Old Manila, New Chef

I recently learned that Old Manila, the Manila Peninsula’s flagship restaurant, was helmed by a young Filipino chef. I can’ even remember a time when the major dining outlet of a hotel here was headed by a Filipino, so I thought it would be good to investigate. I booked dinner for myself and Jocel and we had an outstanding meal at a not too extravagant price (for a 5 star hotel, that is).

Old Manila is now headed by Chef Allan Briones who worked for some years under the original Bad Boy Chef Marco Pierre White. Upon returning to the Philippines, Chef Allan first worked at the Peninsula’s Banqueting department until an opening at Old Manila gave him the opportunity to do his real passion which is fine dining. The reworked menu now has about half his creations while retaining half of the usual standards (mostly grilled items). He intends to expand his influence by putting more of his creations on the menu.

Since we wanted to get a sense of Chef Allan’s cooking, we went whole hog and ordered appetizer, soup, main course, and dessert.

To start us off, we had a mildly-flavored olive oil panna cotta.

Amuse bouche - Olive oil panna cotta

Amuse bouche – Olive oil panna cotta

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Tokyo Vacation

We took another trip to Tokyo in June, this time to visit a couple of museums and see my niece Gita who is taking a term at Shizuoka University. We arrived to a rather wet Tokyo but fortunately, the next day was clear so we were able to go to Shinjuku to visit the small but highly recommended Samurai Museum.

Shinjuku, with Godzilla in the background.

Shinjuku, with Godzilla in the background.

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Playing Tourist in Manila on Independence Day

Every Independence Day, for the last couple of years, we try to make our way to some historical sites around the city. We’ve been to Manila a couple of times, of course, but we never made it to the National Museum. This time, we made a conscious effort to go.

It was a breeze getting there; taking only about 30 minutes to get from Pasig to Manila. I was a bit wary of the parking situation, but we were able to get a slot at the driveway to the museum without too much trouble. I was quite happy to have made it here finally. The last time I was here, I was probably in Grade School!

Entrance of the National Museum (the old Congress building)

Entrance of the National Museum (the old Congress building)

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Kyo-to Kaiseki

Last Saturday, we had a chance to try one of the latest Japanese restaurants making a buzz, Kyo-to Kaiseki restaurant in Legazpi Village, Makati. There is no English signage at the entrance, just a small sign with the restaurant’s name in Japanese, so it might be a little challenging to find. But the unmistakably Japanese entrance by the Prudential Guarantee signs near the Legazpi Street end of Palanca St. tells you you’ve found it.

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Chateau Beychevelle

I was invited last Tuesday to a wine dinner featuring the wines of Chateau Beychevelle at Raging Bull in Shangri-La at the Fort. It’s been years since I’ve had Beychevelle so it was a good chance for me to get reacquainted with the wine.

The evening started with some cocktails featuring the Chateau’s generic Bordeaux blanc called Grand Bateau. We were served the 2014 which was a charming, refreshing white with hints of ripe yellow tropical fruit. Just the thing for cocktail parties. There was a trivia question about the grapes in the wine and it was answered by Shangri-La Makati Sommelier Patrick Tabhan, who recently won the first Philippine Sommelier competition. For answering correctly, he won a magnum of Grand Bateau Blanc.

Patrick answered a trivia question to win a magnum of Grand Bateau Blanc

Patrick answered a trivia question to win a magnum of Grand Bateau Blanc

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Foo’d by Davide Oldani

Foo’d (pronounced foo-doh) has been making waves since late last year. With a Michelin star to his name, Italian Chef Davide Oldani decided to expand outside Italy and chose Manila and Singapore as the new outposts for what he calls Pop Cuisine.

The menu at Foo’d is easy to navigate. There are two tasting menus, one for 3 courses at P 800.00 and one for four courses at P 1200.00. These are extremely friendly prices as in most places aspiring to fine dining, your entree alone will cost you the price of the four course menu. There are, however, upgrade options for each of the courses which follow the usual Italian progression of Antipasto, Primo, Secondo, and Dolce if you opt for fur courses.

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Made Nice Supper Club

With so many restaurants opening, it’s really difficult to keep track of them all. One place that’s making a bit of a splash is Made Nice Supper Club on Esteban St. in Legaspi Village Makati. I don’t usually go to restaurants in that area as parking is a challenge, but a chance to try this new place with a group of friends was tempting enough for me to take my chances.

Made Nice Supper Club is owned by a group of 5 friends who graduated from Enderun College. From what I observed, two of them work front of the house, while the other 3 are in the kitchen. The place is well lit, with hard concrete, glass tile, and wood surfaces. The lack of any softening material makes the place loud. A friend of mine measured the noise and it came out to close to 90 decibels, which is pretty loud. Despite that, the place was full and it seemed like there was at least one turnover for each table (except ours) when we were there.

The menu is quite compact which I rather like. These guys know what they can do well and stick to it.

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Fukudaya

Recently, my FB was getting quite frequent posts from a restaurant called Fukudaya. I had never heard of it, but the photos looked good and a search for some reviews gave it rather high ratings, so we recently tried it out for dinner.

Fukudaya is located at the ground floor of the Arya Residences in the Fort near the American Cemetery. It’s easy to get to from the road although you have to circle the building to get to the basement parking. It’s an elegant, well lit place with the kitchen in full view of the dining area. Apparently, there are two Japanese chefs overseeing the operations.

The menu is quite intriguing as there are some dishes that aren’t your typical Japanese fare. Of course, we had to give those a try. We started with some edamame.

Edamame (P 150.00)

Edamame (P 150.00)

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Toyo Eatery

 

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Toyo Eatery has been around for a couple of months now but somehow I never made it a point to try it out. In hindsight, it was a bit strange since I was a fan of Chef Jordy Navarra’s food when he was still with the old Black Sheep in BGC. I finally found my way to Toyo last Saturday and in order to get the full range of the chef’s vision, Jocel and I went for the tasting menu.

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Bar Pintxos BGC

I’ve been meaning to do a post on Bar Pintxos for some time now as I have enjoyed their pintxos and tapas several times at their original Alabang location. Fortunately or not, every time I go, I enjoy myself so much I forget to take photos.

Just before Christmas, Bar Pintxos opened their second branch at Fairways Tower, BGC and so those who find it difficult to make their way to the Alabang original can enjoy Bar Pintxos creations closer to home. I went three times during the Christmas break and so was finally able to get a few pictures. The last time time I went was with fellow wine aficionados who used to be Manila based but now make their homes abroad. So aside from the food, we also had some awesome wines.

We started with a few favorites. I never fail to order the orejas (crispy pig’s ears) and so that was one of our starters.

Orejas

Orejas

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