Sweet Treats

Sweet Treats

Gabrielle R. Borromeo

The Daily Tribune | July 06, 2014

UCC Park Café | BreadTalk | Krispy Kreme | Gelatissimo | Cupcakes by Sonja

UCC Park Café is a Japanese coffee shop known for its coffees that are freshly brewed using a siphon coffee maker. Here, one can also order familiar Asian fusion dishes like pasta, sandwiches and main courses to satisfy their appetite.

At the event, UCC made the veggie garden pizza toast, kani mango salad and the chili garlic chicken spaghetti available for the guests to try. Their version of the pizza was in a thick toasted bread topped with sliced tomatoes, green and red peppers, mushrooms, pineapples, corn bits and cheese. The chili garlic chicken spaghetti was spicy, and had toppings of mushrooms, chicken strips and garlic. The kani mango salad for me was simple but a winner, assembled with lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, nuts, crab sticks, boiled eggs, mangoes and fish eggs. Eaten together they were refreshing.

UCC’s veggie garden pizza toast

For bread and pastry lovers, BreadTalk is also a Singaporean brand that focuses on baked gourmet goods. Try their pizza sticks, cheese floss, Rocky Rocky Milk and Beckham n’ Cheese. Since BreadTalk is famous for its pork floss line of bread, their newest cheese floss is worth a try. Just like the other floss, it has delicious cream inside its soft savory sweet bun and topped with pork floss. The taste of cheese is evident in every bite.

But, of course, one cannot forget to grab desserts from Krispy Kreme, Gelatissimo and Cupcakes by Sonja. These three establishments represent main desserts like donuts, gelato and cupcakes, respectively.

At Krispy Kreme, one can opt for soft and fluffy cloud-like donuts with flavors of their choice. Krispy Kreme has always been a rave ever since it came to the Philippines and is still irresistible. They also serve coffee, fresh squeezed juices and Baked Creations that have a Filipino twist to it.

The bright red gelato parlor famously known as Gelatissimo serves authentic gelato that is freshly made from a secret family recipe. They have a spectrum of luscious flavors and every single time I enter this gelato parlor, it takes me at least five to 10 minutes to pick a flavor. Though it takes time to choose, having a lot of options is an upside. Gelatissimo has never failed to impress me with every flavor I choose every time I visit.

Cupcakes by Sonja is one of the top cupcake boutiques in the city and trying for the first time their Red Velvet Vixen, I had no doubt why they were at the top. This cupcake was shining bright red and the first bite I took widened my eyes. It was made with Belgian cocoa topped with cream cheese icing, and being a dessert lover and a sweet tooth at the same time, the sweetness captivated.

Cupcakes by Sonja is owned by Sonja Ocampo, who makes sure that whatever is served in her store is the top of the line. She not only pays attention to the looks, which she perfects through tender loving care in the piping of the icing, but also focuses on the moistness of her cakes and most of all the taste.

I saw this cake at the event, it was adorable. I think it was called The Clown Cake.

This is the slice of The Clown Cake, inside is a rainbow cake!

Great food finds that cater to a gamut of tastes and cravings are located at the upper ground floor of Shangri-La Plaza’s East Wing.

Shangri-La Plaza is located at the corner of Edsa and Shaw Boulevard in Mandaluyong City.

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

Maple

Maple

Gabrielle R. Borromeo

The Daily Tribune | July 06, 2014

My favorite meal of the day is breakfast even if I am not an early riser because when waffles, cheese and bacon are served, my day begins right. When I first heard about Maple, I was intrigued. It’s a restaurant that servs breakfast all day, or at least that’s how I saw it. Also, I was told that it was run by the same owners of Pancake House, so all the more I did not want to miss out on trying this.

On the table were classy breakfast staples like Prime Rib Tapa, chicken fried steak, The Maple Burger and The Big Maple Breakfast. They all came in huge servings, totally worth it if one wanted to stuff themselves in heavenly breakfast delights.

Everything was sweet and salty, just the way I like most of my food. The Prime Rib Tapa was fulfilling because it was chunky and tasty. The Chicken Fried Steak was breaded and dry as it should be. The Maple Burger was huge and the patty enormous and perfectly creamy as it had cheese melting under the long bacon strips that were sweet and mapled. It came with battered onion rings and French fries.

The Big Maple Breakfast, simply put, was glorious. Who doesn’t love waffles or pancakes especially drizzled in high-grade maple syrup? Served together with this dish are French fries, eggs and bacon. Maple breakfasts proved to be everything I wanted and more.

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

Wee Nam Kee

Wee Nam Kee

Gabrielle R. Borromeo

The Daily Tribune | July 06, 2014

Franchise owner Linfred Yap, mentioned, “When I worked at a multinational company in Singapore, Wee Nam Kee had chicken rice and cereal prawns that I loved, making it one of my favorite dining destinations. It was so good we decided to franchise it in the Philippines. We opened our first branch at Ayala Triangle Gardens in Makati and now we have other locations already in Metro Manila, one at Shangri-La Mall, Greenhills Promenade, Serendra, Alabang Town Center, Trinoma and Fairview Ayala Terraces.”

