There is this small little restaurant in Katipunan Avenue called Wooden Spoon. Its an amazing Filipino comfort food restaurant for a small family and friends get together. Its just opposite Ateneo and beside the Ilocos Empanada place. Its owned by Chef Sandy Daza and the recipes for its unique menu is their family heritage.
Chef Sandy Daza, for those that says that the name rings a bell is one of the hosts for the show Del Monte Kitchenomics which was very popular in the 90’s. He has since been on several other TV Shows and has his own book. Needless to say, Chef Sandy is a well traveled food artist and one of the great chefs of Manila.
During this visit, Chef Sandy was not around. He is sometimes seen there at the restaurant. The place is packed as its quite small and seating is very limited. There are a few tables only downstairs with a few more on the second floor. Be warned that you may have to wait in line if you want to eat here. There is also little to no waiting area as its literally cramped. This is also one reason why the restaurant does not allow meetings to be held there so they have no space.
So onto the dishes: You must try their famous appetizer Crab Pancit. Its Php 145 and serves about 2-3. Its crispy noodles served in a bed of creamy sauce of crab and egg. Mix the sauce together with the noodles upon serving and enjoy. Two star Michelin Chef Jacques Marniere of Au Pactole in France is said to have brainstormed this recipe with Chef Sandy’s mother, Nora Daza.
Try out also the Tortang Talong (eggplant with egg). Its a classic Filipino dish done simply but done very well. Just the right toasted edges, crispy and flavorful. Its goes great even without ketchup.
We ordered the Bicol Express. We liked that lean meat was a twist used to make this dish but the flavor was also tweaked in a unique Wooden Spoon way. Sorry to say but we did not like this dish as it felt like its no longer a Bicol Express dish but more towards spicy kaldereta flavour. Your taste may vary but for this writer, I enjoyed the other dishes more.
Ah, for bounties of the sea, we tried their grilled tuna belly. Its a generous portion of juicy tuna belly in a flavorful mix of tomatoes, onions, and green mango. When you eat this, grab some tuna, the sidings, dabble a little sauce, and eat with a mouthful of rice. Truly a treat for the taste buds.
There were so many menu items we wanted to try but couldn’t really find the tummy space so our last dish was the Dinakdakan. An Ilocos dish pork dish with lots of onions and peppers tossed in. Its sauteed together with a sour yet tasty sauce that blends the flavors together. We liked how Wooden Spoon uses lean meats in its dishes. It doesn’t depend on fats in the meat for bringing out the flavor.