SALMON is my most favorite fish in the world, next to sea bass, which is so expensive that salmon has indeed become my default favorite fish that’s still relatively affordable. I like it in sashimi form, I like it smoked, I like it steamed, grilled, cooked into a delicious teriyaki, I like it in my burger instead of meat. I like it in all ways – which explains why I was in salmon heaven last Friday (June 21, 2013), when my husband Raff and I had dinner with Diamond Hotel Philippines’ awesome communications duo, Melanie Pallorina and Twinkle Lacsamana, at the hotel’s Corniche.
Our main purpose was a shoot for the magazine, FLAVORS, with head chef Jerry Montenegro Cruz, and it had to be timed on a Friday evening because Friday was Corniche’s Salmon Night. This means that the dinner buffet carried a lot of salmon dishes, ranging from appetizers to salads, soups and main dishes. It’s actually the first time that I’ve gotten wind of a salmon buffet theme, since most buffet themes are based on cuisines, such as Japanese, Mediterranean, Indian, Southeast Asian and Filipino. Seldom are they based on a certain ingredient, but I suppose salmon, as a theme, took a long time coming but its time has come. Especially at Diamond Hotel, which had just concluded a lobster promotion.
After the shoot, the four of us had dinner, and I had a difficult time picking which salmon dishes to try. There were many. Over at the appetizer buffet, I took a piece of Salmon Gravlax and a Salmon with Asparagus Roll, went over to the salad bar, made myself a mini mesclun salad of lettuce and arugula, and topped it with a generous portion of Steamed Salmon, which I got from the whole Steamed Salmon that sat on the buffet. Yes, there was a whole salmon, steamed to perfection, with its skin peeled but its whole body structure kept intact and garnished with olives, mayo and bell pepper. It looked too beautiful to eat, but, yes, I did break it and eat it. Nobody wanted to break it before I decided to do so, but after I broke it, other diners felt “liberated” and started partaking of it. It’s probably my favorite salmon dish of the night. Simply steamed, which gave me the privilege of savoring its freshness, both in its naturally sweet flavor and in its texture, color and aroma.
Then it was time for the mains. I walked around the different stations and picked what caught my fancy. I got a piece of grilled herbed salmon that sat on rocks in a chafing dish. It stood right beside the sous-vide machine which contained salmon pieces in vacuum bags floating in water. I had wanted to try that one, too, but then there were so many other salmon dishes to try as well. Such as Salmon Paella. This one’s loaded with not just salmon but also mussels, clams and shrimps.
At the Italian station, there was Salmon Pizza and Cannelloni Salmon with Spinach and Feta Cheese. I chose the Salmon Pizza because, well, I love pizza, too.
The Indian station had Salmon Kebabs, and the Chinese station had Wild Alaska Salmon with Chinese Stir-fried Vegetables and Kowloon Meat Ball Salmon with Sweet Chili. I got a piece each. The Western and International stations offered a lot more salmon choices – Czech Baked Salmon, for one, and lots of fresh salmon fillets and steaks that were ready to be slapped on the grill upon request.
As for the Japanese station, the salmon selections included Marinated Salmon Sashimi, Sake Soba Mushi Maki, Sweet and Spicy Sake Muzubi (sweet and spicy salmon tartar sushi canapés), and Salmon Head Teriyaki.
My dinner plate was full of all salmon selections and I enjoyed savoring each one slowly. Friday night at Diamond Hotel’s Corniche really felt like salmon heaven to me as I am sure other salmon lovers would feel, too.
But just in case you’re worried that you might get salmon overload should you go for the Salmon Night dinner buffet at Corniche, there’s no need to worry because there are other delicious non-salmon dishes on the buffet as well. There are other seafood and meat dishes to choose from, and a tender Cochinillo (lechon de leche, actually!) with a golden and crispy-looking skin sat on the carving station beside the Czech Baked Salmon. You can mix and match and enjoy as much – or as little – salmon as you want. And then, of course, there’s the dessert buffet spread to end the meal with. Fresh fruits, mousses, cakes, chocolates, and Diamond Hotel’s famous homemade ice cream…
Salmon Nights at Corniche every Friday is available at Php2,385 nett per person. For inquiries or reservations, call Corniche at 528-3000 extension 1121.
(Diamond Hotel Philippines is located at Roxas Blvd. cor. Dr. J. Quintos St., Manila.)