Kitchen Lab : Modernist Cuisine & all about my Happy Plate
For the past few years, I have heard about the Kitchen Lab in my facebook newsfeed. I’ve been wanting to try it out too but never got to find the place or even bothered to ask how to make reservations and all. Now that they are so close to the city, I am just as excited as I was frustrated to try out the food. Kitchen Lab is barely a kilometer away from home! I didn’t ask for it. Maybe the food asked for me. Haha!
Just when I thought it is going to be a hectic start of the week, I got an invite to get first dibs on the new place offering modernist cuisine in the city, Kitchen Lab. It has been talked about during the past months – the place. It is located along P. Lazaro corner Llanes Street, Laoag City. If you’re from Laoag, you’d be familiar of the old white house near GMW trans. That house is exactly where the dining place is!
The upper area of the house is now transformed into a fancy restaurant owned by business partners and food geeks, I must say, Dr. Jonathan Noble and Chef (:D) Irwin Pascual. Both are obsessed with the art of making beautiful, story-telling, adventurous, tedious, complicated, and fine gastronomic goodness. These food scientists claim to be self-taught and experience raised, which made me realize that it’s true when they say you get better and better every time when you put your heart into something you enjoy doing. Well, I guess the kitchen is obviously more than just their playground.
A part of Kitchen Lab’s regular menu will be offering premium & high-grade steaks as well. Something I will be going back for and looking forward to. They are now open but if you wish to experience a “degustacion” like what I am going to write about, you have to reserve at least a week and a half in advance.
Mngr. Joel Baptista – 09998841701
The experience was more delightful that I thought it was. We were told to have a 16-course tasting menu with a selection from their premier wines. The alcohol, I didn’t have though. I had to focus really well on taking pictures, that’s why. Haha! This is my first “degustacion” experience and it definitely might not be the last as long as Kitchen Lab exists! The concept of last night’s dining experience was about bringing us all back to the childhood memories of Chefs Jonathan & Irwin, what made them love food and now, playing around with it as well. Artistically of course! It was nostalgic, even more when they come to our table and explain their masterpiece. The “Nostalgia” experience will be offered for a year, and like I said, it is by appointment only.
So anyway, let me cut to the chase and get on with this foodscapade!
Sir Irwin’s dashing wife, Valerie and Dr. Jonathan’s other half as well, Dr. Mary Jane paved the way for us all.
It was a delightful experience! As always, with Tina Tan of blauearth together forever. Haha! We sat with the lovely couple, City Councilor Jeff Fariñas and Ms Charisma Urcia. During the first 3 dishes, it was their 2 month old little Marcella Rose we couldn’t stop talking about. *adorbs!*
Sir Remular, Sir Aian R., & Tita Pam on the other table close to us.
Let the food tasting begin!
Chorizo Pepper jack roll with Burgos Gamet Butter – for starters, it was a lovely crunch. The compound butter was a nice pair with the chorizo inside the roll. I thought the butter tasted bland, I was not able to really taste the gamet but when smothered on the slice of roll with chorizo pieces, it was pretty good. Nice touch, good start!
They called this a take of accents & elements: Apple Gyoza, Grape Crumbet (grape stuffed blue cheese with crumbled pistachios), Sea Urchin Cookie with Butarga, & Jowl of Pork. Our favorite was the stuffed grape. The blue cheese and the sweetness of the grape made us really look at each other for confirmation on how surprising it was. Also the pistachio was a smart finish because it added texture to the smooth and tangy fruit and spikey blue cheese in it. The cookie with sea urchin on top though was new to me. We were joking around wondering if they bought the cookie because it tasted like authentic danish cookies. And we were wrong. Everything was from the Kitchen Lab.
Doctor-Chef Jonathan checking up on our table as they serve the next plate.
Pickled Salad in buttermilk with crispy mushroom – I loved the mushroom. It tasted like chicharon which all of us agreed to. The salad was light on the palate as well, thanks to the buttermilk & crunchy asparagus on top. It toned down the pickles.
As of now, I am surprised where in the world am I getting my judgements on this tasting experience?! Should I stop writing?! Who cares. Let’s get on with it.
62 degrees farm egg with potato chips, onion soubise and hamon iberico – The egg was cooked in a method called “sous vide” (su-vid) Sealed in an airtight bag and placed in a water bath with controlled temperature for long hours. It didn’t taste yolky or raw at all which was really nice. The consistency and texture of the egg was so smooth, it was like thick soup slash sauce slash the star of the plate at the same time. I had to curve my bowl up to scoop out everything clean.
Smoked pasuquin tuna tartar with a dollop of ginger & yoghurt emulsion
Two Way Prawns – poached and fried, served on a glass plate mimicking the beautiful Ilocos Norte coastline. The sand is bread crumbs in olive oil and the waves touching the shore is milk foam. The fried shrimp on the rock, I would like to believe is little mermaid but let’s just say it represents the beautiful rock formations we have.
Chef Irwin explaining to us our next dish, something memorable during his childhood.
Nostalgia of Scallop & the reminiscent of hay aroma burning in the fields of Ilocos – very, very specific. The scallop was soft and tender, which I believe (thank you TLC & Food Network, haha!) is hard to achieve as it gets tough when over cooked. It was pan seared and topped with almond brittle. For a moment there, I felt like a critic of the show, The Taste. (‘sup, Bourdain!)
Even the palate cleanser was talked about. Sir Jeff even wanted to eat my little scoop of lemon sorbet. No sharing! 😀
It just gets better and better.
This is Tare roasted pork in uni dashi served with squid ink onion chips – again, sous vide cooked pork. The onion chips was flavorful and the pork was so soft! I remember Sir Irwin explaining that the chips are made of dehydrated onion, powderized and mixed with squid ink so you can just imagine the flavor that has been retained. I called this my “happy plate” last night.
Just when I though I already had my happy plate, I looked over the chef’s window and stood to take photos while they prep our next dish.
and when it arrived, we still couldn’t stop taking photos.
Charcoal crust Wagyu in beet embellishment – the beet sauces are beet emulsion, roasted beet sauce, pickled beet. Also member of the crime scene plate is demi glace and carbon soil – Sous vide cooked to perfection, the wagyu literally melts in your mouth. The carbon soil was made from charcoaled eggplant skin. It didn’t taste burnt at all so I didn’t have to worry about carcinogen. Haha! The sauces was also my favorite specially the demi glace.
care for another one? I would! But we were almost done. On to desserts!
A fun pre-desseert. Malt & Barley ice cream on a bed of puff quinoa and milk chips on top. It reminded me so much of the old school honey-star cereal!
And to wrap it all up, we had Goat cheese Ganache & Chamomile ice cream on a bed of sweet and tangy bugnay sauce.
The playful chefs behind this gastronomic experience.
Chefs Irwin & Dr. Chef Jonathan ; Congratulations on Kitchen Lab and cheers to a more gastronomic adventure to the both of you! Thank you for the experience!
Also part of the creative team behind this foodscapade is Chef Miko Quimora & Chef Abbygail Siy from DLSU College of Saint Benilde.
and for you dearest Tina, events like this will never be the same without you! See you soon and around!