So August is almost over…which means in a matter of days, the ber months are coming and we can expect to hear Christmas carols and see holiday decors up again in our shopping malls! (If this is something good or bad, you decide…)
But before we reach the end of another hectic month, let me share with you a few of my favorite things that happened this month : meeting a celebrity designer, going to Manila’s newest restaurant three times in a row and enjoying my new dessert discovery — all rolled into one busy August.
Although I have met Monique in her last fashion show in Manila a couple of years back, I never really had the chance to speak to her at length until I attended her parents’ golden wedding anniversary in Cebu earlier this month. Being one of her fans, it has always been my wish to get to know this talented Filipina designer who has brought us worldwide acclaim by her fashion and design.
This time around, we met again at the family’s intimate gathering in their private home the night before the wedding anniversary. She was warm and friendly, just like how Cebuanos are known to be. We had a good chat and I told her a couple of things : my visit to her Melrose Place last month, my dream of wearing a Monique Lhuillier wedding gown (which of course will never happen anymore – unless I get married again!), and to my passion now, growing The Spoiled Mummy.
This photo was taken at the golden anniversary of her parents at Marco Polo Hotel. When we saw each other again that night, we talked and laughed, shared some stories and then parted ways, with a promise that I will try to catch her again sometime soon. (Crossing my fingers that I will catch her in next year’s New York Fashion Week!)
Colin Mackay of the famed Sala Bistro, Sala Restaurant and People’s Palace restaurant group, has once again added another feather in his cap, by the opening of his latest restaurant sensation : Blackbird.
If you are quite active on social media, I’m sure you would have seen endless photos and conversations about this new place since it opened. To be honest, there is quite a random mix of reviews I’ve seen. But this is always expected, given that : 1) this is a very new restaurant and that 2) almost everyone claims to be “foodie” nowadays. 🙂
I myself, have been to this same restaurant three times this month already – twice for dinner and once for lunch and let me tell you that almost every time that I am here, I bump into at least three people I know! Yes to say that this place is the most popular restaurant in Manila now is an understatement.
The restaurant’s building alone is gorgeous and steeped in history. The overall look is simple, elegant and classy. The vibe is very casual but fine dining. High ceiling, crisp white linens and tall glass windows against a black and neutrals palette. This 1930’s building started out as the country’s first commercial airport. It was then converted into a library and a restaurant. This history is what actually inspired the restaurant’s look and theme that we see now. From the top, the building looks like one huge aircraft, and the narrow second floor looks like the cockpit.
Going straight to the dishes, there are some good ones that I keep coming back to and there are some that can still be improved on. Service can also be fine tuned a little bit more, especially during weekend nights when place is packed to the brim. Pricing wise, it is bordering on the expensive side given the small portions of the dishes and considering Manila’s price standards. But overall experience? It’s always a pleasant one! I enjoy coming back here because of the charm the place exudes, the genuine service (that I know can get better) and food done the right way.
Left to right : 1) Prawn Scotch Eggs, Betel Leaves, Coconut Chili Sambal. 2) Pickled Beetroot, Goat’s Cheese, Lentils Pomegranate Molasses. 3) Crab Cakes, Radish, Green Apple Mustard Slaw.
Left to Right : 1) Twice Cooked Beef Shortrib, Sweet Fish Sauce, Hot and Sour Salad. 2) Flat Iron Steak, Kimchi, Green Onion and Ginger, Lettuce and Hot Sauce.
But here’s my favorite… And I’m secretly wishing they add more lamb here! (Read : bitin) — Lamb Rendang, Fried Egg, Pickles and Rice.
And of course my favorite part, the desserts : Cheesecake, Macadamia Praline, Banana Brulee and Dulce de leche. The quality, texture and taste of this cheesecake were amazing!
But if I were to choose just one dessert in the menu as my favorite, it would definitely be this : Rhubarb Crumble Ice Cream, Strawberry Sorbet, Rhubarb, Fresh Strawberries, White Chocolate. It has a wonderful combination of the fresh and sour fruits (rhubarb and strawberries) and sweet white chocolate and vanilla ice cream!
Nielson Tower, Ayala Triangle Gardens, Ayala Avenue, Makati.
Tel no – 828-4888
Sansrival Torte by Mika Licuanan
Mika, (the pretty mummy homebaker behind this dessert) and I have a little story to tell on how we actually met. She has been a long time reader and follower of the blog – all the way from the very first few months since I started writing as The Spoiled Mummy. From back then, I would always remember how she would leave positive feedback and heartwarming comments on my blog entries. Her frequent encouraging words left a mark in me since I was still quite new in blogging then and she is someone I’ve never met personally before.
Fast forward to today…and it has been two years since we met online and it was only recently that we found out that we have a common friend. She asked if it was okay to send The Spoiled Mummy a sample of her Sansrival Torte. I said yes of course, with also the intention of wanting to finally meet one of my long-time readers in person. Unfortunately on the day she delivered, I wasn’t around, so we didn’t get to meet! 🙁 However that same day when I went out to try a new steak place that just opened, who did I see — but Mika?!
Without any biases, let me tell you that Mika’s Sansrival Torte (she makes them in 2 flavors : Butter and Mocha) is a great discovery and a good addition to my growing dessert list! She is still in the process of tweaking it here and there, but as it is now, it is a sansrival that is worth every calorie. The inside layers are made with meringue sandwiched in between smooth buttercream, which gives the cake a texture that is both soft and crispy, creamy and crunchy at the same time.
The Mocha Torte, which is my favorite amongst the two, is perfect for those who love coffee with their desserts, since it marries quite well the bitter taste of the mocha powder with the sweet and salty flavor of the buttercream in and around the cake. But as with all sansrivals, let me tell you that this is best eaten just a few minutes out of the freezer, while still frozen or while still very cold — unless you are of course one of the few who prefer eating soft and melted butter! (I prefer mine cold and hard!)
It is a beautiful dessert in a quite unassuming way. Because at the end of the day… we all know that sometimes, all we really need is one simple but good dessert.
Tel no 0917 – 857 3232
To read about my previous month’s favorite things, click : here.