Sunday, February 25, 2018

The Tasting Room

I have always been partial to degustation menu  more than  buffet. I guess you can say I have had my fill of the buffet mentality ie maximizing what you paid for thru mindless eating , foregoing quality for quantity.

So when an invite for dinner at the Tasting Room landed on my lap, I said yes immediately without any hesitation. French Degustation Menu....?  You just said the magic words.

It was a Friday just after Valentines and we started early. Here is the four course menu we savored, relished,  delighted in and completely adored while basking in the ambiance of the elegant The Tasting Room of Hotel Nuwa in City of Dreams Manila

Amuse Bouche

"The term is French and means "mouth amuser" literally.  Amuse bouche is the best way for a great chef to express his  approach to his cuisine and  is not usually  found in the menu."

Started the meal with what looked like made-from scratch tortilla chips, tuna pate,  slivers of parmegianno regianno which hid cheese balls underneath. But first we were instructed to  eat the  coconut jelly  with rhum liqueur...

The coconut jelly with rhum liqueur delighted the palate with its sweetness and succulence. Not to sound pedestrian,  but it was quite similar to  our local nata de coco. 

The "tortillas' were light and crisp and paired well with the tuna mixture. The thin slivers of parmegianno regianno and  the cheese balls underneath brought the salty component, awakening the palate

We were then served  3 kinds of freshly made bread ie French baguette, sour dough and black sesame seed baguette with two kinds of butter -- French salted butter and seaweed butter.

"We love our bread, we love our butter..."  

This song/chant kept repeating in my head like a broken record as I enjoyed each bite of the freshly baked bread  in 3 kinds.Yes just like Madeline,  I love my bread and butter. To say that I was in bread and butter heaven was fairly accurate. The French really know how to make their bread and to churn the most delicious and delicately flavored butter


Sea Bass Carpaccio,  Red and Black Radish,
Artichoke Cream, Cucumber Jelly

Celeriac Remoulade

Banana Blossom, Veal Tongue,
Vinagrette, Pickles

Who would have thought that the radish I put in my sinigang (sour broth)  could appear ephemerally delicate and taste wonderfully  sublime.  It was a beautiful camouflage  hiding within its bosom the ambrosial Sea Bass Carpaccio with artichoke cream that were at once silky and velvety, tasting of the ocean.

I'm sorry I can not stop waxing poetry over this deceptively simple dish that goes by a  kilometric name.

Speaking of which, the dish will not be complete without the Celeriac Remoulade which we were told to eat after the carpaccio. Followed by the banana blossom, veal tongue and pickle salad.

The celeriac remoulade was also thin and transparent and was crunchy. The remoulade was creamy. Both ingredients seem to echo or complement  the main event but on a smaller scale

The banana blossom-veal tongue salad was at once earthy and meaty providing a wonderful contrast to the "clean" taste of the celeriac remoulade.  The salad appeared  the antithesis of the celeriac remoulade in color and in flavor. 

It was paired with a glass of  Sauvignon Blanc by Cloudy Bay from New Zealand 2016. The sommelier   described it as a young wine  with notes of lime, lemon zest and nectarine with bright perfume of orange blossoms. Indeed its bouquet smelled of freshness and summer and  was vibrant on the palate

It paired well with the dish enhancing the flavors of the first course. I wouldn't mind buying a bottle for our home.

Lobster , Ginger, Espelette Pepper, Bisque

Lobster was locally sourced if I heard the  Tasting Room Lady correctly. It came with diced guava, red and green mango from Davao and garnished with fresh coriander.

The side  had chunks of lobsters as well and echoes the  main plate.

Restaurant Manager Stephen Maroney offered a bottle of  French wine  Gewurtztraminer year 2015. We were told the German-sounding name was derived from the proximity of   that part of France to Germany.

This was easily a favorite among us ladies because of its fruity taste and vibrant aroma. The bouquet is fragrant with passion fruit  and lychees. It paired well with the succulent lobster


Cape Grim Grass Fed Beef Tenderloin
Black Pepper, Onions, Potatoes

Those Beef Tenderloin from Tasmania were cooked a perfect medium rare. 

The plate itself looked like a painter's palette with dabs of green from the spinach leaves, deep ruby red from the pureed red beet root,  pinkish red from the Tasmanian tenderloin,  pale golden yellow from the strings of white beetroot and creamy off white from the gnocchi.

It was paired with  a medium to full-bodied 2011  Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz from Australia.  You get a lot of cherries and plum on the palate and some oak too. It really paired well with the medium rare tenderloin.

4th course
Chocolate Success/Lychee Veloute

A classic  French dessert made of chocolate  meringue, chocolate  parfait  and warm chocolate sauce with grapefruit marmalade on the side.

The Lychee Veloute is made of pineapple, blackberry , and lychee jelly with champagne sorbet.

The chef recommended we eat the Lychee Veloute first to  refresh the palate and prepare it for the scrumptious Chocolate Success.

The dessert was paired with Jurancon Lapeyre 2013 It is a sweet wine with apricots and honey on the palate which I loved. It paired well with the heavenly Chocolate success. Not to be outdone are the chocolate pralines which were delicious as well.

Over all a decadent journey into Chef Frederic Thevenet's cuisine which I truly enjoyed. 

I loved that his French cuisine  with hints of Asian influences here and there , married well . I specially took notice  of the use of local ingredients like the lobsters and fruits from Davao, which was a nice homage to his host country.

The Tasting Room itself was elegant with its high ceiling and theme of gold and beige. The  beautiful lights above are reminiscent of  sea urchins with its spiky  design and also kind of reminded me of  green Christmas balls my crafty mom used to make when I was a small kid.

The service was topnotch as expected.  The attention to detail was amazing. Hats off to Restaurant Manager Stephen Maroney.

Chef Thevenet with @ishmeetsworld @gastronomida @feedmytummyph and @piggingoutonsundays

The  Tasting Room offers the following :

4 course menu P4,588++
with wine pairing P2,000++


6 courses P5,088++

with wine pairing P2,800++

Thank you for having us The Tasting Room   and for the invite Zomato PH.

The Tasting Room  at  Hotel Nuwa City of Dreams Manila can seat 56 including the main dining room,  a semi-private area and the bar. 

For  inquiries and reservations,  please call 800-8080   or email or visit  their website

The Tasting Room Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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