After having been locked down for so many months, subsisting on home-cooked, takeout, and delivered meals, one can’t help but hanker for some fine dining experience with his/her favorite entrée. This is why when news broke that the Inter-Agency Task Force has finally allowed our 5-star hotels to open their restaurants to the public, I immediately planned my culinary pilgrimage.
Of course, I knew right away that many restrictions were in place and safety protocols have been set up to ensure the well-being of the dining public. I also found out that the restaurants were allowed only 30 percent of their capacity which, to my mind, makes the dining experience less jovial. Nevertheless, the anticipation of dining in these places gave me the same feeling as when I was a little boy waiting to open Santa’s gifts on Christmas Day.
Here are some of the foodie destinations I visited:
China Blue has always been a favorite stopover because of its modern interpretation of authentic Chinese cuisine well-curated by celebrity Master Chef Jereme Leung and Executive Chinese Chef Eng Yew Khor.
Some of their signature dishes which I thoroughly enjoyed were Steamed House Specialty Truffle Mushroom Buns, Wagyu Beef Cheeks and Tendons with Radish Hot Pot, Homemade Spinach Tofu, and Spicy Eggplant in minced Chicken Sauce.
I noticed that their extensive menu also offers Braised Bird’s Nest Soup with Superior Crab Roe, Deep-fried Crab Claw coated with Shrimp Paste and Salted Egg Taoso, Deep-fried Lobster with Yuzu Dressing Mango Salsa and tropical fruit, and Goose Liver Mousse Cherries Squid Ink Crumble.
Feasting on these Chinese culinary delights made me feel like I was ready to speak Mandarin even if I don’t know a single word of the language!
Joy Nostalg Hotel & Suites Manila
For something less formal, but just as filling and delectable, I drove halfway across town to this premiere hotel in the Ortigas Business District. I heard about their World of Burgers Promo from some friends, and wanted to be sure I would sink my teeth into it.
Currently available at The Nostalgia Lounge & Bar for lunch and dinner is a wide array of juicy, mouthwatering burgers from all over the world. You can have fun choosing from these: The Philippines’ Bayani Burger has longganisa and fried egg; The Greek Parthenon Burger features chicken patty and feta cheese; Vietnam’s Banh Mi Burger uses pork patty and fish sauce; South Korea’s Bibimburger highlights soy-glazed beef patty and kimchi; The French Ça Va banners cognac-flamed beef patty and bleu cheese; Spain’s Conquistador Burger boasts of beef patty with chorizo mayo; and India is represented by the Spice Burger with curried potato rosti and mango chutney.
If you’re crazy about hamburgers, just as I am, I suggest you make reservations immediately for your share of these sumptuous, meaty specialties, because due to the limited capacity, the place is always full. Yuppies and business executives were making a beeline to the venue when I went there.
Century Park Hotel
It was convenient for me to drive to this nearby hotel, only a few minutes away from my residence, to partake of their Filipino dishes which are part of their international cuisine offerings.
My seafood cravings were satisfied by their Grilled Prawns, Pan-fried Salmon Fillet, and Blue Marlin Supreme. They also had Grilled Lamb Chops, Sirloin Steak Café de Paris, and Country Crispy Chicken, among others, which is a perfect way to reunite with your loved ones after having been separated for several months during the lockdown.
The restaurants of the other hotels beckon, but they will have to wait until such time that I develop the appetite once again. For now, I have to take heed of my cardiologist’s caution on calorific engagements such as these.
I may have been isolated from these culinary delights for several months, but my recent foray into these yellow brick road of 5-star dining more than made up for it.
YOUR WEEKEND CHUCKLE
My chiropractor did not call me after all. I stand corrected.
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