From the outside, the Marquis building on Rizal Drive, Bonifacio Global City, looks just like any other glass-clad, low-rise structure. Its interiors, however, tell an interesting story—that of the Lim sisters, who wanted to honor their beloved grandfather.
In his autobiography, Dr. Lino Edralin Lim recalled the famous story of a young Japanese girl with leukemia who was advised to fold a thousand cranes for her wish to be granted. Although she didn’t live to fulfill her vow, her friends continued folding cranes well beyond the targeted number.
“By putting up Marquis, we wanted to pay tribute to our grandfather’s memory,” said Laura Lim Rodrigo. She and her sisters, Lorlyn Lim Almazora and Lorraine Lim Aguila, opened the events space September last year, and are winning over clients with their brand of hospitality.
“We’re really like a hotel when it comes to the services we offer. We have a huge ballroom with seven-meter-high ceilings, and we provide full banquet services,” said Rodrigo. “The only thing we don’t have are guest rooms.”
The grand ballroom, at 1,500 square meters, can be divided into seven function rooms that can each accommodate an intimate gathering of 30, or up to 1,500 guests seated theater-style. The culinary team led by executive chef Carlo Michael Castillo prepares a good repertoire of dishes for the Marquis guests and for catering service, from favorite local fare to fusion cuisine.
“We have our corporate clients, but we want to grow our social events,” said Almazora.
For a recent special tasting lunch, Castillo prepared a three-course meal that included freshly-baked bread with selection of dips and flavored butters to whet our appetites.
We started with Winter Radish Soup with Beetroot Cloud, a study in flavors—creamy and savory soup paired with bite-sized portions of candied fruit.
The main course was Chilean Sea Bass with Saffron Couscous Pearls, followed by Hazelnut Praline Delice served inside a pyramid of sugared glass.
Visitors and clients remark on the level of detail that went into creating Marquis. Wall treatments, benches and chairs, the reception area, and even the door handles are angled to look like origami, the Japanese art of folding paper.
In keeping with the theme, chandeliers, designed to look like a flock of crystal cranes in flight, hover above the ballroom. The champagne-colored tablecloths and matching slip-covered chairs are thick and luxurious.
“We really chose champagne because of its festive color, and its aspirational quality,” said Aguila.
Christmas in August
In a bid to capture a slice of the market looking for Christmas party venues and ready-to-eat party dishes, Marquis recently held a “Christmas in August” event for its corporate clients. A part of the ballroom was transformed into Christmas central with tabletop trees and wreaths of poinsettia.
One banquet table was lined with all types of holiday dishes, including cochinillo, roast beef, assorted cakes and pies, Christmas stollen, and iced cookies in ready-to-go boxes or colorful tins.
Castillo and his team had prepared a number of savory dishes to sample, like pork ribs, tender beef and two kinds of pasta mixed in a cheese wheel.
“We do everything in-house, from the flatbreads and flavored butters to the pasta and desserts. We also make it a point to plate the food served the guests—arranging the portions, adding garnishes and flavored sauces, similar to what is done at Madrid
Fusion,” he said.
Castillo, who trained at Enderun, comes from a family of chefs. His father, Pepe Castillo, was the first executive sous chef at Edsa Shangri-La, while his four brothers work in different restaurants and hotels.
“When I was growing up, I saw how my father worked so hard. One time, I fried an egg for him, and placed it on a plate that I garnished with gumamela (hibiscus) and guava leaves.”
Castillo remembers feeling so proud when his father said that he had an eye and the passion for cooking, something he has nurtured.
“I look forward to creating something new. I always want to wow our guests, give them a one-of-a-kind gastronomical experience,” he said.
For the Lim sisters, Marquis is their way to honor their grandfather. For Castillo, it’s his way to share his passion and flair for cooking.