By Hiedi Ermitaño
A visit at Skyranch has been a tradition for our college barkada for the past few years. Enjoying the rides plus the good selection of cuisine available at the compound makes this place a real deal for us. When you have a thoughtful mix of restaurants inside Skyranch, there’s no need to spend more outside the entertainment space. Since we are a smart group who is always on the lookout for the best deals, our go-to place whenever we’re in the city’s top attraction has always been Kusê and Uncle Cheffy. Having the homecooked goodness of local cuisine mixed with Italian and international dishes on offer simply means that we have more choices. On top of that, we can always expect Kusê and Uncle Cheffy to have special deals that are kind to our student budgets.
On that rare weekday getaway when all our schedules aligned, we had a feast.
We started off with their best seller for barkadas: the Salo-Salo Treat. Included in this wooden platter is Chicken Inasal (extraordinarily juicy — loved the garnish and seasonings), very fresh Butterflied Shrimps cooked to perfection, and their own version of the Inihaw na Liempo, its succulent, tender meat cooked to perfection. Manager Edrian Kasilag shared that they put together their bestsellers in this platter, bearing in mind the many balikbayan customers they receive who look for Filipino dishes that they have missed. “Naisip po namin is yung mga balikbayan na sabik na sabik sa pagkaing Pinoy. Dito nakukuha nila ay masarap, malinis, mura at mabilis. Yung food quality and certified value for money — yan ang target namin na mabigay sa kanila. Pero mabenta rin itong Salo-Salo Treat sa mga pamilya at barkada,” he said with a smile.
The Batangas Bulalo is a barkada favorite that we order every time we are in Tagaytay. Kusê’s Bulalo was served in an elegant silver bowl, a robust dish for the beef lover with a hearty appetite. The soup was tasty and the broth was light, not greasy or oily compared to other bulalo hubs in town. But here in Kusê, we all fell in love with their Super Bagnet. Super flavorful, melt-in-the-mouth perfection! Plated beautifully with crunchy skin and juicy meat inside. Definitely a cut above the more traditional chewy, hardier bagnet found elsewhere. Kusê’s version is truly top-notch, a dish worth all the calories. I wonder if you can lose a few while swinging crazily in the Super Viking?
Of course we had to take advantage of having two restaurants in one roof so we ordered a bestseller from Uncle Cheffy: its All Meat Barbeque Panizza was to die for! Simply the best brick oven Barbeque and Panizza. Rolling up a cheesy slice after stuffing it with their side dishes of lettuce and tomato salsa, then dipping in the dressing makes this a superb dish. We had to get two orders because we
were having so much fun rolling and dipping!
For dessert, Manager Edrian served us sweets from Uncle Cheffy. For the health conscious, he recommended Sugar Free Cheesecake. The combination of sweet mango with the fragrance of cinnamon was perfect. Chocolate Roulade, on the other hand, was the all star dessert, cake and ice cream in one serving — a cool treat in the summer heat.
Uncle Cheffy and Kusê offer quite the value for money — the shareable portions mean my buddies and I had a wonderful time. Since it opened in October 16, 2014, the place has steadily grown a loyal customer base amongst locals and expats residing in the area. Its budget-friendly offerings have also increasingly become popular with large groups, including students who believe eating at Kusê and
Uncle Cheffy is better than having an ordinary meal at other restaurants or fast food joints. Having two restaurants housed in one roof is worth your time and spending money. Interestingly, both restaurant names point to the people who create their food. Kusê is short for Kusinero (Filipino for “cook”) and Cheffy is their term of endearment for their chefs.
The casual, friendly vibe with a floor-to-ceiling view of pine trees make for an excellent dining experience. In my view, it is the combination of excellent food — prepared creatively and served quickly — together with a highly trained and happy staff, a relaxing ambiance, and convenient location that makes Kusê and Uncle Cheffy a real insider tip for the foodie.
Visit Kusê and Uncle Cheffy at the Skyranch or call (046) 413.3632 to reserve a table or two.