Studio Kitchen: Creative Cuisine in Alabang

Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Having been born and raised in the northern part of the Metro, I have nothing but sheer curiosity of what the South holds within its area. Although the Dora-like part of me made me explore Makati and Taguig despite the distance, there are still parts of the Metro I have yet to travel to. One of them is Alabang in Muntinlupa which is the southern most city of NCR.

When given the chance to visit Alabang and dine in Studio Kitchen, an upper-class sit-down restaurant offering the creative fusion cuisine of chef-owner Mark Tan, I immediately contacted my fashionable and dear friend, Ronn (Yes, the one who competed in Lee's National Denim Day and the one who created these fierce statement blazers) to not only be my food trip partner, but to also be my travel buddy for the day.

Studio Kitchen Interior

Located in the Commerce Center Building's 2nd floor (which is more than 2 hours away from my place), Studio Kitchen is a barely 6-month old restaurant exuding both simplicity and elegance as opposed to pure intimidation. Although the wide dining space looks posh, the whole place was not embedded with knickknacks. Just simple square and rectangular tables, leather-cushioned seats and a lovely artsy wall, paired with a soft yellow-tinted lighting, and Studio Kitchen is all set.

Chef Mark Tan

Food was not immediately served due to an unforeseen circumstance. But, we definitely understood the situation as the chef-owner, Mark Tan who was trained in the Michelin-starred Providence and The Bazaar, both in Los Angeles, was the only one in to do the culinary management. In fact, we maximized the opportunity to see the chef in action as he meticulously prepared the dishes in their open kitchen.

Fresh Green Salad P300

After a few minutes of waiting which we didn't mind at all, we were then served with a plate of Fresh Green Salad (P300). Loaded with fresh crispy greens, cherry tomatoes and seasonal fruits, this platter of healthy goodness was topped with a balsamic dressing. And with the freshest ingredients, one can't simply go wrong with a vegetable salad.

Fresh Crab Salad P330

We were then served with the Fresh Crab Salad (P330), another lovely plate full of greens, but this time, with Granny Smith apple mash, Piquillic, basil, Espelette, fresh wasabi, and the star of the dish -- fresh unshelled crab meat. Being a seafood lover, this plate definitely satisfied my craving. Everything tasted great, and I liked the greens here better than with the Fresh Green Salad's.

Lapu-Lapu Rossejat P595

After a light start, we kicked the night off with a serving of the Lapu-Lapu Rossejat (P595) -- a beautifully-plated Aioli-based dish with lovely Lapu-Lapu, mussels, squid and shrimp atop a bed of paella pasta. Although I want to love this dish to bits, I was really confused if I like it or not. The Lapu-Lapu was perfectly cooked and all the other seafood created sparks. But, I think it was the paella pasta which didn't make the cut. I quite liked it taste-wise, but I think I'm just not a fan of thin noodles.

Funghi Pasta Ala Chitarra Appetizer P375 Entree P490

We also got to sample the Funghi Pasta Ala Chitarra, Appetizer (P375); Entree (P490). This dish filled with hand-made and hand-cut fresh pasta, Swiss Brown, Shiitake, Parmeggiano Regianno and chives definitely received a nod for approval. Although the Swiss Brown sauce was creamy and very likable, it was the mushrooms that stole the night.

Maple Glazed Pork Belly P540

We were also served with one of Studio Kitchen's best-selling dishes, the Maple Glazed Pork Belly (P540) -- a sous vide-cooked pork belly dish glazed with maple-star anise sitting on chorizo and Granny Smith apple-infused paella rice. Although I like the flavors of this dish, our table tried to veer away from getting more of the pork because of its oiliness.

Braised US Beef Short Rib P695

Another carnivorous dish followed suit as we were served with the Braised US Beef Short Rib (P695) -- slow-cooked beef short rib with mushroom risotto and asparagus. The beef short rib was very straightforward and unpretentious. It tasted of meat and nothing more, yet it managed to make me tempted because of its succulent and very tender quality. The mushroom risotto was also the perfect carb partner as it contrasted the simplicity of the meat with its salty yet savory flavor.

Dutch Veal Cheeks P925

We also got to sample the Dutch Veal Cheeks (P925) which was served with cauliflower puree, roasted asparagus, and wilted arugula. Compared with the 2 previous meat dishes, this one is the bomb! The veal cheeks were very tender and savory as it was cooked in port-veal jus. They were oozing with flavor in every bite, and the asparagus and arugula gave the meat a delicate bitterness to balance the meaty taste.

