TOYO Eatery Manilla, Philippines 9.7 out of 10 (best in 2017)

I am the biggest idiot alive…. because I have waited 9 months to post the best restaurant of 2017…. If you ever have the plan to go to Asia, or more specific Manilla, read this !!!  If you’re not, still read this. What a crazy foodie roller-coaster it was, So special!      I have had the luxury of eating here before it got world famous. I even ti[[ed off my friends at “the worlds 50 best”,  who now picked up on this restaurant an they just won an award yesterday (!). Well deserved in my opinion. What the chef, Jordy Navarra brings to the plate is the highest in Filipino “cuisine” that I know of. What an amazing menu, refreshing and surprising dishes. Absolutely unbelievable and worth re-visiting.

You need to be a little crazy, because I was walking around some alleys downtown Manilla, searching for the place to be, as no taxi, Grab or Uber driver was able to help me. And than, all of a sudden, you see the lights:

I would like to tell you what I had all night, but that will be too much, I can tell you, the most amazing food pairing cocktails as well as an unbelievable tasting menu. See the 2 pictures to see my dinner:

Let me show just pictures of the restaurant, followed by the food. I will write down the parts I remember or have written down:

All natural wooden furniture, open en straight hyper modern lay-put and of course the open kitchen. Maybe not looking as organised or clean as most Western European restaurants, but hard working people all around. All friendly.

And now the food, in order of appearance:

Amuse: a feather light maccaron made of tomato extract and  what I would call a satay crumble (peanut). 10/10

Cocktail nr.1: called cocktail nr.5 hahaha gin, campari, edelflower, cucumber, lime, basil, fresh, tangy, great opener! 10/10

This oyster, the best oyster ever! with cucumber, lime and basil, with that cocktail…. 11 out of 10 pffff

Wild Talakitok with lime and sesame, cant really remember this one, so maybe not the best of the evening…. sorry. 7/10

Tamban (local fish, close to herring, or more like 50% herring and 50% sardine) with Malunggay (local medicinal herb, looks like the fern) with young corn and the sezchuan button (yellow yead). Yet another 10/10. such a typical fish, but the Malunggay has a new flavour to me, the herbs in total made it sweet, fishy, spicy, just can’t explain…. just new and great. Almost started to cry with all these new elements on my tasting pallet! sweet sour crisp delicious10/10

Stuffed squid, just a small bite. But it exploded, fireworks! That salty glaze and the stuffing with Mustasa (like a mustard plant / vegetable) 10/10 change of course in the menu, from fresh to fish to salt, WOW !!

Burnt crab roe, never had it like this,but to combine with Kalabasa (like the bottle pumpkin) and coconut vinegar?! this guy is from another planet! Saffron, shrimp heads, I don’t know anymore 10/10

Now the absolute hero! the dish I would order on my last night on this planet…. makes me even emotional. There is a local childrens song called Bahay Kubo, and little children sing this to learn all basic vegetables. Like the alphabet song, now just with food (great idea!). What does this idiot do? Make a dish with all vegetables mentioned in that song….

A soil made out of dried eggplant, peanut and sesame, with all deliciousness underneath.

It looks like dirt but it tastes like heaven. like a double orgasm while high on heroin jumping out of a plane without a parachute…. No words left. If there is a 6th flavour, that is what you taste. it is all 5 in a perfect combo creating the 6th, tasting chicken and herbs and fish and meat and fruit (non of it is in it…) FUCK ME TWICE! 20/10 double points,…

Full now, just half way through, grilled mackerel with butter of a grass-fed cow with semi ripe guava…. fish heaven, strong bite, bit too chewy maybe on the herbs, but so pure. It started swimming again… nice with sour plum sauce underneath10/10

Extra dish of the chef… why god why? As you can recognise, the famous Sisig on a plate, grandma’s recipe, like the Asian paella…. so good. I keep on eating, no matter what! 10/10

The main course…. mwoehahaha, three cut BBQ pork belly, with a fresh and salty, vinegar sauce and a glaze made of tamarind, ketjap, honey and what else? sucked it of the stick. Satay heaven! 10/10

Some refreshing pineapple and whisky granité of the menu to match my 4th cocktail…. did not show them all, but tasted them all…. hahaha called a Trudeau, with rye whisky, smoked orange, maple syrup and rosemary (keep on inventing them please!) 10/10

Somebody asked for dessert? Local unknown dark chocolate (how ironic, no Belgian) with preserved Kalamansi (local fruit, mixture of mandarin and Kumquat) soft, acidity, bitter chocolate, structure, burp burp, I am done. Amazing simple but amazing! 10/10

1 more for the road they say?! Why not, some nice cassava cake with  (best ever…) chocolate truffle and sticky purple thingy…. I walked back 50 minutes to my hotel after this at 40 degrees, just to burn some calories… rolled outside…

What a night! Nothing to complain? you know me, yes I do!

Overall the food scores a 12 out of 10, giving bonus point for some dishes.

But the overly friendly waiter started to annoy me… every 2 minutes at my table (typical Asia) asking questions, telling stories interrupting my heavenly experience, are you okay Kevin, everything good Mr. Kevin? Kevin Likey likey? aarrgghhhh…. But it is forgiven as it was meant to be friendly. But too friendly can just be annoying…. maybe it is me>? Also there is like 20 people staff looking around for just 3 tables at that time…. but hey, they come cheap. Why not use them?

Also picking up my plate before I even swallowed my last bite of food…. very difficult for me, but that is the regional way of eating unfortunately…

Also the tempo was crazy, a new dish every 10 minutes…. this total menu took less than 2 hours, I Europe that would be twice as long. So for Asians this is crazy long, for me, I ca not handle so much food in this time.

So I have chosen not to score on individual aspects, just deduct 0.1 points from this perfection. Ending up with a score of 9.7 out of 10

(and for who is interested, I paid around €92, which is like a 2 week salary on this Island, so way too high for locals. For me the best of a year, it was  a steal at that price).

Please go here, you will not be disappointed!






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