Diamond Hotel Philippines is one of the few hotels that has not forgotten celebrating Filipino cuisine during Independence Week by including a number of Filipino traditional dishes in their international spread during its duration. This time, the hotel is holding Filipino Culinary Pride, a food festival that features all-time Filipino favorites tweaked by the innovative talent of Celebrity Chef Sau del Rosario and Pastry Chef Miko Aspiras, two of the hottest and multi-awarded chefs in the country today.
It would be inaccurate if we would say that fusion is not involved in the method of their culinary compositions; but unlike fusion where essential tastes are lost in its preparation, the familiar taste for us Filipinos remains in the dishes of Chef Sau like the Crispy Pork Macadamia Kare-Kare that has the creamy, nutty taste that we are so in love with, enhanced with truffle oil, plus the added crunch and aftertaste of whole macadamia nuts that Sau ingeniously left unprocessed.
The Sisig Paella is just as it is defined—crunchy sisig woven into a Paella. It is what we normally do, we mix sisig with plain rice and dig in but what Sau did was cook the sisig as original as it is because he comes from Pampanga where the dish was created, then it is topped into the Paella rice. This is his trophy dish featured in his recent Napa stint that became a blockbuster to many foreigners.
Bringhe (native paella), of course, is one of his best innovations with native chicken and longganisa while the steamed Mushroom Parcels wrapped in banana leaf was a pleasant surprise in both taste and presentation. As all Filipino festivities point to the omni-present lechon, a Porchetta was in the chopping block beside the perfectly baked Salmon Salt Crusted with Calamansi and Coconut for carving. There was also the perennial favorites Ox Tongue with Mushrooms, Boneless Chicken Inasal, Salted Eggyolk Prawn Rebosado served with Aligue Aioli, Beef Asado cooked for hours with tomato sauce, mushrooms, and chestnuts, Bangus Relleno, Crab on its own Fat and Coconut with Lemongrass, and fork-tender Lamb Adobo.
Pastry Chef Miko Aspiras brings forth a five-star-creativity that matches the excellence of the fresh fruits made available to him: Mansanas – dulcey-cinammon mousse and Granny Smith apple compote dipped in red glaze decorated with chocolate leaf and twigs; Cherry – created from layers of fluffy chocolate sponge, cherry mousse and cherry Chantilly; Mandarin Cheesecake, Dayap in coconut mousse with dayap curd dipped in praline cocos, and Keso de Bola Macarons, among others. For regular hotel visitors, the famous Diamond Hotel Ensaymada is served with Flambed Morada and Rosella.
The hotel’s Taho (soy pudding) section (complete with the “street call”) was a hit, a “grounded” sort of moment after all the luxurious spread that reminds us of a vanishing street food that we have enjoyed during our childhood.
You can still catch the Diamond Hotel’s Filipino Culinary Pride until July 01. Guests with a minimum spend of P5,000 at the Corniche Buffet will get a raffle ticket for a chance to win a 2-night stay in Baguio while P20,000 spend will get you a complimentary stay in a de luxe room with breakfast for two.