When Chef Andoni Aduriz of Mugaritz needed to psych himself up for his speech at Madrid Fusion Manila, he turned to the mother of all Ilonggo comfort foods: Batchoy. “One of his assistants discreetly went to our station,” recalls a grinning Chef JP Anglo. “I only found out when Andoni confided in me after the congress.” As the global spotlight beams down on Filipino cuisine, local chefs like Anglo have responded with uncanny relish.
No surprise then that his latest restaurant Kafé Batwan doubles as both a platform and playground for his ambitious gustatory exploits. Inspired by travels, the Bacolod native fluently translates hometown favorites into something stellar: Here, addictive tawilis crisps with shaved queso de bola and lip-puckering sinamak vinegar. There, plump sautéed prawns with a dash of chocolate and ginamos shrimp paste bristline with flavor. Then there’s crispy sinigang fried chicken and kamote fries. They’re paired with a coconut gata and bell pepper dip that is nothing less than magical. Anglo’s version of batchoy is just as hearty as its Negrense forbears yet refined by modern sensibilities. With a stock painstakingly toiled over for twelve hours, and topped with velvety kurobota pork and aji tamago-style eggs, it’s his sterling answer to ramen—and the call for contemporary Filipino cuisine.
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Originally published in Metro’s October 2015 issue, article by Ryan Fernandez, photograph by Daniel Soriano. Follow Metro on Instagram and Twitter and like their official Facebook page.