March is almost over! But before this month comes to an end, here are my favorite things, food and happenings for the merry but busy month of March!
Otto e Mezzo, Hong Kong
I was in Hong Kong a week and a half ago to attend the recently concluded Art Basel. Hong Kong has always been one of my favorite cities in the world when it comes to the food and dining scene. Since I visit the city quite often during the year, I’ve learned to narrow down a few of my favorite spots and must – visit places whenever I am in town. One of them is Otto e Mezzo, an Italian restaurant in Landmark Alexandra Building, Central.
This restaurant is not easy to book, let me tell you. So most of the time, I call them way in advance to secure a booking. But there were also a couple of times in the past when I just tried my luck by walking – in and crossing my fingers that someone has just called in to cancel a reservation. And most of those times, let me tell you, I was not very fortunate!
But that day must have been one of my few lucky days, since I was able to score a seat for two just by walking in, on a busy lunch period at that! (And in 2.5 hours, I had to leave for the airport – but that’s a totally different story altogether!)
They still had their Black Truffle Winter Menu, and since I ordered one too many dishes, here are my top two favorites:
Of course, my lunch wouldn’t be complete without a photo with owner and celebrity chef of the restaurant, Umberto Bombana. He is known in the culinary world as the King of Truffles, as he is the first chef to bring Italian Truffles to this part of the world.
And currently, Otto e Mezzo holds the distinction as the only Italian restaurant outside Italy that boasts of the highest three Michelin star rating.
Otto y Mezzo
Tel: +852 2537 8859
Shop 202, Landmark Alexandra
18 Chater Road, Central, Hong Kong
Triple Fromage Japanese Cheesecake
I love a good cheesecake, that’s a fact. But among the many possible kinds or variants of cheesecakes available, I only like the plain ones. I like my cheesecake simple — without a lot of fuss, frills and toppings, and I like them real cheesy of course (using good quality cheese please!) And recently, there has been a surge of a new kind of cheesecake in town.
What is known as the Japanese cheesecake has been gaining popularity nowadays amongst dessert aficionados. And this is because for most of us, this is something new and quite the opposite of the traditional, American-style, heavy cheesecake we’ve always known.
By now, I’ve tried a couple of Japanese cheesecakes out there (from home bakers to restaurants to dessert shops), but let me tell you, nothing comes close to this Triple Fromage Japanese Cheesecake made by Tiny Yellow Kitchen. This one was just unbelievably good that I didn’t even realize I have finished one big slice already — because really, I devoured and savored every bite! It is close to nothing I’ve tried here before.
This cheesecake has a good combination of flavors. There is a perfect balance here of sweet and salty goodness in every forkful. The texture is amazing. It is pillowy soft (like a cloud); the type that you know will just melt easily in your mouth. It is creamy yes, but without being heavy or dense. In fact, it was light and fluffy, which were probably the reasons why I didn’t realize I’ve consumed one whole slice already in under 5 minutes!
It has three kinds of cheeses in it mixed with very light and fine textured cream. It is covered on top with even more cheese – a generous dusting of fresh Parmesan shreds and I am guessing maybe even our own Quezo de Bola is somewhere there as well. Because when you open the box, the smell of the cheeses is very evident even from afar!
Of course, let us not forget those fresh, sweet strawberries on top that serve as its finishing touches. The sweetness of the berries serves as the perfect complement to the saltiness of this cheesecake.
I don’t want to praise too much (and thus make you expect too much from it), but just in case you are wondering, I don’t know the owner/s personally. But let me end by saying that if there’s an award for the best cheesecake I’ve ever tried in Manila, this one will surely take the gold for me.
And one last tip, this cake is best eaten cold! 🙂
Tiny Yellow Kitchen
Tel (02) 781 3070
Sunday Brunch at Sage, Makati Shangri La
Last Sunday, the family decided to try Sage in Makati Shangri-La for Sunday Brunch. I’ve always loved the food and service from this restaurant, that I am probably here more than once a month. But this was my first time to try their newly launched Sunday Brunch.
The menu is concise and uncomplicated, unlike most hotel buffets we’ve grown accustomed to. They have a nice buffet spread of appetizers, antipasti and salads, as well as a good selection of ham and cheeses, and a few desserts that are delicious and well thought of.
For meats, you might be surprised to know that they only have 2 kinds on the buffet table : roast chicken and a big slab of prime rib that is grilled to perfection.
(And that’s it, you will not see a mix of other food stations here in this buffet! )
And if what’s on the buffet spread is not enough for you (ie. you want more), you will be happy to know that their Sunday Brunch has another small menu on the table. This menu offers dishes that you can order ala carte – but still as much as you want and all inclusive of the price of the buffet.
In this menu, I spotted different kinds of pasta dishes, a couple of seafood and meat dishes including my classic favorite, Sage’s Wagyu burger.
But this time around, I didn’t pay much attention to the menu, since I was already excited with what I saw on the buffet table. I zeroed in on the prime rib, because I’m a meat lover like that. I love my meat, and I like a good piece of meat on a big bone!
So after all my little plates of appetizers and salads, I indulged in these :
I enjoyed my ribs so much that I went back not just once, but twice to get the same amount! (Shocking I know, so the day after that I ran to the gym!)
So if you are like me and you are tired of the usual eat-as-many-cuisines-as-you-can-in-one-buffet, I highly recommend Sage at Makati Shangri-La. This restaurant has never failed me, whether for lunch or dinner, and now for brunch! From their appetizers to their mains to their desserts, every dish is prepared well and done right.
Another thing to note about this restaurant is that their prices are comparable to most places we frequent in Greenbelt or at the Fort. And this is so even if they are situated in a prime, 5-star hotel location, with a good ambience, and an extensive wine cellar to boot!
Aside from the food, what I really like about Sage and what I keep coming back for is that they are one of the few restaurants in the country that can boast of impeccable service. Staff here are very well – trained and are experts in their field.
A good example is Ace Trine (Sage’s restaurant manager), who I’ve known for a few years now, way back when Sage was still called Red, the former fine dining restaurant of the hotel. I have seen him in action and I have seen how he has continuously improved and evolved throughout his years in the hotel. He and the rest of his staff’s attention to detail are truly remarkable.
Great food and excellent service are rare to come by these days amongst the many hotels and new restaurants that have sprouted in the metro. But I am glad that there’s one I can always rely on to give me a good and memorable dining experience.
Sage Makati Shangri-La
tel (02) 813 -8888
Ayala Avenue corner Makati Avenue, Makati City
If you want to see TSM’s Fave Things from the month of February, click here.