Ahead of its opening, Hilton Manila held a preview of its dining establishments and also some of its amenities. Led by the Filipino-Australian executive chef Dennis Leslie, the guests went on a food crawl through three of F&B outlets for a taste of what’s to come.
For the first stop, guests were led to the private dining room of Hua Ting on the second floor. The restaurant will explore the flavours of Shanghainese cuisine known for its complex preparation and unique cooking styles. Named after the popular Hua Ting Road district in Old Shainghai which was lined with restaurants, the restaurant will serve traditional recipes made with fresh locally sourced ingredients.
To introduce the restaurant to the guests, the Hua Ting chefs presented a cooking demo of the Sheng Jian Bao before serving it to the guests. The meal started with a bite of each of the three varieties of xiao long bao (regular, crabmeat, and mushroom). Another appetiser served was the popular Shanghainese street food fried rice cake with dry scallop. The main dishes came out in succession: marinated chicken in brine, fried garoupa with tomato sauce, sweet and sour pork ribs, braised pork belly with eggs, and braised eggplant in hotpot. But of course, it wouldn’t be a Chinese meal without the fried rice served last. All of these dishes highlighted a spectrum of flavours, from the mild to the rich.
Kusina Sea Kitchens
For the second leg of the crawl, guests headed to the third floor to see what’s in store in Hilton Manila’s all-day dining outlet. Kusina Sea Kitchens will serve wholesome Asian and Western breakfast options, but come lunch and dinner it will put a special focus on Filipino fare. At the heart of the buffet will be a spread of fresh sustainable seafood that can be cooked “dampa style” in the open kitchens.
To get everyone excited for more food, Chef Dennis Leslie carved a whole kingfish for the kilawin. The fresh fish was served in avocado puree, calamansi juice, cpriander oil, orange, pomelo. The tone quickly turned into a savoury one when the plates of sisig and a cauldron of beef and vegetable kare-kare with garlic heirloom rice were brought out for everyone to enjoy. All of these were enjoyed with local refreshments in accompaniment.
Madison Lounge + Bar
Finally, a trip back to the lobby area led the guests to Madison, which will serve as a café by day and a lounge by night. It will offer a selection of artisanal coffee blends and grab-and-go food options in the daytime, and a range of light spirits and wines ideal for pre- or after-dinner drinks plus an array of sumptuous bar bites and share plates.
In this particular food crawl, the guests indulged in a number of the share plates and desserts. Highlights of the savoury selections were the lumpia with Vigan longanisa and raclette filling, the smoked salmon in black sesame macaron, grilled corned silver side, crispy five spice barramundi wings. Meanwhile, desserts such as the Big Apple (Madison’s version of an apple pie) and the berry cheesecake ended the food crawl on a sweet note.
From this tour, it was evident that the thrust of Chef Dennis’ role as executive chef is to create an experience that ties together healthy and nutritious food made with ingredients that are locally sourced (sustainable and organic where possible) with local flavours and flair. His 21-year experience in global hospitality working in hotels and restaurants like the Four Seasons Hotel, Hilton Adelaide, Rydges Hotel, and Montpellier will come to light in his first venture in the Philippines.
Hilton Manila, 1 Newport Boulevard, Newport City, Pasay City
All images courtesy of Hilton Manila
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