A brief review by Jaime K Pimentel
THE chef’s version of ‘relyenong bangus’ or stuffed milkfish was a favourite at the 2014 Flavours of the Philippines Food Festival, dished out over two weeks in Sydney’s four-star The Grace Hotel, courtesy of the Philippine Tourism Office and sponsor Cebu Pacific Air, the Philippines’ new carrier.
Fine-food lovers ~ and who’s not one ~ were treated to a daily change of the Philippines’ most delicious dishes: from temptingly brown chicken adobo and braised pork belly humba to ox tail kare-kare, lechon kawali, lapu-lapu Filipiniana, crab salad with mango, and banana heart in coconut milk. Just on day-one for starters.
An array of desserts featured a tantalizing leche flan, capped off with a mix-your-own halo-halo.
Had I the resources, I would have returned an assault on a new menu the next day. And the next and the next. Why not, The Grace sat smack in the heart of our city so accessible by train, bus and car.
Sorry, the hotel did not have a helipad for air transport and it was a bit distant to Sydney’s wharf to come by ferry.
What would have been value added to the food festival was an atmosphere of ceberation, I thought. A little melodic Filipino music, perhaps. Some hostesses in Filipino costumes. A tinikling dance thown in?
But what the heck, we spent almost two hours at The Grace’s fine-dining and sharing the best of Filipino food with friends. We don’t usually take that long to have lunch, so one can guess why we stayed.
Bring the Filipino food festival back next year. And the next, and the next.
**Photos by Marilie Bomediano**