A Taste of Iloilo in Manila

A Taste of Iloilo in Manila

Gabrielle R. Borromeo

The Daily Tribune | June 27, 2017

Living in the confines of a busy metro can make one long for nature and all that comes with it – the windy breeze, the green wonders, the salty ocean and, of course, the fresh produce and mouthwatering seafood. And although “absence makes the heart grow fonder” (Eleanor Roosevelt), nothing comes close to having what the heart wants. With Marina in town, the gut-wrenching wait for fresh seafood feasts come to an end.

Marina is an IloIlo based restaurant that offers a menu of seafood delights including baked oysters, blue marlin steak, and chilled shrimp.

Marina’s oysters are flown in everyday from Iloilo for the restaurant, assuring customers of consistent quality. There will be no reason to fear, especially when it comes to oysters, where many are wary. The best part is that the oysters can be prepared the way one wishes, whether raw on a bed of ice or grilled with cheese or garlic butter. This is perfect for oyster lovers who enjoy the shellfish as a meal or as an accompaniment to beer.
Marina’s Blue Marlin is also a mouthwatering delight, flaky and moist. Ilonggos sure have a way of cooking that makes for a satiating meal.

They also have a classic chicken inasal that may easily become anyone’s favorite. It is marinated without soy sauce, but is chock full of macerated garlic, hints of chopped ginger, the faint sweetness from brown sugar, sour with counterpoint of sinamak (native coconut vinegar) and kalamansi with earthy lemongrass), salt and coarsely ground pepper, all combined for a true inasal. On the grill it is basted with butter and achuete oil for that tasty hue of yellow that distinguishes it from other grilled chicken.

All these are prepared with provincial flair that can be enjoyed in a spacious garden or in air-conditioned comfort located at their Mother Ignacia branch, Quezon City. This branch has a huge tree that creates a provincial feel. Not only this, every night except for Sunday, there is a live band to entertain customers. It also has the space compared to other branches for big celebrations, all available for reservations.

Marina was born on October 1987, when Ross Gorriceta, inspired by his wife Marina Luz, decided to put up a native seafood restaurant on the breezy banks of the Iloilo River serving succulent seafood.

Of course, he named the Ilonggo restaurant after his loving wife, Marina. Along with his wife. They wanted to share their love and passion for fresh seafood and Ilonggo cuisine with their fellow Ilonggos and visitors to Iloilo City.

It was only in May 2002 that Marina finally arrived in Metro Manila, when their son Ross Paul Gorriceta brought it to the big city in honor of his parents. He set out to open the world of wonder, a “portal” to Iloilo for Metro Manilans to experience fresh seafood served in the Ilonggo way.

Definitely when it comes to the best of Iloilo hospitality and Filipino specialties, Marina not only makes the cut but tops it, maintaining the authentic native Filipino taste in its offerings. This is the true Filipino pride!

Gabrielle Borromeo

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Gabe organizes what she sees around her and loves to put it into words. She has been contributing her articles for the Daily Tribune newspaper, Tinig ng Marino (maritime) newspaper, Cook magazine, Appetite magazine and F&B World magazine.

You can contact Gabrielle at: gabrielle_borromeo@write-experts.com

Sabor the Moment

Sabor the Moment

Gabrielle R. Borromeo

The Daily Tribune |November 26, 2018

“As for the atmosphere, Sabor is casual but classy with warm lights to create a relaxing vibe…”

How can one unwind if booking a flight away or even just a staycation is too costly? Novotel Manila Araneta Center’s newest wine bar, Sabor (Spanish for “flavor”) Bar de Vinos is a good place for a much-needed me-time and to enjoy life’s simple pleasures, even just for a while.

Located at the Araneta Center in Cubao, Quezon City, Sabor is conveniently found in what used to be a nook under one of the hotel’s escalators. The space was transformed into an intimate wine bar that extends all the way to the hotel’s smoking area. It allows one to loosen up in a corner or sway to modern Spanish music or to the beats of live samba entertainers.

Originally, the Novotel management decided to have a private wine cellar for their stock, but why hide away when their distinct collection of wines can be displayed? This was how the dream began with wine and signature tapas to offer.

Now, at Sabor, one can choose by the bottle or by the glass, or the sangria concoctions by Sabor’s expert mixologists. Sabor has a wide selection of wines.

The menu includes mushroom croquettes (P350), an earthy combination of porcini, button and portobello mushrooms, coupled with bleu cheese dip topped with caramelized onions; beetroot arancini with goat cheese (P350), which is a creamy beetroot risotto balls stuffed with marinated beet/root from El Dorado Farm, with goat cheese fondue;patatas bravas (P250), which are homemade deep fried organic potatoes from El Dorado Farm, tossed in smoked paprika and parsley, served with roasted spicy tomato and garlic aioli;berenjenas fritas, also known as deep fried eggplant (P250), breaded organic eggplant sticks paired with garlic, homegrown basil and molasses dip;and tomato bruschetta (P250), homemade ciabatta bread topped with tomato brunoise, chopped basil, garlic from El Dorado Farm, olive oil and parmesan cheese.

