HAVE you ever tasted French macarons infused with truffle oil and salt? Ah, heavenly! Take one bite at the soft, chewy French macaron with a thin layer of crispy outer crust, and the exquisite flavor of truffle just explodes in your mouth without being too overpowering. This, I got to taste last week when Shangri-La Plaza hosted another media ‘degustation’ to introduce five more concept restaurants that recently opened at the East Wing.
Shangri-La Plaza’s Lala Fojas and Marline Dualan sat down with members of media to lunch on the delicious food of Kettle, Kimukatsu and Ganso-Shabuway Japanese Style Hot Pot, after which we had tea and desserts courtesy of Wicked by Cravings and Happy Cream Puff.
Kettle redefines comfort food by taking popular all-time favorites, such as fried chicken and steak, and serving them with a twist. The familiar flavors soothe not just the palate but the soul as well, while the ‘twist’ gives these dishes something new to look forward to.
Specialties of the house include Buttermilk Fried Chicken. Kettle’s version stays true to its Southern roots, with two huge pieces with crunchy skin on the outside and soft, juicy and tender meat on the inside, served with gravy and corn muffins. It’s good to share. Angus Roast Beef Hash is one of the modern versions of the steak that Kettle offers. It’s Angus beef, roasted and cut into cubes, served with potato cubes and topped with a fried egg. The classic fries also get a makeover, as they are cut into thin strips and fried with herbs like basil and tarragon, tossed with pork belly and served with red pepper aioli in an interesting dish called Pork and Potato Strips.
Kimukatsu serves the must-have Japanese dish these days, the tonkatsu. The most famous pork cutlet restaurant in Japan with international outlets in the United States and Korea, Kimikatsu opened its first Philippine branch at Shangri-La Plaza’s East Wing. It takes pride in its famous crispy and juicy pork cutlet that uses only choice quality meat that’s carefully prepared to bring out its finest flavor. According to Kenji Komuro, the director of public relations of the katsu joint, the katsu that the restaurant serves consists of 25 thin layers of pork, so its texture and tenderness are something diners will not find elsewhere.
The katsu comes in seven flavors: Plain, Garlic, Black Pepper, Cheese, Negi Shio (marinated spring onion), Yuzu Kosho (yuzu fruit and green chili pepper), and Ume Shiso (Japanese sour plum and shiso leaf katsu). Take your pick.
The katsu is great to eat with shredded cabbage salad with roasted sesame dressing.
GANSO-SHABUWAY JAPANESE STYLE HOT POT
The “shabuway” in its name is a made-up word that was coined to mean “the road to shabu-shabu for shabu-shabu lovers.” As its name suggests, Ganso-Shabuway Japanese Style Hot Pot specializes in the popular Japanese dish called Shabu-Shabu, which means a pot of flavorful stock with thinly sliced beef or pork, even seafood, and vegetables boiled in the broth.
Ganso-Shabuway also has appetizers, such as miso-glazed eggplant Nasu Miso Itame, Beef Gyoza, and marinated and deep-fried Chicken Karaage, on its menu, as well as seafood items like Tuna Belly and Ebi Fry, and rice bowls that include Beef Curry, Ebi Curry and Beef Yakiniku.
Got to taste Ganso-Shabuway’s Beef Yakiniku, Beef Wantons and Sukiyaki last week.
WICKED BY CRAVINGS
Wicked is where dessert fantasies come true. It’s a dessert concept restaurant by the Cravings group and it offers cakes, cupcakes and other sugary confections served with tea, specially concocted alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
The menu is divided into three categories: Wickedly Sinful, which includes Brookies (cookies sandwiched in between fudgy brownies), best enjoyed with a shot of milk, and Wicked Stepmother Apple Pie (apple pie in muffin form); Wickedly Sexy, which uses ingredients that increase the body temperature, such as chili; and Wickedly Intoxicating, which are desserts infused with alcohol, such as White Russian Fondue (a deconstruction of the White Russian cocktail, with cake pops rolled in roasted almonds then served with Russian chocolate fondue).
Now, this was where I got to taste the Truffle Macarons I was raving about at the start of this blog post. I also got to taste the Chocolate Barks and the Chocolate-dipped Potato Chips. The Chocolate Barks are another awesome sweet treat to rave about. They come in Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate and White Chocolate variations, and each huge Chocolate Bark is studded with marshmallows and Graham cracker bits. I asked for Dark Chocolate Bark and was given a huge slice of it.
Also on the dessert buffet were Chocolate Tablea Mousse with edible flower accents, Brookies and White Russian Fondue.
HAPPY CREAM PUFF
So you think Cream Puffs are all the same? Think again. Or better yet, look at the Cream Puffs at Happy Cream Puff before you even think of making such a declaration. At Happy Cream Puff, Cream Puffs come in a variety of flavors. It offers the Nama Choux Series, which include Strawberry Nama Choux (with fresh whipped cream between layers of fresh strawberry and new baked puffs) and Banana Nama Éclair; the Puff Series, which includes the extremely popular Caramel Cream Puff; and Petit Puffs, whose flavors include Plain, Caramel, White Chocolate and Dark Chocolate.
Kettle, Kimukatsu, Ganso-Shabuway Japanese Style Hot Pot, Wicked by Cravings and Happy Cream Puff can all be found at Level 5 of Shangri-La Plaza’s East Wing.