Sol Vanzi Timpla't Tikim
NOSTALGIC LUXURIES: FROM OYSTERS ROCKEFELLER TO BAKED ALASKA 

In the hustle and bustle of today’s fast-food-twitter-text life, the simple pleasures of slow-but-comfortable lifestyles of the old seem light years away. It was, therefore, with much delight that I ventured into the traffic jams of Metro Manila to get to Cowrie Grill for lunch with 10 female journalists, several of them my contemporaries. Traveling from Malate to the Promenade at Greenhills Shopping Center took all of three hours because of cargo trucks blocking every road and alley, but the lunch, thanks to a well-planned menu, was well worth the trip. OLD TIMES Take a trip down memory lane with these classics from Cowrie Grill. Oysters Rockeller; Surf and Turf; and Baked Alaska. READ MORE TO EAT, VIEW MORE PHOTOS......

ALSO: Manila Hotel’s Cowrie Grill re-launched in Greenhills in Nov,  2013 

One of Enrique Yap's memorable dining experiences as a young boy growing up in the
1980s was eating at the Cowrie Grill with his family. “Back then, there weren’t a lot of places to go to eat and experience fine service,” he said. “My parents would tell us we have to dress up for the occasion and put our best behavior forward. When we get there, I would be astounded by the feel of the place and ambience. What really mattered to me, as a kid then, was the tableside service.” Some 30 years down the road, the young boy has become part of the management team that is involved in the revival of the establishment.

The Cowrie Grill has been an institution in Manila Hotel ever since it opened in 1977, but it had to give way to the expansion and renovation of Café Ilang-Ilang in 2011. “We realized that Cowrie Grill had a strong equity and following so we decided to re-launch it and bring it closer to our clients,” said Yap, who is now Manila Hotel's executive vice president. Unlike him, I didn’t have any childhood story starring the iconic grill house, but I thought that it wasn’t too late to create new memories since Manila Hotel’s signature restaurant reopened recently. * CONTINUE READING...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Nostalgic Luxuries
From Oysters Rockefeller to Baked Alaska, indulge on some of the world’s gastronomic classics.


OLD TIMES Take a trip down memory lane with these classics from Cowrie Grill. From top left: Oysters Rockeller; Surf and Turf; and Baked Alaska. (Images by Rudy Liwanag)

MANILA, AUGUST 11, 2014 (BULLETIN) Sol Vanzi - Timpla't Tikim: In the hustle and bustle of today’s fast-food-twitter-text life, the simple pleasures of slow-but-comfortable lifestyles of the old seem light years away.

It was, therefore, with much delight that I ventured into the traffic jams of Metro Manila to get to Cowrie Grill for lunch with 10 female journalists, several of them my contemporaries.

Traveling from Malate to the Promenade at Greenhills Shopping Center took all of three hours because of cargo trucks blocking every road and alley, but the lunch, thanks to a well-planned menu, was well worth the trip.


VIDEO: Cowrie Grill: Published on Mar 10, 2014 Cowrie Grill Greenhills Promenade San Juan. The renowned steak house of the Manila Hotel has opened their first branch outside the hotel at the new Promenade shopping complex in Greenhills, San Juan. Expect a fine dining steakhouse with an awesome Roasted Angus Prime Rib, table side Caesar Salad and Baked Alaskan, one of the best meals we have had in a while!

Classic Onion Soup

We started with one of the most popular comfort soups of all time: French Onion Soup.

This time, it was cooked in individual crocks, which kept the melted Gruyere cheese topping at the right temperature and gooey consistency.

Forever Caesar


VIDEO SCREENGRAB

Caesar Salad followed. It was prepared tableside, the way it was intended to be when created in 1924 by Caesar Cardini, an Italian restaurateur in Tijuana, Mexico.

The very knowledgeable waiter at Cowrie Grill explained every single step, from the crushing of the garlic cloves and salted anchovies to the rhythmic mixing that induces the emulsification of egg yolk and olive oil. Not surprisingly, we all begged for an extra helping of freshly grated Parmesan.

