THE QUIET DINER
Hotel resto along Manila Bay, Old World cuisine by the PasigBy Restos at a glance
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The interiors of an old hotel has been transformed into what is called today as Modern Glamour. An ancestral home has been converted into a restaurant with a nostalgic old-world charm.
Midas Hotel and Casino
(2707 Roxas Blvd., tel. 9020100).
Midas connotes gold. In this hotel, one can strike gold in the casino or have a golden experience through the sumptuous meal in the Café.
The building is a familiar landmark until the new owners renamed it. Today it is done in Modern Glamour, perhaps to entice good fortune. Orange boxes (to symbolize gold?) compose the main décor in the lobby.
Midas Café on the second floor is a huge dining place, with lots of mirrors and crystals from where a guest can find reflection seen from all sides of the café, so it’s a bit confusing for a diner to find his or her table after going through the buffet. The place is quiet and, if lucky, you could get a table with a view of Manila Bay.
Staff—Accommodating. They are even willing to mind the ladies’ bags while owners get food from the buffet. Ratio is almost like one staff for every table.
Suggested picks—A lamb connoisseur is likely to complain about the Roast Leg of Lamb, unless the chef has listened to honest observation of this diner and one other guest. The end part was tough, the mint sauce was “like lugaw (porridge),” said one diner. It was likewise brownish and had no mint taste at all. The Lengua Estofada was delicious, but again, the meat was cut into small pieces, which is the regular cut for Pastel. We would have preferred the usual solid slices. The Japanese spread is ample and the desserts are its tour de force, offering Filipino kakanin, international cakes etc.
Usual service and government charges are included in the bill. Senior cards are honored.
(1153 JP Laurel St., corner Aguado, tel. 7355896)
The ancestral Roces home, fronting Malacañang Palace, has been converted into a restaurant. On each side of the heavy entrance door is a statue of a newsboy, the familiar logo of the Roces-published Manila Times and a pond where a modern sculpture stands. There are a few koi. There is a small boutique of ladies’ accessories on the foyer.
Dining area—This extends from what must have been the living room to the proper dining room. Ambiance is Old World, from the conservative colors, basically gray, of the walls, tables, etc. Décor consists of old portraits, including a family grouping, paintings framed the old-fashioned way, and small knickknacks, plus a gleaming chandelier.
Service—Needs a lot of improvement.
Staff—They welcome you with Spanish greetings. Wonder if they can carry on a conversation in that language. We saw only two male attendants who were not really waiting on tables. They always had their backs to us. They didn’t seem to mind the guests, perhaps because we were first-timers and not familiar to them.
Suggested menu—They are serving dishes that we grew up with in our own ancestral home. But we found Casa Roces food very much wanting in flavors. The Caesar Salad was served almost dry for insufficient dressing from which we could not discern any anchovies; the Oven-Baked Chicken Adobo hardly had the taste of the vinegar; the Kare-Kare seemingly was prepared with peanut butter as we felt its texture. They seemed to skimp on sauces, the bagoong was in a tiny, tiny saucer, we had to ask for more.
The saving grace is the Malacañang Frozen Oreo Pie, truly heavenly.
Check the Cake Shop where you can get Cookies and Cream Polvoron at P150 for a pack of 10. There is a good selection of cakes, cheese, etc. They give you your takeout goodies in paper bags with an Image of Chito Roces and an imprint that says, Café Chino.
Service charge and government taxes are added to the bill. Senior cards are honored.