The Valentine fare at Haliya, a modern Filipino restaurant at the Hyatt Regency, is most interesting. The menu is a play on our traditional dishes and local culinary techniques, in which the freshest tropical produce and modern flair are infused.
Haliya’s chef de cuisine, Edmundo San Jose, makes every course look like a work of art, literally a fiesta on a plate.
He elevates sugba to new heights with his grilled scallops served with a medley of fruits like compressed watermelon, pomelo made into salsa, mango turned to sauce and calamansi whipped to a curd.
This seafood dish is dramatic as it’s served on shells, cast over real corals and garnished with squid ink tuile that resembles coral branches.
The smoked tanigue is given a new look altogether. The thin slices of mackerel are capped with pickled grapes that shimmer like jewels. It is further adorned with roasted pili nuts, red radish, caviar, garlic mayo, rose water, red onion pearls and microgreens.
The mix whets the appetite for the next dish, a kalabasa crema with caramelized pork longganisa. The cream of squash is partnered with a cheesy pan de sal biscocho with vegetable confetti, lightly drizzled with pumpkin seed oil.
The main dish is the beloved mechado, presented the Haliya way. Pan-seared Black Tyde rib eye is used, instead of stew cuts. It is presented alongside adlai aligue risotto, potato fondant, baby carrots, wilted kangkong, asparagus and pea puree.
The Chichingka ends the meal on a sweet note. It is Haliya’s signature creation, a bibingka cheesecake, that for the love month is heart-shaped, served over a tabletop burner. For lovers in search of something out of the ordinary, Haliya is it.
Nobu dinner in bed
What could be more decadent or more romantic than Nobu’s dinner in bed? The experience can be had only on Feb. 14.
Book a stay at the Nobu Hotel and delight in Japanese cuisine, globally popularized by chef Nobu Matsuhisa, within the confines of your own room.
I look forward to the delectable omakase menu, particularly the Nobu Canape Selection of oyster with Nobu salsa, oyster tempura with wasabi aioli, yellowtail jalapeño and black cod on a bed of butter lettuce, a seasonal selection of Nobu sushi cups comprised of toro (tuna), uni (sea urchin), wagyu beef and tamago (egg).
And, of course, the Truffle-Crusted Sea Bass with lobster miso butter sauce, baby corn and crispy shiitake mushroom; and the sous vide Australian tenderloin with dark chocolate and Nobu Cabernet reduction, smoked kabocha (squash) and onion dust.
You may also partake of these culinary masterpieces while basking in the moonlight at the restaurant’s picturesque open-air floating cabanas. Enjoy your meal with the soothing sound of water amid lush greenery. A perfect spot for a very special date night, indeed, because, when dining for multisensory stimulation, few restaurants do it as good as Nobu. (Haliya and Nobu reservations, tel. 88008080)Valentine cake
The Cleopatra is a cake fit for a queen. It consists of layer upon layer of white chocolate mousse with wildflower honey and truffle oil. On top of it, crème brûlée. The cake is dressed with edible white pearls that glisten beside fire red glazed profiteroles.
Annabel Tanco and her team turned their fascination for the truffle into an exquisite cake, making the Cleopatra, my Valentine gâteau of choice. (@bizuph on Instagram)
Walnuts, they say, are good for the heart. Chef Agnes Borromeo’s walnut cookies might not be the healthiest way of reaping its benefits, but definitely one of the most delicious!
Her cookies are the crispiest, most delicate, buttery walnut cookies I’ve come across locally. It crumbles gently, is addictive and simply divine.
The cookie is from an old recipe of her grandmother’s that Agnes tweaked, and I’m glad she did. Truly a must try! (@bakeriaph on Instagram)
Say it with chocolate and more
Auro Chocolate the internationally awarded premium tree-to-bar chocolate brand from the Philippines recently opened their café at the MOA square, and has since made the phrase—“say it with chocolates,” so interesting.
Have a taste of their Beef Pares of pulled beef, roasted garlic aioli, mozzarella cheese, pickled onions and mustasa, sandwiched between chocolate sourdough bread.
Another interesting concoction that is sandwiched between their chocolate sourdough is the Tortang Talong, a combination of grilled eggplant layered with egg custard, homemade banana ketchup mole and cucumber relish.
Auro’s take on hot chocolate, made from their award-winning tablea, is also quite fascinating.
Of their variants, I find the Salted Caramel most interesting. It is a blended drink, crafted with their 32-percent Auro White Chocolate, a shot of espresso and salted caramel syrup. (@aurochocolate on Instagram) INQ
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