Diners at Café Uno, the all-day F&B outlets in the two Waterfront Hotels and Casinos in Cebu City, can expect a new take on Filipino food until Aug. 31.
The hotel chain has tapped culinary couple Rolando and Jackie Laudico to present their versions of local favorites including lechon (roast suckling pig), roast goat, inasal (barbecued chicken) and pinangat (fish stew). Traditionally made of taro leaves, chilies, meat and coconut milk, Rolando’s pinangat is as spicy and pungent as Korean kimchi. The resulting dish is new and unexpected.
Instead of serving the inasal as barbecued chicken with a distinct marinade of spiked vinegar, Rolando flaked the meat and tucked it inside tiny, bite-sized pockets: siomai inasal.
Even the lechon belly was given an extra kick with the generous addition of fresh chilies.
We noticed that except for several main items in the regular buffet such as the roasts, Kaldereta Pie (spicy lamb stew topped with potato mash and cheese), Balbacua Uno (slow-cooked ox tail, beef knuckles and skin), and San Miguel Battered Fish with Buro Cream (beer-battered fish served with creamy fermented rice sauce), many of the Laudicos’ dishes were bite-sized, served in shot glasses or ceramic spoons.
The idea is to sample different flavors without being overwhelmed. There were Sisig Baskets (chopped pig’s head in edible rice baskets topped with garlic aioli), Palabok Bites (noodles with pork cracklings from the town of Carcar), and Sinigang Bites (tamarind-spiced kangkong chips topped with bangus mousse).
Kinilaw (ceviche) was served on a row of Chinese spoons, and their version of Japanese sushi consisted of vinegared rice topped with matambaka flakes.
At the opening of the food promotion at Waterfront Lahug recently, Jackie said she and Rolando flew to Cebu three days prior to meet with the hotel’s kitchen staff. “We asked them what they considered to be popular Cebuano dishes. We also made it a point to eat in local restaurants to get an idea of the different flavors,” she said.
One person they worked with in the kitchen was chef Tristan Encarnacion who had moved to Waterfront Cebu as the hotel’s Filipino sous chef. He joined an Asian team that includes a female executive chef from China, and chefs from Malaysia and Singapore.
For the Filipino food promotion, Encarnacion helped oversee the preparation of the dishes that included his contribution: Danggit Macarons (with laing mousse) tinted red, yellow or blue and topped with a solitary dried fish.
Jackie prepared queso de bola cheesecake and suman (rice cake) panna cotta and desserts on small plates or shot glasses.
“Uno’s Modern Filipino Taste: A Filipino Feast for All Senses,” available for lunch and dinner at Waterfront Cebu and Waterfront Mactan until Aug. 31.