Flavours of the Philippines at the Grace Hotel

Once again, we had a wonderful gastronomical experience at the Grace Hotel as they brought the Philippines’ most famous dishes to Sydney.  For three weeks, Via Mare Chefs Rodito Dimatera, Benjamin Zabala and Leandro Templonuevo cooked up a feast for Sydneysiders to enjoy. True to its theme “Flavours of Philippines”, they made sure that each dish represented a part of the Filipino culture.

My Husband and I were privileged to experience the exquisite works of art of our Filipino Chefs when we dined in on a Friday night. San Miguel Beer and Coconut Juice were especially served to partner with our beloved dishes from the Philippines.

From the appetizers to desserts, everything was done by the chefs. We started with the Sinigang na Hipon that warmed and fascinated us with it’s perfect tamarind sour taste and un-shelled shrimps ready for eating.

The salad section was abundant and one that truly wets the appetite: crispy Bagnet Salad with shrimp sauce, Green Mango Salad with Crab Meat, Salted Egg Salad, Lumpiang Sariwa and Chicken Galantina.

The hot dishes that did not disappoint as one had so many to choose from. The famous Pancit was a good partner to the freshly-baked Pandesal and Lumpiang Prito. The Chicken Adobo was more flavourful than ever because it was topped with Mozarella Cheese (who would have thought? I will definitely do this when I cook my Adobo at home). The most tender and saucy Kalderata and perfectly grilled Pork Ribs were indulgent when paired with pillowy steamed rice. And the star of the buffet, Crispy Pork Belly, was everything crispy and crunchy. Sinful and yet worth the calories and cholesterol.

Laden with mouthwatering treats at the dessert section, we found Leche Flan, Maja Blanca, Cassava Balls and Palitaw. They also lined up the ingredients for making your own Halo-Halo which was a brilliant idea.

We arrived early at Grace Hotel and had a bit of a chat with all the chefs. It was wonderful to meet them and learn about their cooking experience in Sydney.  They talked about the dishes they cooked and how they prepared some of them. Most of their time was spent inside the kitchen as they were the only ones who cooked all the dishes but they gladly go out of the kitchen once in a while to say hello to customers.  I was mighty proud to hear how hardworking and how pleasant they are in spite being busy.

Grace Hotel set up the perfect ambience for this event as their staff were accommodating, parallel to Filipinos’ hospitality. While we enjoyed the food, we can hear OPM songs being played. For a few hours of enjoying good quality Filipino, it felt like we were home.

Ibyang Sanchez is a food and lifestyle blogger.  She writes about her food finds and kitchen adventures at “A Wife’s Charmed Life” http://awifescharmedlife.blogspot.com/

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