Latest Stories

Country Cooking

Like a party that didn’t want to end


Jamón Serrano carving station

Almost every last Friday of the month, there’s Wine and Tapas Night at the Mandarin Oriental Manila Deli. It isn’t a formal, sniff-sniff sort of affair with costumed attendees in long gowns and black ties. It’s informal, with drink-all-you-can on the featured wines and eat-all-you-can appetizers.

I’m glad I was reminded of this offering, a “Thank God it’s Friday” for those who like to chill with friends.

Last month, the Friday before Holy Week, it was Spanish tapas with Torres Wines distributed by Future Trade. Entering through the Deli, the place was full and I wondered where I could sit because one couldn’t even stand at the bar (there is no bar)—like one does at Spanish tapas places. There were tables at the corridor, but they were also full. Apparently, the wine night proved quite popular that the crowd had spilled over to the Lounge.

Jamon Serrano

But the Deli is where the main tapas buffet can be found, highlighted by a Jamon Serrano leg. There were other cold cuts to choose from, as well as Spanish cheeses. Cabrales cheese from Asturias was placed on roasted onions. There was a confit of piquillo peppers. And there were roasted vegetables Catalan-style or escalivada—a confit of wild mushrooms and an eggplant egg cake or tortilla.

You can stick to one type of drink or choose to mix them, depending on what you’re eating. We kept coming back for the Torres Gran Viña Sol because it was suitable to the hot weather.

SALMON with diced apples

But we also had the Coronas and the Sangre de Toro, also familiar since the time—ages ago—Miguel Torres visited and charmed all the ladies at the table, and then gifted me several Christmases after with turrones almendras made in his Spanish vineyard.

Dinner in small servings

There are more tapas available that the Deli buffet couldn’t contain, and they spilled over as well to a table at the lounge. It was almost like having dinner in small servings: soup, a gazpacho with bread (hogaza—barramundi pieces in green sauce); roasted salmon; and the most filling—very good salpicao made from US rib eye.

The main chefs of the Mandarin were there to take charge and to assist the guests on that Friday evening. I noticed that while there were groups, there were also solos at cocktail tables enjoying the fare.

The wine night is supposed to be from 7 to 10 p.m. only, but it seemed like the party didn’t want to end. After all, there were still wines to taste like the Torres San Valentin, made from the traditional Parillada grapes and was a gift of Miguel Torres to his wife on Valentine’s Day.

That should have gone well with the dessert of churros con chocolate, crema Catalan and brazo de mercedes. I wish I had tasted the wine but my head could only hold so much. I wish I had read about the San Valentin beforehand because a story about the wine makes for a more interesting experience.


This April’s wine night is tomorrow. Much wiser now, I read about the wines offered. Carmen wines from Chile (distributed by Best Beverages) was talked about in 1994 when it was

PETER Pysk, Mandarin Oriental, Manila, director of food and beverage, pours the featured wines.

found that the Carmenere, a red variety from France believed to be extinct due to phylloxera (a disease that wiped out many grape varieties), was growing there, resulting in the award-winning Carmen Reserva Grande Vidure in 1996.

I hope that at least the simpler Carmen Carmenere will be offered.

Expect Chilean tapas to go with the wines, some quite similar to the tapas of Spain. Some of them are empanadas de pino (ground beef and egg pastry), red snapper ceviche, costillar de chancho (baked pork spare ribs), sopapilla (pumpkin fritters).

Mandarin Oriental Manila Wine Night, P1,200+; reservations, 7508888.

E-mail the author at pinoyfood04@yahoo.com

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Cooking , Lifestyle , Mandarin Oriental Manila Deli , News , Wine and Tapas Night

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Palawan favorite getaway of show biz celebrities
  3. This is not just a farm
  4. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  5. Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  6. She has become the sex slave of her best friend
  7. Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  8. President Quezon was born here–and so was Philippine surfing
  9. Most criticized books list includes Hunger Games, Perks
  10. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  1. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  2. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  3. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  4. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  5. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  6. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  7. Boots Anson-Roa to wed in Eddie Baddeo
  8. Prince William fuels speculation of second royal baby
  9. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  10. This is not just a farm
  1. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  2. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  3. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  4. Manila in shock over model Helena Belmonte’s death
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer
  10. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?


  • US weighing military exercises in Eastern Europe
  • Rains loom in Surigao as LPA nears
  • Sub search for missing jet to be finished in week
  • 2 suspected victims of summary execution found dead in N. Cotabato
  • Divers begin pulling bodies from sunken ferry in Korea
  • Sports

  • Nick Calathes suspension a reminder of supplement risk
  • Teague scores 28 as Hawks soar past Pacers in Game 1
  • Warriors beat Clippers in playoff opener
  • Pacquiao top Mayweather contender
  • Rain or Shine, Ginebra clash for No. 6 spot
  • Lifestyle

  • Noli Yamsuan, Cardinal Sin’s ‘official’ photographer: ‘I could smell the aftershave lotion of the Pope’
  • Simplifying and lightening life
  • Where to go for Easter night-out
  • Joe de Venecia visits the Queen Mother of Cambodia
  • Fashionistas flock to designer’s wedding
  • Entertainment

  • Show-biz celebrities’ other choices of summer getaway
  • Why ‘Noah’ can’t dock his ark at Philippine theaters
  • Acclaimed artist goes wild while on holiday
  • Believing in this mermaid
  • Missing Xian
  • Business

  • Top-selling insurance agent opens her dream café
  • Connecting and transacting with one another
  • Building wealth for health
  • Why Mandaue Foam buys, rather than rents, space
  • A workplace of new possibilities
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Epiphany
  • Unpaid creditor vs distressed debtor
  • Moving on
  • From culinary desert to paradise
  • Response to China: ‘Usjaphil’
  • Global Nation

  • Asia seeks Obama’s assurance in territorial spats
  • Cesar Chavez movie sparks memories of Fil-Am labor leaders
  • Filipinos in US poised for success
  • Visas for priests and other faith leaders
  • DOH to continue tracking co-passengers of OFW infected with MERS virus