Initially meant to be the R&D kitchen at The Moment Group’s headquarters in Makati, The Test Kitchen became a space that could moonlight as a private dining hall for its owners, Abba Napa, Eliza Antonino and Jon Syjuco. As with all the initial concepts of their restaurants, however, The Test Kitchen’s ambitions blossomed into something bigger—something more inclusive. It became an intimate place where friends and family could come together and celebrate.
Last December it set out to play host to a string of chefs, whether from TMG’s own restaurants or not, where they can let their inventiveness roam and flourish. The first on the roster was a pop-up dinner series with the Trophée Espoir of Ile de France 2015 winner Aaron Isip, which featured the acclaimed chef’s playfulness with local bounty. Originally slated for 4 nights only, the seats sold out so fast that The Moment Group opened up another night. The 8-course dinner featured Aaron Isip’s French techniques using local produce, grounded in Filipino roots. Highlights of the evening included Local Scallops Aguachile with uni, quail egg yolk, chorizo powder, Giant Halaan Clam and Bamboo Clams with green mango and kamias sauce vierge, and Purple Yam or Ube curry with calamari a la plancha, potato croutons, chicharron, and butterfly pea flowers.
The pop-up dinners were 5 nights of exciting cuisine in a casual sleek space, and attentive service by The Moment Group team, who where in large part from TMG’s burger joint brand, 8cuts. The service staff and cooks involved in this endeavour were led by some amazing young people in TMG led by R&D Chef Monica Yang and Operations Development Manager Mike Luna. The aesthetic for the dining tables were in large part attributed to the private stoneware collections of Tina Fernandez of Aphro, and Garden Barn’s exquisite stemware and porcelain pieces.
The Test Kitchen is now The Moment Group’s playground at home base, where creative culinary happenings—whether big or small—are definitely abound. Special launches may even happen here, and tastings for new dishes by TMG. Who knows, new restaurant concepts could even sow its seeds here.