Café du Tukon is the sole, in-house restaurant of Fundacion Pacita in Basco, Batanes. It takes approximately 10-15 minutes to get to Café du Tukon, from the city center but has been claimed by Tripadvisor as the second best place to dine on the island. It is a small island and they say you shouldn’t accept everything you read (including this write-up). But Café du Tukon delivers quality, fresh produce and a farm-to-table concept, which they probably take literally with the amount of time they take to make your food.
Place/Time:In the time we spent in Fundacion Pacita, we ate all our breakfasts and most of our dinners here. Our first breakfast here was memorable, the view of Mt Iraya was stunning with the picture windows allowing all the natural light to come through. The coffee was not bitter, and was served with a novel cow-shaped milk jug. For the food, I opted for Ivatan Longanisa which came with egg, bread and jam. A local premium meat, served in a dish all Filipinos are familiar with, no casing included, not overspiced but cooked in a dutiful manner.
Ambiance:Café du Tukon is a brick building near the entrance of Fundacion Pacita. When you enter the building, it is set in a colourful demeanour that kind of reminds me of Monica’s apartment in the tv show called Friends. The chairs are mismatched and in different colours, big picture windows that allow the beautiful hillscape of Mt Iraya to sit beautifully in its glory. Even when threre’s a typhoon outside, you feel snug and safe inside the building. No harm can come onto you, as you eat your 40 minute made meal in silence.
Cafe du Tukon interior
Food:The food is no doubt delicious. I like how they serve most of their rice-based meals in yellow turmeric rice and could not get enough of the Tamidok (local wild fern) salad.
As for their breakfasts, they offered local exciting ingredients, which I all wanted to try. From homemade pandesals, homemade corned beef, day-old Dibang to French squash toast. What a menu; delectable, honest, local and homemade. Which all comes to a price, that most locals complain about.
Tomato Basil Omelette
Poached eggs with Arugula salad
Eggs benedict with home-made bacon (Ivatan Longanisa instead of bacon)
Home-made corned beef
They did have times though, were certain ingredients were not available but had as tasty alternatives instead. As with the food, the service in the kitchen was slow. We dined there almost every night, and every night we would wait 30-40 minutes for our meal, even if we were the only table there. For breakfast though, they would only take 10 minutes which we appreciated due to our early wake up calls for our tour.
Occasion:This place can accommodate from the mere couple or solo act, or it can seat your whole extended family or group of friends. No need for an occasion, come in to see the view and treat yourself for breakfast, where you can see the full view of Mt Iraya.
Service:Service is on island time. I think they work around when the kitchen is ready. Sometimes they give your utensils and drinks straight away, sometimes they give these necessities just before the food arrives. They’re attentive to their tasks and customers, without being intrusive with their guests. But the inconsistency of plate setting irks me.
Pricing: For 2 adults, with an appetiser/soup, a main each, drinks, salad and dessert to share. We would approximately spend Php2,000($50AUD) inclusive of 5% service charge.
Contact Info:Café du TukonAddress: Fundacion Pacita Batanes
Brgy. Chanarian, Tukon
Basco, Batanes 3900
PhilippinesTelephone: 0939-9016353 (Smart) | 0917-8559364 (Globe)
Website: http://www.fundacionpacita.ph/cafe-du-tukon/Store Hours: 5am to 8pm
With the tasty selections on the menu for breakfast and lunch/dinner service, I cannot commend the chef behind Café du Tukon enough. I appreciate the variety, the local introduction to Ivatan food without it being too obtrusive, and the farm to table concept materialised in an area of restricted resources. I do have to complain about the irregular waiting time for our food to be made (30-40 minutes) when we were the only table in the restaurant, not once but consecutively every night we dined there. All in all, I would give Café du Tukon 4 hearts out of 5. Your appetising Ivatan meals will be forever remembered.