MANILA – Most, if not all hotels in the Philippines have their own in-house Chinese restaurant.
It’s imperative not only because of Chinese guests, but also because Chinese is a global cuisine and most travelers are familiar with its flavors.
And Filipinos in general love Chinese food, which is part and parcel of the country’s cuisine.
These are among the reasons why business and leisure hotel Seda Vertis North in Quezon City decided to put up its own Chinese restaurant two years since it opened.
“A lot of our guests, 70 to 80 percent, particularly on the weekend are Filipino-Chinese. It kind of showed that there’s a need in the market for just good Chinese food at a really good value. And that’s what we’re trying to go in with,” explained Seda Vertis North group general manager Brett Patrick Hickey.
The restaurant is at its finishing stages and will soon open to the public. The hotel hired Cantonese chef Hann Furn Chen to head the restaurant, and its Chinese food offerings in general. Chen has extensive culinary experience in various countries including Singapore, Indonesia, and Dubai.
Seda Vertis North also hired a dim sum chef, and another who specializes in hand-pulled noodles.
“The experience you’re going to get is a more Seda experience, which is going to be a comfortable, friendly, family-oriented restaurant. It’s going to be a little bit more open, a little bit more modern,” Hickey said.
He went on: “My idea is, for less than P300 you’re going to have a guy making the noodles in front of you and getting a really nice bowl of hand-pulled noodles. I really want to do dim sum well.”
The restaurant will be on the second floor of the hotel, where the ballroom and meeting rooms are located. It will be a 200-seater corner space that will have floor-to-ceiling windows.
EAST MEETS WEST
Recently, Seda Vertis North held an East Meets West dinner as a sort of preview of its Chinese restaurant. It was a chef’s table dinner featuring the hotel’s two executive chefs, Kerpatrik Boiser and Chen.
The two chefs collaborated to create dishes that harmoniously complement each other. Chen, in particular, created classic Chinese dishes with a little twist.
One of his standout dishes is the braised seafood soup with pastry puff. The delicate soup is made of fresh and dried seafood like scallops, sea cucumber, prawns, and fish maw (air bladder).
Chen added a flaky puff pastry to tie it in with the Western dishes of Boiser. He also whipped up a wok-fried lobster with chili sauce inspired by the classic Singaporean dish, chili crab.
The plump lobster meat is doused in chili sauce and served with a golden Chinese bun to mellow down the heat.
Boiser, on the other hand, served a plate of creamy prawn ravioli, Caesar salad with crispy shimeji mushrooms, and his signature US beef short plate with red wine sauce.
The dinner ended with a modern take on mango sago, which is served in a bowl of dry ice.
Hickey is optimistic about the upcoming Chinese restaurant, basing it on the current response from the market.
He said that the hotel’s all-day buffet restaurant, Misto, has been doing very well.
“Our restaurant is really busy. It caught us by surprise how busy it is, we weren’t expecting that when we opened,” he said.
Aside from Misto, the hotel also has a rooftop bar called Straight Up.
In terms of sourcing, Seda Vertis North is still working out sustainable practices like getting most ingredients from nearby areas.
They have also started growing an herb garden in the property to help the needs of the restaurants.
“I’m trying to get everything within a 50-kilometer radius, trying to keep the sustainable footprint down. Some of our Chinese ingredients, unfortunately, have to be imported. What we’re trying to do now, hopefully by this time next year, guests will be able to pick their own herbs. We have a rooftop herb garden,” Hickey said.