Oysters with History

A shortage of snails from Europe in 1899 prompted Jules Alciatore of Antoine’s in New Orleans to develop a replacement. He chose oysters, which abound in the area. He baked oysters on the half-shell and covered it with an herb-flavored sauce containing at least 18 ingredients.

The result was so rich he named it Oysters Rockefeller after one of the richest men in the world at the time, John D. Rockefeller.

Newsflash: Cowrie Grill has just outdone Antoine’s by using oysters bigger than babies’ slippers. They were so large and heavenly rich that each serving of six oysters was more than enough to be shared by three people.

Surf And Turf


PHOTO CREDIT: RUDY LIWANAG

The dish that followed is not based on any specific recipe.

Surf refers to any animal that lives in the water while turf means creatures living off the land.

At the Cowrie Grill, the dish means a very large steak topped with farm-raised tiger prawns.

My inch-thick rib eye, cooked medium-rare, was beautifully marbled and almost bigger than the plate.

The prawns, butterflied and grilled, were lightly touched with lemon-butter sauce.

Baked Alaska Drama

The 1868 United States purchase of Alaska for $7 million from Russia increased the size of the US by 20 percent and gave the world a very dramatic dessert: Baked Alaska. It was created by Chef Charles Ranhofer while working at Delmonico’s, one of New York’s grandest restaurants in honor of the event.

Baked Alaska’s enduring allure is evident at the Cowrie Grill, where the ice cream-filled cake covered with flaming meringue is ordered by diners of all ages during lunch and dinner.

For me and friends Mandy Navasero, Jullie Yap Daza, and Belinda Cunanan, flaming Baked Alaska would be perfect any time of the day. SOL JOSE VANZI

FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK: NOVEMBER 2013 REPORT

Manila Hotel’s Cowrie Grill re-launches in Greenhills Text and photos by NIKKA SARTHOU  November 11, 2013 8:30pm 11 78 2 731


Cowrie Grill: Manila Hotel's Signature Restaurant Opens At The Heart Of Greenhills

One of Enrique Yap's memorable dining experiences as a young boy growing up in the 1980s was eating at the Cowrie Grill with his family.


Photo courtesy of Manila Hotel.TAKEN NOVEMBER 2012: Manila Hotel EVP Enrique Y. Yap, Jr., Tita Trillo of Titania Wine Cellar, Princess Monjierra Disini, and Manila Hotel president Atty. Joey D. Lina.  Yap Jr. was recently accorded an Outstanding Manilan 2012 Award by the city of Manila, for hotel management and tourism. “He is young, dynamic, and has over the past two years, implemented so many changes in the hotel,” said hotel senior vice president Georgina C. Banaag in an interview. “Service has improved tremendously because the hotel got busier, we are sprucing up for the Centennial this year, and our function rooms will be renovated next,” she added. The Yap family was awarded the hotel in 1997 after a rather contentious bidding process in 1995 that pitted Don Emilio with Renong Berhad of Malaysia. But the family has since poured billions in investments to refurbish the rooms and renovate the hotel, attracting a new and even younger clientele.

“Back then, there weren’t a lot of places to go to eat and experience fine service,” he said. “My parents would tell us we have to dress up for the occasion and put our best behavior forward. When we get there, I would be astounded by the feel of the place and ambience. What really mattered to me, as a kid then, was the tableside service.”

Some 30 years down the road, the young boy has become part of the management team that is involved in the revival of the establishment.

The Cowrie Grill has been an institution in Manila Hotel ever since it opened in 1977, but it had to give way to the expansion and renovation of Café Ilang-Ilang in 2011.

“We realized that Cowrie Grill had a strong equity and following so we decided to re-launch it and bring it closer to our clients,” said Yap, who is now Manila Hotel's executive vice president.

Unlike him, I didn’t have any childhood story starring the iconic grill house, but I thought that it wasn’t too late to create new memories since Manila Hotel’s signature restaurant reopened recently.

