Add the word ‘truffle’ to any old dish’s name (eg: truffle lasagna, truffle burger, truffle soup, etc.) and it immediately sounds that much more luxurious. It’s an ingredient that chefs love to cook with and foodies dream to have in (almost) everything they eat.
But even with all the truffle dishes popping up in Metro Manila’s restaurants these days, how many of us can actually say that we know a thing or two about these gourmet mushrooms, other than the fact that they smell good and taste amazing?
If you’re admittedly clueless, read on to find out more about truffles and how precious they really are. You can then head out to the restaurants listed below (arranged alphabetically) and indulge in crazy delicious things like truffle sisig, truffle lechon, truffle cookies, and truffle gelato!
Truffles: precious fungi that only pigs and dogs can find
Truffles aren’t exactly a sight to behold–they’re lumpy, misshapen, and look nothing like their other mushroom siblings. But the fact that people are willing to trade in a whopping $2,000 (approximately ₱100,000) for a pound of this ugly fungus tells you that they are extremely precious.
So why exactly are truffles such an expensive delicacy? Well, aside from their fragrant aroma and rich flavor, the amount of work it takes to harvest them makes them that much more valuable. Because truffles like to grow on roots, particularly that of oak, hazelnut, and beech trees, most of them are buried beneath soil as deep as 200 meters. This makes them extra hard to locate even for the most skilled detectives out there.
Since human senses aren’t sharp enough for truffle hunting, this job was handed over to hogs who seemed to have the natural ability to sniff them out. The only problem with this harvesting method was the pigs’ lack of self-control–not able to help themselves around their favorite treat, they’d often gobble the truffles up and leave none for collection. As a far more effective alternative, pigs were replaced by trained dogs to detect the scent of ripening truffles.
Dubbed as the ‘diamond of the kitchen,’ truffles are definitely one of the most costly ingredients you can ever cook with. The French black truffle, large bulbs that give off a musky flavor, and the Italian white truffle, smaller mushrooms that have more of a garlicky taste, are the kinds that you’ll have to spend the most for.
But because not everyone wants to empty out their wallets for a tiny portion of truffle, cheaper alternatives have been invented to make this luxury food a more accessible treat.
There’s truffle oil (the stuff that most restaurants use these days), made by marinating small pieces of truffle in oil, and truffle salt, a simple mixture of high quality sea salt and bits of truffle.
Where to get truffle dishes in Metro Manila
1. Truffled Potato Chips at Fireside by Kettle
The starters at Fireside by Kettle are as indulgent as the main dishes themselves. Their salads come with bacon slabs and their nachos are smothered with crab fat.
So it’s no surprise that they have Truffled Potato Chips as an appetizer here! This sinful treat is made up of homemade potato chips flavored with truffles, drizzled in blue cheese sauce, and sprinkled with green onions.
Truffles and blue cheese might be acquired tastes for the Filipino palate but you’ll soon find yourself warming up to them. As looloo reviewers have warned, they’re quite addicting and you might not want to go back to ordinary chips after a helping of these!
Fireside by Kettle can be found at 3/F Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong and at G/F Power Plant Mall, Amorsolo Drive, Rockwell Center, Makati.
2. Truffle Gorgonzola and Truffle Mushroom Brown Rice at Kettle
Kettle may be known for their huge portions of juicy chicken and their towering serving of crispy fries but you need to save some space on the table for their truffle dishes too!
An order of their Truffle Gorgonzola will give you a bowl of spaghetti smothered in truffle cream, showered with parmesan, and garnished with fried basil. What most looloo reviewers love about this pasta entree is how al dente the noodles are and how the cheese and truffle flavors complement each other perfectly.
If you have meat entrees and you need rice to go with them, you can’t go wrong with their Truffle Mushroom Brown Rice. It’s soft, moist, and sinfully delicious!
Kettle can be found at these locations.
3. French Lechon at Lechon Degustacion at Pepita’s Kitchen
Lechon is already indulgent in itself. But somehow, Lechon Degustacion at Pepita’s Kitchen has found several different ways to make this Filipino favorite an even more sinful treat to eat.
One of the most popular picks from their menu is the French Lechon and it’s obvious why. Inside the perfectly roasted suckling pig, you’ll find sticky truffle rice stuffing that’s just begging to be eaten with the crispy pig skin!
As Reich T. put it in her looloo review, it was difficult to not get another helping. “The rice is so darn good and oozing with flavor, a heavenly combination of truffle and lechon goodness. The lechon is equally good too! Bold flavors and succulent. And oh, don’t forget the skin….Gah!”
Lechon Degustacion at Pepita’s Kitchen is located at 6 San Pablo St., Magallanes Village, Makati, Metro Manila.
4. Risotto Tartufo Funghi at Mama Lou’s
Mama Lou’s claim to fame may be their pastas and pizzas but their risottos are worth trying out too. While this Italian rice dish is often overlooked in other restaurants, it’s a favorite here!
