'Twas one of the group's onsite meetings when the idea of food hopping popped out of nowhere - throwing in suggestions to go as far as Binondo to neighboring Mandaluyong. But then, why go far if we could simply go within Makati area, right? It was then decided that we explore Burgos area, the part which houses hip spots that satisfy one's palatable cravings.But it came with a catch, i.e., to eat on a budget. Those who would join need to chip in P500 as part of the resource basket.
What it is
Tambai is a moniker for the Filipino slang "istambay / tambay" which means 1) n. bystander or 2) v. to hang out. Ok, I did a little research. This is the brainchild of Melvin Viceral (brother of Maricel Laxa), Franco Ocampo and Jerome Valencia. The owners wanted to serve Filipino-Japanese food, hence, the name. It was once a sari-sari store and has become what it is now - an al fresco street food dining spot. A small, quaint place with dim lights, it also has an air-conditioned room for those who have reserved beforehand. The store operates from 5:00 pm to 12 midnight.
How to get there
Tambai is situated within Makati Ave. and Kalayaan Ave.
What they Offer
You order your grub of choice with the menu written on boards just beside the counter. Expect skewered food offerings reminiscent of Pinoy street barbeque and "tusok-tusok" (translated as: to pierce with a pointed object ex. fork, stick) fishballs and quail eggs but with a Japanese flair.
Of course we wanted to try a bit of everything so we ordered "Yaki-todo" which consisted of 9 yakitori sticks, and a few other extras such as "Soft Shell Crab" and "US Beef Rib Finger" (as recommended by kuya behind the counter).
The platter has US pork, US chicken leg, chicken liver, chicken gizzard, US beef isaw, roast garlic basil, cherry tomato, zucchini, quail egg and bacon. What more could you ask for? I speak for myself when I say two-thumbs up for the quail and bacon, chicken, and pork with fresh and crisp veggies on the side. I don't eat liver but when I gave it a try, it's worth the bite.
Soft Shell Crab
Not much of a crustacean fan but this hit me. Its crunch gave it texture and it has a zing to it which I liked. A bit of caution though to those who are not into spicy food.
US Beef Rib Finger (laki-tori or big sticks)
You can never go wrong with beef. Tender and flavorful meat that melts in your mouth, this is what the dish is all about. Ok, that was an exaggeration but true to its claims, this is one of their best-sellers.
Serving time is about 10 minutes from the time we ordered. One of the kuyas also gave me an apron.
My verdict? Drum rolls please. I give Tambai a whopping 4 out of 5 skewers. Definitely a must-try for all you barkadas to eat and well, make tambay.