This Restaurant's Minimalist Interiors Are the Perfect Contrast to Their Bold Flavors
With influences from Thai, Japanese, Indian, and other cuisines!
(SPOT.ph) We're at a point now where the borders between cultures are slowly fading away. More and more chefs and restaurants are embracing other cultural influences, in the name of creativity and artistic freedom in food. One such restaurant is Cebu establishment Ilaputi, whose eclectic menu has one-of-a-kind dishes featuring elements from different cuisines—including Japanese, Vietnamese, Indian, Filipino, and more.
For instance, there's the Dragon Chop (P395), which merges Middle Eastern, Indian, and even Japanese elements. The dish combines a grilled garlic pork chop, garlic yoghurt sauce, black sesame miso tahini, spiced buttered rice with raisins, and mango chutney—make sure to get a bit of everything in each spoonful so you can experience the push-and-pull dynamic as the different components come together!
Another signature dish of theirs is the Saigon Adobo (P295), which features elements common to both Cebu and Vietnam. It's got stir-fried lemongrass and garlic pork tenderloin with garlic-shrimp fried rice and nuoc mam, and is said to be their chef's favorite dish!
Ilaputi takes on Thai flavors in the Nonihm Thai (P295), which has stir-fried soy and black pepper pork tenderloin, Thai fried rice, green mangoes, shrimp paste, dried shrimps, and scrambled eggs. Meanwhile, East meets West in the Kimchiwa (P395): a leveled-up kimchi fried rice topped with bulgogi and fried eggs, yes—but also bacon, and we're wondering why we hadn't thought of this before.
The restaurant still does go the traditional route in some dishes—for instance, their Grassroots Sisig (P320). It's described as a "true Kapampangan sisig" with pork mask and brain, onions, calamansi, and chili served with quail eggs and dusted with umami powder.
Ilaputi is helmed by Jan Rodriguez, a self-taught chef who is also a designer. Rodriguez was initially working front desk at Shangri-La and eventually in HR in New Jersey, but decided to return to the Philippines after 9/11. He found a small space across a university and started a karinderya, using lessons learned while watching Food TV channel to cook for himself while he was living in the East Coast.
"The idea was to serve food that I’ve had and [had fallen] in love with in my travels, focusing on home-cooked dishes that made its way to market, alley or hawker stalls in these South East Asian countries," Rodriguez shares. "I would recreate these dishes as [authentically] as I can to the original counterparts and [adjust] to the availability of local ingredients and to suit my palate. The goal is to serve authentic food as a means of personal expression that allows me to relive the experience and share that with my guests."
What began as a short menu with eight dishes has now grown into a wide selection of rice, meat, and seafood dishes. Currently, Ilaputi has three branches around Cebu.
There's nothing like savoring a tall glass of iced tea with a hearty rice dish, and here in Manila, some of our favorites are the versions by Cibo and The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.
Ilaputi has branches at F17, Axis Entertainment Avenue, Escario Street, Capitol Site, Cebu City and L/1 Luzon Avenue Entrance, Ayala Center Cebu. See a list of Ilaputi branches. For more information, check out Ilaputi's Facebook page.