From the risotto section of their menu, the bestseller is the Risotto Tartufo Funghi and for good reasons. It’s comparable to carbonara because of its creamy sauce but the earthy flavor of truffles cuts through the richness to make this entree extra pleasurable to dig into.
Here’s how Kiko G. described it in his looloo review: “A good risotto is tough to catch but this one is tender but not mushy. Love the creaminess from the truffle cream made better by the wild mushrooms. The appetizing aroma of the truffle cream kept me wanting more.”
Mama Lou’s can be found at these locations.
5. Truffle Mascarpone at Manila Creamery
As everyone knows, Manila Creamery is never scared to put out weird flavors for the public to try. And as unusual as some of their creations are, they still get plenty of compliments on looloo!
If your taste buds are adventurous enough, get yourself a cup of their Truffle Mascarpone. While chocolate truffles are a common ingredient in gelatos, the truffles in this particular item on the menu is of the earthy, musky type!
Along with the flavor of truffles, you get some mascarpone in there that makes the texture of the gelato even richer as well as a dash of Himalayan pink salt that adds an unexpected pop of saltiness to this dessert.
Manila Creamery is located at Cinema Level, UP Town Center, Katipunan Ave., Diliman, Quezon City.
6. Anago Truffle Mushroom Hot Soba at OOMA
For all you OOMA fans out there, you probably know all the bestsellers this popular Japanese restaurant has to offer by now. But there’s this one underrated dish that not a lot of people know about.
Found on the back portion of the menu, the Anago Truffle Mushroom Hot Soba is often overlooked. But you should definitely try it out because it’s a bowl of pure comfort. An order of this gives you tempura anago (salt-water eel), Japanese mushrooms, truffle oil, and soba broth.
A reviewer who has tried this particular soba is Angel U. and she said in her looloo review that the flavor of the truffle oil blends in seamlessly with the soba broth.
OOMA can be found at these locations.
7. Truffle Risotto Tater Tots and Truffle French Beans at Pound by Todd English
As posh as Pound by Todd English looks, this restaurant knows how to set affordable prices. Which means ordering a burger won’t completely wipe out your funds and you can still order a couple of side dishes.
One of their bestselling sides is the Truffle Risotto Tater Tots, deep-fried nuggets of creamy risotto flavored with truffles. Bite into these little babies and marvel at how the musky taste of fungus shines through!
Another side you should get for you and your tablemates is the Truffle French Beans. As tasty as they are, you don’t need to feel guilty because they’re definitely a healthier alternative to french fries!
Pound by Todd English is located at B3, Bonifacio High Street, 11th Ave. cor. 28th St., Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, Metro Manila.
8. Trufa Cookie at Trufa Pasta Bar
Any pasta lover will find Trufa Pasta Bar heaven on earth. In here, customers get to customize their own bowls of pasta by choosing their own sauce, type of pasta, and toppings. But with a name like Trufa, you know you ought to get their truffle pasta (it’s their bestseller!)
As the perfect partner for your truffle pasta, get yourself their Trufa Cookie too. Two buttery shortbread cookies with dulce de leche, chocolate, and truffle salt stuffed in between, you won’t find a dessert quite like this one anywhere else!
In her looloo review, Mae A. confirmed the presence of truffle in this treat, saying that the surprising flavor will immediately kick in upon first bite.
Trufa Pasta Bar is located at Planters Bldg., 109 Esteban St., Legazpi Village, Makati, Metro Manila.
9. Truffled Sisig at WOWA Kitchen X Cafe
A charming restaurant-cum-cafe that’s set apart from the busy areas of BGC, WOWA cooks up familiar comfort food for those who want to eat in a chill, homey hideaway. But as common as their dishes may seem, they know how to spruce things up.
Take their Truffled Sisig for example! Grilled pig parts are staple Filipino ingredients but by cooking them in black truffle oil, they’ve created a whole new dish that’s simply addicting. This dish is customizable too, giving you the option to have it spicy or not.
In her looloo review, Elaine O. said she loved the crunchiness of the tofu and the chewy texture of the pig cheeks and ears.
WOWA Kitchen X Cafe can be found at Equator Complex, 56 Bayani Rd. cor. A. Luna St., Western Bicutan, Taguig, Metro Manila.
10. Parmesan Fries with Truffled Ketchup at Your Local
Named as one of the best restaurants in the entire world by Conde Nast Traveler, Your Local was commended specifically for their Pomelo Salad and Thai Coconut Ice Cream.
But their Parmesan Fries with Truffled Ketchup, though not internationally praised, is a more popular pick among looloo reviewers. This appetizer is made up of thinly-cut fries topped with grated parmesan cheese and served with a side of truffled ketchup.
Before you dip your fries into your ketchup though, you might want to take Unisse C.’s advice. She wrote in her looloo review that the truffles are found at the bottom of the ketchup bowl so make sure you mix the concoction first to taste the special flavors!
Your Local can be found on the G/F of Universal LMS Bldg., 106 Esteban St., Legazpi Village, Makati, Metro Manila.