Midas Hotel and Casino is definitely the poshest hotel out by the bay area – Manila Bay, that is. The boutique hotel is perfect for travelers who want to be near both Manila and the airport in Pasay, its lobby adorned with brands like Hermès, Chanel, Dior, accented with furniture from the luxurious Italian brand, Philippe Starcke.
This hotel is full of surprises, case in point, the Philippine food festival, Sabroso!, happening ’til November. In a bid to introduce busy travelers to enjoy a taste of the Philippines, Sabroso! brings the food to Midas Café, treating guests to a slice of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
“Philippine cuisine is a blend of the familiar with the exotic. The combination of sour, salty, and peppery is the most desired and sought-after facet of our dishes.”
During the launch of Sabroso! last August, Midas Café’s Executive Chef Arnold Guevarra, let us in on a sneak peek of what to expect for the next four months of the food festival.
August was dedicated to the gustatory heritage of Vigan and the tranquil Zambales coast, also featuring interesting dishes such as bringhe, a kakanin-type of paella from Pampanga, spicy dinakdakan (a type of grilled pork salad in vinegar), as well as the more familiar pakbet and bagnet from Northern Luzon.
September takes guests on a trip through Southern Luzon with dishes that tickle the taste buds like crispy shrimp ukoy, spicy vegetable laing from Bicol, and nilupak, a dessert made from cassava.
October, on the other hand, celebrates flavors from the Visayas, bringing sinugbang manok from Bacolod, the warm and comforting pancit molo, and kansi, a tangy beef marrow soup.
And finally, November will feature dishes from Mindanao, with fresh treasures from the sea such as curacha y locon and sinugbang nokos (grilled squid).
Sampling some of the dishes that would be featured throughout the food festival, we were treated to a taste of the Philippines in one gustatory afternoon.
The Filipino Gourmet Appetizers featured a little bit of everything, including my favorite Tuna Sinugba, a local twist on ceviche, and it’s pork equivalent, which was crispy on the outside yet tender, a modern take on the traditional Crispy Ukoy with Sukang Iloko, Lato and Guso Salad made from a special kind of seaweed, and Mesclun Greens in Sukang Iloko Vinaigrette. Travelers to the Philippines soon discover our love for the salty-sweet-sour balance that is predominant in most of the samplers.
Midas Café turned to Visayas for inspiration for their soup, and that was the healthy Law-Uy, made with zucchini, carrots, taro, squash, and moringa leaves served in a light, clear broth. Aside from being able to appreciate the beautiful, brightly colored vegetables sitting in the clear broth, once can taste the subtle, delicate flavors of the crisp vegetables, whetting your appetite enough in time for the next course.
For a palate cleanser, the sweet and sour Calamansi Sorbet was served, definitely a treat for travelers who have never tasted the humble Philippine lime before.
The main course sampler had a little bit of everything, like the buttery Lokon in Crab Roe Sauce, sweet slices of Pork Humba, the all too familiar Sinugbang Manok, and Pinakbet, an Ilokano vegetable dish made with bitter gourd and squash. The flavors of the sea, the mountains, the fields, and the plateaus were all represented on one plate, encompassing most flavors Filipinos find appealing.
I was happiest with the dessert sampler, as Midas Café incorporated their own spin on traditional regional sweets. My favorite among them being the Croquantine Coconit Yema presented in a coconut made from milk chocolate, followed by Brazo de Durian because they actually made me like the funny smelling fruit, Nilupak and Halaya Cake , the nilupak made from cassava and the halaya made from purple yam, and Marang og Balimbing Ice Cream to complete the Filipino food festival.
Of course, there are other Filipino delicacies to look forward to at Sabroso!, such as the Cebu Lechon, served with a homemade liver sauce. The burnished, reddish brown crackly skin is always a hit at the table, and the sweet, tender meat makes you want to keep going back for more. If you’re looking for something even more crackly, they have the Vigan favorite, Bagnet, on hand as well.
The Sabroso! buffet still has its usual buffet comforts like the mouthwatering Prime Rib, a grill station, and a few other cakes and pasties of the chocolate and cheesecake persuasion, so travelers can still get the best of both worlds at Midas Café.
Sabroso! (Php 1,842/ person) will be available for lunch and dinner at Midas Café until November 2014, with various popular Filipino dishes being featured each month. A buffet of classic Filipino dishes executed with a modern twist, with authentic flavors of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao dished out using only the freshest ingredients available, travelers can explore the taste of the Philippine islands in one sitting. And that ain’t at all bad.
Midas Café is located on the 2nd floor of Midas Hotel and Casino, Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City. For inquiries or to reserve a table, please call +632 902 0100 loc. 1187.