By ANGELO GARCIA
High-end Chinese restaurants really go all out when it comes to signature dishes—from cheesy lobsters to pricey abalones. These restaurants need to do this to stand out from among the sea of Chinese eateries that are practically offering the same meals. Some work, while others fail to deliver.
So this restaurant decides to combine two fancy things—roast duck and Scottish whiskey. Peking duck or roast duck is usually the priciest dish on a Chinese restaurant menu. Dousing it with a flaming 12-year-old whiskey obviously fancies things up a bit more. And not just any other whiskey but a Dalmore, one of the most expensive whiskey brands in the world.
This is one of the new dishes recently introduced by Man Ho, Manila Marriott Hotel’s in-house Chinese restaurant. More than just a duck dish, it’s a spectacle.
The blue flames that engulf the glistening golden brown roast duck is a sight to behold, not to mention a perfect subject for your social media story clips.
The flambé, however, doesn’t really add a flavor to the duck. It’s just a fancy way to serve it before carving.
“There are many hotels with good Chinese restaurants. Everybody has duck on the menu. I’m lucky that the owner (of the hotel) also has Dalmore. So I decided to put the whiskey on the flambéed duck,” explains Meik Brammer, Manila Marriott Hotel’s executive chef.
Dalmore is a Scottish whisky brand produced by Whyte & Mackay, which is owned by Emperador Inc., subsidiary of Alliance Global Inc. Megaworld Corporation, which is also under Alliance Global, owns Manila Marriott Hotel, located at Newport City in Pasay City.
The new menu coincides with the introduction of Man Ho’s new head chef Chan Chi Fai. Originally from Hong Kong, Chef Fai has 31 years of Chinese cuisine experience. He is bringing his signature flavors to Man Ho. He loves using Szechuan peppers and it is evident on the new menu, like the wok-fried pork parcels with Szechuan chili. There’s also the shredded chicken with jellyfish in a spicy Szechuan pepper sauce.
But this chicken and jellyfish dish was the idea of Chef Meik, who loves jellyfish. He decided to make a jellyfish dish and not just a side dish.
“On a barbecue platter you always get a little bit of jellyfish and the jellyfish is never really the main attraction. It’s always being put on the side. Some like it, some not. I love jellyfish myself so I created this dish salad with shredded chicken, crispy wonton, and Szechuan sauce and I think it’s a very refreshing, very cool dish to share. It gives jellyfish some justice,” he says
Other must-tries on the new menu include the wok fried French beans with salted egg yolk, slow braised Australian beef shanks with Palawan honey, double-boiled abalone with red dates in coconut broth, stir-fried shrimps with porcini mushrooms and broccoli, and pan-fried Australian Barramundi in black bean sauce.
The shrimp stir fry and Barramundi dishes were created as part of the hotel’s seafood sustainability program. Manila Marriott Hotel sources its seafood sustainably.
“Everybody has the beef and broccoli but since we have the seafood sustainability program, we source the shrimps from a mangrove farm in Vietnam. We use it instead of the beef and decided to do broccoli with mushrooms and sustainable shrimps,” Chef Meik explains.
Another dish introduces US steak to the Cantonese menu. The pan-fried US beef tenderloin with black pepper sauce is inspired by the hotel’s Cru Steakhouse.
“We don’t have steak in Man Ho, so I thought, how can we bring one steak from Cru Steakhouse? So we did a US tenderloin with black pepper sauce. It’s not thinly sliced because we want you to have a feeling that you’re still eating steak. Now people can enjoy a good piece of steak at Man Ho,” he says.
The new menu, which is already available, is a result of extensive research and development. The hotel also made adjustments based on customer feedback.
“Man Ho is already two years old and I have had many customers come and go. We have revised our menu based on their feedback. These drive me and help me to wake up in the morning to go to work and do better and do some changes. Changes on our menu come not only from our new chef but also from customer feedback from the last two years,” he says.
Man Ho, Manila Marriott Hotel West Wing, Newport City, Pasay City. manilamarriott.com