Surf and Turf P740

For the last entrée, our group had the Surf and Turf (P740), a beautifully-plated ensemble with prawns, ox tongue, baby artichokes, confit cherry tomatoes, ox tongue duelle ravioli and tomato gastrique. Everyone in our table was at awe when this was served. The lovely plating by the chef made this look like a real culinary artwork. But of course, we shouldn't judge it by just how pleased our eyes were. And upon tasting, the ox tongue ravioli became my favorite in this plate. The ox tongue pieces and prawns had a lot of potential as they were cooked to the right texture and doneness. However, there were parts of them which had a very salty and bitter taste. We're not sure if the unwanted unpleasant flavors were supposed to be there, or if something had gone wrong.

Chocolate Coulant P300 Chocolate Coulant

With our taste buds quite upset from the last dish, we were glad when the server brought us a plate of the Chocolate Coulant (P300), a dark chocolate-almond cake filled with chocolate ganache and plated with vanilla Chantilly and macerated strawberries. And contrary to the last food item we had, this serving of dessert was pure bliss! We just love how the cake was quite crisp on the outside, yet oozing with delicious chocolate ganache on the inside.

Laiskonis Egg P130

We also had this lovely Laiskonis Egg (P130) -- eggshell filled with chocolate pot de creme, maple syrup, caramel sauce, caramel foam and Maldon salt. And like the previous dessert, this piece of egg tasted divine! Sitting at the bottom of the egg is a decadent chocolate goodness which harmoniously blends with the salty foam on top which created a perfect balance of sweet and salty.

Chocolate Biscuits

To cap the night off, we also had some chocolate sandwiches and macarons which are 2 items from Studio Kitchen's Plate of Mignardises (P150). Both of these goodies were a delight to eat, but we preferred the chocolate sandwiches as the cream filling was just so good!

Macarons Fresh Squeezed Lemon-Pineapple Slush P120

If you're curious what Studio Kitchen has for beverages, fear not 'cause they have an array of white and red wines, soda, San Miguel products, coffee, tea and some fresh fruit concoctions like this Fresh Squeezed Lemon-Pineapple Slush (P120) which I had.

THE VERDICT

This trip down to Studio Kitchen was a very exciting one not just because of the adventure my friend and I had to-and-from Alabang, but also because of what Chef Mark Tan's culinary prowess had offered us. Although I have to admit that there were some misses when it comes to the food flavors, I'll still give Studio Kitchen a shot as I believe these were simply brought about by that night's unfavorable circumstances on the part of the restaurant. And with a simple yet classy space, a very courteous set of staff, and food that looks so delectable, I'm sure this will not be the last time I'll visit the south.

Taste - 3.5/5
Ambiance - 4/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 3/5
Overall Value - 4/5


Studio Kitchen, Alabang
Unit 202 Commerce Center Building
Commerce Avenue, Filivest, Alabang
Muntinlupa City, Metro Manila
Philippines
(02)822-0508
Facebook Page

45 comments:

  1. Ang mahal and ang layo; but I can see that the food can be worth it. I'm not a food critic or expert of some sort kaya some of the dishes here (including the Laiskonis Egg) is pretty interesting for me. Haha! :P

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  2. @Gellie Abogado: Yup, super layo nga din from our place.. >.< Pero it's nice to go to super far places once in a while.. :)

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  3. Awww inggit much .. my sked prevented me from experiencing this resto :) Chocolate Coulant I WANTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!

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  4. Another great find! Also, you really write well.. so kudos for that! You really give each dish and food establishment their deserving reviews. =)

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  5. Chocolate Coulant is the best!!!!!!! :)

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  6. Aww.. agree with Gellie. Medyo mahal nga at malayo. Hehe!

    One thing more, parang di ko makain yung ibang dishes. Di kasi ako adventurous sa pagkain. Yung lapu-lapu lang at desserts lang ata ang makakain ko.

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  7. wow the prices are a bit steep. but they looked so yummy! <3 Interesting food!

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  8. wow seeing that foods makes me want to eat again even if one has already his meal

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  9. very pricey but a must try.. i just hope that the food will compliment well with the price.

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  10. The dutch veal cheeks and the desserts are certainly worth the visit. Price is usual for an upper class dining.

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  11. REading and looking at your photos made me want to go to the kitchen now (11PM) and cook up, plate and eat....*sigh* I miss eating...lol.