* Although it’s not located within the hotel premises, the establishment has retained the Grand Dame’s iconic cowrie shell in its interior décor, which also added drama to its lighting fixtures. I thought it provided a nice backdrop for an unforgettable dining experience.


Cowrie Grill's famous prime rib

Tableside service like no other

Caesar salad served the traditional way There were private booths in the posh restaurant, but I decided to get a comfortable seat under the cowrie-shell chandelier. With the dramatic lightning, I whet my appetite with some sesame-crusted bread and herbed butter. I veered away from getting another serving of bread, as I know that I was in for a rich meal.

For starters, I savored a nice serving of fresh mushroom cappuccino soup, which warmed up my palate well.

The soup had a velvety texture that was a delight to eat. I have always been a fan of mushrooms and their umami taste, and the soup certainly doesn’t disappoint.

The salad course came next, but it wasn’t just served on the table. Diners get a chance to see how to make a traditional Caesar salad, as servers would enter the dining area with a cart complete with all the ingredients for it. It was fascinating to see someone actually make the salad dressing from scratch, and it only took a few minutes.

We were given individual servings as soon as the server plated the salad. Nothing could be more fast and fresh than this. It tasted far from the store-bought salad dressings—I could tell.

As I anticipated the main course, I craved for more tableside service—more of the flair for food presentation. When I saw the exquisite and sizeable piece of meat being pushed on the cart and into the dining room, I knew that it was well worth the wait.

On top of the cart was a hefty piece of good-looking prime rib surrounded by a myriad of colorful vegetables. I witnessed Cowrie Grill's executive chef, Michael G. So Chan, expertly carve the meat for the diners.

It was quite a show as he cut up the beef into individual slices. He dished up each plate with a 10-ounce English cut prime rib doused in au jus and served it with some potatoes gratin, cherry tomatoes, and roasted garlic. As with all the Cowrie Grill’s other steak dishes, this one was presented with three kinds of sauces—peppercorn, béarnaise, and mushroom.

I was a bit overwhelmed with the plate before me, as I rarely indulge in steaks. I thought it was too much for petite little me, but when I tasted my first bite, I was hooked. The meat was tender to the bite and cooked just the way I liked it. I tried the sauces with my succeeding bites, but I thought that it didn’t need any additional flavor because the meat spoke for itself.

I sipped on some red wine, as I alternated each beefy bite with some creamy potatoes and roasted vegetables. The restaurant offers a nice selection of wines and liquor, and the vino and veggies were a good accompaniment to the meal. I especially enjoyed the roasted garlic, which added some zing to the dish. I surprised myself by finishing everything on my plate. My fellow foodies would be proud of me.

A delicious end to the meal: the Baked Alaska

After the steak, I felt like going on a siesta but I didn’t want to miss on the dessert. The Baked Alaska was a delicious finale, and it was prepared tableside as well. The server did a flambé with some brandy to top off the sweet treat.

The Baked Alaska had a small slice of dragon fruit as its topping and was surrounded by a drizzle of strawberry sauce. It seemed too pretty to mess up but I scooped out a spoonful of it anyway and saw luscious layers of cream, chiffon cake, and strawberry ice cream. I liked the coolness that the ice cream provided and the texture of the cake, which satisfied my sweet tooth.

My only regret is not being able to finish the whole thing, as the serving size was good for sharing.

Next time, I’ll make sure to bring my steak-loving hubby so we could share some good food and indulge in our next date night. — BM, GMA News

Cowrie Grill is located in the new wing of the Promenade Shopping Center, Missouri St., Greenhills, San Juan City. For inquiries, call +63 2 5270011.

THE AUTHOR:

NIKKA SARTHOU-LAINEZ Website Twitter As a freelance writer and editor, She enjoys being her own boss and having the flexibility to indulge in her other passions like food and travel. Every year, she vows to visit places she has never been to and tick them off her bucket list. She hopes to be like chef/host Anthony Bourdain someday who travels around the world to sample different cuisines, one plate at a time.


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