If the walls of Manila Hotel’s Champagne Room could talk, it would probably speak of many a haltingly- delivered, teary-eyed, or nervous marriage proposal. We had a chance to reexperience the ambiance of one of Manila’s most romantic settings some weeks back, as well as it’s French-inspired cuisine, when Executive Chef Konrad Walter prepared a five-course meal ideal for couples.
To whet the palate, the savory symphony began with the Napoléon d’Aubergine et Fromage Blanc. The elegant fusion of flavors comes from layers of lightly grilled eggplant providing a piquant counterpoint to the creamy Laguna cheese, tomato, and sautéed mushroom. The creation rests on a bed of crispy lettuce with tomato-basil vinaigrette.
If soup is your favorite part of the meal but you wish to leave room for the next three courses, you will enjoy the light Soupe de Coquilles Saint-Jacques aux Fines Herbes. The cream of scallop soup with vegetable brunoise and fresh herbs is best with the Champagne Room’s selection French artisan bread: multigrain, combicorn, or mini French baguette with homemade, cognac-scented, chicken liver mousse.
The French-Asian fusion, Les Tortellini Farci a l’Epinard, Sauce Crème au Saumon Fume, follows. The tortellini with spinach is served with malunggay and ricotta in smoked salmon sauce.
Feeling a bit stuffed from a week of eating out, one of us opted for the grouper fillet as main course. Merou Saute, Sauce au Foi Grass means the fish is sautéed in olive oil and garnished with goose liver sauce, shrimp risotto, and baby French beans.
The chef recommends Magret de Canard, Sauce au Fruits de la Passion et Poivre Rose, for diners who prefer a main course of meat. We’re glad we took his advice and sampled the succulent duck that went down in a rich explosion of flavors! The duck breast is lovingly roasted in a sauce of passion fruit and pink peppercorn with thyme wild rice and a bouquet of young vegetables.
As the meal drew to a close, we were glad the Champagne Room was made for lingering. By now, our appetites were pleasantly sated and we could only think of sharing dessert. The Pudding au Chocolate Blanc Tiede, Glace au Nougat was a perfect choice. The light tempered white chocolate pudding with nougat ice cream provided a pleasant end to the four delicious dishes that preceded...or so we thought.
It is difficult to pull yourself away from the romance of the Champagne Room, especially if you can ask for pralines from the patisserie to be served! Ask for the chocolate nut-and-raisin clusters and the variety of dark chocolate pralines, which we discovered (after returning to the Manila Hotel for a weekly chocolate fix) alternate throughout the week.
According to Manila Hotel president and former Senator Joey Lina, the Champagne Room is clearly designed for gracious, leisurely dining. He was exactly right—MM