Chocolates and roses may be romantic but not quite as memorable and satisfying as a restaurant date with a limited-time-only menu. This Valentine’s, leave the worrying to the chefs as they prepare a repertoire of dishes designed to impress and win over your loved one.
Josh Boutwood’s Test Kitchen and Helm restaurants have delicious plates to please a couple. At Savage, where meals are hefty, he has set up a spread for twosomes. It includes a selection of snacks, smoked salmon with dill, and Eton Mess for dessert.For the mains, guests can choose between roast chicken with 24-month Comté polenta, grilled Chilean sea bass with Manila clams, and dry-aged Wagyu striploin with house chimichurri.
If you want a delicious city view to go with your sumptuous meal, head to Flame at Discovery Primea where chef Luis Chikiamco has handpicked special dishes from his existing menu and mixed them with new ones.There’s a Pacific grouper carpaccio with ikura and avocado, pan-seared foie gras with cauliflower custard, and shrimp mousse ravioli with tinapa brown butter.
There’s also scallops with black truffles and lemongrass-caviar cream. The pièce de résistance is his Josper-grilled rib eye served busted Tagalog style with soy-calamansi sauce and garlic adlai. To cap the meal is a banana sponge cake with coconut creme and strawberry spheres.Flame: Discovery Primea, Makati. Tel. 0917-5138960
Hapag once more collaborates with Ellie Estrada of Hello Stranger on Feb. 14-16. It’s the anticipated followup to their successful teamup last December.For “Yakap sa Dilim,” the chefs will whip up a roster of dishes that highlight local produce, including a champorado croquette with tuyo, ravioli with kesong puti and kalabasa, and busted bourguignon cooked with bugnay.
FOO’D in BGC will express love in six delectable courses, beginning with prawns bathed in different forms of garlic—puree, oil, bisque and fermented.
Next are foie gras with cranberry and chestnut puree, spaghetti with lemon and crab fat, sea bass with beets, fennel and orange, and prime rib eye with bone marrow Bordelaise sauce and onion velouté. As a meal ender, chef Carlos Miguel will serve hazelnut gelato with cacao crumble.
FOO’D: Shangri-La at the Fort, BGC. Tel. 0917-7114469
From Feb. 11 to 20, Niño Laus of Ninyo Fusion Cuisine will take guests on a gastronomic journey through different ecosystems.
Seabed is represented by cold-smoked mussels with mentaiko cream and tomato dashi jelly, while Deep Sea comes as Chilean sea bass wrapped in konbu with fish bone emulsion. Grassland is in the form of escargot in chou pastry, Wetland as duck leg confit tortellini, and Highland, fillet mignon with adlai risotto and beef jus.
For dessert, there’s sampinit berry sorbet to represent Woodland.
At Mireio, the candle-lit dinner has an elegant five-course menu paired with wine. In the lineup is foie gras terrine with passionfruit and dark chocolate ganache, seared Hokkaido scallop with emerald sauce, and a choice between cod fish with black trumpet mushroom and Noilly Prat sauce or veal tenderloin with carrots, mandarin and veal jus. There’s goat cheese with wild honey for predessert and a pistachio heart macaron with raspberry sorbet to close the meal.
Mireio: Raffles Makati. Tel. 77950707
Chele Gonzalez and Carlos Villaflor of Gallery have also formed a tasting menu that will make hearts swoon. It starts off with a couple of bites—Parmesan ice cream with black truffles, caviar-topped blinis, caretaker bonbon, and uni crisps with alamang and cacao nibs. The rest of the meal will be highlighted by a lobster bisque with pickled radish, snapper with “tiger’s milk,” oysters with mushrooms combo and inure, octopus with chicken jus and papaya, abalone with porcini rice, and Wagyu with baby carrots.
Gallery by Chele: Clipp Centre in BGC. Tel. 0917-5461673
If you prefer an exquisite Chinese and Japanese set menu, City of Dreams is the place for you.
Nobu Manila has prepared a five-course Japanese-Peruvian omakase for lovebirds. It is made up of a sashimi trio that includes oysters with fresh mango salsa and kinme with soy cream truffle; a whole blue crab with shiitake and scallop chawanmushi, and a sous vide Australian tenderloin with dark chocolate and a demi-glace made of sake and mirin reduction. Dessert is parfait with champagne jelly and strawberries.
Crystal Dragon’s menu has swan dumplings filled with black pepper duck meat and deep-fried prawns as well as braised sea treasures and scallop dumplings in lobster bisque. Those will be complemented by wok-fried egg noodles with sliced abalone and braised pork ribs with wolfberry reduction and red wine vinegar. Ending the meal on a sweet note is chestnut and sesame dumpling with double-boiled warm honey ginger tea. This will be available for lunch and dinner.
Nobu and Crystal Dragon: City of Dreams, Parañaque. Tel. 88008080, email [email protected]
Spanish restaurant Donosti will roll out the red carpet for couples with a pintxos and tapas menu. There are two sets to choose from. Menu A is composed of salted cod fish emulsified with extra virgin olive oil, baked chistorra and Emmenthal cheese wrapped in puff pastry, a tuna belly salad, and eggs served over fried squid and jalapeño. For entrees, there’s lapu-lapu a la Bilbaina and chicken, pork and chorizo paella. Dessert is a slice of their signature cheesecake.
The other menu has four kinds of croquettes, mixed greens with grilled cheese, chorizo Iberico, blanched mussels with sherry vinaigrette, and crispy baby fish with jamon and eggs. Mixed seafood paella and boneless suckling pig make up the mains, while cream cheese mousse with plums is the dessert. —CONTRIBUTED