Chocolate? BBQ? Bespoke Mediterranean Fare? Find Your Perfect Meal In One Of Happy Ongpauco-Tiu’s Concept Restaurants
There’s one word that can aptly describe the feeling after eating and coming out of a Happy Ongpauco-Tiu restaurant: happy.
Happy Ongpauco-Tiu has been cooking and working around restaurants all her life, growing up in landmark Filipino restaurants owned by her parents like Barrio Fiesta. Two decades after she started her very first restaurant, World Topps, in Timog, Happy has given birth to a number of concept dining restaurants that will surely fulfill and satisfy every craving.
Looking for chocolatey fare? How about some BBQ? Gourmet lechon? Or something more bespoke for your family or friends? Whatever you’re craving for at any moment, there’s something for you from one of Happy’s restaurants.
Tsokolateria is all about chocolate. Everything that’s being served here are Happy’s favorite dishes, all infused with cacao. From drinks and desserts to savory dishes, expect chocolate to be the star of the dish.
Tsokolateria currently has three branches: one in Baguio, one in Quezon City, and another in Tagaytay. Metro Channel’s Women of Style visited Happy in Tagaytay and we got a glimpse of the Tsokolateria branch located inside her hipster chic hotel, The Boutique.
For something savory, get one of their most popular dishes, Homemade Crispy Bacon with Tsokolate Sauce. For something a little sweet and local, get the Bibingka at Itlog na Maalat Pancake Soufflé. For something a little different, try the Native Tsoko Con Carne, a chocolate-infused chili con carne with sili sigang aglio olio, a medley of fresh kamote, and Baguio potato fries.
And if you’re too full for the drive back to Manila, why not kick off your shoes and stay at The Boutique after your filling meal?
Pamana has become a cult favorite for its inspired and elevated Filipino dishes. According to Happy, Pamana highlights dishes from people who have touched her life, and many of these dishes are their families’ secret recipes, handed down for generations, that they shared with her.
At the Pamana branch in Tagaytay that Women of Style visited, we got a glimpse of the Pamana Wall, a wall dedicated to the Ylagan clan, her mom’s family; and the Wall of Fame, a showcase of people that Happy is very close to that inspired the restaurant.
So if you’re craving for dishes that will warm your heart and tummy, order some of Pamana’s old-time Filipino favorites like Seafood Kare-Kare, Bulalo Sisig, and Three-Way Adobo.
The Original Hawaiian BBQ
Looking for comfort food to soothe you on a terrible day or as a reward for an accomplishment or a milestone? Don’t worry about the carbs and calories and dig into these heart-stopping dishes from The Original Hawaiian BBQ. There are branches in Tagaytay, Quezon City, and Baguio, but the full vibe of this concept restaurant can best be enjoyed in Boracay—perfect if you’re looking to go away and pamper yourself for a few days!
The stars of the menu are fruit-infused meat and seafood BBQs like the bestselling Baby Back Ribs, Bar-b-que Platter, and Fisherman’s Catch—a medley of battered fish, squid, shrimps, and mussels.
If you’re feeling a bit extra, don’t hold back and dig into this sinful dish called Heart Attack—basically buttered corn with bone marrow.
Pronounced “Le-shon,” Le Chon is one of Happy’s youngest concepts which debuted at the The Grid in Power Plant Rockwell last year. At the core of this restaurant are slow-cooked chicken, pork, and beef, with flavors and executions leveled up by Happy’s travels and training in French cuisine.
Essentially, it’s a build-your-own lechon platter. The concept is not as frou-frou as her other restaurants since it’s located inside a food hall, but expect the flavors and the technique that go into each plate to be on par with Happy’s high standards.
For something more bespoke, Happy also offers a private dining service for special occasions, gatherings, and parties. According to Happy, Private Dining is about highlighting the cuisines she learned from her travels. Happy takes “bespoke” seriously and she makes sure the customized theme and feel of the spread are consistent throughout the meal.
“[When I travel], I shop for the plates and silverware. And when I come back, it’s the country itself that I bring to you,” Happy says about her Private Dining functions. While she offers a classic Filipino menu, she also has an array of other offerings depending on what you’re craving for: Indian, French, Thai, Japanese, Spanish, and Continental.
And for her, this has become her outlet of creativity. “Being creative, I try to marry that with food. Whenever I plan something, I want to touch all senses—from the sight to the feel, to the scent, to the texture of the table. The whole package.”
Know more about what makes Happy happy, and how she makes so many tummies happy with her concept restaurants and hotels on Women of Style, airing Thursdays, 9 pm, only on Metro Channel, channel 52 on Sky Cable and channel 174 on HD. Catch replays throughout the week or on demand via iWant.