A MAT­TER OF LIN­EAGE

Close fam­ily ties serve as the foun­da­tion of good food in the new­est neigh­bor­hood restau­rant

Northern Living - - EATS - TEXT LEX CELERA PHO­TOG­RA­PHY PA­TRICK SE­GOVIA

Ter­race 45 is a restau­rant that took decades in the making.

Karl San­tos and Karen Me­jia are sib­lings who would go to their grand­par­ents’ home for fam­ily and neigh­bor­hood potlucks when they were much younger. From sim­ply join­ing in on meals, they be­gan spend­ing more time in the kitchen, cook­ing for the fam­ily and learn­ing dif­fer­ent recipes from rel­a­tives. Their par­ents also used to own a restau­rant fran­chise. Now in their late 20s and early 30s, re­spec­tively, the two sib­lings fi­nally took the plunge and opened a restau­rant of their own. And where else to put up this new ven­ture, but in the place where their culi­nary jour­ney had be­gun: their grand­par­ents’ home.

There isn’t any­thing out of place when you en­ter Ter­race 45. The en­trance to the restau­rant and the open din­ing area to the side are sur­rounded by plants and a num­ber of trees. Paint­ings made by fam­ily mem­bers hang on the walls, ac­cented by hues of brown and gray. There are nei­ther pe­riod pieces nor con­trived fix­tures to be seen; only sim­ple fur­ni­ture that bal­ance so­phis­ti­ca­tion with con­vivi­al­ity. There are a num­ber of no­table dishes here. The Pork Rind Pou­tine—a bowl of hand-cut fries, gravy, fried gar­lic, aioli, and home­made chicharon— may not be as ap­pe­tiz­ing as it looks on the menu but is a def­i­nite must-try. The chicharon adds tex­ture while the aioli and gar­lic add a kick that begs for an­other, im­me­di­ate bite. The Lengua and Chips is an­other unique dish that sets a con­trast be­tween the mouth-feel of both com­po­nents; com­bine the two in a spoon­ful of creamy mush­room gravy, and you will be hooked. Pair any of the main cour­ses with the blends of loose leaf tea, which Ter­race 45 might sell in jars soon.

Visit this restau­rant for fam­ily gath­er­ings, dates, or barkada hang­outs and be pleas­antly sur­prised. Ter­race 45 man­ages to stand on its own with­out any clamor to be no­ticed. That may be an in­di­ca­tion of a lack of con­cept, but the fla­vors it of­fers are a mark of long­prac­ticed ex­cel­lence.

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