Case in point: Cafe Fleur by Chef Sau del Rosario, a restaurant that is both a tribute to Chef Sau’s Pampango roots while showcasing his growth as a French-trained chef.

The venue is a heritage home and one can easily envision a family from yesteryears making memories in this space.

Chef Sau converted the upstairs into “Babo” (Kapampangan for ’upstairs’) Avante Garde Capampangan cuisine.


Here the celebrity chef presents his interpretation of traditional recipes.

Tamales, which is usually served wrapped in banana leaves, is here served deconstructed in a shapely glass.


The well-known Capampangan delicacy (also called Boboto) made with very finely ground rice, coconut milk and various savory toppings like chicken and ham, is presented in a manner befitting a fine dining setting.

Purists are bound to raise an eyebrow but it’s a lovely modern-day expression of a classic comfort dish. (The bread that comes with it is tasty, too, encouraging the diner to treat the tamales like a pate and spread it on the bread.)

Kare-kare, a quintessential Filipino comfort food, is likewise deconstructed and twisted. Kare-kare usually uses oxtail; here Chef Sau uses crispy pork belly and other ingredients that are neatly tucked in a corner of the serving plate.

The rest of the plate is a bed of peanut sauce mixed with macadamia and the irresistible flavor of truffles.


Other items are more straightforward, such as the lamb kaldereta, okoy and the chicken galantina.

What’s great about the menu, though, is that it shows that through the years, Chef Sau has developed not only recipes but also friendships.

The best item on the menu, for me, is Chef See’s laksa.


Chef See Cheong Yan is the Culinary Head of Enderun Colleges. He is Malaysian and IMHO makes the best laksa in the Philippines. The problem is that his laksa is only available during rare events. It’s great to see that Chef See has allowed Chef Sau to use his recipe.

Now, if you ever need a laksa fix, as I often do, it’s just a couple of hours away.


While it will be difficult to resist trying everything on the menu, do leave room for dessert because the desserts here are yummy. Have the pandan sans rival or the jackfruit sans rival and allow yourself to go home stuffed silly.

Jill Tabora, Martin Licdao, Mary Andy delos Reyes, Goldee Salcedo, Nico Garcia, Margaux Salcedo, Jon Cruz, Pau dela Cruz, Isser Sugay

Cafe Fleur. L-463B Miranda St. Brgy Sto. Rosario, Angeles City. Open Tuesday to Sunday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Reservations recommended especially for lunch, call 045-3041301 or 0935-7616550. Visit

(Part 1 of 3)

Part 2: Downtown Cafe
Part 3: Everybody’s and Susie’s