Chef’s Table Restaurant by Chef Bruce Lim

UPDATE: This restaurant is now closed. They moved to Chef’s Lab at Burgos Circle.

Every chef’s dream is to open his own restaurant; Chef Bruce Lim’s dream was fulfilled last Wednesday when he finally open up his own place called simply as Chef’s Table.

He is a renowned Celebrity Chef with his own food show called Tablescapes: Life on a Plate (together with Angel Aquino), now on its 7th season on the Asian Food Channel (AFC). He will soon launch his own show, likewise to be aired on AFC called Chef’s Table. 

Most of our favorites dishes in our Chef’s Table Restaurant Private Dining experience are now available ala carte in the new restaurant. Naturally, to be able to deliver these dishes day and night, he created a team of chefs to help him run the restaurant.

Together with a few friends from my wife’s Starting Point group, we want to share with you our Chef’s Table gastronomic adventure.

The restaurant is designed as one big chef’s table wherein the tables surround the open air kitchen. 

All the chefs are purposely bald, like Chef Bruce, to adhere to some hygiene standards of cooking without using hairnets. It is also intended to build camaraderie among the team of Chefs.

Chef’s Table Ala Carte Menu:
Ensalad (Salad), Pandaigdigang Pansit (Pasta), and Ulam (Entree)
Gulay (Vegetables), Kanin (Rice), Panghimagas (Desserts), Pampagana (Appetizers), Sabay (Soup)


The restaurant was interior designed by Jason Buensalido. You can see the signature polygonal 3D abstract design in the picture above. The acoustic is very good because of the high ceiling and geometric walls.

Your dining experience is accompanied by streaming music from Chef Bruce’s friend, Randy Charle. They pipe in Ultra Low High-Fi music through the Internet directly from the Intramuros Bar of Randy Chale in San Francisco.

Chef Bruce Lim’s family manufactured school chairs for most of the schools in Manila so all the tables and chairs are inspired by this heritage. The chairs are heavy and kid-friendly. It can withstand grueling plays of six years old, like my son Aidan;  he can stand on these tables and chairs and they won’t easily crash down.

Each table has trench carving to hold  pencils where they have Chef’s Table pencil so that one can write or draw something on the Manila paper placemats. You can even take the pencil with you as a souvenir. 

10/01/10 UPDATE: I recently learned more about the interesting design story of these chairs.

Here is the view from the stairs going up to the second floor where they have a function room.

The second floor function room can accommodate 50 people. It’s perfect for meetings and class reunions. Wifi is available from Sun. A projector screen will be available soon.

The second floor is installed with see-through tempered glasses so that you can see the kitchen. The glass wall appears to be sturdy but I still won’t let my kids near it for safety reasons. 

We started with the interesting selection of House Cocktails.

Drinks/Cocktails Cover | Drinks/Cocktails Inside 
Wine Menu Outside
| Wine Menu Inside

House Cocktails (Special Concoctions)

Adan’s I do
(P150 +10% service charge)
. A “drink from paradise” is a combination of ginger syrup, pomegranate juice and lambanog.

Pipino Cooler (P150 +10% service charge). A refreshing cucumber cocktail blended with apple juice, ginger syrup and gin.

Pinky/Tina — did you like your drinks?

NOCR – No One Can Run
(P280 +10% service charge)
. A drink for the brave and adventurous; this is perfect fusion of brandy, tequila, gin, lambanog and chili extract balanced with orange and mango taste.

I ordered this one because it was quite unique and I  love chili. I later on found out that it is a favorite of Chef Bruce.  I like its strong chili kick and it doesn’t have a tongue burning sensation.  It is a good apperitif to prepare you for the modern Filipino meal ahead of you.

We ordered almost all of the Chef’s suggestion and had our own mini-degustation where we got to taste a little bit of every dish.

Sabaw (Soup)

Cool Watermelon Soup
(P150 +10% service charge)
. A refreshing combination of watermelon and calamansi enhanced with quesong puti, pickled shallots and roasted shallot oil.

This is a cold soup which is an interesting twist to this Filipino restaurant. But it failed to make an impression with the group because you are just drinking watermelon juice.

