Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Old becomes New

I haven't gone back to the iconic Manila Hotel for some time. It is one of the first hotels in Manila having been built in 1912. It was also once the residence of Douglas McArthur. The last time I was here, the hotel had a very run down look.

This year, I have heard that they have refurbished the hotel and an invitation by my friend for lunch gave me an opportunity to see for myself.

The hotel itself still had the same facade and I was wondering how radical the change could be. One thing tI noticed when I entered the hotel was that is had an X-RAY machine after the metal reminded me of hotels in the middle east. I was going to lunch.... not getting on an airplane!

I love the ice cream trolley with the "Manila Hotel "pictured above. It's very Filipino~ (this the local ice cream you can see on street corners)

Finally finding our way to CAFE ILANG ILANG, I was surprised by the well lit interiors. (You have to walk the old hallway first). You wouldn't think you were in the Manila Hotel. It felt more like Makati Shangrila interiors. Gone were the rundown walls and chairs.

So, we chose to sit near the food ( wonder why?? hahaha) and I walked around looking at what food stations they had to offer. From what I saw, they had a Italian station  --- I loved that they have a pizza oven right on the floor (fresh baked pizza!) and they even have a pasta sculpture of a Roman building. (they used cannelonni) as the columns. On the side, they have a selection of pasta and sauces and you can ask them to make you a pasta dish (tomato or cream sauce?)

They have a appetizer station- (some fresh oysters were available but I did not care to try them), cheese selection (I tried to avoid eating too much although I really love cheese)....middle east section (they had shawarma and hummus), Asian section (peking duck, noodle station) and a continental section. The only thing missing was the japanese section (where is the sushi??)

The paella (top left) was nice visually but was not that good. (a bit fishy), the pork spare ribs (lower left) was better. The peking duck was passable- the skin was not crunchy and the wrapper was over steamed.
I liked the soup though
This was the first time for me to taste "frog soup"~ tinolang palaka. They usually make this soup with chicken (adding ginger and chili leaves) - when you actually look at the meat, you wouldn't know it was frog unless someone told you. it tasted quite good, with the blend of the ginger and the chili leaves not too strong to make it too spicy.

Another nice station was the carving station where you can have roast beef, sausages and ham. they would cook the beef a little more for you if you prefer it more well done. The slices were small enough to satisfy and not overwhelm my plate. the roast beef also comes with various sidings and sauces - guacamole, chipolante, gravy and some other items I could not remember.
Of course my favorite part would be dessert !
The selection was pretty extensive and quite good. They had a cold marble stone to make ice cream mixes, a halo-halo station, a pastry bar (they had also local pastries available), a crepe bar. They even have a separate section for SUGAR FREE desserts. (I think this was for those people who want to have dessert and not feel guilty about it...hahahaha)

The best part? I think was the coffee..........
I already added the milk + froth
they give you coffee and a cup of frothed milk.... I suddenly had an image of KATO from The Green Hornet making a coffee design on the coffee of his boss... I did not have any designs skills on this part so- no heart shapes here!

The buffet selection was ok. I am still a fan of Spirals in Sofitel. But if you want to see what they have done to the Old Manila Hotel, it is now worth a visit and make sure you have a hotel card to get a discount!

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