Chef Don Baldosano is making waves in Manila with his fine-dining restaurant, Linamnam, where tasting menus put a modern and innovative twist on Filipino recipes.
Located in his family’s backyard, Linamnam (meaning “delicious” in Tagalog) was opened in 2018 when Baldosano was still a teenager; fresh out of competition on the TV show Junior MasterChef Pinoy Edition and an internship at Manila’s renowned Toyo Eatery.
Linamnam opened its doors to the public in August 2018, offering a warm setting that showcases the chef’s bold dishes. The main dining room is a bahay kubo, a traditional thatched-roof stilt house typical of the Philippine plains countryside. Built by Baldosano’s father, it provides an open-air space adjacent to the chef’s childhood bedroom. The open central kitchen, once a home gym, now sets the stage for his solo cooking show.
The tasting menus consist of 11 to 13 dishes divided into five parts: kagat (amuse bouche), lupa (vegetables), agat (seafood), Karne (meat) and Thames (dessert). Each dish reflects a harmonious blend of nostalgia and experimentation, encompassing Baldosano’s favorite childhood flavors and seasonal ingredients prepared with modern culinary techniques.
Hearty hot soups like caldo go back to the rice porridge Baldosano ate growing up, enhanced with the fish-based umami of pompano fat and Mayan-Mayan broth. Another strong point is the putong bigas, a fluffy rice cake made with five different grains from various parts of the Philippines. It is garnished with Beluga caviar and kinuday na tabaa cured and smoked pork fat from the indigenous Ibaloi group in Benguet.
Another noteworthy dish is Baldosano’s version tinapay (bread). Here, the chef offers a brioche soaked in burnt butter and garnished with sisig, a dish of minced pork, calamansi, chicken liver and minced onion originating from Luzon. Baldosano combines his sisig with tomatoes grown in the tomato capital of the Philippines, Ifugao, delivering a unique combination of acidity and the usual savory flavors.
Lesser-known dishes are also honoured, notably with dishes such as kilawing puso And calumpit longganisa. The first includes banana flowers cooked in vinegar, coconut, to party (dried fish) butter and moringa leaves, while the latter combines Bulacan longganisa (red pork sausage reminiscent of chorizo) with roasted green beans and red santan flowers.