Roasted Tomato Halaan Soup
(P210 +10% service charge)
. Fresh halaan steamed in lambanog combined with a rich roasted tomato puree.

This was our personal favorite from our Chef’s table private dining experience. This is a soup with a bitter taste of clam, roasted tomato and cream. Tip: you have to enjoy it while it is hot. For some reason though, sadly , it did not have the same punch as when Chef Bruce prepared it then.

Chilled Carrot and Ginger Soup
(P250 +10% service charge)
. A combination of fresh raw diced tangigue, apples, and cucumbers tossed in citrus fruit juice and a lake of  invigorating carrot and ginger puree.

This is a favorite inspired by Lara Day who requested a crazy dish during one of her writing trips in Manila. Everyone loves this because of the fresh kilawin taste. The carrot/ginger puree is very refreshing. The color of this dish and the presentation makes you want to just dig and and conquer “your own island”.

Pampagana (Appetizers)

Fried Pusit
(P250 +10% service charge)
. Hot-oil blanched pusit on a bed of butterhead lettuce served with green mango salad.

This is an interesting twist on the calamari, instead of being served in rings, it is served whole and  blanched. Mixing it with the green mango salad makes this dish memorable. I prefer this over the hot-rocks variation below.

Hot Rock Pusit
(250 +10% service charge)
. Beer-marinated squid pressed between two hot rocks served with spinach.

The squid looks depressed from being squashed between two hot rocks. The vegetables ware symphathetic to the squid and looked tired and uninspired.  We can’t distinguish the difference between hot rocks cooking and grilling. I don’t think this is worth P250.

Aidan loved the pasta!  Chef’s Table pasta dishes are very creative and we like them.

Pandaigdigang Pansit (Pasta)

Banana Heart Carbonara (P280 +10% service charge). Linguine in creamy sauce mixed with banana hearts and kangkong topped with grilled chicken and queso de bola.

Most of the ladies liked this because it was unexpected, light and healthy. The serving size is just good for one.

Laing Linguine (P290 +10% service charge). Linguine tossed with creamy taro leaves stew topped with grilled prawns and queso de bola.

Chef Bruce Laing Linguine is very good. The cream is not overpowering and just perfectly applied on the linguine. It goes well with the grilled prawns.

Beef Steak Pasta (P310 +10% service charge). Penne pasta sauteed in steak sauce enhanced with calamansi, topped with tender beef slices, onion rings, and queso de bola.

Most people did not like this because it was too sweet for a pasta dish. I didnt mind the sweet taste  because I am accustomed to sweet pastas like that of the Jollibee spaghetti 🙂

Gulay (Vegetables)

Tortang Talong
(P120 +10% service charge)
. This version of the classic tortang talong enhanced with salted eggs is really nice.

The vegetables are simple but they are done and presented really well. Everyone loves this dish. Highly recommended.

Ginataang Sitaw
(P120 +10% service charge)
. Chinese long beans simmered in creamy coconut milk enhanced with sauteed bagoong alamang.

I also personally like the creamy coconut sauce and yummy bits of bagoong combination.

Chef Bruce and Aidan serving the deconstructed Kare-Kare 🙂

Ulam (Entree)

(P450 +10% service charge)
. Soft Ox tail chunks drenched in creamy peanut sauce served with eggplant caviar.  

This dish received a lot of criticism because it was served deconstructed. It did not taste anywhere as good as the original thing. The bagoong is already mixed with the sauce and the Ginataang Sitaw had more bagoong than this one. The Ox tail has a lot of bones instead of meat and it did not absorb the taste of the sauce. If there’s one thing you would love about this Kare-kare is the sauce. The problem in this serving is that there’s just not enough. This needs some improvement.

(P330 +10% service charge)
. A combination of crispy and soft pork belly in an Ilocos-inspired savory sauce topped with chili fingers.

Another deconstructed version  of a classic meal, this time the inspiration is the Dinuguan. There is a lot of fat in the pork; it has a pale appearance (not really appealing) but the crispy portions delivered.  Although the sauce was minimal,  it was strong and flavourful which I personaly like. This one is perfect as pulutan especially the crispy ones.

