This past weekend, I attended a book launch and then K invited me to a food tasting of Chef Ed Quimson’s new restaurant. It’s called Filos and is located at the Fort, across from Go Nuts Donuts. Pronounced “FEE-los,” it’s short for Filipinos. Obviously, the cuisine served here will be Filipino and it will be Filipino fine dining.
I’ve known Chef Ed since 1995 when he was working at the Makati Stock Exchange. I was served a pie called Triple Chocolate Silk, a dream of a dessert that took my breath away. I insisted on meeting the genius who had made it, and since then, I’ve been a great fan of the man. Chef Ed has an astounding taste memory bank ”“ he’ll remember tastes of years ago and pair them with flavors he’s tasted last night. It was from him that I learned that white chocolate harmonizes well with mango and that honey and patis (fish sauce) make a good dipping sauce for lumpia (spring rolls). While we were there, he was waxing rhapsodic about lamb marinated in a combination of coffee and guava jelly and then grilled is divine.
As can be seen from the photos, the restaurant is still getting itself together. The food however, is all ready to go. Chef Ed started us off with spring rolls stuffed with smoked bangus (milkfish), tomatoes, and onions, then a trio of adobo. Adobo is probably the Philippines’ national dish, and there are as many variations as there are cooks. At its most basic, adobo is meat cooked in vinegar, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, and soy sauce. Set before us was adobong puti, cooked without soy sauce (considered an abomination by some); adobong Taal, which had a subtle then sharp tang of ginger; and adobong Capampangan, the richest of the lot with mashed chicken liver. When the restaurant opens, the adobos will be served as a trio with steaming white rice. Eat them in the order mentioned above, and appreciate the taste gradations from subtle to sudden.
K and I were then served karne sa toyo, which could easily become Filos’ signature dish, according to K. Simply beef stewed in soy sauce, the dish was dark and complex tasting, belying the guilelessness of its ingredients. Chef Ed said he just uses Silver Swan soy sauce and vino blanco, the cheapest cooking wine on the market. “Just P45 a bottle!” He exclaims. The dish is garnished with slices of saba (plaintains) which mitigates the pleasant saltiness of the sauce.
The next dish was something that Chef Ed whipped up on a whim ”“ shrimps sautéed in whole calamansi (yes, really!), bagoong (salty condiment made from fermented shrimps), and ta-dah! mayonnaise. It tasted a lot like binagoongan (pork cooked with bagoong), and was very good. We also tried the sinigang (sour soup) with plenty of okra, radish, and eggplant. I like my sinigang mouth-puckeringly sour, and this was it. Chef Ed had used plenty of fresh tamarind as his souring agent.
”I’m not secretive about the recipes I use. No two cooks will cook the same recipe the same way.”“You need the patience, you need the love in cooking. So many people are into shortcutting things nowadays.”
“Cooking will always be there, but it’s up to you how to enhance it.”“You should experiment and play with your food, see which different flavor combinations work together.”
Additional notes: (last updated: Oct. 7, 2005)
Bonifacio Glbal City, Taguig