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  12. mouth-watering... kahit mahal..hahaha

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  13. The presentation's very beautiful. Makes me want to stare at it for hours first before eating the whole thing. =)

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  14. wow! love the photos and the food presentation :) I'm curious about the paella pasta! looks really delicious! :)

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  15. Oh, so this was the Openrice event pala. Layo nga lang talaga. Pero superb yung presentation. :)

    http://www.dekaphobe.com/

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  16. i live in south pero hindi ako familiar dito. dishes look good but expensive.

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  17. haha same here, 3x palang yata ako napunta ng alabang sa buong buhay ko. ^_^

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  18. Is that how the food looks like when served to customers? Hanep sa presentation. Knowing most upper class live in Alabang kaya siguro ganyan kamahal ang food.

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  19. food looks great! though super expensive hehe!

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  20. I really liked the Laiskonis Egg; but when I looked at the price when we were eating... I was all: WHOA. NO! :))) HAHA! Still, they served good food. So thumbs up to Chef.

    www.foodiefromthemetro.com

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  21. i wonder why you didn't give a perfect rating on even one of the criteria... i guess, you have really high standards but the place is nice and the food looks yummy!

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  22. Very impressive and superb nman ng resto na to :D I wonder how those food costs :/

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  23. Kami mga backpackers o bukid goers. Ayos na sa amin ang seafood.
    Just bring the cans down. hehehe...

    Nice post.

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  24. like you, to me that alabang and muntinlupa (although we have relatives and friends there)are the moon! ...so distant that in as much as i want to bring my fmaily to ATC or festival mall, we just usually settle for greenbelt and the rest of makati. BUT, if those glorious food particularly that surf and turf will be the bait, i'll go there anytime kahit mula penang! hahaha! :)

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  25. too far from my place, but i will ask my boyfriend if he'd like to try since he's living in paranaque. the food looks soo yummy!!

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  26. Nice place! So calmy the ambiance from your picture above. The food looks yummy too. Amazed with the egg :) and as I see from your photos they serve very clean, OC i may say :) thumbs up with chef! :)

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  27. I don't know the place but we always pass by alabang on our way to manila from batangas. Might be worth checking out.

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  28. It's very pricey but the food looks delicious.

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  29. Wow on the price! But they do look very yummy. :)

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  30. yummy sis!! navisit ko na din blog mo sa wakas hehe

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  31. the dishes all look delish, + i love how you describe each with gusto. i don't think i'd recognize every ingredient in a dish, much more recall them later on ^_^

    the prices were a bit steep for me, but i guess it will be well worth it once you sink in your teeth into those delectable dishes :)

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  32. Me and hubby like to try new dishes even if it would take us to far places and spend a little more than our usual budget. If we're there in the Philippines, most probably we'll try out that place.

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  33. The presentation of the food looks awesome, but it is a bit pricy. :P But the dishes are very interesting because they're not your usual run of the mill food. Like the Laiskonis Egg... what the heck is that, I've never heard or seen of it before. Hehe.

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  34. The plating made the foods look more appetizing. I am sure they taste good too. Can I have a bite of that maple glazed pork? :)

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  35. back here! Laiskonis Egg is a must-try for me. :) Want to know how my P130 would taste in an egg shell. Lol.

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  36. Mag-ccomment sana ako ng "Ang mahal ng salad"
    Tapos scroll scroll ako.... naisip ko "ANG DAMI NIYONG KINAIN AT DALAWA LANG KAYO"
    Tapos naisip ko pa... at si Sumi ay forever sexy.

    Bongga ka teh! <3 Nagutom ako sa chocolate sandwiches and macarons!

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  37. i REally love how you take pictures.. It looks really nice and yummy but its too pricey =(... maybe will try if in case we get to visit alabang and if the budget fits =0

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  38. The pasta looks good! I never go to Alabang though since it's too far away from me...

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  39. Hung up on that crab salad and desserts! But way too far for me too, unless there's a really special occasion to go, you won't find me there. :)

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  40. In fairness, ang ganda ng review at photos. Parang di pareho kinain natin.

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  41. All I can say is I will visit this place and try all that you have tried. Alam kung masarap lahat yan..hehehehe

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  42. The place looks so elegant --you might wonder if the duke or duchess or the king and queen once dined here..

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  43. fine dining and great presentation kaso ang mahal.. :(

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  44. too expensive to dine in but the food looks good and yummy!

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