Relishing my Nobu, De Niro and Dom Perignon moments | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

THE AWESOME Robert De Niro, Sea Princess, Pepper Teehankee and ChefNobu Matsuhisa PHOTO BY DANIEL TAN


THE AWESOME Robert De Niro, Sea Princess, Pepper Teehankee and ChefNobu Matsuhisa PHOTO BY DANIEL TAN
THE AWESOME Robert De Niro, Sea Princess, Pepper Teehankee and Chef Nobu Matsuhisa. PHOTO BY DANIEL TAN





My Facebook profile photo is a throwback to the time when I had the chance to attend the Hollywood premiere of Disney’s “Enchanted” and had a snapshot with lead actor Patrick Dempsey.


I recently had a photo with Academy Award-winning actor Robert de Niro, so it’s time to consider a change.


My De Niro moment was all thanks to the grand opening of the Nobu Hotel at City of Dreams Manila. De Niro was in town with his wife, Grace Hightower, and in between events, gorgeous host Iza Calzado took Pepper Teehankee and I to have our picture taken with the charming Hollywood star, thanks to ace photographer Daniel Tan (@dtanph on Instagram).


Traditional ceremony


World-renowned chef Nobu Matsuhisa presided over a traditional Japanese sake barrel cracking ceremony that included Melco Crown Entertainment cochairs James Packer and Lawrence Ho, the latter with his lovely wife Sharen, Hollywood producer Meir Teper, Nobu Hospitality CEO Trevor Horwell, and Melco executives Clarence Chung and Kevin Sim. The group officially welcomed all to the “celebrity-inspired” luxury hotel experience.


Purple is both the color of royalty and the Nobu Hotel, and the “purple carpet” welcomed a number of Manila’s high-profile figures, including Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo with wife Weng, Pagcor chair Cristino Naguiat Jr. with wife Tet, SM Prime Holdings’ Hans Sy, SM executive Ricky DyBuncio and wife Joyce, and Belle Corp.’s Willy Ocier and wife Geraldine.


The musical performance of international hip-hop star thrilled guests, highlighted by a stunning dinner-cabaret program that featured his “Apl-Gang” of young Filipino starlets. By the time they were done, the crowd was dancing in front of the stage and asking for an encore.


It’s that sort of liveliness and impromptu joie de vivre that must have made the more staid foreign guests say to themselves, “We’re not in Kansas or Macau anymore, Toto.”

Nobu Hotel GM Marlon Hirsch was delighted with the day’s events and especially proud of his chefs, including Thomas Buckley who prepared a sumptuous dinner as only a Nobu dinner could be.


Indeed, the 321-room hotel will feature laid-back luxury and a high-energy nightlife, but the signature restaurant is sure to be its enduring center.


Famous champagne


Another extraordinary affair was the by-invitation-only dinner thrown by Dom Perignon, the world’s most famous luxury champagne brand, at the National Museum in Manila. The intimate five-course dinner featured internationally acclaimed wine critic James Suckling, who shared the remarkable heritage and distinct tale of this prestigious champagne house.


Moet Hennessy Philippines managing director Steven Bullock cohosted the event, which took the guests into the wonderful journey of the bubbly’s illustrious history.


Everyone marveled at the art-mapped 3D presentation, with music by the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra.


The show included Broadway and West End star Lea Salonga, who sang a number of musical theater hits.

Among the champagnes served was a 1996 Dom Perignon P2. This opulent and superb vintage is a paradox to the palate, with concentration and movement vying for ascendancy. On the nose, praline rapidly combines with citron and dried figs, with darker underlying iodine and peaty notes.


I confess I’m not a wine aficionado, so I thank Moet for sending over a cheat sheet to quote from.


The 2003 vintage is one of superlatives: a year like no other, defined by extremes. The vineyard was first touched by severe spring frosts and then by an unparalleled heat wave. The vintage of a perfectly ripe and healthy small harvest is thus the most precious since 1822.


My favorite was the Dom Perignon P2 Rose 1995. I’d quote from the notes, but the real reason I liked it was because I like pink. Plus, after three glasses, what’s not to like?


The Peninsula Manila executive chef Mike Wehrle did an excellent job creating the best dishes to complement all the vintages being shared.


Kaye Tinga, cochair of the Red Charity Gala, was busy arranging for the supply of mini bottles of bubbly for the debut of her pretty daughter Kerry.


Disco party


Kerry’s 18th birthday was celebrated at The Eye in Green Sun, with a Studio 54-themed disco party. The debutante had a blast with 18 different dancing partners, all in disco outfits.


Mom Kaye prepared a Best Dressed prize for the “best in disco outfit” party people. Winners included Luigi Villafuerte, Kathy Kelly and Miguel Zubiri. They all went home with a big bottle of Dom Perignon as their prize.


Bubbly is the theme of this article it seems. Ready to pop the bottles is Fila’s royal couple Butch and Cris Albert as they celebrate their 21st wedding anniversary next month.


To officially launch the milestone, a prewedding party was celebrated among her closest friends.


Lavishly catered by Bizu, the indoor garden party was festooned with summer blooms and colorful macaroons.


Adorable flower cupcakes by Hearts & Balls and tote bags and pillows with #Love21BC by @mimssac were given to each guest as giveaways.


Matron of honor Len Olbes and I welcomed the rest of the entourage as designer Rajo Laurel gave the ladies his vision of the theme of the wedding.


We are all looking forward to this romantic anniversary party as Butch and Cris renew their love vows.


I’m already planning my outfit for that evening. My shoes will be from designer Nere Ku.


The famous shoe designer is celebrating his third year in the industry with a big exhibit and fashion event at the SM Megamall Fashion Hall in a couple of weeks.


Top fashion designers will present creations with one common denominator—shoes by Nere Ku. Watch for Nereku Manila coming soon.


Follow @tessavaldes on Twitter and @sea.princess888 on Instagram.