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Seaside Haven: Tarsier Paprika

5 months ago

Seaside Haven: Tarsier Paprika

tarsier paprika

THERE’S ANOTHER KIND OF TARSIER THAT’S FAMOUS IN BOHOL BUT IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THOSE CUTE LITTLE PRIMATES WITH BIG BROWN EYES. 
Tarsier Botanika is a vast botanical garden in the Tawala area of Panglao island that stretches all the way up to the edge of a cliff, overlooking the gorgeous Alona beach. This garden paradise of lush tropical plants, flowers, and wildlife is also an animal sanctuary that is home to parrots, monkeys, horses, and even a Palawan bear cat.

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Frenchman Nicolas Moussempes and his Filipina wife Patricia Muassab Moussempes first came to Bohol ten years ago to go scuba diving and they instantly fell in love with the island. From the original piece of land that the couple acquired, they eventually bought the surrounding property and developed it into a beautiful 8-hectare resort. Today, Tarsier Botanika houses villas for short and long-staying guests, an equestrian center, a museum, as well as a fine dining restaurant called Tarsier Paprika.

Our group first found the Tarsier Botanika Boutique 
along the main highway of Alona Beach thinking that it
 was the restaurant we were looking for. When told that
 Tarsier Paprika is a few kilometers away and that our party 
could be picked up by the company shuttle, we decided to 
browse around the store while waiting. We were pleasantly surprised to find a well-curated selection of locally-made
 jewelry and accessories, hand-made table linen and resort
wear. On the other side of the store is a deli and pastry café where customers can have some Italian-style coffee and 
a slice of cheesecake or apple pie. We later learned that Patricia Moussempes studied pastry arts at the École Lenôtre in Paris, and is a pastry chef by profession.

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After a breezy drive via a shuttle bus, we reached the gated compound and were led to a meandering path through manicured gardens. We found ourselves facing a wooden deck beside a fully stocked bar that opened up to a magnificent view of the Bohol Sea.

Tarsier Paprika has two main dining rooms that are interestingly several meters apart from each other. Both are painted predominantly white with floor to ceiling glass windows, allowing guests a stunning 360 degree view of the surroundings. With Nicolas’ 30 years of experience as an architect and interior designer in Hong Kong, he transformed the natural beauty of the place into a pretty, picture-postcard landscape.

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The menu offers café specialties such
 as burgers, fish and chips, as well as some standard pasta, but they have new dining selections as well for those who want to splurge. We truly enjoyed the Salmon Dill Hollandaise that flaked at the touch of the fork. Every bite was delectable, especially so with the nutty, black heirloom rice pilaf.

Tarsier Paprika’s rendition of a surf and turf would be the Prawn Riding Cow, a seared Angus beef tenderloin steak with
a single prawn sitting daintily on top. Although quite pricey by Bohol standards, the best part about this dish is the green peppercorn sauce, which truly shows the chef’s mastery of the classic French sauces.

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Our meal ended with a most memorable dessert of Dark Chocolate Truffle Cake, with every mouthful deliciously moist and satiny smooth.

Having spent 30 years living as expats in Hong Kong, Nicolas and Patricia Moussempes were exposed to the simple pleasures of fine dining and a culturally- rich, cosmopolitan lifestyle. Whether it’s a visit to the Tarsier Botanika or the Tarsier Paprika, they want their guests to experience nothing less.

Words by Nina Daza-Puyat

Photographed by Floyd Jhocson of Studio 100

Art direction by Regine Paola Velilla


Tarsier Paprika

www.tarsierbotanika.com

Km. 16  Hoyohoy Tawala, Panglao, Bohol.

Call (0917) 526-6001

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