IN THESE days of fast-food chains and informal dining, we are charmed that there are two establishments that have maintained their sense of elegance, efficient service and exquisite food.
2/L, Mandarin Manila Hotel, Paseo de Roxas, Makati; tel. 7508888.
For more casual and light meals, Tin Hau now offers the Yum Cha, a a collection of Dimsum accompanied by tea, on weekends. This has redefined casual dining.
Dining area: The place sports a new look while maintaining a sedate, elegant ambiance. The red and black color scheme is dramatic. There are three giant aquariums, a thrill to young visitors. The far end of the hall is a shrine, with Buddha reigning over lighted candles, jars and other offerings.
Service: The reception lady greets you with a welcoming smile. Service is impeccable, unobtrusive. Needs are anticipated.
Staff: Courteous, attentive. One need not crane a neck to catch their attention. How to order from the Yum Cha menu is explained.
Suggested Yum Cha Menu: Start the meal by choosing six popular dim sums from the Menu, such as Siomai topped with Abalone, Steamed Shark’s Fin Dumplings, Golden Fried Shrimps Mousse Ball stuffed with Salted Egg Yoke. Tea is poured continuously.
When ready for the mains, have the Roasted Beijing Duck Rolls, Braised Shark’s Fin soup. And don’t miss the Stir-Fried Soft-Shell Crab (new in the roster) with Crisp Oatmeal, a melt-in-your mouth dish –perfect and delicious.
After a very satisfying meal, be traditional and get the refreshing Chilled Almond Jelly with Lychees. The staff may also offer you a second, the Red Bean Paste buns.
Government and service charges are added to the bill. Senior cards are honored.
The New Kimpura
4/L, Greenbelt 5, Phase 1, Ayala Center, Makati; tel. 6216791.
This is one chain that never disappoints. Here, Japanese food is always at its best. One’s craving for the usual dishes will always be satiated.
Dining area: done in almost majestic shades of brown and magenta. Lanterns hang overhead. Of course, there is a Sushi Bar, located at one end of the hall and framed by a decorated wall.
Misono tables are located farther in, each with giant utensils neatly arranged, ready for the chefs to execute their culinary tricks and for the diners to be charmed, in anticipation of a very satisfying meal.
Service: Courteous, efficient.
Staff: We spotted some “old timers” among the staff, the better to make diners feel at home. They are ready for any needs.
Suggested menu: Needless to say, for special occasions, take any of the Misono tables for the specialties of the House. Start with the familiar sushi and sashimi, which are always fresh; Toro is a special. A soup may follow. There’s the Sukiyaki Steak, grilled strips of beef served with fish cubes and the usual togue, paired with plain rice, but changing that to fried rice is possible.
Then the premium steak cuts – either of Premium Kobe, or Angus Rib Eye or Sirloin, perfectly done to one’s preference, and along with the normal accompaniments. Fruits come as desserts.
Government taxes and service charge are added to the bill. Senior cards are honored.