MANILA -- Watching a concert or a basketball game at the Araneta Coliseum or buying some fresh produce at Farmers Market?
Then check out the Gourmet Bar at the ritzy Novotel Araneta Center, which captures the new spirit of the area that now boasts of an international hotel that currently offers the largest number of rooms in Quezon City.
Perfect for socializing, Gourmet Bar is an informal and friendly eating and drinking space with simple to thematic meals using ingredients sourced from local farmers from San Mateo, Rizal who supply the outlet with fresh produce from cherry tomatoes to lettuce. The dishes are light and delicious, taking in influences from around the world to create innovative flavors.
Start with the Caldereta Sliders (P350), which consist of carefully toasted pandesal cut in half, with sauce spread evenly on each cheek, topped with slightly spiced marinated stewed beef and served with a side salad. (A lighter alternative would be the Tomato and Mozzarella Sliders.)
Another fine starter is the classic Gambas al Ajillo (P500) with fresh prawns from Roxas City sautéed in generous garlic, olive oil, chili and sweet paprika -- a battle of sweet, spicy and everything nice.
Want pizza? A generous amount of mozzarella cheese, parma ham, rocket leaves and parmesan flakes gave life to the Pizza Lungga Parma Ham Con Rucola E Grana (P380).
For the adventurous, there's the Black Linguine with Talangka Pasta (P480). Fresh hand-made pasta and local farmed rocket greens made this dish even special with a dash of crispy maya-maya cubes.
Novotel Araneta has also invested on having its own Indian chef specializing in Punjab cuisine from the country's northern regions like authentic tandooris, marinated in masalas, oil, chutney and curd) and served with freshly made roti and generous dips made of Indian spices.
However, the dessert at Gourmet Bar literally takes the cake with the Le Mont Gourmand (P999) reigning in its station. Fifteen portions of homemade artisan ice cream and sherbets served with macaroons, nuts, mixed berries coulis, chocolate and caramel sauce garnished with whipped cream and everything else that you want to top it with would make a family of four or five, happy as a bee. (But if you just fancy a cup, you won’t regret the Coffee Espresso flavored ice cream.)