One can try the Greek salad skewers (P250) of marinated cucumber, cherry tomato from El Dorado Farm, olives, oregano and feta cheese; selection of cheeses (P650) with assorted crackers, sangria jelly, nuts, taggiasca olive and radish; and smoked kesong puti (P350), young goat’s cheese with dried fruits, crackers and grapes.

During the launch, Sabor served their version of the Filipino classic dinakdakan.
For the sweet tooth, creme brûlée and tiramisu offered and an ice cream store is just right at the corner.

As for the atmosphere, Sabor is casual but classy with warm lights to create a relaxing vibe. The beautiful murals are pleasant to the eyes. Sabor is not at all intimidating as one would expect from a hotel bar. Here, one can feel he is far from the heavy burden of work or daily cares.

Sabor is definitely one of the places in the metro that lets you unwind, pull yourself together and prepare for another big day.

Sabor Bar de Vinos, open Tuesday to Saturday, 5 p.m. to 3 a.m., is located at the ground floor of Novotel Manila Araneta, General Aguinaldo Avenue, Araneta Center, Quezon City.For inquiries, call 990-7888.

Gabrielle Borromeo

Author Profile

Gabe organizes what she sees around her and loves to put it into words. She has been contributing her articles for the Daily Tribune newspaper, Tinig ng Marino (maritime) newspaper, Cook magazine, Appetite magazine and F&B World magazine.

You can contact Gabrielle at: gabrielle_borromeo@write-experts.com

Beyond Farm to Table Wine Dinner

Beyond Farm to Table Wine Dinner

Cesar Cruz Jr.

Business Mirror | November 28, 2019

“If you consider yourself a foodie and a wine lover at the same time, then a food and wine pairing makes perfect sense.”

The goal of the meal after all is give pleasure to the diners by way of the different nuances of taste and aroma derived from wine and food. And don’t forget their synergy.

With the growing number of food and wine lovers in the Metro, hotels have been curating their own special menu to cater to adventurous taste buds. Holiday Inn and Suites in Makati, recently hosted an intimate farm to table wine dinner with a rustic concept at The Gallery. The people surrounding the dining table consisted mostly of the hotel’s higher ups, the two Aussie winemakers, a duo from the BusinessMirror, and a wine educator from Enderun Colleges.

As for the ingredients of the dishes in the multi-course meal, the seasonal vegetable requirements were sourced from three farms, one of which is Malagos Farm in Davao. On the other hand, the meat and wine were imported from Australia.

The meal began with the serving of Fresh Watercress Soup with Garlic Croutons and Crème Fraiche. Its delicate and neutral taste gradually stimulated our excited palates and heated up our digestive tracks.

Next up was the organic kale salad which, was shaped like a calling card and piled two inches high in the middle of the plate, while a swirl of Malagos Mango Chèvre, Maple Glazed Pili Nuts, Buerre Noisette Vinaigrette around the plate for added textures and flavors. The kale salad was paired with Sasha Brut. The effervescent liquid rebooted the taste buds as it takes in different permutations of taste with every bite of the salad.

Heating things up was the mildly spicy seafood pasta in green curry, coconut sauce, basil oil. The Thai-inspired al dente dish complimented the luxuriously silky taste of the Sasha Pinot Noir.

For the main course, the intensity of flavors of the Rack of Lamb (served with apricots, couscous, and pearl vegetable with rosemary garlic mint) was a solid match for the commanding presence of the tannins of Sally’s Hill Cabernets and also for the bright bouquet of Sasha Pyrenes Shiraz. This is undoubtedly the highlight pairing of the evening.

A medley of bite-sized desserts, including the award-winning ube cheesecake and the adobo cheesecake of Holiday Inn and Suites Makati, were soon served. It was partnered with Sasha Moscato for its sweet taste profile.

The approachability of the different types of wine aptly personifies its winemakers Neil Robb and Sasha Fair. The father and daughter tandem, being the experts they are, have not been intoxicated by fame. These two from the Land Down Under, remained down to Earth as they introduce their brand of vino. The wines of Sally’s Paddock Redbank Winery attribute its exceptional quality of its wine to its pristine environment, as well as its non-irrigated vines. The fact that the grapes are hand-picked and hand-pressed says a lot about their winemaking philosophy.

The wonderful meal was not all the diners got. The Aussies had a generous dose of Filipino hospitality when the conversation turned to the country’s national dish. Almost immediately, a plateful of chicken and pork adobo was served in front of Neil Robb and Sasha Fair for them to pair with their estate-grown reds. The paring of the adobo with the Cabernets and the Pinot Noir won their nod of approval. To cap their meal, mango daiquiris were laid before the Aussies as they have been curious about the world-famous Philippine mangoes.

“You can’t keep a good thing bottled up for long”, this writer thought,” be it Sally Paddock wine or good old fashioned Filipino hospitality.”

Cesar Cruz Jr.

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Cesar studied communication arts at the University of Santo Tomas. He writes articles in the Lifestyle Section of Business Mirror as a lifestyle writer. He manages Pancit Malabon, his own restaurant at Banawe St.