Michelin star chef Yves Mattagne serves seafood delights up in the sky
“It’s you again,” said the security guy.
Yup, it was my second go at Dinner in the Sky and I had returned to experience the magic of celebrity chef Yves Mattagne.
Yves, the man behind the famed Sea Grill restaurant in Brussels, is known for his luxurious seafood dishes. This time, he would be serving them 150 feet up in the air.
Dinner in the Sky is on its last week in Manila and it seemed fitting to end the first run of the Belgian-born concept in the Philippines with a Belgian chef—and one who has gotten two Michelin stars.
Previous Dinner in the Sky Philippines chefs have included Hylton Le Roux, Alan Marchetti and Norimasa Kosaka from Solaire Resort & Casino restaurants and Kenneth Cacho, Director for Culinary Arts of the International School for Culinary Arts and Hotel Management.
I dumped my bag into the locker, got ready to be strapped in and soon, the crane was lifting our 22-seater table. It was 5:30 p.m., the first seating of the day, and the glowing sun was just getting ready to set. Just like the first time, the ride was super smooth, so smooth you don’t even realize you’re already up in the air unless you look down.
Yves welcomed us along with chefs Jeremy Geslot and Patricia Jimena.
For the first course, we have caviar,” he said.
It arrived in a shot glass: espuma from smoked Ratte potatoes and cauliflower, creamy egg, Dauricu caviar, chive, dill. That’s what the tiny spoon on top of our napkins was for.
“Get all the layers with your spoon,” Yves said. “No, don’t mix it.”
We dug in. I closed my eyes after the first bite—it was rich, creamy, salty, a symphony of flavors in one spoonful.
“The flowers on top are edible,” said Yves.
Yves was attentive, guiding us through each course, explaining the elements of each dish, how they were made and how best to enjoy them.
The second course was giant shrimp coral with red curry, pointed cabbage, litchi, tomato pickles, coconut bouillon, combava, verbena, basil. “Eat a little bit of everything and eat while it’s hot,” Yves said.
It was a beautiful dish. The curry was flavorful but not overpowering, letting the the shrimp shine. The coconut shavings, coconut bouillon and edamame were a delightful mix. The lychee was a surprising and refreshing addition.
“You get one cherry tomato, it’s marinated in white vinegar. Pop it in your mouth for that explosion of vinegar.”
We were ready for dish number three—the main course: Sea Bass, oyster maki, shells, flamed leek, Romanesco, hazelnut perfume mousseline, seaweed butter.
“There are two leaves on the plate. You try the big one first and tell me what flavor you get. It’s like the casino, you win,” Yves said with a smile.
“Will you give me more if I win?” a guest asked.
“No,” Yves said, making everyone laugh.
The big leaf turned out to be oyster leaf.
The fresh cold oyster maki provided delicious contrast to the hot fish. I attacked everything on the plate—the sea bass, the oyster, the clams, the asparagus, broccoli, celery and that sauce… oh god, that butter sauce. I ate it so fast that it was gone and I still had half my fish left.
I looked up and noticed Yves watching me. “More sauce?” he asked, his whipping siphon in his hand. And that was the moment he stole my butter-loving heart.
“Yes please,” I said.
Throughout the meal, Yves chit-chatted with guests. It felt more like a cozy little party than a dinner with strangers.
The family next to me was there to celebrate a graduation. “She’s graduating from high school next week,” the mom said to me.
“Congratulations!” I called out to her daughter.
Dinner ended on a high note. “You’re having Belgian chocolate, of course,” Yves said.
Dessert—creamy Taïnori chocolate, coffee granita, chantilly vanilla Tahiti, choco pops crumble—arrived in two dishes. What Yves calls “soup of chocolate” in a bowl and the chantilly cream in a little plate beside it.
He instructed us to take a little of the cream before digging into the chocolate for the perfect harmonious bite.
Once again, I ate every bit of food in front of me.
One thing I didn’t get to do the last time I was at Dinner in the Sky was recline my seat. I did it this time, at least as far as my seatbelts would let me.
The sun had gone down and everyone was in good spirits. Yves and Jeremy twirled their chef’s towels over their heads, dancing along with the music. We cheered—for the dancing and for the great meal.
Dinner in the Sky runs until May 21. For more information, visit https://www.dinnerinthesky.ph.
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