Additional photos by Ayunan G. Gunting
Choices are aplenty when it comes to dining in BGC. One particular establishment serves a variety of fabulous dishes in its fancy restaurants and casual bars.
Shangri-La at The Fort’s executive chef Joris Rycken is on top the hotel’s nine restaurants and a bar, the banquet, in-room dining, and the staff cafeteria. Preparing an average of over a thousand to 2,500 meals a day, he has to make sure that the staff follows the same standard of attention to detail, flawless execution, warm and efficient service to deliver an unforgettable experience.
The Dutch-born Rycken gives a rundown of the hotel’s offerings.
Raging Bull Chophouse and Bar
Arguably the hotel’s most successful outlet, it has been consistently in the country’s list of best steakhouses. Its supplier, Jack’s Creek from Australia merited the World’s Best Steak Awards.
“Our variety comes from the different kinds of cows not just the cuts. Customers have a choice of the grain-fed steak which is robust and intense or the grass-fed beef which has less fat but is more flavorful,” says Rycken “Our Wagyu has higher marbling. When the fat melts, it lends a richer flavor.”
Prices range from P2,000 for the tenderloin to P10,500 tomahawk cut which is good for three people.
This Chinese restaurant combines old and new with Huaiyang and Cantonese cuisines. One of China’s main cuisines, Huaiyang focuses on choice ingredients, precise workmanship, and delicate flavors. Pork, freshwater fish, and crabs are the meat base.
Cantonese cuisine uses a variety of edible meats and cooking techniques while maintaining the balance of flavors. “Other Chinese restaurants adapt the food to the taste profile of the Filipino market. Cantonese cuisine is cooked a la minute to maintain the freshness and to bring out the flavors,” says Rycken.
The dishes are plated in a modern way while preserving the authenticity of the flavors. The menu throws in a few surprises such as the black pepper beef with foie gras.
Samba Peruvian Cuisine
The Latin American restaurant draws elements from the Amazon with its use of fresh fish; the Spanish influence of rice, wheat, beef, pork and chicken; and Nikkei, the Japanese version of sushi and sashimi. Its staples are corn, potatoes, and chili peppers. “Ours is home-cooking style,” shares Rycken.
Among its bestsellers is the arroz con mariscos, Peru’s signature rice dish with an abundance of seafood. The empanada is made of fluffy dough shell filled with beef, egg, onion, garlic, and oregano. The ceviche consists of lapu-lapu, tuna, salmon, squid, prawns, and shellfish, marinated in lime and perked up by chili from Peru.
The new bakery-café specializes in cakes for take-out as well as sourdough breads. The 14-year-old mother dough keeps the good bacteria alive for gut health, enhances the sourness, and creates the dense and chewiness.
The hotel uses Belgian brand Puratos flour which is made using fermentation technology that eliminates the yeast, which is good news for those who are yeast intolerant. The most popular breads are the farmer’s and multigrain sourdough.
Diners can choose snack options such as the chicken pot pie and the prosciutto and arugula toast. People with sweet tooth, on the other hand, can enjoy the granola bars, madeleines, apple turnovers, chocolates.
The Conscious Cookie echoes the outlet’s zero-waste principle. The leftover dough is mixed with nuts and chocolates for a sinful confection.
Ministry of Crab
This outlet sources crabs from the mangroves of Pampanga, Roxas City, Masbate, and Cagayan de Oro. They are lightly cooked and seasoned with pepper sauce, chili, and garlic. The price depends on the weight, for instance, a 500-gram crab is worth P3,200 while a 2-kilo “Crabzilla” is P11,500.
Diners can then head to the Back Room bar for drinks.
Raging Bull Burgers
Burger lovers can enjoy the classic Kick Ass made of 150 grams of Angus beef patty with special barbecue stuffed in a soft cornbread bun. The Mighty Beast is a protein lover’s indulgence with maple bacon and aged cheddar cheese. The magnum opus is the robust flavored Wagyu burger spiked with chili chutney.
People eschewing meat are offered other alternatives such as the grouper fillet burger, chicken thigh fillet burger, and the vegan burger made with mushrooms, kidney beans, lentils, onions, and pepper.
High Street Lounge
The lobby lounge has the most modern selection of foods among Shangri-La properties in the country. The healthy and fusion choices include the kiwi and cucumber lemonade, avocado toast with poached eggs and nori crumble, carrot and quinoa with Malagos cheese and pickled brine chicken. Filipino comfort food items like egg fried rice with embotido are also served.
High Street Café
Although people come for the international buffets, the ala carte menu features daily specials. Coffee shops pander to Filipino tastes, thus the modern interpretations of lugaw, the High Street Silog with its tapa, longganisa, danggit, and egg over fried rice, and the tablea chocolate moist cake.
Rycken adds that the in-room dining menu has express dishes delivered in 15 minutes and healthy dishes whose ingredients include “superfoods.”
The executive chef is married to a Filipina whom he met in Dubai. He likes Filipino food particularly the sinfully indulgent crispy pata.
Although he can cook sinigang and adobo, he admits the taste isn’t as authentic. “You can’t replicate the exact flavor unless you were raised in that culture. That’s why we have Chinese chefs in Canton Road and foreign chefs doing the cuisine that they grew up with.”
Food photos from the restaurants’ Facebook pages
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