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Closely Guarded Cheese

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A snazzy Italian restaurant at Resorts World Manila draws in the pizza-addicted like iron fillings to a magnet

In the real world, Parmigiano-Reggiano is the highest order of Italian cheese, a rare delicacy manufactured in four Italian provinces.

Any other cheese that aspires to the same standard but isn’t produced in Parma, Modena, Bologna, and Reggio Emilia is relegated to the ubiquitous mediocrity of Parmesan. But this food review does not take place in Italy, much less involve itself with cheese, although cheese is found in many of the following dishes.

In the make-believe, fantasy-scape theatricality that is often essential to a restaurant’s success, Parmigiano Pizzeria Ristorante stands as the first-class pizza ambassador in the consumer paradise that is Resorts World Manila.

A short escalator ride away from the bustling casino on the ground floor, one enters the sunlit pseudo-Vegas rotunda of the Newport Mall, with its crowning fountain surrounded by a multiplicity of dining choices. Among them is hallowed Parmigiano, the latest brand from the same company that brought Peri Peri Chicken to the Filipino people.

The Fantasy Begins
On the eventful morning, we were shuttled to Resorts World where Parmigiano stood waiting. A long table was set for us and we were served a multicourse meal in the span of three hours. No doubt the staff at Parmigiano were on all-guns-blazing mode, as dish after dish descended upon the table like clockwork. The first onslaught was the customary serving of bread accompanied by olive oil and a separate diced-vegetable dip.

The meal officially began with salad in the usual variety. Lush lettuce festooned with Gorgonzola cheese, grapes, and walnuts. Parmigiano’s own version of this vegetable staple featured its own mysterious dressing, whose sweet tang offset the healthy blandness of the lettuce leaves.

Once this diner’s enthusiasm had been piqued by an exciting salad, the serious task of eating with verve commenced. Arriving on cue was the Gamburetti con Rucola, an exotic seafood pizza that was tossed in balsamic vinaigrette dressing while being prepared. It was only the first in a salvo of pizza dishes.

Parmigiano boasts a dozen different pizza styles with individual quirks that rank them above the usual predictable fare of lesser establishments. To excite the wonder of the pizza faithful, guests can watch their pies being prepared in dramatic fashion at the giant oven in back of the restaurant. Before the pies are slid into the furnace, the kneaded dough is shaped and spun in midair by seasoned pizza artists.

Grandiose displays aside, these choice selections were a mere interlude before the main event; a succession of pizza that spanned the narrow flavors proscribed by orthodoxy—flavors that swing between sweet and salty.

The first serving was the most classic choice— Four Cheeses spread on thin, golden bread peppered with charred dots on its crunchy surface. Next was Tre Salsiccia, a certified bestseller and family favorite, being a designated meat-lover’s pizza, whose molten cheesy radiance was encrusted with sliced pepperoni and sausage.

Battling the pizza for renown—and stomach space—were the pasta dishes of a certain exoticness, such as Pasta al Funghi, Pasta di Frutti di Mare, and Spaghetii Vongole.

The al Funghi’s very name gives away its own distinction. A mushroom-based dish whose appeal is its combination with al dente pasta, al Funghi goes best with a lot of bread and generous servings of wine. Ah, the wine. Parmigiano boasts a respectable selection of fine vino, be it red, white, or sparkling. Individual vintages are recent and the prices are classy.

Having decimated the earlier entrées, the onslaught continued with the final stretch of selections. Frutti di Mare will be the seafood-lover’s natural preference, with prawns and clams surrounding the crimson mound of glowing pasta. The sea taste is profound and the additional helpings of mussels merely amplify its Mediterranean origins.

The final act was simple fare compared to its predecessors, being roast chicken and potato wedges served on a platter. In Italian: Pollo Arrosto con Patate. This is really best for the kiddies.

Parmigiano Pizzeria Ristorante is a posh establishment with affordable pizza prices. It is the perfect lunchtime or dinnertime haven for the family that wants to sate extra large appetites, perhaps after a prolonged adventure at Resorts World’s other diversions.

Print ed: 07/11


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