We were on vacation at Diamond Hotel for Father’s Day weekend, but I ended up having fever that morning. Not only was I sick, I was also feeling down lately because of certain events that week. To add to that, I knew I would be unable to go swimming that day, although I had been excited about it since last week. Then my father told me that Chefs Roland and Jackie Laudico will be holding a lunch and dinner buffet downstairs at Corniche, titled Celebration of Filipino Flavors.
My mom said my face lighted up all at once. I had met Chef Roland Laudico previously and ended up a fan of his. I knew I had to see him. At the elevator heading downstairs, my mom said he might be really busy so we must not expect him to see us.
The superstar that he is, Chef Laudico spared us a moment of his time by meeting us at the entrance to the buffet. I was extremely happy to see him. He even wrote me a note on the flyer for his buffet which we got at the concierge. Mom was so happy that he kissed him on the cheek too.
That afternoon , we decided to partake of his dinner buffet – all 7 of us- my mom and papa, and us 5 kids. We did not have reservations so the waitress said she could not accomodate us. Then the manager showed up and asked for 60 seconds to get us a table. And he did- in only 45!
I was very happy about this. As a bonus, we found not only Chef Roland Laudico, but also his wife, Chef Jackie Laudico behind us at the entrance, to whom we said our hello’s with delight.
As expected, it was Filipino food galore…..but with exciting twists here and there. My first and what turns out to be my favorite dish was the delicious grilled vegetables spring roll. The skin is crispy and its flavor of its filling, traditional but very much more exciting than the regular lumpia. Maybe it’s the presentation. The spring roll was shaped like an ice cream cone, and inserted in a small glass, with the vinegar placed right under it. Hey, it comes in different varieties too.
There were other compelling appetizers as well – the scallop kilawin, conveniently already sitting on a white spoon, and the inasal wrap, sealed with a toothpick , which you can quickly munch upon while deciding which dish to devour first.
I also ate mixed seafood, chicken teriyaki, vegetable curry, goan curry, chorizo with mushroom spring roll, chocolate tart and japanese fried rice. The mixed seafood had mussels and shrimp, which I loved. The chicken teriyaki has a subtle taste , so my thoughts were to add a little salt. However, I do prefer the juicier chicken parts like the wing and thighs so I found it a little dry for me . The vegetable curry had a thick sauce, and the vegetables are crunchy. The goan curry had fish fillet and a spicy, thick sauce. It was too spicy for my taste buds so I was unable to finish it. But I know my grandpa would have loved its raw spiciness.
I also liked the chorizo with mushrooms. The subtle taste of the mushrooms complement the richness of the chorizo.
The lechon de leche was interesting because it was lighter in color than the regular lechon we buy often. My papa says it is probably cooked in milk. I did not get to taste it but mom and my siblings loved its crispy skin, and soft meat. My little sister only wished there was more fat! There were a lot of sauces to choose from: bistek sauce, bicol express , taba ng talangka, among them.
I tried the roasted beef and duck. The roast beef is soft and juicy and it also has its own sauce. The duck is tender and has a crunchy skin. My papa feasted on the duck all night!
I had chocolate tart for dessert. It had a simple but charming presentation, with a tart base, chocolate filling in the middle and chocolate shavings on top. It was, overall, a delicious tart . The deconstructed sans rival was a welcome surprise , since I hadn’t eaten any deconstructed dish in my life. The mini halo halo looked cute because it is served on a 3 inch tall glass, with a few beans and jello at the bottom and a small serving of ube and leche flan on top. The size is just right – for one must leave space for a buffet with so many other delectable desserts to feast on.
The service was excellent, too. Our plates were quickly replaced and our water was refilled once the glass is half full. Chefs Roland and Jackie were hands -on. They were carving the meat, refilling the dessert buffet, and even entertaining guests like they probably would at their private dinner parties. It added a warmth to the occasion that money can’t buy.
Celebration of Filipino Flavors exhibits the joy of the Philippine fiesta. The atmosphere was bright and festive. The food was everything Filipino, but so much more. It brought to my tummy that night, what Filipino spirit lingered in the air as the nation celebrated Jose Rizal‘s 150th birth anniversary.
Sombreros off to you, Chefs Jackie and Roland Laudico!
Here are my ratings:
Kid friendliness- 4
Food – 5
Service – 5
2- fairly satisfactory
The rest of the gang gave an average of 5 points for food, service , place and kid-friendliness.
Thanks for reading my blog. Bye!