Food

Try This Steak Dinner Where Dessert is Served First

Marriott Hotel Manila's Upside Down Dinner will leave you feeling a bit confused but wholly satisfied.
IMAGE Courtesy of Marriott Hotel Manila
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These days, everybody has a gimmick. It’s not enough that restaurants offer great-tasting food in a gorgeous setting; sometimes, they need to reel you in with clever stunts or special promos to grab your attention and help you part with your hard-earned money. 

In the case of Cru Steakhouse, one of Manila’s most reliable places for a nice piece of grilled beef, gimmicks are hardly needed. Occasionally, though, Marriott Hotel Manila’s steakhouse has them, if only to keep things fresh for an outlet that’s almost a decade old.

The four courses of Marriott Hotel Manila's Upside Down Dinner

Photo by Courtesy of Marriott Hotel Manila.
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Cru Steakhouse’s latest come-on is an Upside Down Dinner (although in purely literal terms calling it Backwards Dinner would have been more on-point). The idea is to take a traditional four-course dinner and, well, turn it on its head. 

“They have these kinds of dinners in Europe,” Marriott Hotel Manila’s Executive Chef Meik Bremmer at the beginning (the end?) of the dinner. “So we decided to have one here.”

Dessert was Noisette Exotique, a pastry of hazelnut dacquoise, almond lemon crumble, praline-noisette mousse, yuzu cremeux, orange passion compote and yellow exotic glacage

Photo by Courtesy of Marriott Hotel Manila.
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The dinner starts with the end: servers hand you a “farewell gift” of chocolate pralines as soon as you walk into Cru’s dimly lit foyer before leading you to your table. The bill is handed to you before anything else happens—it’s strangely relaxing not to have to think about it for the rest of the meal.

Your server then offers you coffee or tea prior to whipping out the first course, which, of course, is dessert—a delicate and decadent pastry with layers of hazelnut dacquoise, almond lemon crumble, praline-noisette mousse, yuzu cremeux, orange passion compote and yellow exotic glacage. It takes some getting used to, but those with a sweet tooth might appreciate the premature appearance of the traditional meal-ender.

Appetizer comes last: Crab and Apple Salad, where a cherry tomato is stuffed with a creamy crab salad with pine nut gremolata, avocado mousseline, and crème fraiche

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Photo by Courtesy of Marriott Hotel Manila.

Rosemary Crusted US Angus Beef Tenderloin served with potato puree, brown butter glazed vegetables and pink peppercorn sauce
Photo by Courtesy of Marriott Hotel Manila.
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Sweet gives way to savory as the main course appears next—a Rosemary Crusted US Angus Beef Tenderloin served with potato puree, brown butter glazed vegetables and pink peppercorn sauce. Those skipping meat can go with the fish option—a nice fillet of barramundi.

Diners will have precious little time to breathe before the server delivers the soup course—a Tomato Espresso with a gruyere pudding toast. You can even stick out your pinkie as you sip the piping hot, slightly sour broth from the espresso cup.

The soup course is Tomato Espresso with a gruyere pudding toast

Photo by Courtesy of Marriott Hotel Manila.
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Finish your meal with the appetizer, which in this case is the Crab and Apple Salad, where a cherry tomato is stuffed with a creamy crab salad with pine nut gremolata, avocado mousseline, and crème fraiche.

As you use a table napkin to wipe away any lingering traces of the meal on the lips, your server will then introduce herself, signaling the end of this bizarre, one-of-a kind dining experience.

Cru Steakhouse at the Marriott Hotel Manila is one of the most reliable names for steak in the city

Photo by Courtesy of Marriott Hotel Manila.
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Cru Steakhouse’s Upside Down Dinner (P2,800 nett per person) is available every Thursdays of July to December, 6PM to 10:30PM. Prior reservation is required. For more information on Marriott’s dining offers please call (02) 988 9999 or visit www.manilamarriott.com.

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Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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