Weekend Escape: 8-Course Menu at the Teahouse of QiWellness Living, Tagaytay
You can save the bulalo date for next time.
(SPOT.ph) Just when you thought your Tagaytay food trip was just all about steaks by Chef Tony boy Escalante and the requisite bulalo side stop comes a new reason to brave the now insane southbound traffic.
The Budji Layug + Royal Pineda-designed QiWellness Living may be a wellness destination, but the crown jewel is The Teahouse, which offers inspired six and eight-course tasting menus designed to give visitors a peek into their Pan-Asian specialties. “It's inspired by the concept of yin and yang [and] we wanted the tasting menu to have a balance of different flavors and textures," shares Kenneth Tuason, one of the partners of QiWellness Living. The list is updated every few months to represent the four seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, and Autumn.
True enough, the Spring menu reads like a playground of various ingredients and flavors: There’s steak, duck confit, and an eel and apple appetizer.
Miso + Onion + Mushroom + Truffle Oil soup
All the meals open with a plate of fried mantou and hoisin butter, a subtle prelude to the eight courses waiting to be sampled. The Spring menu starts off with a surprising yet comforting bowl—the Miso + Onion + Mushroom + Truffle Oil soup, earthy flavors melding seamlessly with that salty bean paste.
Salmon Gravlax + Squid Ink + Orange + Citrus Pearls + Cream Cheese
The Salmon Gravlax plate, which comes after the soup, is easily one of the prettiest dishes we’ve ever seen: vivid colors seem to jump out of the plate, orange and yellow hues offering both savory and citrusy flavors tastefully muted by the briny squid-ink smear. This is the part where you sigh, contented, as you happily realize that you are only on your third plate and there's more to come.
Fermented Tofu Souffle + Spring Salad + Hoisin Vinaigrette
On paper, the Fermented Tofu Soufflé seems intimidating for the less-adventurous eater, but the soufflé—ultra soft, by the way—reminds you of a well-balanced cheese plate and the spring greens are fresh and crunchy, the season so well-translated on a plate.
Flank Steak + Sweet Potato + French Beans + Mushrooms
A hot stone serves as a platform for the Flank Steak, its edges quietly charring over the heat. It arrives medium rare, but you can wait a few more minutes until it beautifully browns. The steak’s noticeably sweet flavors are a variation of your usual grilled steak, but with enough robust tones to remind you of your infatuation with meat.
Guava + Mango + Lemon + Edible flowers + Herbs + Soil
Make sure to pause between the lamb belly and the duck leg confit courses and save space for dessert. You wouldn't want to be too full for the Guava + Mango + Lemon + Edible flowers + Herbs + Soil. It's a medley of textures and sweetness: the guava-mango sorbet sitting on a bed of nutty crumble, dried fruits, sweet potato crisps, and cream.
If you manage to still have space for a cocktail or a cup of tea, The Teahouse’s playfully named cocktails should appeal to your current mood and state of mind: choose from the cocktail list which includes servings of Mahjong, the Silk Road, the Concubine, Cherry Blossoms, and Sze Chuan.
If you’re not up for tasting portions, The Teahouse’s a la carte menu features full-sized servings of the Duck Leg Confit “a la Peking,” Lamb Belly, and Steak—all served just a few steps away from most breathtaking view of the Taal Lake.
QiWellness Living is at Aguinaldo Highway, Barangay Maharlika East, Tagaytay City (0917-522 6969). The six- or eight-course menu is priced at P2,880 per person (excluding service charge). A 48-hour advance reservation is required.