Chef Bruce with his sous chef plating and preparing the dish to be served.

Corned Pork
(P380 +10% service charge)
. Creamy laing topped with soft pork strips served with tinapa rice.  

Instead of beef, they corned the pork. Shredded pieces of lechon-like meat served on a bed of laing. The laing was really good and by now we realized we ordered a lot of variation of the laing dishes from the menu. This is a complete meal; it has protein, vegetables and rice.

Prawn Aligue my Way
(P350 +10% service charge)
. Prawns on a bed of sotanghon flavored with aligue sauce wrapped in banana leaf and then oven baked to perfection.

This one is good! Its a bit different in terms of the ingredient combination and presentation style but it works. If you like aligue, this is the dish to order.

(P550 +10% service charge). Chinese style steamed lapu-lapu on a bed of Filipino ube mash topped with pechay.

This is our all-time favorite. The deboned fresh fish on a bed of mashed ube is simply divine 🙂 Although, I would have preferred it to be served with sauteed kamote tops korean-style.

Pinaputok na Isda
(P460 +10% service charge)
. Lapu-lapu fillet on lemongrass enhanced with tomato concass wrapped in banana leaf and baked to perfection.  

The same lapu-lapu fillet is served with Italian style tomato sauce (like escabeche). It is very healthy and creatively served on banana leaves.

Aidan’s favorite course — Desserts!

Panghimagas (Desserts)

Biko with Calamansi Cream Sauce
(P110 +10% service charge)
. Filipino rice and coconut cream pudding paired with a sweet and tangy calamansi cream sauce.  

This was recommended by the Chef and we find it ordinary. It is like any biko but plated in the most playful presentation.

Banana-Mango Jubilee
(P130 +10% service charge)
. A sumptuous combination of local fruit flamed up with rum and topped with vanilla ice cream.

This item was served with some drama involved because they have to flame it when it is served. It is a good Filipino dessert — Banana ala mode.

Langka Creme Brulee 
(P110 +10% service charge). A classic custard dessert with an all Filipino candied jackfruit.   

A simple standard dessert for those looking for just a safe dessert.

Buko Pie Martini
(P150 +10% service charge)
. Chef Bruce’s take on a classic buko pie but with a twist.  

 This dessert brought the house down and everyone from our table raved about it. The buko pie is very smooth and velvety and Chef Bruce shared with us that he learned a technique that made it so from an old artisan in Laguna. If you have to order just one dessert, order this one! By the way, this is not your usual dessert because it is served hot!

Banana Mousse and Homemade Wafers
(P110 +10% service charge)
. An Ilo-ilo inspired dessert dressed with coconut jam and pili nut spears.  

This dessert is good and very Filipino. I love how Chef Bruce was able to modernize these  Filipino dishes.

After the meal, we played a game with Aidan called Guess the Animal. He would draw a combination of animals and he would give the first letters as clue. For example for this animal he drew a combination of a Bird (the wings), Cheetah (the spots), Bat, and Parrot then we would all guess.

It was a good game to exercise your child’s imagination 🙂

Overall, you won’t go wrong with ordering Chilled Carrot and Ginger Soup, Banana Heart Carbonara, Chill-a-fino, the vegetables and Buko Pie Martini for dessert. The ambiance is definitely a winner and something to be proud of when you are trying to impress special or foreign guests.

Although I find it a bit expensive. I don’t mind paying if Chef Bruce was the one cooking it personally.  However it’s apparent that his new team of chefs still needs to be trained to make the dishes work. Budget P1,000 per head.

Chef’s Table Restaurant by Chef Bruce Lim
Address: Unit 106 The Infinity Tower 26th Street The Fort Global City, Taguig, Philippines
(Beside South of Market, at the back of Infinity Tower)
Contact: Michelle Lim (Wife of Chef Bruce)
Mobile: +63918-887-1277, +63922-871-2777
Telephone: +632 399-1888

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+63917 5683-627 (LOVE-OAP)
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Disclosure: Nothing to disclose. We paid for our meals. We know Chef Bruce and wife Michelle after we ate in the original Chef Bruce Private Dining @ their home.   