Wee Nam Kee is a traditional Singaporean restaurant that specializes in Hainanese chicken, but in terms of the interiors and furniture, it has a more European touch to it with Asian influences. Linfred continues, “Singapore used to be a British territory, so we wanted a throwback with that certain era in the concept of our restaurant.”

The honey crispy squid.

Linfred enthused, “The honey crispy squid is a traditional Singaporean dish. Basically it is baby squid chopped and toasted in a honey sweet sesame sauce. It is an appetizer, but can also be eaten with your main meal.” Orange but almost red in color, the dish looked candied. The squid was sliced in tiny circles and smelled sweet. When I took my first bite, it reminded me of a Visayan tocino fried fish, and I thought it was interesting that Singapore had their own variation. I enjoyed this especially since it went well with the Wee Nam Kee Fried Rice.

“We are also known for our fried rice. Our fried rice is flavored with the essence of the Hainanese chicken and since we add that with fried rice, then it becomes a winning combination. Our chicken rice (with the choice of steamed or roasted) is served with on-the-side sauces of pounded ginger, chili sauce and dark soy sauce.” Linfred explained.

Prawn paste chicken wings

The prawn paste chicken wings, meanwhile, were actually bigger than the usual chicken wings. It was covered in a light breading that was just right, and had a thin golden brown crispy bite.

Butterflied tilapia

Last but not the least was the butterflied tilapia with chili crab sauce which looked artistic as the fish was sauce. It wasn’t hard to devour the fish since the sides were already opened and designed to look as if they had wings, thus the name “butterflied.” The sauce, on the other hand, was sweet and sour with a hint of spiciness, and the subtle taste of the crab sauce was satisfying enough especially without having to sweat over taking the meat out of the crab shell. The fish was juicy. These were all new additions to their menu.

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

Epicurious

Epicurious

Gabrielle R. Borromeo

The Daily Tribune | July 06, 2014

Epicurious, a unique culinary concept from the pioneering Cravings Group, is not just a gourmet place to dine, but also a mini-grocery of rare food finds, fresh produce, cooking ingredients, kitchenware and packed goods. It has a deli with a wide variety of wine, cheese, cold cuts, chilled meat and fresh greens; a bakery that serves freshly baked bread, pastries and desserts; a culinary studio for cooking demos; and a café all under one roof.

Epicurious has a relaxing vibe because of the garden style interiors. One may shop and dine at leisure, have their shopped goods cooked on the spot or take them home if in a rush.

The pulled pork arugula pizza.

The cold kani, cucumber pizza.

We tried their cold kani, cucumber pizza and pulled pork arugula pizza. The pizzas weren’t the regular circle-shaped kind, but came in the shape of a stretched oval. The crust was crisp with a slight moistness and the toppings were abundant. Beside the pizza was a tray of cheeses, cold cuts and dried fruits to offset the saltiness and whet one’s appetite all the more.

The wooden tray of cold cuts.

Epicurious also served their tender slow roast US Angus belly with au jus and mustard, confit of garlic and tomato sardine and red onion chutney that looked mouthwatering and tasted savory. There was also the Lemonata Rack of Lamb served with corn and pimiento polenta cakes, french beans amandine, tomato chutney and mint jelly.

The tender slow roast US Angus belly.

For the drink, I was served bottled Moringa Cucumber Lemonada. It was very refreshing as the flavor of the cucumber stood out. It quenched my thirst, but at the same time made me want more of its taste and healthy elements.

My favorite dish was the mushroom in truffle oil ravioli. It was so good I had to keep coming back for more since each bowl only had one ravioli in it. The mushroom sauce really complemented the ravioli perfectly. I could hear other diners who also had a share of this dish rave about it. This dish was the best; I would forget any diet that existed for this? that’s how much I loved it.

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

Quick Bites and Sweet Treats

Quick Bites and Sweet Treats

Gabrielle R. Borromeo

The Daily Tribune | July 06, 2014

In upscale malls like the Shangri-La Plaza, dining has been elevated to an art. And at the Upper Ground Floor of its new East Wing, a row of gastronomic dining possibilities await those with varied tastes and frivolities. On this floor are fascinating food finds like Epicurious, Wee Nam Kee, Maple, UCC Park Café, BreadTalk, Krispy Kreme, Jamba Juice, Vom Fass, Gelatissimo and Cupcakes by Sonja. Shall we take a tour?

Epicurious
Wee Nam Kee
Maple
Vom Fass
UCC Park Café | Breadtalk | Krispy Kreme | Gelatissimo | Cupcakes by Sonja

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

A 7 Course Food and Wine Pairing Menu at 22 Prime

A 7 Course Food and Wine Pairing Menu at 22 Prime

Cesar Cruz Jr.

