The Tasting Room Offers One of the Most Luxurious Meals in Manila
Wealth and status are things you can easily flaunt, where you can have your bling and gadgets or even a stylized photo shoot at the Malacañang Palace for all those social media likes. However, a meal at The Tasting Room offers so much more genteel distinction and tastefulness because aside from the well-prepared dishes and the fine selection of wines, there is also the world-class dining experience that comes with it.
This relaunched dining outlet at the City of Dreams sits in a quiet corner of the Crown Tower. It is here that epicures are treated to truly fine dining whilst being pampered like monarchy of a small country with the seamless service offered by the staff. This is fittingly so, as its two major driving forces have trained under culinary royalty.
Chef de Cuisine Frederic Thevenet
The tandem of Chef Frederic Thevenet and Maitre D’ Stephen Moroney have known each other for many years, having both worked at many Michelin-starred restaurants under food luminaries such as Alain Ducasse and Pierre Gagnaire. Prior to their move to Manila, the two worked together from 2015 until the third quarter of 2017 at Pierre Gagnaire’s La Maison 1888 at Da Nang Sun Peninsula Resort, considered the leading gastronomic destination in Vietnam. Together, they have collaborated to create a Michelin-level dining experience in Manila.
As it is on its first legs, the restaurant initially offers a set meal, with a choice of 4 or 6 courses, with the option for the bespoke dishes to be paired with wines thoughtfully chosen by Stephen to enhance the experience.
Sea Bass Carpaccio
The menu is enough to send any discriminating diner into spasms of culinary ecstasy. Newbies need not be intimidated as Stephen and his staff are ready to guide you through this culinary journey step by step, with commentaries about the ingredients used, and even the particular order in which to take your bites in order to savor the full effects of each flavor.
The magnificent meal starts off with sea bass carpaccio with red and black radish, artichoke cream, cucumber jelly, celeriac, remoulade, banana blossom, veal tongue, vinaigrette, and pickles; and porcini and king prawns ravioli with green curry, endives and coconut. Stephen recommends pairing these with 2013 Pascal Jolivet Pouilly-Fumé and 2013 Cantina Tramin, Alto Adige Pinot Grigio, respectively.
This is promptly followed by a beautiful lobster bisque with ginger and espelette pepper, a fitting introduction to the fish entrée, pollock with choucroute, smoked bacon, tofu, and juniper berries (which goes well with 2012 Domaine Mittnacht Gewurztraminer). After you sigh your approval, plates are whisked away and replaced by Cape Grim grassfed beef tenderloin with black pepper, onions, and potatoes as a 2010 Château Potensac Médoc is poured. The dinner ends with a wicked Chocolate Success with lychee veloute, paired with the 2013 Jurancon, Clos Lapeyre.
Everything about the meal discreetly whispers elegance, from the plump bread rolls and creamiest hand-churned butter proffered at the start of the meal, to the sparkling wine glasses and silverware on the table, the choice of line-caught fish, distinctively tender grass-fed beef, and fresh produce, plus the knowledgeable staff unobtrusively waiting in the wings to anticipate your every need.
Cape Grim Grass Fed Beef Tenderloin
Then, as you wind down from the satisfying meal, a tea trolley is rolled out where instead of tea bags, one is asked to pick out which of the fresh leaves from an array of potted herbs (flown in from France) you want to have steeped into your hot beverage.
Chef Frederic says that he brings a certain distinction to the Tasting Room, one that is based on his culinary experience. “My obsession for quality will be reflected in each dish at The Tasting Room. I start from the very basics of finding the best ingredients in season and creating the right combination or contrast of flavors, as inspired by Chef Alain Ducasse’s Cuisine dela Naturalite. I balance this great emphasis on freshness of produce with my learnings from Chef Pierre Gagnaire that each dish should be crafted like a work of art through modern French techniques.” The Tasting Room, he says, will showcase his unique style and interpretation of a Michelin star dining experience and redefines European fine dining in a beautiful setting.
The Tasting Room is looking to add more dishes in the future, offering their initial salvo as a four-course menu priced at P4,588++ per person and a six-course menu is at P5,088++. Wine pairing is offered at an additional P2,000++ and P2,800++, respectively.