P.S. The Story of the overall brand/ design of Chef’s Table theme
Text written by Leon Araneta based on a conversation with Eneri Abillar. 


Eneri first met Chef Bruce Lim at his kitchen studio. He had heard several great reviews about his cooking. He was also curious to meet other people like him: individuals who had spent a lot of time abroad but continued to carry love and pride for the Filipino heritage. Later on that night, the conversation with Bruce turned to his plans for opening a new restaurant.

Bruce talked about his desire to teach others about the magic behind Filipino food. His passion to bring attention to our cuisine goes beyond his celebrity status. As he explained, it became apparent that all Bruce wanted was to share with others how a high-end meal can be put together with local products.

Bruce’s desire to stay local and teach became the theme for the branding exercise that Eneri and Atalyer would start together.

Branding must be about the client, not about the talents of the designer. Brands must be created on the basis of a solid brand story and the history of, in this case, Bruce. Eneri emphasized to his colleagues in Atalyer that brands need to be created on a level of truth.

Upon discovering that Bruce’s Father was in the business of making public school furniture, it became apparent that the design team would have the possibility and means to bring this brand exercise from the drawing board to the soldering machines and the tube-benders at Mr. Lim Sr.’s factory. It was clear that products coming from the public school furniture factory would speak more about the brand direction from the point-of-view of the Chef’s personal story. This would achieve an important level of truth and history in the brand.

For Eneri and the Atalyer team, the process was becoming more exciting by the day.

Worldwide design trends called for a return to a high level of craftsmanship. Ever since the 2008 recession, locally-made products took the spotlight versus imported and mass-produced items. It was clear to the team that by having the Chef’s Table furniture designed in the public school furniture factory would align the brand story with worldwide trends.

The Atalyer team, lead by Industrial Designer Paolo Chavez made sure to identify the factory’s current assets and technical capabilities. A line of furniture that would be suitable for manufacture in the Lim factory and which would hark back to the design language of the original Filipino public school furniture yet bring forth a unique perspective and interpretation was designed and prototyped.

This same exercise was repeated whenever the team had to address the key deliverables: the menu is made to resemble a report card, down to the stock paper chosen. There is no color finish or veneer edges on the tables, because there was never any on furniture in public schools. Pencil-stays were grooved into the tables, for wooden pencils – the give-away items.

By creating a public school-inspired brand for Chefs Table, Eneri Abillar and the Atalyer design team seek to bring back a level of innocence to the diners. A level of innocence, represented graphically in the collateral and physically through the furniture, that returns the users to a stage in their lives when it was all about learning new things. About seeing the world and everything around it with new eyes and fresh senses. About looking forward to a new lesson or a new experiment. About having open curiosity for the brave dishes that Chef Bruce Lim puts forth for all of us to discover the beauty of Filipino food.

What did Atalyer, thru the collaboration with Eneri Abillar, do for Chefs Table?

  • Logo design; 
  • outer signage;
  • menu design, layout & print; 
  • tabletop design (placemat, coasters, table napkins) & sourcing;
  • wayfinding;
  • uniforms;
  • basic marketing collaterals (take-away paper bags, calling cards, business envelopes and office forms);
  • email invitations;
  • flyers;
  • furniture design: tables, chairs & benches;
  • pencils as give-aways;
  • and even the valet-parking stubs!


33 thoughts on “Chef’s Table Restaurant by Chef Bruce Lim

  1. i totally agree with anton. the dishes were nicely plated however the team really need quite a big leap to catch up with the CHEF and the market’s expectation of the restaurant’s image. it wasn’t suppose to look expensive if not for the taste that doesnt gives justice to the work of art of every plate. and truly, buco martini and banana mousse were the best among all we’ve ordered.

