After four years of running Pamangan pop-ups, self-taught chef Ellie Tiglao is setting down roots with her first brick-and-mortar location, Tanám, set to open at Bow Market in early February. The Filipino American-inspired food and art space will have one intimate communal dining table, where a rotating prix fixe menu will be served.
“We’re really interested in storytelling and how food can be an integral component of that,” Tiglao says. “Guests’ stories are just as important as ours, so they’re involved in this kind of collaborative experience over a dinner.”
Tanám—which translates to rooting or planting in Tiglao’s native tongue—will set up shop in a 400-square-foot nook of the Union Square market, featuring a sea foam-colored floor and white flowing curtains encircling a 10-seat table. Tiglao will invite artists to create collaborative events for diners, while she uses their work as inspiration for that night’s menu.
Tidy Bow: Tanám takes over a spot at Bow Market in February.
“I really wanted to create a space that would focus people toward one another and provide a backdrop that allowed guests to get a little more comfortable,” Tiglao says. “The removal of distractions was the starting place for everything.”
The kitchen will serve ticketed dinners Wednesday through Sunday, with plans to expand to weekend and Monday brunch. Each night’s menu will include four to six rotating dishes, such as lychee and crab salad made with Brussels sprouts and fried shallots that’s accompanied by a fish sauce vinaigrette and a turmeric and ginger sauce. A kare-kare stew will include braised oxtail, eggplant and green beans topped with a savory peanut sauce and served with white rice and shrimp fry paste. One constant on the menu will be a traditional kamayan-style supper served on banana leaves for guests to snack on sans utensils. The drink program, led by beverage director Kyisha Davenport (Shojo), will highlight Filipino spirits and liqueurs, as well as influences from Latin America and Spain—including the creamy Lamb Talk cocktail, which mixes lambanog, rose water, egg white and citrus juice from kalamansi.
“Originally, this was just a way for me to do the food that I knew growing up, but it’s really expanded from there,” Tiglao says. “These are the roots that I’m setting in Boston.”
Tanám 1 Bow Market Way, Somerville (617-863-6225) tanam.co
UPDATE: Tanám opened on Jan. 30