Opened in December 2017 by chef duo Raphael Ongchiong (former executive chef at Panglao Island’s Amorita Resort) and Krissel Alturas (pastry maven and fondant cake hobbyist), Smoque Bar + Bistro offers Bohol cuisine finished with a smoky twist. In their garlic-roasted chicken, inspired by a family recipe, chef Raphael includes the local staple of ube (purple yam) and turns it into a complex yet comforting meal.
Chicken.“We marinate the chicken for two days with a homemade smoked rub, and then slow-roast it in the oven for about two to three hours. To finish, we turn the oven to full heat for 30 minutes to bring the crisp on.”
Mushroom ragout.“We slow-roast enoki mushrooms to draw out a somewhat meaty flavor, and then we make a cream stew out of them. In sautéing the concoction, we add bacon before deglazing it with white wine to achieve some acidity. A bit of Parmesan cheese is added at the end to give another layer of flavor.”
Ube mash. “We source our ube, a staple for Boholanos, from a local public market. We boil it until it softens, and then mash it with fresh and browned butter — this adds a nutty flavor. When ube isn’t in season, we swap in sweet potato or whatever’s available at the palengke (market).”
Seasonal veggies. “We use carrots, fresh beans and young corn, all depending on availability. The veggies balance the dish’s flavors and add texture. We cook them until they become tender, then pan-roast with butter to a crisp.”
Smoque Bar+Bistro: Carlos P. Garcia East Avenue, Tagbilaran City; fb.com/smoquebarandbistro
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When in Bohol, don’t miss these two nature spots in Loon for some R&R
The Loon Coral Garden is perfect for nature enthusiasts to explore sandbars and admire expansive coral reefs. One highlight: the orange-red, vine-like flowering coastal plants that cover a stretch of beach. From Tagbilaran City, take a bus to Barangay Tangnan and walk 400m to reach the coral beds.
Vita Isola Leisure Farm is an island sanctuary that makes for an offbeat day trip destination. Check in for tours of their farms, pet the farm animals, dabble in watersports and dig into Filipino food made with fresh local ingredients. Vita Isola is a 45-minute drive out of central Tagbilaran.