Woodstone Kitchen

Bicol cuisine with a twist at Woodstone Kitchen

Woodstone Kitchen's paella topped with lots of ingredients

Woodstone Kitchen’s paella topped with lots of ingredients

It’s always a delight to discover interesting food that you can say, wow, this is a great discovery worthy of another visit! That food is at Woodstone Kitchen with its take on Bicol cuisine with a twist by its owner, Chef Ton Castillo.

Although Chef Ton is not from Bicol, his father is from Batangas and mother from Zamboanga but is from Manila, frequent visits to Naga City even as a child, growing up and attending school in the city and eventually calling it home, he is considered one of the veteran chefs in this part of the country. When Survivor came to Caramoan, he was the chef who cooked and fed the crew and contestants.

Woodstone Kitchen started as a shack along Penafrancia Ave. but in December 2014, opened its current restaurant. The area has an al fresco dining under the stars, a covered open air bar and an airconditioned restaurant with a semi private space. You got to check it out for its eclectic interior design and interesting accents.

MORE IMAGES: Eclectic interior of a Naga City restaurant

As for the food, its not another Bicolano cuisine. There are other restaurants for good traditional dishes. But you come here to Woodstone Kitchen for good Bicol dishes with a twist, Pinoy, bar chow and pizzas. I guess, with Chef Ton’s upbringing, one foot in Bicol and the other outside, expect to be surprised on his take of Bicol comfort food, and more.

We all know what pinangat is: layers and layers of dried taro leaves with fillings and cooked in gata (coconut milk). But the chef goes beyond the traditional way of serving this one. He coats the cooked pinangat in batter, covers with bread crumbs and fries it to have that crunch.

Instead of adding pieces of chicharon, as how other restaurants do crispy dinuguan, he sticks to the basic ingredients but uses fried pieces of intestines. Top it on rice and serve. One of the dishes that I like here. Add bits of pineapple to Bicol Express and you have a beautiful, spicy yet balanced food experience.

One of the dishes that I really love is Chef Ton’s take on laing. I love its taste, the beautiful register of the gata on one’s palate. It’s soft yet pair it with crisp fried pork and you are in for a contrast of flavors, an interplay of textures.

For dessert, I got really curious with C4 and ordered it. It’s not an ingredient for an explosive but C4 here stands for chili, choco, caramel cake. Take a bite of the chocolate cake moistened with a combination of choco and caramel syrup with bits of white chocolate and within a few seconds, you’ll taste the kick or the explosion of chili! Wonderful!

Another innovative take that visitors would want to have, at the bar is Chili, choco, coffee beer cocktail. At first, I thought its a bit gimmicky, a bait, but it somehow works. The taste is interesting. There’s a hint of choco, the bitterness of beer although the coffee was just too subtle but once you swallow it and there’s the surprise kick of the chili. Don’t underestimate a serving of a bottle as it can start to loosen the tongue.

If you’re feeling adventurous but want good food at the same time, Woodstone Kitchen is highly recommended. It’s also good for family lunches and dinners, business lunches as well as barkada inuman and what’s more, it is close to the most happening street in the city.

Bicol express pizza

Bicol express pizza

Clockwise from top right: Sexy baby back ribs, pork sisig, crispy tilapia na sinanglay and crispy pinangat

Clockwise from top right: Sexy baby back ribs, pork sisig, crispy tilapia na sinanglay and crispy pinangat

Clockwise from top right: Kare-kare topped with fried banana heart jus, bicol express with pineapple bits, laing with crispy pork chop and battered pork fingers

Clockwise from top right: Kare-kare topped with fried banana heart jus, bicol express with pineapple bits, laing with crispy pork chop and battered pork fingers

Dinuguan crunchy mix (rice topping), probably the true crispy dinuguan. While other restaurants use chicharon to provide the crunch, Chef Ton uses deep fried pieces of intestines which gives it its authenticity

Dinuguan crunchy mix (rice topping), probably the true crispy dinuguan. While other restaurants use chicharon to provide the crunch, Chef Ton uses deep fried pieces of intestines which gives it its authenticity

C4: chili, choco, caramel cake is a delicious and unique take on Bicol's sili incorporated into a chocolate dessert

C4: chili, choco, caramel cake is a delicious and unique take on Bicol’s sili incorporated into a chocolate dessert

Flaming Fajardo consists of kahlua, Bacardi and Baileys and was named in honor of the owner's friend who designed the restaurant

Flaming Fajardo consists of kahlua, Bacardi and Baileys and was named in honor of the owner’s friend who designed the restaurant

Chili, choco, coffee beer cocktail!

Chili, choco, coffee beer cocktail!

The open air bar, one of three sections that make up Woodstone Kitchen in its present location along Basilica Road

Check out the interiors of Woodstone Kitchen at TenZeroFour.

Woodstone Kitchen
Basilica Road
Balatas (infront of DWLV Formerly FATCOWS)
Magsaysay Ave.
Naga City
+63 998 153 2196
http://www.woodstonekitchen.com/

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications. He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces. I'm open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.

2 Comments

  1. Estan Cabigas (@EstanCabigas)
    June 22, 2015 @ 8:13

    Bicol cuisine with a twist at Woodstone Kitchen: Woodstone Kitchen’s paella topped with lots of ingredients
    It… http://t.co/3tyH32oVuc

  2. Bicol cuisine with a twist at Woodstone Kitchen - Pasyalna.com
    June 23, 2015 @ 4:54

    […] Bicol cuisine with a twist at Woodstone Kitchen […]

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