A widely-loved restaurant finds a new home in Tagaytay, serving familiar comfort staples and introducing a variety of fresh farmhouse flavors.
This is an excerpt from Lifestyle Asia’s August 2023 Issue.
The Fatted Calf Farmhouse Kitchen situated in Silang, Cavite closed its doors last January 2023 to prepare for a big move. Despite the social media announcements regarding the closure, customers still went there only to be greeted by a chain-locked gate. This shows the want of devoted patrons and those who have recently discovered its exemplary comfort food.
The Fatted Calf now begins a new chapter in its culinary journey as they have moved to a new abode in Tagaytay. Owners and chefs Jayjay and Rhea Sycip prepare food with mindfulness and an understanding of its origins. The Fatted Calf opened in 2019 and its name draws inspiration from the biblical parable of The Prodigal Son, where a father celebrates the return of his wayward son by slaughtering a fatted calf.
Jayjay and Rhea, over the past three years which included the dreadful pandemic, have forged strong relationships with farmers and local suppliers who share their dedication to social impact and giving back to the community and to the environment. Its farm-to-table approach not only guarantees fine and fresh produce but it is also able to foster a sustainable and fair community through gastronomy.
Rhea says, “Whatever is around us, we use.” The flowers from the coffee tree, when in bloom, are ingeniously transformed into a drink. The tiles were repurposed from an old building and now find new life as decorative elements within the restaurant. Greenhouses also sit in the backyard where Jayjay and Rhea pick tomatoes and other farm-fresh vegetables and herbs to ensure that their dishes burst with flavors from the goodness of nature’s bounty. Even the staff has undergone comprehensive training to manage the compost pit.
Designed by its landlady herself, Senator Loren Legarda, the new restaurant will greet one with the familiar warmth of the hardwood tables, all sourced locally and some from its previous location. The Fatted Calf has carried old favorites and introduces an array of new dishes. Jayjay reveals, “We have a mix of young and experienced chefs from different walks of life. It’s beyond me how we are able to work so well with each other but we are truly grateful. We’re excited to share 14 new items on the menu, along with the old favorites.”
A popular starter is the Smoked Duck Salad. Local duck is paired with sakurab (a.k.a. sibujing or a local scallion or wild leek) kimchi, dried mango, tatsoi (Chinese mustard), and mizuna (Japanese mustard green) dressed with a five-spice vinaigrette. So are the Vietnamese Shrimp Balls partnered with house made fish floss, mayonnaise, and tonkatsu sauce and the Cured Fish (local cod) served with crème fraîche and a drizzle of Kaffir lime oil. Ranger’s Valley Australian Wagyu is used in their Galbi Bao served with ssam sauce. Their Shrimp Spaghetti gets a hint of local flair with brined kesong puti which complements notes from Kaffir leaves and curry leaves.
The Fatted Calf is located in Tagaytay-Nasugbu Highway, Barangay Neogan, Tagaytay City. Call ( 0977) 6437477 or (0917) 7892352 to reserve for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, or send a direct message on Instagram @thefattedcalf_ph.
Read more by purchasing a copy of the Lifestyle Asia August 2023 magazine via SariSari.shopping or select newsstands in National Bookstore and Fully Booked. Subscribe to the E-Magazine via Readly, Magzter, and Press Reader.
Photos by Sheila Juan-Catilo.