Besides location, comfortable beds, and spacious rooms, one of the biggest considerations of travelers when selecting a hotel is its food and beverage (F&B) offerings. Food is an integral part of hospitality service and that is why many of the top chefs and best restaurants can be found in swanky hotels.
Most hotels usually house two or more dining concepts, offering different cuisines to suit its international market. Some hotels have become dining destinations on their own, working with world-class chefs and offering unique eats.
For instance, AG New World Manila Bay Hotel goes the extra mile when it comes to its F&B service. Located at the heart of Malate, where there are several food options for guests, the hotel continues to offer some of the best local and international fare in the area.)
It has five dining outlets guests can choose from—from casual coffee and pastries to big steak dinners. The hotel is must-go dining destination in Malate, especially this October.
A Chinese restaurant in Manila must stand out or get lost in the crowd. The Philippine capital has several Chinese restaurants including local favorites in Binondo, Manila’s Chinatown. To say the competition is tough is an understatement.
Li Li is the hotel's answer to a classic Cantonese restaurant. Well, when it started at least. Its new head chef, Raymond Yeung, is bringing in his modern style and is slowly changing the menu from purely Cantonese to offering other regional Chinese favorites.
“My style is using local and seasonal ingredients that are combined with 26 years of cooking skills. Li Li is starting to change more to the mainland Chinese cuisine, not just Cantonese,” the Hong Kong chef said.
Yeung has been working in the country for several years and is known for his use of local ingredients with traditional and modern Chinese cooking techniques. He is helping to level up the game of the restaurant, offering dishes no ordinary Chinese restaurant in Manila can offer.
One of his signature dishes is soup. He plays around different ingredients and make them into one healthy and hearty soup dish.
“What people know here are the hot and sour and other sticky soups. But our soups are made differently like one soup is cooked for six hours, which uses a lot of techniques,” he said.
For a limited time, Li Li is offering several traditional herbal soups made by Yeung. These include: pigeon soup with pear, Chinese herbs, and white fungus; black chicken with si bot herbs; black chicken with black bean and Chinese herbs; chicken with dried yam and wolf berries; grouper with apple, longan, and Chinese herbs; Soup No. 5; duck with wintermelon, barley and lotus leaf; pork with Lingzhi mushroom, monkey head mushroom, and carrots.
Starting at P288, the promo will last until the end of October. Yeung said that these soups are healthy and is a preview of what's to come for Li Li.
THE PASTRY BOUTIQUE
The Pastry Boutique is the hotel's bread expert. It offers an array of baked goods from local favorites like ensaymada to classic French breads like croissants.
In celebration of Oktoberfest, the outlet will be offering special German breads until the end of October. Sample traditional laugen rolls plain or stuffed with sausages. Choose from a variety of flavored pretzels like cheese, herbs and nuts, and chocolate.
Then for those with a sweet tooth, try the black forest cake. A Bavarian classic, it is made of layers of chocolate sponge cake, chocolate mousse and ganache, and a tart cherry filling.
A hotel is not complete without a buffet restaurant. It is usually the outlet that serves the most number of guests, from breakfast to dinner. Knowing Filipinos, buffet restaurants are always a smart choice for value for money.
“While Market Cafe may not seem as extensive as other hotel buffets, the concept of the restaurant is eating off the pan, off the wok, and off the grill. It's more like pick what you want and you have it cooked. As long as we can provide you what you want, we will give it,” explained head chef Kristine Oro.
That said, Market Cafe is still spacious enough and has a decent 280-seating capacity. The food caters to various palates, serving Mediterranean, Japanese, Filipino, and Chinese cuisines. But the chefs can cook whatever the guest desires.
For example, the seafood ice well is filled with cooked cold seafood that can be prepared into different dishes, like prawns into sinigang and crabs into Singaporean style chili crab. The grill station offers raw marinated meats that can be cooked to order. Diners can choose their own mix at the teppanyaki station or fresh pasta and sauce pairings at the pasta station.
This coming Halloween, however, Market Cafe will be offering something different and creepy. On October 30 and 31, favorite dishes will turn into spooky appetizers, terrifying entrees, and chilling desserts.
“We will be offering a Halloween-themed buffet. We'll have scary plating of our pastry dishes with spooky ambiance, and scary decors. And probably face-painted chefs and service. The look and feel captures the spirit of Halloween. This has been a tradition for 13 years now since we've opened the hotel,” Oro said.
Some of the “scary” dishes the pastry section will be offering are “mummy sausages” or sausages wrapped in pastry dough; almond finger cookies or finger shaped cookies with almond “fingernails”; and a pizza with cobweb cheese and “spiders.”
They will also be offering a sea crawler bisque with “eyeballs,” which is basically mixed seafood bisque with eyeball-shaped chicken pieces.
Oro noted that the Halloween celebration has been a favorite of their patrons. They even give a prize to the guest that wears the best costume and kids get a loot bag, too. For the special promotion, the restaurant won't be charging extra but offering it at regular weekday prices which are: P2,000 for lunch and P2,200 for dinner. Kids will also receive special treats from Milkita lollipop, Cola candy, Split candy, Super Zuper sour candy, and Trolli candy.
October is an important month for beer drinkers because it's the only month of the year they have an excuse to drink more beer than usual. Oktoberfest, the traditional German beer festival, is coming to AG New World Manila Bay Hotel's The Lounge.
It will be offering two beers for the price of one. Enjoy local and imported beers paired with the outlet's double cooked pork knuckles or beer-braised pulled pork sandwich. Diners can also pair their beer with a platter of Bratwurst and Schublig sausages that come with mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, mustard, and pretzels.
The “bierfest” starts at P495 and will be available until the end of October.
Featuring an open kitchen with a wall-sized and copper-paneled wood oven, Fireplace is the hotel's American steakhouse outlet. Headed by chef James Williams, the eatery offers premium steaks and classic American eats such as burgers.
While the restaurant tries to cater to the Filipino palate with tweaked Western dishes, its goal is to introduce new flavors to locals.
For example, its ongoing Artisanal Sausages promotion, which will run until the end of this month, offers handmade sausages using local and imported ingredients. Williams always likes to serve something new to its diners. The four unique flavors include pork chorizo, pork with fennel, beef with horseradish, and chicken with mushrooms.
“We try to introduce new flavors to Filipinos. We try to make them unique like using fennel seeds, which is not common here. We make something that people would hopefully appreciate,” he said.
They have likewise made changes to their food and services to make the restaurant more approachable. Because a steakhouse inside a hotel can be a bit intimidating to diners, they dropped the prices a bit, changed the staff's uniform from formal to casual, and offer for-sharing dishes targeted to families.
Different steaks remain the bestselling items. Fireplace is one of a few restaurants that offers a variety of steaks, from USDA Prime to Australian beef to Japanese Wagyu and soon, Irish grass-fed dry aged steaks.
“I think it's important to have a wide spectrum of steaks because if you go with just one supplier, they're all exactly the same. It doesn't really show the beef in its best form. We try to have a selection like American beef is lighter in flavor than Australian beef. The Japanese Wagyu has far more intense marbling than Australian Wagyu but it's more expensive,” Williams explained.
For inquiries and reservations, call +63 2 252 6888 ext. 7291 or email [email protected]