Evoking a college tambayan (hang out) but with a really god sound system is Taumbayan, whose name is a play on both tambayan and taong bayan (citizen). The restaurant was put up by a group of theater majors who wanted a place to hang out in.
The inside is sparse and white, with pictures of the proprietors and friends on one wall, a couple of corkboards filled with community announcements, and whatever exhibit is going on at the moment. The restaurant is a couple of class announcements away from being an actual college tambayan, though sometimes, it is exactly that too, as the upper floor can be rented out for seminars, classes and exhibits.
But I digress. The reason we are here is because of the food, and the food does not disappoint. It's all Filipino comfort food, stuff that you can find at home but better, and with more flair.
The Inihaw na Adobo (grilled adobo – P160) is liempo that's been stewed adobo style before being grilled. The result is soft, fatty barbecued pork infused with sweet adobo goodness. It needs nothing except simple salt and pepper to bring out its flavor.
My favorite dish is the Pssst (P160). Described as “pusit na may dahong sumisilip” (squid with leaves peeking out of it), the dish is basically a whole cephalopod stuffed with aromatic leaves. Admittedly, part of the reason I like thi dish so much is because it looks like a cousin of Cthulhu. You get one whole big*** squid that's juicy, but in a savory way, and so soft you can cut it apart with a spoon. Now, I am very skeptical when it comes to grilled squid, as its texture makes me feel like I'm eating part of an old tire and I usually have o hide the seafood taste under copious amount of rice, then again in sauce. But this squid I can eat by itself,and without sauce. It's soft and easy to chew, and doesn;t taste like its related to Cthulhu, not that I would know what the relative of an ancient sea god would taste like mind you.
Another favorite of mine is the ridiculously simple Ensalada Platter (120). Steamed string beans, okra and eggplant served with bagoong balayan. I eat this at home and can't get enough of it. Stands to reason that I'd enjoy it outside as well, especially since the vegetables aren't soggy from overboiling.
If you're in the mood for soup, I suggest you try Monggo in D Chiti (P120) – mung bean soup loaded with pork, flavored with smokey tinapa and topped with whole chicharon. The monggo has a distinctly meaty flavor and is slightly spicy. The tinapa takes the soup from special to extra special. The chicharon tends to get soggy fast so I suggest you eat that first.
If you're going to eat here, it would be best to arrive early, as the place tends to fill up fast. Oh, the restaurant has free WiFi, so you can play Farm Town on Facebook and eat your vegetables too.
Bad metaphor, I know, but I couldn't help it.
40 T. Gener cor. K-1 Streets (near Kamuning Road), Quezon City