A new restaurant in Tagaytay offers a culinary experience that takes guests on a journey through Philippine history. Dekada (from the same group that operates SumoSam) elevates authentic Filipino dining with its interpretation of well-loved local dishes named after heroes and historical events, which give gatherings a festive patriotic mood.
Here, classic and contemporary tastes merge well: the restaurant’s interior features traditional and modern elements – wood and capiz create a nostalgic atmosphere while industrial finishes and pop artworks of Filipino heroes give it a touch of the present. The distinctive dining ambience is even more endearing because of the tranquil vibe of its location inside Royale Parc Hotel Tagaytay.
Aside from ambience, its location also plays a role in its offerings. As Tagaytay is known for its abundance of local produce, guests can expect to feast on freshly prepared dishes made with ingredients that came straight from the local market.
Dekada’s walk down Philippine history starts with ‘Lumpiang Palabok’ – bite-sized palabok wrapped in rice paper with grilled mahi-mahi. This is inspired by Antonio Pigafetta’s first account of the Spaniards’ visit to the Philippines when they were served roast mahi-mahi with rice wrapped in leaves.
There’s also the ‘Duweto ng Kinilaw’ – a serving of tanigue ceviche in coconut milk and a serving of shrimp in vinegar with mango. Ceviche or kinilaw was a pre-colonial way of cooking, especially popular in the Visayan region.
Fresh greens are also abundant in the highland city – and Dekada makes use of these through their ‘Ensaladas de Alianza’ or Salads of Alliance, which refer to the first alliances of the Filipinos and Spaniards, inspired by the best regional flavors. The ‘Legazpi’ (Sinuglaw Salad), for example, hails from Cebu and Davao with its tanigue and smoked liempo, finished off with Davao’s pomelo and sinamak vinaigrette, a famous spiced vinegar from Iloilo.
Tourists, especially balikbayans, troop to Tagaytay not only to savor the cool weather but also to enjoy a comforting bowl of soup. They will surely find comfort in ‘Melchora’, Dekada’s version of chicken binakol named after the “grand woman of the revolution.” Guests can also enjoy a hearty bulalo named “La Solidaridad.'
Homenajes Arroz or Rice Tributes refer to the practice of offering rice to God as a token of gratitude for a good harvest – and Dekada’s rice options go beyond the usual with ‘Benedictino’ (Aligue and Alimasag fried rice), ‘Dominicano’ (Adobo Rice), ‘Franciscano’ (Dilis Rice) and ‘Agustino’ (Bagoong Rice).
Dekada’s main dishes involve a short history lesson on the ‘Sons of the Revolution’, which includes ‘Del Pilar’ (chicken inasal), ‘Aguinaldo’ (twice-cooked adobo), and Pinoy-style oven-roasted chicken named ‘Ponce’.
The piece-de-resistance is named after National Hero Jose Rizal: Sizzling bulalo steak made with Tagaytay’s freshest beef.
If you are in a celebratory mood, go ahead and indulge in the ‘Dekada Crispy Pata’ or choose its garlic version called the ‘Malvar’ for more flavor.
Seafood items are also aplenty – and Dekada named them after personalities and historical milestones during the American colonization period. There’s the ‘Roosevelt’ – garlic and butter prawns and the ‘Murphy’ – crispy plapla with eggplant.
Meanwhile, vegetable dishes refer to the Japanese invasion period. The ‘Peralta’ (gising gising), the ‘Taruc’ (laing) and the ‘Hukbalahap’ (pinakbet) all make use of Tagaytay’s fresh greens. It can also be seen in soup dishes such as ‘Abcede’ (sinigang na sugpo), the ‘Ingeniero’ (sinigang na spareribs), and the ‘Gumbang Piang’ (sinigang na salmon head).
After history, Dekada moves into pop culture territory with its Crazy Rich Asian Bowls. These are decadent rice bowls that will surely be a hit with its sumptuous servings and delectable Asian-inspired flavors: Angus Beef Tapa, Chicken Inasal Satay, Gourmet Spicy Tuyo, Muscovado Beef Pares, and more!
Of course, all gastronomic journeys must have a sweet ending. Choose from ‘Sweet Nostalgia’, a medley of chocolate cake, vanilla ice cream, and banana Q. There's also the creative ‘Suman at Mangga Pandan Crepe Rolls’, ‘Choknut Turon ala Mode’ and the ‘Taho at Kesong Puti Cheesecake’ – truly divine and Filipino!
For drinks, Dekada offers its ‘Thirst for Freedom’ lineup: fresh juice and shake flavors like dalandan, calamansi, and watermelon as well as dessert drinks like Ube Shake and Mango Sago.
All-day merienda fares like Pancit Palabok, Pancit Bihon, tokwa’t baboy, okoy, and palitaw are also available.
Lastly, don’t leave Dekada without taking home its very own version of buko pie. The Buko Crumble Pie is filled with soft coconut meat with a warm pie crust topped with delectable crumble that is perfect with coffee or tea.
Want to experience authentic Filipino dining that goes beyond the plate? Visit Dekada where you can learn the stories of our nation as you share the goodness of Philippine cuisine.
Dekada is located in Royale Parc Hotel Tagaytay, Emilio Aguinaldo Highway, Silang Junction West, Tagaytay City. It is open daily, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more information, call 0923-0889055, 0915-6959588, (02) 984-1297 or (046) 402-1980, or send email to: email@example.com. Visit Facebook (Royale Parc Hotel Tagaytay) or IG (@royaleparc.tagaytay).