Spending most of my week at Infinity Resort, the beautiful luxury hideaway in Puerto Galera, I had most of my meals ordered from the resort’s in-house restaurant, The Brae. I initially thought their prices were expensive and attributed it to being at a resort in the middle of nowhere, but the truth is, most of the portion sizes are huge – almost everything is good for sharing.
I paid the gorgeous place a visit along with my friend – Manila’s Queen of Thai cooking and owner of Silk Road – Cecille Chang. She promised to give a short cooking demo and add two Thai dishes to The Brae’s list of Asian menu options.
They Do Filipino Food Best
Out of all of the items on their menu (even the special Japanese one), we all agreed that the strength of this restaurant lies with their Filipino food. Even someone like myself, who would typically pass on the local food options simply because I could just make it myself at home, kept looking for comfort food like their Oxtail Kare Kare (Php 485) – it’s thick, goopy, peanut sauce hiding thick cuts of oxtail which is covered with blanched string beans, grilled eggplant, and banana heart.
I was sorely mistaken when I thought the Pinakbet (Php 325) I ordered was a side dish. It was a huge platter! Filled with colorful veggies like string beans, bright orange squash, bitter gourd, eggplant, and tomatoes, the platter is also peppered with shrimp and pork strips with a spoonful of bagoong (shrimp paste) added in for added flavor, making this a meal unto itself. This was probably one of our favorite dishes during our three-day stay.
I had anticipated that the Crispy Pata (Php 685) would probably be ideally split between two people, not four. We ordered this monstrosity of a dish for lunch, and realized this would be perfect with a couple of bottles of brewskies by the pool at happy hour. Try as we might, we couldn’t even get through half of the pata, which felt like such a waste.
An Introduction to Thai Cooking
“What is Thai food? Every country in the world has its own food profile. It reflects its culture, environment, ingenuity and values. In the case of Thailand, these words come to mind: intricacy; attention to detail; texture; color; taste; and the use of ingredients with medicinal benefits, as well as good flavor. We not only pay attention to how a dish tastes: we are also concerned about how it looks, how it smells, and how it fits in with the rest of the meal. We think of all parts of the meal as a whole – sum rap Thai (the way Thais eat), is the term we use for the unique components that make up a characteristically Thai meal.” – McDang
A Cooking Lesson with Chef in Stilettos
Cecille got her start cooking as the housewife-cum-socialite of club magnate Louis Ysmael, throwing house parties and a passion for the spicy, sour, sweet components of Thai food. She eventually took up a cooking course in Thailand, then branched out to the rest of the Silk Road – Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. Taking everything she learned from her experiences abroad, she then came back to the Philippines to put up Thai Bistro, Silk, and her newest Thai baby, Silk Road.
Sharing her vast knowledge of Thai cuisine, she gave The Brae’s kitchen staff a 45-minute cooking demonstration and added two new dishes to the restaurant’s menu. Michelle, one of the resort’s owners, also happened to be a fan of Cecille’s old restaurant in Serendra, Silk. So adding two of her favorite items to the resort’s menu really worked in her favor!
The Brae’s Newest Menu Additions
The end result? A colorful plate of Pad Thai with chicken and shrimp as well as a mildy spicy yet very comforting dish of Chicken Curry – just the thing one would want to enjoy a lot of (with extra rice) after a day of diving and snorkeling.