Business Mirror | February 20, 2020

“On the lookout for a new dining experience with family and close friends?”

The 22 Prime of Discovery Suites Ortigas has got the bases covered with its latest offering—a seven-course food and wine pairing menu. The epicurean nirvana is made possible with the collaboration of expertise of Executive Chef Gerwin Bailon with Assistant F&B Manager/Resident Sommelier Gio Racelis.

“The size of the dish depends on number of courses. For me, I make sure they are sized just right, not too little and not too much. I hope you enjoy each of the course,” Bailon voiced with enthusiasm at the recently held intimate media preview of the degustation. Bailon sharpened his culinary skills by working in various hotel chains in the Middle East before earning his current position as the executive chef of the Discovery Suites and the Discovery Country Suites.

Short ribs with foie gras. Sous vide octopus with piquilio pepper and paprika.

Likewise, Racelis digs deep in his 12 years of experience in the beverage industry as he handpicked the flight of wines to partner with the grand meal. “The wines of the degustation were from Parker Coonawarra Estate, which was established in 1985 in Australia. The first vines planted used the original cuttings of Cabernet Sauvignon from Bordeaux. It has won many awards ever since, including being judged the 6th highest rated Bordeaux-Style in the 1991 International Wine Challenge in London.

The achievement sealed the credibility of its capacity to create outstanding wines,” the holder of the Wines and Spirits Education Trust ( WSET) Level 2 Awards in Wine and Spirits explained.

A bottle of 2017 Parker Coonawarra Favorite Son Cabernet Sauvignon. A bottle of Coonawara Parker Interloper Cabernet Malbec.

Western Cuisine Tandems with Coonawarra Parker Wines

The 22 Prime, having made a name for itself as a haven for carnivores, does not beat around the bush as it presented its first course—a twice-cooked pork belly served with kimchi mayo, sweet corn, soy sauce, pea tendrils, and sesame oil.

The young and vibrant Coonawarra Parker Favorite Son Chardonnay was chosen to cut through the richness of the pork belly. In the same vein, the high acidity of this white wine pierced well through the flavorful kimchi aioli and with the sweet corn dip.

The same refreshing Chardonnay from the outstanding 2017 vintage struts its versatility as it complements the delicate taste of the second course—sous vide octopus in cauliflower, piquillo pepper and paprika.

The third course, a creamy black bean soup with its smoky bacon taste, was balanced out with the high natural acidity of the 2016 Coonawarra Parker Aromatic Chardonnay. The full-flavored grape variety confidently flaunted its beautiful structure and complexity.

Next up was the oxtail ravioli, which was pan fried for texture and smelled so enticing with the restrained use of truffle oil. The intensity of the beef flavor of the fourth course was matched by the silky tannins of the Coonawarra Parker Favorite Son Cabernet Sauvignon. The acidity, dark fruits and oak notes exhibited a nice harmony of balance of taste. The 2017 Coonawarra Son Cabernet Sauvignon proved to be an approachable wine choice. It is something even wine newbies would easily grow a liking to.

Now this is where it gets interesting. The fifth course was a pan-roasted mahi-mahi served with the same Cabernet Sauvignon as the fourth course. Yes, one may argue that seafood is commonly served with a white wine, but this pairing begs to be different. To be honest, this writer was half-expecting an unpleasant metallic taste in his mouth but what he got instead was a surprise when the ‘undisputed king of grapes’ variety did not clash with its seafood partner. The unexpected pairing sent a message that it’s okay to think (and drink) outside the box for as long as one achieves the bottomline—a successful food and wine pairing.

A welcome breather of mixed berries granita serving as a palate cleanser soon followed.

With a refreshed and cooled down palate, a luxurious plate of braised short ribs with foie gras, carrots, micro arugula, turnip, and fava beans was placed before us as the sixth course of the meal. The taste of the fancy food was heightened with the Coonawarra Parker Interloper Cabernet Malbec.

Malbec, a grape variety commonly associated with Argentina rather than Australia, is regarded as the interloper in this bottle of Coonawarra wine. The Malbec component of the wine comes from the Barossa Valley from the Land Down Under. The resulting style of wine is fresh and juicy, boasting flavors of that does not steal the spotlight from the short ribs and vice versa.

Dessert was in the form of chocolate marquise drizzled with pistachio and caramel sauce.

Coffee would be just be perfect here.

So which of the seven pairings did this writer enjoy the most? Like the philosophy of the Parker Coonawarra Estate, this writer found it difficult to choose a favorite son or pairing for that matter. Each of the course has something unique to bring to the table, thereby contributing to the wonderful dining experience.

Prime yourself for 22 Prime’s latest dining concept. Tasting Notes is now available at the 22 Prime from 11a.m. to 11p.m. for a minimum of 10 people. The degustation is offered at P2,500 net and P3,500 net for degustation with wine. Prior reservation is required.

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.