Dining in Manila
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September 1, 2015
After all the fantastic food adventures in Shanghai and Beijing, I return to Fairmont Makati in Manila, Philippines and think back on all the wonderful gastronomy I discovered during my time in the beautiful city.
Fairmont Makati is a majestic structure situated just steps away from Makati's famous Greenbelt and Glorietta shopping precincts, and thus makes for an excellent stay for anyone who visits Manila just to shop – been there, done that.
While the Fairmont lobby opens up in a mass of modern marbled elements and immense frosted glass windows, the rooms boast impressive city views through its high ceiling to floor windows and highlights an exceptional mix of natural light with dark woods. My ensuite was even packed with personalised Le Labo amenities that had my name printed all over them. Just like the Fairmont staff's flawless service, you can't fault their strong attention to detail.
They say Manila is a city where people spend a lot of time eating, in a good way, and that's definitely true. In this spirit, Fairmont Makati offers a wide range of exceptional venues to meet the unique tastes of every guest.
1 Raffles Drive, Makati Avenue Makati City Philippines
An all-day dining eatery where dishes are prepared right before your eyes, Spectrum features an open kitchen concept through an interactive culinary theatre. The restaurant offers a fine array of international cuisines from across the globe – the Middle East, Europe, Japan, China and local dishes from the Philippines.
I had the Luxe Sunday Brunch and would definitely recommend this buffet for their lavish offerings of live stations of the finest seafood. Think mainly oysters, sashimi, and sushi. And of course homemade pastries, charcuterie, pasta, pizza, and an extravagant choice of signature desserts. A glass of champagne and signature cocktail drinks complete this luxurious dining experience.
Besides the assortment of fine cheese, cold cuts and western food, here you will also find more relevant Filipino breakfast staples such as garlic rice, fried fish and whole coconuts. Not going to lie, they also serve an incredible Cebu Lechon that is perfectly thin with a generous layer of fat hugging the salty skin. Yum!
At Spectrum, they believe in quality over quantity, so you can surely expect the dishes to be mouthwatering good, buffet or not. Their pizzas are prestigiously made to order and their cheesecakes melt in your mouth, what more can you ask for?
The very attentive, well-dressed and courteous staff are just a bonus.
If you're looking for a lighter menu, however, the Fairmont Lounge offers just that, and is perfect for contemporary liquid creations, informal business discussions and a relaxing drink at the end of a day.
Ground Level of Fairmont Makati
Pleasant and bright by day, and enchanting and intimate by night, Fairmont Lounge is the ultimate destination for true cocktail lovers. I'm always feeling peckish so naturally I ordered a few mains to share, and thankfully none disappointed, though I especially like their classic caesar salad with chicken and prawns, and their crispy duck spring rolls with hoi sin sauce.
They also create some mean drinks, so you need to check out this lounge immediately.
Make sure to swing by the contemporary and sophisticated Café Macaron for their array of gourmet sandwiches, bakery items, exquisite homemade cakes and carefully handcrafted pastries. They're famously known for their signature selection of macarons featuring unique local flavours of mango, ube, queso de bola, pandan and more!
Ground Level of Raffles Makati
Right next to Fairmont Makati, the Writers Bar at Raffles is also a lovely place to lounge and relax to soft music while feasting on the Raffles Classic Afternoon Tea. It is styled as a library and takes on a modern interpretation of the original Writers Bar from Raffles Hotel, Singapore.
Ground Level of Raffles Makati
Also modelled and styled after the original Long Bar at the Raffles Hotel, Singapore – where the famous Singapore Sling was created – the Long Bar in Manila at Raffles Makati is a warm and lively eatery that maintains a understated rustic and graceful old world charm. As tradition encouraged by the staff, simply drop the peanut shells on the classic mosaic tiled floors when all the un-shelling is done – it is truly a liberating experience, and one that sets Long Bar apart from other bars in the metro.
Notably, you'll have to try their local version of the iconic Sling – the Makati Luxury Sling, with 24K gold flakes as its key ingredient. I'm also very in love with their refreshing cranberry cucumber mojito.
Long Bar's signature bar chow is honestly extremely comforting and exceedingly delicious, to say the least. Their pork rinds dish with chilli and tamarind rub is a must-must-must-try and I can't stress this enough. Please do yourself a favour and order this dish, it is pure pork bliss.
Think huge slices of pork belly deep fried and dusted with a flavourful rub that takes chicharon to a completely new level. The result is salty, subtly sour and with just the right amount of sweetness and punch of chilli in every bite.
Thank you Loni for introducing these tasty Long Bar chicharons to me, I've been craving them ever since and can't wait to return to Manila for them!
Light and luscious, the tuna carpaccio is a real treat, and I thoroughly enjoyed my pan seared salmon that was perfectly cooked and melt-in-your-mouth absolutely wonderful.
The fried prawn toasts are also great with drinks, and boasts a delicate prawn mousse with a crisp toasty base. Bite into it, and you'll understand why they say it tastes as good as it looks.
Without a doubt, the grilled tenderloin is succulent and also makes a lasting impression, but it's always smart to leave some room for dessert, especially when dining at the Long Bar. This is what it is: the upside down lemon pie is the kind of pie you want to come home to after a long day.
And their gloriously rich and textured chocolate mousse. Who doesn't love a sweet ending?
If you're venturing out, however, I've also heard countless good things about Bamba Bistro for their duck ravioli, Ramen Yushoken for the best-selling Shoyu bowl, Yabu for their Menchi Katsu, Manam for their sinigang na beef short rib and watermelon, and Silantro Fil-Mex Cantina for their beef nachos. Don't be surprised at the huge variety, Manila has been dubbed food heaven after all!
It's always a treat to return home to the prestigious Fairmont Makati after an entire day of eating and shopping, and their friendly staff will never fail to put a smile on your face. I've even made some wonderful food buddies on the way, that must say something.
See you again, Manila!
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This post is the 3rd of a 4-part #FairmontInStyle Dining Series brought to you by Willabelle Ong, www.paledivision.com
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