  2. This surely made me go to my laptop and write something about it. Well let me start of by saying this is one of the ultimate dining experience since it has an open kitchen.So for those people like me who is curious and is “hmmm anjan na ba order ko?” you will surely be entertained. Anyways I was there with my boyfriend last Friday since we like eating plus trying new restos. And since we were just two, we had to maximize our order versus the capacity our stomachs could take. So for starters we jumped straight to the Adobong pusit PASTA since anything BLACK ink is always on top of my list. What makes this distincly Filipino is that there is an “asim” kick to it compared to other dishes served elsewhere w/c is just black and missing that kick. (ex: Paella or other black ink pasta. Then for our main dish we had Corned pork on top of laing with cripy pork for garnish. Trust me this was goooood. An extra order of rice would be handy 🙂 Then we also had the Prawns with Aligue in sotanghon. This just swept me away since i LOVE anything pancit. And when you combine aligue+Pansit with a twist of kalamansi? my oh my I kept wanting for MORE. Then for desert Chef Bruce recommended the Buko Pie Martini. Just when we thought our so called “journey to trying something new” was done, we got blown away by this. This desert is mind blowing. You have to taste it or i’ll pay for it if you don’t enjoy it! Happy eating!

  3. hindi , ang mga kusinero nya ang kailangan pang magsanay ,dahil bago pa man buksan ang kainan na ito , ay , sila ay masusing sinanay ng kanilang punong kusinero ,sa lahat ng aspeto sa kusina kung hindi ka man nasiyahan , ay dahil iyon , sa punong kusinero ,pero ,kung ako , ang tatanugin , lahat ay masarap at ako ay nasiyahan sa kanilang hinandang pagkain di naman hamak na itinaas nya lang ang antas ng pagkaing filipino , mainam na , subukan mo uli na kumain doon , at buksan mo ang iyong puso ,isipan at ang panlasa mo at ikaw ay magsipilyo at magmumug ng maayyos ng sa ganon ay hindi sira ang iyong panlasa,
    at huwag ikahiya ang wikang filipino

  4. Hi! I haven’t tried the resto yet but with your photos it looks very interesting, i like the open kitchen where you can see the Chef cook, just like Lolo Dads. One thing i would like to comment is regarding their goaty beard i thought the reason they shave their head is to adhere to some hygiene standard..would it be possible that the hair in their chin might have a chance to fall off?…just asking

  5. Hi Anton, tried this resto twice already and I like the food. Chef Bruce is really friendly, goes around and asks how people are doing and how the food is.
    I appreciate it when chefs/owners do that. Service was also good, despite the place being more than half full every time.
    I particularly liked the halaan soup, kare kare, and the cocktails.
    Kudos the Chef Bruce.

  6. parang yung food lacks focus…seems like a bunch of ingredients and techniques were thrown in and see if it comes out good.

  7. food was overpriced and not good at all. chill-a-fino was bland, the tuyo pasta had tinik, and we all know how fine and difficult it is to cough out those tuyo bones! and the halaan soup? It was watery and had TWO small halaans. Awful awful awful food. Yet another one of those “Chef” places where they overcharge food just because they were plated pretty.

  8. I salute Bruce for his dedication and passion for his Pinoy roots. I am just not a fan of fusion cuisine. Dapat stick to Pinoy cooking na lang if he wants to promote it.
    Just imagine how an Italian would feel about his Pasta dishes. I have worked with a few italian chefs in the past, and they all have the same sentiment when it comes to their food. “Never mess with Italian food/cooking”. Kung babaliktarin, halimbawa yung adobo lalagyan ng foie gras, truffle, o kaya beetroot, matutuwa kaya ang mga pilipino? Parang insulto eh.

  9. Hi Anton, Its me Jay. I need your help asap. please email me if possible. I am looking for a place to open a restaurant in the Philippines ASAP. I am currently working as Executive Chef here na in La and I still owe you that tasting that I promised you. Was wondering if you know any place or any good spots where I can open the restaurant. I am going to open an Italian American Bistro very casual fine dining setting. Not a big fan of Fine Dining Especially with Italian Cuisine.
    To Juve, I totally agree with you, Italian food is meant to be kept simple and not so over the top. Less is More. We Have a dish at the restaurant with Fresh Pappardelle Pasta,Garlic,Parmiggiano Reggiano, and a touch of butter and parsley and its taste GREAT!!!! my boss work with mario batali and I have also work with a few great italian chefs here in la.
    To anton, please email me if possible. thanks so much!! tasting is still ON!

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