MANILA -- Sofitel Philippine Plaza’s Spiral restaurant on Monday opened on its Flavors of the World culinary series with a week-long Indonesian food promotion, which runs until March 19.
Besides Spiral’s extensive buffet of 21 stations including its famous cheese room, diners will get a chance to experience authentic Indonesian heritage cooking courtesy of Chef Pradipta Bayu who flew in from the Hotel Pullman Jakarta for the event.
“Indonesian cuisine comes from many different provinces. Here in Sofitel Manila, I tried to showcase the different provinces like Sulawesi and Bali,” explained Bayu on how he approached creating dishes for the Spiral buffet.
Get ready to fire up your tastebuds with the Indonesian classic Beef Rendang, which is slow-cooked in coconut milk and pemasak (galangal, ginger, lemongrass, chilies, turmeric leaves, etc) until the meat turns dark and fork-tender. This dish is always spicy, making it best to eat with copious amounts of rice.
Speaking of rice, Nasi Goreng is another Indonesian classic found in the buffet. Fried rice flavored with various options (fish, lamb, or tempeh) and with the sweet-soy magic of kecap manis make for rice that can be paired with almost anything.
Like Ayam Goreng Lengkuas, for example. This Indonesian fried chicken has crispy skin and juicy meat lightly tinged with spices and galangal. What makes it very fragrant (and a treat to eat) is the mix of spices that are also fried with the chicken and served on top of it—a concasse of fried garlic, galangal and lemongrass.
A table-favorite (and also great to eat with rice) are the Indonesian prawns. Plump prawns cooked in coconut milk, spices with sweet potatoes make for a surprisingly simple and at times, a fiery bite.
If fiery bites are a priority, head on over to the sambal station beside the Beef Empal (Indonesian roast beef served with a peppery, sweet-soy gravy) and Krupuk (fried fish crackers).
Sambal’s main ingredient is chilies, and iterations of this relish depends on the ingredients you add into the mix, or if you choose to cook it or leave it raw. Now, whether it’s to be eaten with a slice of succulent beef, or dappled onto your Beef Rendang, sambal just makes everything better, and in Spiral’s Flavors of the World Indonesia, you’re given options.
Choose to start with the least fiery of the lot, the Sambal Dabu-dabu (raw chilies, tomatoes, beans with lime), or move on to Sambal Matah with lemongrass which is slightly more spicy but very refreshing. Then there’s the Sambal Lado, a cooked sambal with chilies, garlic, tomatoes, onions, or if you want a real tongue scorching bite, add on some Sambal Matah with green and ted chilies.
If things get too sweaty, take a bite of Gado-Gado. Often dubbed as the Indonesian salad, this mix of crunchy vegetables in peanut sauce with boiled eggs topped with bawang goreng make for a creamy respite to heated tastebuds, and is also great to eat with rice and fried food (more Ayam Goreng anyone?)
Last but not the least in the savory side of things is the Sup Buntut (oxtail soup). Served in an interactive way in the Spiral buffet, add your choice of garnish (potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, celery, fried and raw scallions) to oxtail soup flavored with garlic and ginger, and finish with a swirl of chili sauce. Some tips: don’t scrimp on the fried scallions, and a squeeze of lime makes the whole bowl sing.
For dessert, there’s the make your own Cendol! Don’t let these wormy-looking green things discourage you. Made from rice flour into jellies, and mixed with coconut milk, palm sugar and shaved ice, think of it as a distant cousin to our halo-halo, and you’ve got a less sweet way to end a meal.
Rates for lunch and dinner at Spiral are at P2,650 nett and P3,100 nett respectively.
Meanwhile, on March 14 at 4p.m., Chef Bayu will conduct a cooking class featuring Indonesian favorites like Bebek Betutu (Balinese roasted duck), and Rendang Padang (beef with coconut) among others. Learning rate is at P1,500 per person with limited seats available.
Then experience exclusive dining with a Chef’s Table by Chef Bayu on March 15. The four-course dinner features signature dishes like Gado-gado, Sate Lilit (lemongrass and prawn sate), Soto Ayam Madura (soup with chicken, glass noodles, and egg), Ayam Bakar (grilled chicken with coconut and spices), and Kolak Pisang Buah Segar (sweetened banana and fruits). Tickets are at P4,200.