MARCO Polo Ortigas Manila, which just recently soft-opened along busy Meralco Ave. in Ortigas Center, Pasig, is fast becoming the newest dining destination to be in the metro. Food lovers are flocking to the hotel’s all-day dining restaurant, Cucina, where there’s an impressive buffet of Continental and Asian specialties. The buffet spread isn’t as comprehensive as other hotels’, but its food selections are carefully and thoughtfully made by Executive Chef Benjamin Roy Rendell and his staff.
Presenting a well-curated showcase of international smorgasbord that impresses in flavor and not in size, the restaurant on the 24th floor of the hotel features a live open kitchen that presents all the specialties from the world’s culinary capitals. What’s more: The Cucina buffet highlights one signature gourmet dish every day of the week, giving diners seven reasons to dine at Cucina every day.
On Mondays, the signature dish on spotlight is a rich, buttery, delicate and classic French gourmet indulgence, Pan-fried Duck Liver (a.k.a. foie gras) with Spring Salad, Sauteed Apple Cider Dressing and Calvados Glaze. It’s generous portions of foie gras served finger-food style. The foie gras is thick enough to satisfy cravings, yet small enough not to cause
Refreshing Warm Thai Beef Salad takes center stage on Tuesdays, with the grilled tender filets of U.S. beef sliced thinly and mixed with cucumber, onion, basil, cilantro, mint and chili, and tossed in traditional Thai dressing.
Wednesdays focus on local Filipino flavors with Filipino Barbecued Pork and Chicken marinated with lemon, garlic and soya, and served with atchara (pickled raw papaya).
Thursdays are all fired up with Marco Polo Ortigas Manila’s award-winning Hong Kong chefs taking over the kitchen and whipping up Cantonese Style Chili Crabs as well as artfully handcrafted dim sums.
On Fridays, it’s always a French celebration with French Mussels and French Fries, always a treat with the finest imported mussels prepared in the age-old tradition of Moules Mariniere. The mussels are exquisitely braised in Chablis wine, herbs, garlic, dairy butter and beer to give the dish an entirely different kick.
Saturdays are special with the home-cooked goodness of Warm Rock Lobster Thermidor, which are half rock lobsters sautéed with shallots, brandy, white wine and tarragon, and served in a mustard flavored cheese sauce. It’s a rich and creamy treat, and yet you can also feel the firm flesh and taste the freshness of the lobsters incorporated into the dish.
Sundays are another indulgence dining day with Filet of Beef Wellington (Bouef en Croute), with a slab of Prime U.S. Beef Tenderloin coated with pate and duxelles, wrapped in puff pastry and baked to golden perfection. The Beef Wellington is then sliced and served with potato gratin and madeira sauce. A slice or two should more than satisfy cravings for this comfort dish.
My personal favorites were the Cantonese Style Chili Crabs, French Mussels and Warm Rock Lobster Thermidor. That’s just me, though, a seafood lover. My colleagues in media who were at the same table during the Seven Days, Seven Reasons to Visit Cucina media launch last week loved the Pan-fried Duck Liver, Beef Wellington, Warm Thai Beef Salad and Filipino Barbecued Pork and Chicken. We had our own favorites.
Marco Polo Ortigas Manila’s Cucina is open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and for dinner from 6:30 to 11:00 p.m. every day, with buffet price starting at Php1,400++ per person. There is also an ongoing 3+1 Buffet Promotion, where groups of four only have to pay for three and the fourth diner gets to eat for free. This special promotion is available until May 31, 2014.
(Marco Polo Ortigas Manila is located at Meralco Ave. corner Sapphire St., Ortigas Center, Pasig City; with telephone number 720-7777.)