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A meticulously curated, farm-to-table Chinese degustation menu

I just cracked open a fortune cookie at The Westin Manila in Ortigas City only to find the saying, “You will experience the good things in life shortly.”

It didn’t take long for this promise to materialize, as my best friend of 29 years, Bum Tenorio, and I savored the sumptuous, eight-course meal at the luxurious hotel’s Seasonal Tastes restaurant. Every dish was a promise of a good life, as each tasted divine. The hotel did not mention it was a prosperity meal, but it tasted just that, considering it was a great way to welcome the Chinese New Year.

My dear friend Meghan Hernandez, marketing and communications manager of The Westin Manila, delivered on her promise when she said, “You will experience only the best that life has to offer here when you partake of CuiScene No. 2.”

CuiScene No. 2, a collaboration between celebrity chef and restaurateur Sharwin Tee and The Westin Manila executive chef Rej Casanova, is a meticulously curated farm-to-table contemporary Chinese degustation menu. What better way to welcome the Chinese New Year than with this special gustatory event?

Westin Manila’s deluxe room.

Chefs Sharwin and Rej collaborated to create an amazing, Chinese-inspired menu using only the freshest organic produce. The result was a sumptuous, filling unforgettable experience.

The eight-course menu started with “Earth, Land, Ocean,” a presentation of handcrafted dim sum: pork siomai with seared foie gras glazed in black vinegar, mushroom and peas with truffle essence, and lobster and chives. Though all three dim sum dishes were one wallop of a bite each, I savored them with pan-seared goose liver on top because the juice of the foie gras seeped through the whole dim sum.

I must have devoted a good five minutes to savoring this dim sum with goose liver. Each bite was an excursion to a delightful experience. Whereas Bum swore to the heavenly flavors of the lobster and chive dim sum. He just popped it in his mouth and remained silent for a few minutes. “Quiet,” he hushed me. “I’m giving reverence to the gloriousness of this dim sum.” I kept quiet and watched him with awe as I sipped my glorious French wine, Henri Milan Le Grand Blanc, that paired with the first dish. The same wine accompanied the succeeding courses.

Next was the "Lettuce & Kiniing,” a gustatory creation that delicately combined poached romaine, iceberg, and Lolo Rosa lettuce with Benguet XO sauce, made of kiniing, or cured pork. This masterpiece reminded me of a twist on the three-way Peking duck.

Lettuce and Kiniing by chef Sharwin Tee.

The third course, “Chicken & Corn,” was a fusion of succulent chicken terrine, sesame sweet corn glaze, marinated cucumber, and sesame dressing drizzled on the dish. It was a refreshing take on the combined flavors of chicken and corn..

Like manna from heaven, simply because any soybean-based food is always a favorite, the fourth course “Tofu & Mushroom” featured a multi-flavored, twice-cooked tofu, shiitake mushroom sauce, and fried oyster mushrooms. Who says healthy food can’t be delightful?

“Fish & Kale” came next, featuring the freshest sous-vide Asian seabass (it was soft as cotton and melted in the mouth), organic kale XO sauce, a crispy rice cracker, fish-milk broth, scallion oil and kale purée. It was a toast of delicate flavors from the sea.

When the succulent Angus beef and roasted organic broccoli with oyster sauce, and cauliflower puree was served for the “Beef & Broccoli” course, Bum was in ecstasy. A lover of good steak, he was in meat heaven. I did not disturb him. He ate his steak with reverence and revelry, pairing it with a bouquet-heavy Austrian wine: Judith Beck Pinot Noir.

“Carrot & Egg” was the seventh dish, ingeniously combining carrot noodles, carrot-ginger sauce, cumin-spiced barbecue carrots and a luscious, 63-degree-Celsius sous-vide egg. It was a burst of heavenly flavors.

The eighth course was the unforgettable, lip-smacking ending “Mango & Sago in 8 Textures.” It was a

unique blend of mango jelly, mango mousse, almond sponge, tapioca crisp, pomelo salad, whipped Chantilly, and mango caviar. Sweet heaven forbid, but I finished mine in a jiffy.

According to chef Sharwin, who also writes a food column for The STAR, "The meat and the vegetables in our menu are on equal platforms — they complement one another."

All these dishes had been carefully planned, flavors uniquely combined and lovingly presented. The Chinese food is even more special because of the difficulty of sourcing the ingredients. The team is currently working on the next culinary collaboration for CuiScene No. 3 slated for this year.

Charming Meghann said, “The best things are worth waiting for.” Truly, she was so right.


For Valentine’s, Seasonal Tastes offers a hearty dinner buffet with beef prime rib, duck tortellini in tomato truffle fondue, seafood paella, Baked Alaska and more at P3,600 net per person, including a glass of sparkling wine. Today is the last day of the promo. You can book online via https://qrco.de/VdayBuffet2024.

The Westin Manila is located at San Miguel Ave. cor. Lourdes Dr. Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City. For other services of the hotel, click on https://qrco.de/WesMNL westinmanilahotel.com.

Credit belongs to : www.philstar.com

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